Electronic literature (Elit), is a digital art genre that includes a literary aspect created exclusively for digital devices, such as computers, tablets, and mobile phones. There are five different genres of Elit:
The five genres of electronic literature
Hypertext Fiction is a clickable, linking web of option so you the “player/reader” are somewhat in charge. The reader is in charge in the sense that he/her can choose one option rather than another, and have impact on the story`s course. Hypertext fiction are similar to the book genre Gamebooks, where the reader participates in the story by making choices. I would say that Gamebook are the non-digital version of hypertext fiction.
Interactive Fiction (often referred to as IF) is a form of storytelling where the player/reader are engaging in the story. It’s much alike hypertext fiction in the sense that you are able to make an impact on the story by making your own choices. Because of today’s technology and the input of graphic, sound, images etc. in Interactive Fiction, it’s hard to tell if it’s an IF or a game. In my opinion, it can be both.
Kinetic Poetry is a form of digital poetry where the text is moving and/or transforming. By using this kind of mechanisms in a digital poem, you can for example set the pace for the reader, highlight specific words etc.
Generative Fiction is machine produced literature, by using a set of rules and/or the use of algorithms. A great example of this is the Twitter Bot Pentametron.
“With algorithms subtle and discrete, I find iambic writings to retweet” –Pentametron
Locative Fiction is focusing on using technology to enhance the reality, and its often based on location. For example, in Mia’s exhibition Textformation, we were able to use our mobile phones to scan QR-codes (which was a part the exhibition) to access more information on our own.
My experience with electronic literature
Mia showed us many great examples of electronic literature which I enjoyed, such as My Body, a Wunderkammer, Like Stars in the Clear Night Sky and Facade, but I’m going to share one of my own Elit experience.
I am a big fan of visual novels, which in my opinion is a hybrid of a game, digital art and electronic literature. I recently played a visual novel game called Doki Doki Literature Club, where you (a male high-school student) are joining a literature club.
You, alongside four female students, are a member of the Doki Doki literature club, and much of the story revolves around you and who you decide to spend time with. As a member of the club your focus is on reading, writing and on building friendships with these girls. It’s all fun and games…. until it isn’t. This game takes a really weird and disturbing turn..
The gameplay consists mostly of the player reading the game’s story with little influence on what direction the story takes. But at certain points you are the one who is making crucial choices by clicking on different alternatives, much like you do in hypertext fiction. This is for sure an interactive fiction piece, which I think is a great way to experience a story.
With its anime style and super cute music, this piece might at first glance look like a childish visual novel/dating simulator, but it is actually a psychological horror. I am more into this type of Elit, that combines visuals, sound and text to really create an atmosphere for you to be a part of. I also like the underlying tone that reveals itself more and more as the story progress.
This is two example on how the use of text and style can change the mood. This is just two of many examples, but I’m not going to spoil too much.
Inserting disturbing elements in this super cute environment is a great use of contrast, and an efficient way to change the tone. Doki Doki Literature Club is a very interesting and original visual novel with multiple course lines for you to experience.
WARNING: don’t be fooled by the cute exterior, Doki Doki Literature Club scared the bejesus out of me.
Have a great week!