Rowdy in the Work Place

http://dcc.umd.edu/portfolio/akim/hdcc208/rowdyintheworkplace.html

I wrote a story called “Rowdy in the Work Place” about being sexually harassed at work. I chose Twine as my medium.

When you write a story, I think the main objective is to immerse the reader. Mobile locative narratives do this by using real life locations, and VR does this by dropping the reader in a 3D virtual environment. Twine stories do this by giving the reader the power of choice, and that is one of the affordances of Twine. I can create different paths that change depending on the reader’s choices. I did this by creating a main office and adding hyperlinks that send you to different sections the office such as your desk, the break room, and the meeting room. For my story, however, I kind of created the illusion of choice. The reader MUST go to their desk twice a day to do work but has the option to go to the break room or have lunch every day if they want to. But regardless of the reader’s decisions and where they go and what they do, the sexual assault still happens and the ending is essentially the same for every route. I wanted to send a message that the actions of a victim of sexual assault does not cause sexual assault to happen to them.

Also, with Twine I am able to create different paths. I think it worked especially well for my story because you can choose the gender of the main character. I thought about making the gender of the main character ambiguous, but I think sexual assault is closely related to gender and I wanted to incorporate that into the story.

Twine is also good because the user has a lot of freedom to code and change things. I added backgrounds to different tags to help the reader visualize the office and help immerse the reader. However, it would have been interesting to re-create this story in VR and place the reader in an actual office setting. Then the fear of going to certain places and of seeing certain people would become more real. I think it would be interesting if the player were to see the assaulter from far away and purposely turn around and avoid that person to protect themselves.

I found the biggest constraint of Twine is the coding language. I included a lot of coding with true/false and if-else statements so I could create different paths. However, if I nested two or more if-else statements inside of each other, it became very confusing and hard to keep track of them. I found myself testing the story very often to debug. Twine does have a debugging view, but I also had some integer variables that changed throughout the story to show different pages which prevented me from being able to check a lot of the code in the debugging view. In the end I had to go through the story myself, many times so to make sure that the right text was showing up at the right times.

Overall, I still think Twine was the best medium to tell my story, but different mediums could have added their own interesting twists and features to the story.

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