Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Dys4ia is an interactive, autobiographical narrative dealing with the transgender author's experience of hormone treatment and becoming a woman.

Dys4ia in itself is an assemblage of fractured spaces strung together by a continuous narrative. There is little connection in terms of game play between each of the scenes, some of which last little more than a few seconds. There is no way to win or lose, it is more about engaging the audience through interactivity to heighten the impact of the story which is undoubtedly the focus of work.

As a player you control multiple representations of the protagonist (also the narrator) across the different screens of the game - characters, objects, metaphors and abstractions. To me this highlights how most forms of interactive media confine themselves by their own mechanics. While I praise Portal for its ingenuity and originality in its construction of space, the fact is that it is this same construction which persists throughout the entire game. What I like about Dys4ia is the fact that it entails a multiplicity of spacial arrangements - no sooner than the player has become accustomed or expectant to the workings of a space the rules are reconfigured, not to the point where it becomes overly disorientating but far enough to keep you engaged with the gameplay and by extension, engaged with the narrative. This example shows the potential of the affective nature of space based on a constant and continuous deconstruction of itself. It is this refreshing of convention that makes simple mechanics like those of Dys4ia surprising and constantly immersive as the viewer is never given the opportunity become too comfortable in the world created.


  1. Just poking around online I came across a couple of interactive spaces - sort of. Interactable music video I guess you'd call them.

    One is by The Arcade Fire: - this one has less interactivity, but it is amazing to see a little animated guy running through the streets of Hamilton (or whichever town you choose - it uses google maps to genereate content)

    Heres the next one:
    If you put in your details, they show up throughout the clip - and you get the chance to affect how the clip ends up.

    Unrelated, but along the theme of your post here, I reckon you should check out Hedwig and the Angry Inch at some stage. Its a movie that deals with a lot of the issues as above, and has a great animated song near the beginning.

  2. Thanks Jake! I'll definitely check those examples out. It will be good to look at some examples of interactive media that aren't labeled as games.