The Pros and Cons of “Pry” Interactive Fiction

“Pry” is a hybrid app created by Tender Claws (Danny Cannizzaro and Samantha Gorman.) “Pry” is an interactive fiction story told through video, audio, and text that has a heart-wrenching story with several hidden secrets. The app is in a game format so the reader must get 4 stars to open the next chapter and continue with the story. The app uncovers the theme of confronting past trauma as James, the main character struggles to move forward with his life after participating in the Gulf War in 1990.

Pros

  • Understand James perspective deeper than just reading the story
    • All ideas and thoughts flow through writing, video, and audio while interacting together
    • Text feature tells the reader what James is thinking
    • Video feature shows what James sees
    • Flashing videos and text show James’ subconscious
  • Stories within stories
    • The biblical story of Jacob and Esau appears in the 3rd chapter
    • Initially, Jacob and Esau story is unrelated to the first 2 chapters, but there is an overlap theme of brotherly conflict and resolution in “Pry” and Jacob and Esau
  • Reading while exploring
    • The reader has to unfold the text to recover James’ memories that he doesn’t want to think about
    • The reader starts somewhere and scrolls down but then has to continuously scroll up but eventually there is an end
    • This feature is a process of discovery for the reader

Cons

  • Confusing
    • Hard to discover what is the purpose of each function (audio, video, text) is for
    • Touch gestures aren’t that clear initially because there are some instructions in the beginning but not after that
    • Not for a reader who wants to do minimal work because the reader has to explore the app to uncover the story
  • Price of app is $2.99
    • You have to buy the app to interact with it but with print medium, there is a high chance that you can find the reading online for free
  • Distracting
    • Hard to make connections of the words flashing very quickly
    • Can’t process the words quickly
  • Offensive
    • Chapter 3 uses brail as a tool to understand the story more
    • Brail is for people who unfortunately have lost their sight and spend a lot of time to read and understand brail
    • Including brail as a feature was offensive because it discredits people who have spent the time to use brail while the reader just swipes their finger over the brail

As the world is becoming more technologically advanced, I believe that story telling with be using digital platforms and interactive fiction instead of print medium. “Pry” is a great example of interactive fiction story with leaves the reader with a picture that life cannot be understood alone by reading a story. There are several features in the app which enhances the story for the reader and further develops their understanding of  James while he uncovers his struggles and pains. In contrast, this app may not be for everyone. To understand the story, the reader must put in effort to interact with app which some readers may not want to do. Overall, I think interactive fiction is a great medium to engage with the story and the features complement and further develop the story for the reader.

Works Cited

http://samanthagorman.net/Pry

 

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