Saturday, August 8, 2009

interactive fiction

i found this lovely game by Emily Short:Galatea

It is a very beautiful, interactive text game; a conversation between the player - an art critic - with Galatea.  There are many endings, many routes to take.  The level of responsiveness is very cool; the way Galatea reacts depends on how you treat her and which subjects you bring up.  I had some trouble with it at first, wanting to ask questions that the program can't answer, but overall it is a very comprehensive game.  i will admit, i only found 5 endings on my own, then played through the various walkthroughs available on the site because i had reached the limit of my own imaginings.  i dare you to find more without consulting the cheats.

i really think this is an interesting game - there is a brief mention of feminism, and i think that exploring that topic within the context of the game would be very interesting.  If woman exists for (a) man, what happens when that man is gone?

now i'm thinking about it, i don't believe any gendered pronouns are used to refer to the player/critic. So depending on the user, that can really change how the game reads; if the critic is male, then in some scenarios Galatea transfers her affections from one male to another. In others, the male gaze is returned by a female. In yet others, she liberates herself, or is liberated with male assistance. If the critic is female, it becomes a scenario of woman helping woman - but in all the same scenarios. Hmm. i wonder if the critic is intended to be read as one gender or another. i did really picture the critic not as myself, but as a male character; to be fair, i play a lot of games, and with some exceptions (Oblivion, Fable II) usually am thrust into a male role. i wonder if i automatically read all 1st person game characters as male?  Time to rexamine my own assumptions.  While i do that, go play Galatea.

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