This week, the arc/DH@SDSU electronic literature program got tangled up in Twine, exploring exciting possibilities within new methods of digital literature creation. Students discussed how a change in the order of events in a story can drastically change how that story itself plays out, considering questions like “Do stories have to be linear?” and  “What happens when people are given choices as they read?”

In the classroom of Katie Chestnut (Graduate Student, Education), one student was nearly brought to tears after playing Blork, a Twine game created by Kristin Herr (SDSU Class of 2018) that gives you only 60 seconds to spend with a digital “pet.” The student thought that decision-making programs like these could be beneficial in psychological assessments. This same student also expressed a strong interest in the “found poem” concept that had been started in a previous week, commenting that she searches for words and phrases to use in her own creations during her spare time. Katie remarked, “I’m so impressed by the connections she is making with what we are reading or playing and the real world.”

Over in Brenda Taulbee’s (Graduate Student, English and Comparative Literature) classroom, students began to find their voice as their interests led them in different directions. Some students picked up their digital swords and shields, working on creating Roleplaying Games (RPGs) set in a world of magical fantasy and dragons. One student even showed his chaotic-good side with talk about “trolling” his players and luring them into traps. Down different paths, students found themselves using Twine as a morality test, offering up such dilemmas as, “Do you help a bleeding man by calling an ambulance, or steal his wallet?” Brenda said that questions like these and others “prompted an insightful discussion into the different applications of Twine and how flexibly it accommodates vastly different material.”

This next week our students will have the opportunity to continue working with the Twine projects that they have started in preparation of the arc/DH@SDSU Student Showcase happening in November! Be sure to tell your students how excited you will be to see their work and hear them talk about their creative processes!

– Jared Zeiders