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Electronic Literature and Video Games: The Perfect Match


Electronic literature has changed the way in which we judge the foundation of a piece. Before literature was something tangible, written in a book and well known, but now with electronic literature that idea is thrown out the window. Recently, creators have also tried to change what we consider to be a “game.” Games formed in electronic literature, such as Christine Wilks, Rememori, incorporate the idea of wanting to win while at the same time telling a story in the background through different perspectives. We notice the obvious differences between the electronic literature and games and first, but once we take a closer look we see how both could be one in the same.

In most games there is obviously a winner, even if we are playing by ourselves we try to obtain the highest score possible. In the game Rememori, the author relates her father disease of Alzheimer’s to a game of memory. As we all know with this disease ones memory is the first thing to go. This piece of electronic literature highlights the feelings and thoughts of those closest to the one suffering as statements such as “just another face” float around while you try to match the proper cards. At the end of each game our score is computed and our time is given. With this type of information given to us, it can easily be considered a game that we play each time in order to get a better score and lower time.

Rememori also acts like a game in respect that we can take on different characters each time we play the game. Just like board games, such as Monopoly, we chose our character or what we what to represent ourselves with. The first thing we are asked before being exposed to the game is to enter a user name. Once that user name is chosen a series of phrases are shaped to that person, must like certain characters in a video game can only posses certain qualities. It’s evident that since the way we go about playing and what we are able to discover or achieve being based on a specific user, shows how this piece of electronic literature can fall under the game category.

Certain instances of electronic literature reflect that of a video game; one of which is the ability of having a choice. These options are based on what we want to do as a reader, just as a gamer could decide if they want to turn left or right at the end of that dark hallway. With electronic literature we are able to do just the same; we can click on specific words that completely change the course of the piece. Regardless the device still works, but now we are doing as we please and taking a risk to uncover the next bit of the puzzle our way.

However, electronic literatures main goal is to tell a story. In a normal video game the main goal is to complete a task or obtain a high-score, but we are also being told a story based on the input we give. This story-telling aspect can go unnoticed, since, let me be frank, they kinda stink; but it still is a story being told whether we pay attention to it or not. Many of the video games that we play today are based off of everyday experience, such as fighting in a battle or playing a sport.  Sure we can also create our own story in our mind of what is going on, but it is not pre-determined by the creator for you to grasp the story as it is in most cases of electronic literature.  This evidence allows us to see how electronic literature can be used like a game, but tells a deeper story like common literature does.

Who ever thought that electronic literature and video games could be classified in the same category? (Definitely not myself.) But after being exposed to different types of electronic literature throughout this course we are able to see how electronic literature, at the base, preforms just like a video game but the meaning behind it is of greater depth. Factors such as competition and choice makes us sway more towards electric literature being considered a game. But in the end it all comes down to the specific piece and the way we interpret how to use it, if we can consider it to be a game or not.



  1. Amanda Campbell

    This blog is written very well. You did a great job with making the information flow. Also, the pictures in this blog work very well and were eye catching.

    I really liked how you defined games in contrast to electronic literature. I would defiantly agree that games can be defined by the amount of competitive feel- goals of a high score or fastest time. I thought you tied in both arguing paragraphs really well. I was confused to see how it was possible to have argued the piece as a game or literature without first defining each in the beginning paragraphs, but you made the post flow perfectly!

  2. Jacqueline Somma

    It definitely does vary from piece to piece and even from person to person whether or not you consider something to be electronic literature or a video game. The two are definitely very similar, which you did a good job of explaining in your post. I agree with you when you said that the difference between the two is that electronic literature tells a deeper story. Because of the fact that electronic literature has more text involved it gives us something to interpret and find the meaning of.

  3. I liked how concise and to the point you were with your argument. You defined the borders between what are video games and electronic literature very clearly, or where you felt like they should be set. I would have to disagree, though, with you on the idea that all video games do not provide a story line or the goal is not to tell a story. Some video games are very plot-oriented and have a very complex story line, just like electronic literature can.

  4. I really liked the comparisons you made between Rememori and video games. The Mario Kart picture caught my eye and the title works perfectly to draw readers in. Great flow and layout, as well. I made very similar claims in my own blog post; electronic literature and video games share many similarities and Rememori sounds like a perfect example.

  5. first i need to say that this blog is extremely well-written and it is very apparent that you spent a lot of time working on it. the thing that grabbed my attention as i was quickly scrolling through the class blogs looking for one to read was the picture of mario kart 64. i was kind of disappointed that it wasnt talked about but looking at the picture was cool enough. at the beginning i was really impressed how you described the tangibility of books and literature and how it is just not there with electronic literature which i had never thought about before but was such a great point to make. you absolutely were able to make a distinction between electronic literature and video games in a concise manor while using your specific piece as an example so good job. it was not a dull read at all.