Alice, Digital Love and the White Rabbit in the Room.

Blog:  Alice and Digital Love. 

These two pieces could be more at opposite ends of the same awesome scale.   Once more I enjoyed the throw back to my generation.  Both this week and the week prior had me reliving my childhood of going to seedy and often troublesome arcades to lay down my handful of quarters.  I used to cut school, hop on a train to New York Pen Station.  My uncle was a conductor on my line.  It was an art not getting caught. However, if you could survive playing in that arcade, in New York City, during the early 80s, then you could make it anywhere.  I saw more people beaten up over Pac Man.  That arcade is now the CVS many of my readers have probably been to while traveling through New York Penn Station. Its up by the LIRR.  Right next to Charlie’s pub, which I hope is still there.  I digress…

Digital, A Love Story, also gave me the same feeling I had when I watched, You’ve Got Mail with Tom Hanks.  Very cute.  I loved the graphics on the home page.  I was instantly transported back in time when every game had the same digital look.  The piece’s description has the story set in 1988.  The same year I graduated high school.  The home page also described that this was when the internet was being first established.  I wish.

The home page also said that this piece was a homage to early hacker culture.  I loved that feel.  I used to stay up all night coding in DOS.  And if I wasn’t coding in DOS all night, I was up playing ZORK on my Atari 800 computer with floppy disk drive.  Some other elements had me thinking I was using my grandfather’s Radio Shack Tandy 2000.  (The more I reveal the more I see Sun laughing at me.)  Digital, gave me that same nostalgic feeling of hunting, collecting and communicating with the piece as playing all those cool text games did way back when.  The interface reminded me of the early days of AOL.  The experience of interacting with characters from the game also reminded me of THE SIMS – without the images.  I even called the phone number the piece delivered.  I was hoping see just how deep the connection between the gaming world and the real world was.  It would’ve been really cool to have a character from the game speaking with you or using your number to send a text back.  Because that’s what this game really was at the core.  Texting.

Alice, on the other hand, was nothing like texting at all.  It was a graphic novel come to life.  I will be stealing ideas from this piece from now until eternity.  Not that Digital did not give me enough fodder for creating a multitude of character archetypes.

The opening of Alice is great because it quickly sets the backstory so reads don’t have to work too hard.  Star Wars was first to do this successfully.  Hence the reason, the galaxy was able to so easily accept the introduction to Luke Skywalker at Episode 4: A New Hope. 

I was excited by the Comic Sans font and the instant idea that I was going to get to escape from China.  But when I realized – not “realised” as it is spelled in the piece – that we were in Britain to begin with, it all came together quite nicely. English from England has always avoided using the letter Z when alternatives are available.  Not sure why, I used to joke with my English counterparts when working in publishing that perhaps using the letter Z too often reminded people of sleep and hence the book would be a flop in the shop. 

Overall, Alice is a great adventure.  My friends once left me on a rooftop until the cops left.  I nearly froze to death.  I liked how the text mimicked the verbs when entering the page.  Creepy language actually creeped onto the page.  The music had me on edge.  I hate heights, I hated being on that roof then and now, the music kept me wanting to figure a way out.  The side nav bar offered up some insight into the other characters as well as a rest from the excitement of getting off the roof.    Both pieces came together nicely offering a bit of the same presented in uniquely different approaches.  Cheers to the authors and cheers to the presenters for giving me something I can …    

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