Cities on Wheels

The other day, I was about to take a long drive and wanted an audiobook to entertain me on the way. I opened up Libby, the hugely convenient Library app, and searched the sci-fi category. The most intriguing title of those available was one called “Scrivener’s Moon” by Philip Reeve.

Little did I know that this YA author is actually quite popular. Friends told me that one of his series is being made into a film directed by Peter Jackson. Pop culture and I don’t hang out much. But that aside, the story made me think of cities and nature and the naturalness or not of engineering.

One of the main themes in this series is that of the mobile city. It’s a tiered city that is built on enormous machines that power its engines and drive its wheels forward across the Earth. All of London, in this book, is being torn down and rebuilt as the first “Traction City.”


This is my dissertation

It’s raw and it’s ugly and I feel shame when I read it, but dammit, it’s mine, and I made it.

These ideas may not be presented as beautifully, as clearly, as completely as they could be, but I still think these thinks, and I would love feedback on them.

Story in, around, and of games is still my greatest love. 

I present to you:

The Princess Is in Another Castle: Multi-Linear Stories in Oral Epic and Video Games

On Proteus

I opened my eyes to a sea full of sea. Looking around, I spotted a faint outline of trees and made my way toward them. The island was lush, and I thought, full of life. Trombone-plants and horn-weasels dotted the landscape. Leaves fell, sun rose. Proteus is about many things, but for me, it was about life or the absence of it. It’s about making meaning because we must, because we can, because otherwise, we would close our eyes and stop.


In Proteus, life is all around you. Rushing down the hills, you find creatures who flit away, owls who fly off when they catch your glance, and dragonflies whirring and buzzing. The sounds of life are all around you. Creatures blow whistles and owls sing out their whoo in the night. The fireflies are bells and the lights a symphony. I saw gravestones and roses. Did I plant them? Had my family died here?


I found a house seemingly abandoned, but shut tight. Was it mine? I found broken trees that looked like castles, and totems of animals high on the hills. Had I built those?


I found drum-beetles marking the beat of their march through the muck. I found mushrooms who could jump further than I could. I couldn’t jump at all. In fact, I’m not sure how I moved. I moved through the water, but I didn’t swim. I moved over hills, but I didn’t walk. I came up to the house’s door, but I couldn’t knock. Surely there was something to find in this beautiful land. A path I had ignored or a side of the house I hadn’t tried. Perhaps there was some other island out to sea, and I was just on the wrong one.


My search for something ended in the realization that for all the goals I constructed, the names I created, and the stories I told, I was nothing. I made no sounds. Was I even alive? Why did I keep moving? Because there was nothing else for me to do. Why did I follow the stars? Because there was nothing else I prescribed enough meaning to. In an open world, waiting to be explored, I followed the signs. I needed the signs. The trombone-plants made their song and needed no signs. The horn-weasels hopped out their melodies and needed no signs. The stars, the stars, those malicious keepers of time, led me on to my eventual path into nowhere. Or so I could say. But really, I made meaning because I needed it. Because I lacked it. I made meaning because I wasn’t alive.


Community Toss 8/17/09

This may come off as an ‘I’m-too-lazy-to-blog’ entry, but really, I’ve just been gone over a week and my inbox is flooded. Might as well share the love as I wade through it.

A Syllabus on Transmedia Storytelling. Considering my own plans for a class through Sweetland that focuses on interactive fiction and comparative epic, I was overjoyed to see someone’s syllabus up that I could pull ideas from. Take a look – I’d love comments and I’m sure Henry would as well.

An essay on the organic process of myth-merge (it communicates a notion -> it’s a word) in Dominions 3. I love looking at how game designers/writers take myths from various cultures along with their own original lore and combine them in some grand cauldron to create a new something wonderful (hopefully). This essay can serve as an interesting model to see either how to or how not to communicate intricate details of storytelling in games.

Adult gamers are fat and depressed!! I wonder when they do studies like this if they consider which came first – the depression or the gaming.

BrainHex: How do you play? I love surveys, especially those that make you analyze everyday activities. Yes, for some of us, gaming is part of our everyday lives. Jealous much? XD

All right, you’re probably drowning in work and raising your fist at me for not providing anything original, but to cheer you up, please watch the most famous Internet video of the week – the Guild’s Do you want to date my avatar? It’s worth every second.

Ada starts to write

Welcome to the latest incarnation of my blog! Here I hope to foster interesting discussions about interactive fiction, gaming experiences, narratology of MMOs, and much more. Look for updates about the latest scholarly articles covering a variety of aspects of gaming studies and interactive fiction and a sampling of blog posts from the community. If you find interesting sites or articles, please email a link to me so I can add it to the site.

Feel free to introduce yourself in a comment below. I look forward to our future adventures!

ps. Yes, I know the banner doesn’t have anything to do with gaming. Deal with it for now.