Facade was created by Micheal Mateas and Andrew Stern and published in 2005.
“Facade is an attempt to create a real-time 3D animated experience akin to being on stage
with two live actors who are motivated to make a dramatic situation happen. Instead of
providing the player with 40 to 60 hours of episodic action and exploration in a huge world, we want to design an experience that provides the player with 20 minutes of emotionally-intense, unified, dramatic action. ” This is taken from the dissertation, Facade: An Experiment in Building a Fully-Realized Interactive Drama, written by both the authors of the electronic literature. The intention behind the piece was ” an attempt to find a capable middle ground between structured narrative and
simulation. ” I felt like I was a playing a version of the sims where the characters spoke a real language which in this case is English. But I was a co-author of the piece even though it is already programmed that way. I was reminded of our class discussions and I remember one of my classmates saying that “Readers are co-authors of electronic literature.” I believe that sentiment relates to this piece of works because we as the readers/players are trying to help this couple have a positive outcome.
When you open Facade, the red curtains welcomes you like there is going to be a big show and right away you’re greeted with a phone call from one half of the couple, Trip, inviting you to come over for dinner. Right from the get-go, we know that this will be very different because Trip’s voice sounds like he is in big trouble and he is asking for your help. That is the introduction that is offered to the reader/player
The call is over and then we move to the next screen which is where the reader/player gets to choose their name and gender. There are options for the names and they are gender-based. For example, when you click the letter A, click the right arrow and you will get multiple options beginning with that specific letter. Some letters like Q did not have any names that began with it. So you might try your luck with another letter.
You can go in as a man or a woman using the names that are already programmed into the system. After getting your preferred name and gender, you press enter and then you are brought to the front door of the couple’s home.
The keyboard is the main tool we can use to navigate the story. The pointer also guides us as we navigate different parts of the electronic literature. The arrows aid the reader and the player to navigate the apartment and the pointer helps us open things like the door and picking up a wine bottle or a glass.
The first time I read the story, I was very confused about how to navigate the story. I closed out the window since that is the only way to restart.
I tried again a week later and it worked out perfectly. Happy face.
The “happy” couple welcomed “Jane” with an argument. I answered any questions they asked like “How are you doing.”I was able to answer whatever they asked “Jane.” However, I did not say anything for a while which prompted in me being kicked out of the apartment since did not offer any insights into their marriage.
The tried multiple times to get a different outcome but to no avail. Sad face.
So I went to youtube and searched for Facade. The first thing that actually pops up is “How to actually win Facade.”How delightful.
Virtual reality games
When I was searching for more information about the Facade, I saw a lot of people referring it to it as a game rather than electronic literature. It is conceived as a virtual reality game more than electronic literature. I am not sure if it is because Elit is not as known or if people are more comfortable with it being in the same category as virtual reality games like the SIMS. The authors described it as an “interactive drama or fiction.” which goes hand to hand with the type of the Elit this falls into. Is it a game or an electronic literature? Are you the player or the reader?
As I looked over the piece, the question, “What is Electronic Literature?” came to mind. Is this considered as one? I believe it is, but wished it was “advertised” as an Elit rather than a game. Electronic Literature is awesome!