Let’s Play: how to rob a bank

I found this amazing piece of art, how to rob a bank – all lowercase for minimalist aesthetic points, on the Shortlisted Competition Entries of Reading Digital Fiction (parentheses funded by the AHRC, close parentheses).  All credit for the piece goes to digital author Alan Bigelow, famous for pushing the boundaries of multimedia work for several years, with most of his finished productions available on his website webyarns dot com.

Works Cited: 

Murray, Janet – Hamlet on the Holodeck (1997)
Rabinowitz, Peter – Narrative Conventions ( 1987)
Raley, Rita – Dataveillance and Counterveillance (2013)
Zuboff, Shoshana – Surveillance Capitalism (2015)

Let’s Play Video! (Revisions in comments)


In this video, I discuss the game “The Bafflement Fires”. There is a lot of tension between the gaming and literary world, but this piece blurs the line between the two, as well as, the line between fact and fiction. This is not only a participatory game, but also a form of electronic literature that incorporates fictional characters and questions as fact within the work.

This game, though it’s questions and design are dysfunctional, holds some procedural aspects since the player must go through the game turn by turn. While going through the game, you enter Jason Nelson’s world. Peter Rabinowitz believed that “while books do sometimes have the power to take readers out of themselves, that power is limited. Nor is that limitation necessarily to be lamented. Despite romantic notions about the beneficial consequences of great art, books are in fact capable of moving readers in immoral as well as in moral directions.”

Nelson’s complex game claimed that it could change people’s minds on certain issues. Of course, this is a false claim in reality, but in Nelson’s world, this ties in perfectly with Rabinowitz’s point. Not only that, but this intricate nature may even cause the user to question their views on defining great artworks after playing Nelson’s game.

The dysfunction causes the player to only notice pieces of what is going on in the game and forces them to create meaning out of what they do end up grasping. Everyone’s experience will be different, but I believe Nelson’s intentions were to change the users outlook towards art, literature, and games after playing and help them see the similarities they all hold.


Let’s Play: myBALL

Enjoy my Let’s Play video of the ELIT myBALL (really embarrassing name I know)!


The eletronic literature myBALL created by Shawn Rider is a satirical work in the form of a fake commercial site. In the website Shawn displayed a babysitter robot called “myBALL”, a satirical solution to the large time and effort involved in raising children. “myBALL” can function as a friend of children, and so that parents can spend less time staying with their children. “myBALL” can also be a good teacher for the children, and this also attenuates parents’ pressure of educating their children. Although Shawn is very humorous in introducing “myBALL”, however, he argues that technology is widely being misused. Too many robots have been designed and manufactured by human to reduce human work, but this phenomenon doesn’t necessarily generate good results. With more and more automatic machines, assembly line workers lose their jobs; with more and more introductions of robots like “myBALL”, children have less and less time staying with their parents. Shawn wants this parody work to make people rethink the right way to use technology.

Shawn did a good job comprehensively building up the fake product “myBALL” and formatting the introduction into a website that is highly comparable to early 2000s commercial websites. However, he may need to be more clear about what exactly he wants to satire. Shawn did write about his ideas and insights in the “about us” section (this gives the viewer a very inconsistent feeling because this “about us” section is actually external, as in Ryan’s ideas, of this ELIT work, and to make it internal, Shawn should write some information about the fake producer of this high-tech myBALL), but in the main part it is quite hard for the readers to get the deeper satirical meanings with only those goofy introductions of myBALL’s functions. Here comes the idea of narrativity: the processes by which this parody is both presented by Shawn and interpreted by the viewers. When composing this parody, Shawn should already have had some ideas in his mind; however, the readers do not have those ideas and they need to come to their interpretations on their own. This is possibly the best explanation for why Shawn gave up some inconsistency in his work by including his ideas in the “about us” section. He probably wanted this section to compensate for the lack of satirical meaning in the other parts of this work. We can also consider this issue with the Rules of Reading by Peter Rabinowitz. The rules of coherence are especially interesting here. The texts in myBALL, due to their satirical nature, are deliberately designed to be disjunct, and rules of coherence deal with textual disjunctures. The readers will need certain such rules (which can gain from more background information) to better understand what is being satirized in myBALL.

DeepSurface – Let’s Play

My Let’s Play video explores Stuart Moulthrop’s work “DeepSurface.” This work metaphorically represents the act of reading as an ocean through which the user can dive and explore. Watch the video to find out more, and here’s the link to the original.

