I joined a new writing community at the National Writing Project Connect site around gaming, and this interesting project was already being shared by Elyse Eidman-Aadahl. Here, Jason Nelson merges digital poetry with game design (or maybe anti-game design), creating an odd mix for the reader/player around words, movement, gaming and poetry that feels a bit surreal as you play it.
It’s difficult to explain, but it is one of those sites where I felt my brain sliding in a few different directions as I tried to make sense of the game while trying to make sense of the poem, and also trying to make sense of the combined experiences. To be honest, I am not sure what the game really about, nor what the poem is really about, but that didn’t stop from diving in. I could sense a different kind of experience as the reader/player.
This is how Nelson somewhat explains what he is up to:
Video games are a language, a grammar or linguistics of various texts. The sounds, the movement, the graphics, the rules or lack of rules, everything about a video game is a component of language. …..
A digital poetry game must combine all these elements, strange and interactive stanzas, crossed out and obstructed lines, sounds and texts triggered and lost during the play. Indeed the game interface becomes a road to inhabiting the digital poem, to coaxing the reader/player into living and creating within the game/poetry space.
You really have to experience it to get a sense of it.
And I wondered: how in the world do you design something like that? I suppose the tools for doing so are beyond me at this point in time, but I wonder if there is a way to do a smaller version, something poetic but in game form?
Peace (in the merging of worlds),