This work is integrates video games, interactive fiction, fiction, reality, news, audio, video, and texts in prose and verse to craft a viscerally thought-provoking experience for audiences willing to play along. The work eschews the mouse to focus users on a keyboard based interface which draws attention to the textual mechanics of the work. The description places the reader into a situation that is always the same, except for some key variables that keeps one’s focus on each generated iteration. The interface doesn’t provide much information on options for valid actions, except for the verb(s) prominently displayed on the left hand column. This is a game that places readers in a difficult position, but trains them towards the kind of behavior that Reed wants them to enact and the thematic reflections such interactions produce.
Repetition is part of the interactive fiction genre that informs this piece, but Reed succeeds in making the call and response of an interactor with the parser into a kind of poetic refrain. This is a Steinian use of repetition, which is “not repetition but insistence.” And it is an earnest insistence on an topic that should not be ignored, yet gets little enough scrutiny. Be patient with this work and it will unfold powerfully before you.
Featured in New Media Writing Prize 2011