People have a weird obsession with death. When you google “How will I Die?” multiple links pop up such as a death quizzes, death poetry , and death clocks. I decided to investigate Jason Nelson’s digital poem, This is How You Will Die. This poem is Jason Nelson’s famous “works of art- a slot machine for predicting death, using code for an online slot machine game and 15- five line death fictions/poetics. Players can win death videos and free spins” (link.)
Playing this game right before I was getting ready to go to sleep wasn’t one of the top five decisions that I have ever made. This dark twisted game starts off with instructions on how to figure out when you are going die. The background music and repetition of certain lines of the poem make it really freaky!
The directions state:
1. You have three spins on the death slots.
2. Certain death combinations win extra spins
3. Within the stories are links to death movies and poetics.
4 When your life credits are gone, this is how you will die.
The instructions weren’t very detailed so I just decided to give it a whirl! After I clicked the death slot I noticed the number seven showed up on the second description. When I clicked the number seven it told me I was going to die driving late at night. It said although I was driving, the only thing that I would be moving is the steering wheel. It repeated this message over and over again. After realizing I couldn’t do anything else on this page I decided to click on the death slot for a second time. This time the number five showed up. When I clicked on the number five it had a video recording of a woman saying to her male friend that if he knew when she was going to die then she knew he would steal her DVD player. Every time I started over the poem I died a different way, but sometimes what happened to me after death was the same.
In this Youtube video Nelson explains the reasons behind why he made this game and how he made it. He says, “This is How You Will Die will show you through pictures and words how, when, and what will happen after you die.” Jason Nelson thinks that electronic literature doesn’t really get used or explored enough. For this reason he decided to use the same exact codes and make another digital poem off of it. The next digital poem that he made explores how you are going to have the worst Christmas ever.