Works Cited:

Barthes, Roland. “The Death of the Author.” Image / Music / Text. Trans. Stephen Heath. New York: Hill and Wang, 1977. 142-7.

Hankamer, Jorge, and Ivan Sag. “Deep and Surface Anaphora.” Linguistic Inquiry, vol. 7, no. 3, 1976, pp. 391–428. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4177933.

Luckey, Alan W. “The Risk of Reading.” The English Journal, vol. 75, no. 6, 1986, pp. 29–29. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/819002.

Moulthrop, Stuart. “DEEPSURFACE.

Murray, Janet H. “Chapter 3.” Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1997, pp. 65–94.

Rabinowitz, Peter. “Part 1: Narrative Conventions.” Before Reading: Narrative Conventions and the Politics of Interpretation, Ohio State University Press, 1987, pp. 15-46.

Ryan, Marie-Laure. “The Many Forms of Interactivity.” Narrative as Virtual Reality 2: Revisiting Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, 2015, pp. 160–185.

Let’s Play! The Tunnel

Attached is my lets play project & a story map I made to help me get through the work. The video is a bit longer than I intended so I had to lower the quality a bit in order to get it to upload to vimeo at all… hopefully it’s okay since it’s purely a text adventure/there’s not too much to look at – there was just so much to say!!

Created by me, no outside sources used. Open in a new tab to view at full size.

Game || Her website

Works Referenced:

Currie, Gregory. Narratives and narrators: a philosophy of stories. Oxford University Press, 2012, pp. 12-21.

Freud, Sigmund. “The Uncanny.” In The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, edited by James Strachey, XVII:218–52. London: Hogarth Press, 1953.

Rabinowitz, Peter. “Part 1: Narrative Conventions.” Before Reading: Narrative Conventions and the Politics of Interpretation, Ohio State University Press, 1987, pp. 15-46.

Ryan, Marie-Laure. “The Many Forms of Interactivity.” Narrative as Virtual Reality 2: Revisiting Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, 2015, pp. 160–185.

Zerweck, Bruno. “Historicizing Unreliable Narration: Unreliability and Cultural Discourse in Narrative Fiction.” Style, vol. 35, no. 1, 2001, pp. 151–176. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.5325/style.35.1.151.

Let’s Play “My Body- A Wunderkammer” by Shelley Jackson

Here’s my Let’s Play video for Shelley Jackson’s “My Body- a Wunderkammer”. Her work conceives of her body as a “cabinet of curiosities” where she explores and discovers her body by writing these reminiscences. To describe her work, she says, “I will hide secret buttons, levers and locks in my carved folds and crevices. You will have to feel your way in.”  Here is a link to the original work.


Dion, Mark. Tate Thames Dig: Beachcombing London’s Foreshore, Tate Gallery, London 1999 

Freud, Sigmund. “The Uncanny.” In The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, edited by James Strachey, XVII:218–52. London: Hogarth Press, 1953.

Guertin, Carolyn, Tschofen Monique and Totosy de Zepetnek, Steven. English 475: Literature and Hypertext Study Guide. Athabasca University, 2002.

Jackson, Shelley. “My Body”’: A Wunderkammer.” 

Murray, Janet H. “Chapter 3.” Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1997, pp. 65–94.

Swiss, Thomas. “City of Bits.” 


**Note: The year is incorrectly stated as 1995 in the video. Shelley Jackson’s “My Body” was created in 1997.

How to Rob a Bank Pt.4 “Home” – Lets Play

This is my walkthrough of Alan Bigelow’s fourth installment of the How to Rob a Bank series. In the video I discuss the mode of storytelling through cellphone history and the peaceful yet uncanny lives of the protagonists, Rob and Elizabeth and their infant child.

Here is the original work.

Revision Arguement:

Going through the work, I find that Rob’s almost childlike habits are apparent throughout the narrative. This made me think about how there is this conception of using technology as being for the advancement of society. However, I would argue that there are many people that use new technologies to feed their bad habits whether it is through social media or other platforms. In Janet Murray’s Hamlet on the Holodeck, she explains how computers now give us access to infinite resources (and this work may be the epitome of that)While it is easy to say that technology brings people together, watching the relationship between Rob and Elizabeth may be Bigelow saying that it can do quite the opposite. So the piece not only represents society’s reliance on technology but also how it can impact people negatively or allow people to make a negative impact on the world and people around them. I think that Peter Rabinowitz’s argument in Before Reading ties into the idea that the text itself is not edited and therefore more valid to interpretation. Overall, I think Bigelow paints a slightly more negative yet humorous picture of how technology influences our lives.