Literature and Technology (formerly, I'm teaching "Choice of Robots" in the spring!)

I’ll report back here to let you know how it goes, but I’m teaching a course about technology and literature. We’ll be reading things like Frankenstein, Doctor Moreau, and R.U.R. but we’ll also be reading Choice of Robots when we study how technology can create new ways of presenting and experiencing literature.

It’s at the end of a pretty heavy semester of work for them, so a few weeks where they can play some IF and write about how interactive literature works seems like a good treat. And I’m looking forward to talking about it with my students!

I’ve never, ever taught anything quite this unusual before (although I will be putting the visual novel, “Asphyxia” on the syllabus next year when I do Romantic Literature). Wish me luck!

Secretly I am hoping to convert a lot of people to Choice of Games.


That’s pretty cool I’m assuming you’re students are in high school?

1 Like

University, actually–I teach at a small liberal arts college, but this particular class, I’m teaching at Northeastern University as a one-off.


That’s awesome. Can’t wait to hear how it goes. More fans to CoG, the better.


Looks like I will have time to do two games in that unit. Not quite sure if I want to do a second Choice Script game, or expose them to another form of IL…


What you should do is offer extra credit for students who help choicescript authors with proofreading and the like. They learn english and we get our games out faster, it’s perfect!

1 Like

My dean has actually asked me to consider creating a whole class in Interactive Fiction. I’m mulling it over.


Where do you teach sir!? I see you should do a class on Infinity Sea series :wink:
How you can have a great class of how gameplay Ken tell things about the character or how the mechanics play what they say about the world than the actual characters mind set you can it’s fantastic. Personally when things are going to talk with me it’s when I play The Last of Us and how unaccountable melee a combat made me feel. But it reflection of Joel’s selfish need to live even though he feels like he has nothing to live for.

I teach at Regis College, in Massachusetts, in the lovely Humanities Department.,%20Kreg%20Philip

I’m going to stick to mainly text and possibly some VNs for this class (if I create it). I would have a lot of students who never gamed before, and I don’t want to throw clickers at them first thing.


You make me want to finish my undergrad in Boston now but I am philosophy major. :frowning:
Speaking of what would you advise to make a game around the European Guild system during the early modern/ Renaissance Era my good professor. How do I make the apprenticeship Interesting, the Journeymen years won’t be so hard. At the same time when you become a master and settle into your shop how do I still promote the drama should I use historical cities or take place during huge events?

1 Like

I offered some suggestions over in your guild thread!

1 Like

You’re such a kind soul good doctor!! PS doctor what are some games you made?

What other game might you consider for the “technology and literature” theme?

I want something that shows off the special things that technology can offer a narrative. Aisle is a good, and quick one. I might do that one.


My good professor I’m having some very deep platonic loving feelings for you, you know all the right things my friend!

Oh, now I see what you were saying. I was interpreting “technology and literature” in terms of looking at literature addressing technology, being as that’s one of the biggest themes in Choice of Robots, rather than looking at uses for technology in making a narrative.

Both of which are fascinating :smiley:

Hello. I’m not sure if this really counts but there was a mobile game called A Blind Legend in which you play as a blind knight and there’s no text, you just listen. It’s a pretty cool game, you swipe across your phone and it would register as the sword slicing, and you would have to listen to where your enemies are and move accordingly by sliding your finger around the phone screen.

I also think another cool thing that some VNs do is the timed choice where there’s a countdown while you might a choice. It really adds to the stress and anxiety of the moment.

1 Like

I changed the title, because this conversation is morphing into something more general.

If anyone can suggest interactive literature that would fit into a course that offers novel ways to read and interact with text and narrative, that would be great. I’m most interested in all text, but I’m open to suggestions that include some visual or more gamey elements. I’d probably want to move from kinetic things to more interactive as the semester went on, and then end with students creating something simple on their own.

“Depression Quest” is one that comes up a lot; choices that get grayed out is something novel, and I’d like to expose students to it. Similarly, “Gone Home” has been suggested to me.

I am about the last person I would expect be teaching a class like this: I’m all about early literature, and I think of a bound codex as a pretty novel technology. But this class and Choice Of sort of fell into my lap around the same time, and I aim to explore it. One of the suggested topics was “Is Twitter the New Poetry?” and something about that topic makes me bridle and reject it immediately (I have never used Twitter) but usually that’s a sign that I probably need to think about it some more.


Funny coincidence: I actually teach computer science at Northeastern. I’d be happy to do a guest lecture and/or Q&A when you cover Choice of Robots.


I don’t know if anyone has suggested Alter Ego It is interactive literature by Peter J. Favaro, Ph.D. using Choicescript and it is free to try. Alter Ego

Alter Ego starts at birth and ends at death, including two substantially different versions, depending on whether you choose to be male or female.

This, I believe would fit nicely with everything you are doing in this class.

1 Like