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First Person


edited by N. Wardrip-Fruin & P. Harrigan

First Person is concerned with the relationship between new media and literature and the sorts of textual experiences that are made possible through storytelling in new media. An initial concern of the text is the relationship between mechanics and storytelling, arguing that computer games in particular are not altogether new; they represent extensions of media such as theater and novels that we have been consuming, studying, and producing for centuries.

Indeed, many of the articles consider ways that textual practices can be understood as containing facets of gameplay, arguing for a reconsideration of the terms we use to discuss literature and to differentiate it from new media (computer games, particularly). 

The book is divided into eight sections that are organized around the metaphor of conference panels that bring together “presenters” of varying backgrounds, and each article is accompanied by a running footer containing a response/critique from another scholar (the “audience member”). Because of this format, the text very much resembles a conversation. It’s interesting to note that its list of more than forty contributors numbers several prominent new media scholars, including Hayles, Jenkins, and Murray.

In tribute to the book's organization and subject matter, this discussion presents salient terms and concepts in narrative form, and scholar's viewpoints are presented in conversation (as opposed to discretely). On the other hand, readers can navigate the discussion by clicking the images on the left to advance to the next level, or they may click the reset button at the bottom of the page to return to the beginning.