All the Delicate Duplicates

Mez Breeze and Andy Campbell

All The Delicate Duplicates is a short single player first-person digital narrative game that
toys with the concept of time: reality isn’t stable or linear here, but unfurls across a
storyworld that bends, flexes and (in some instances) duplicates.
John, a computer engineer and single father, inherits a collection of arcane objects from Mo,
his mysterious relative. Over time, John and his daughter Charlotte begin to realise that
these objects have unusual physical properties – and that the more they are exposed to
them, the more their reality and memories appear to change.
_Main Mechanics_
All the Delicate Duplicates is a PC game – containing a non-linear ‘Back [+Forth] Story’ – that
uses familiar FPS game mechanics to allow free roam around (often surreal) interactive
environments. Using a mouse and keyboard and/or gamepad, players explore objects,
diaries, journals, newspaper cuttings, mobile phones, laptops and other items left behind by
the work’s characters, helping to piece together an elastically fragmented storyline.
• Haunting freeform environments with open exploration.
• Non-linear narrative that pieces together through interactive discoveries in the
gameworld and a text based backstory.
• Music by acclaimed audio creator Chris Joseph.
• Commissioned by The Space.
• Supported by Tumblr through their International Digital Media and Arts Prize.
• David-Lynch-like intrigue (if we do say so ourselves) via a variable storyline.
Inspired by the possibilities of fiction, digital poetry and experimental digital art, All the
Delicate Duplicates tells a complex psychological story through game engine technology.
Developed from the ground up by digital artists/writers rather than traditional game
developers, the work challenges traditional storytelling within games by spanning multiple
time periods, incorporating animated and transitional texts as physical manifestations within
the gameworld, and leaving the story wide open to multiple revisits and interpretations.
The poetic, hybrid language Mezangelle forms a central part of the non-linear language in
the game. It remixes the basic structure of English and computer code to create language
where meanings are nested inside each other. Players will need to read; re-read; then
re-re-read again in order to piece together the narrative.
In regards to what makes All the Delicate Duplicates unique and pushing the edges of all
sorts of gaming and story-telling boundaries, the following reviewers unpack this by stating:
“Luminaries of [short interactive fictions] include Journey and Limbo and Firewatch, and it’s
safe to count All the Delicate Duplicates amongst such company…All The Delicate
Duplicates is refreshing simply because it works the brain in ways that few other games
even bother to try. It’s certainly a game that sticks with you.” – Fuzzy Pixels
“Few games leave me speechless, but that’s exactly what happened when I finished All the
Delicate Duplicates…This is incredibly effective storytelling that will stick with you long after
the credits roll, and may end up being one of my favorite gaming experiences of the year.” –
“I could lose myself in this for hours. This feels so new, unlike anything I’ve ever seen.” –
Beta Tester at the 2016 Game City Festival.
“I rarely ever play a game twice, especially campaigns or story-driven games…However All
the Delicate Duplicates wants to smash that…And while your first time might be quick,
second time around you’ll likely take your time and soak in what the game has to offer. All
the Delicate Duplicates has certainly left a mark. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with a
game that I could see kick start a new form of storytelling.”– N3rdabl3

All the Delicate Duplicates works best when installed on a 64-bit PC with a strong graphics
card. As audio and interactivity are key components of the work, a monitor, keyboard and
mouse (or alternatively an Xbox controller), speakers/headphones, and a reasonable
amount of memory are needed.

Modality of presentation: PC-Game

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The Bafflement Fires

Jason Nelson

“The Bafflement Fires” is an interaction fiction/poem in the form of a digital recreation of a
Freemason board game from the 1950s. Based on found documents, this strange game,
written by a psychologist and Mason, was seemingly an attempt to alter player’s perception
through quiz and play.
While it appears some of the game was lost/destroyed, as the documents I found were
incomplete or damaged, enough was there for me to create a semi-accurate version. Using
a quiz game engine, and creating new fiction questions and answers, the Bafflement Fires is
my attempt to build a part fiction, part creative non-fiction world, told through the surreal and
literary answers/questions of someone trying to influence how we perceived the world
around/inside us, playable on a screen attempting to create it’s own pixeled reality.
The exciting challenge of creating the Bafflement Fires is that it is one of the first interactive
fiction/poems told entirely through a series of quiz questions.
Part game, part artwork, part poem, part fiction, part interactive creature!

Modality of presentation: Web based work

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The Gathering Cloud

J. R. Carpenter

The Gathering Cloud is a hybrid print and web-based work which aims to address the
environmental impact of so-called ‘cloud’ computing by calling attention to the materiality of
the clouds in the sky. Both are commonly perceived to be infinite resources, at once vast
and immaterial; both, decidedly, are not. Fragments of text from Luke Howard’s classic
Essay on the Modifications of Clouds (1803) and other more recent online articles and books
on media and the environment are pared down into hypertextual hendecasyllabic verses.
These are situated within surreal animated gif collages composed of images materially
appropriated from publicly accessible cloud storage services. The cognitive dissonance
between the cultural fantasy of cloud storage and the hard facts of its environmental impact
is bridged, in part, through the constant evocation of animals: A cumulus cloud weighs one
hundred elephants. A USB fish swims through a cloud of cables. Four million cute cat pics
are shared each day. A small print iteration of The Gathering Cloud shared through gift,
trade, mail art, and small press economies further confuses boundaries between physical
and digital, scarcity and waste. A print book edition of The Gathering Cloud, featuring an
extended essay by the author, a foreword by media theorist Jussi Parikka and an afterword
by poet Lisa Robertson, was published by Uniformbooks in April 2017.
The Gathering Cloud was commissioned by NEoN Digital Arts Festival, Dundee, UK, 9-13
November 2016.

It won the New Media Writing Prize 2016, was shortlisted for the ELO Prize 2017, and was an Editor’s Pick for the Saboteur Awards 2017.

Modality of presentation: Web based work
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How To Rob A Bank

Alan Bigelow

“How To Rob A Bank” is a love story in three parts. The story focuses on the misadventures
of a young and inexperienced bank robber and his female accomplice. The entire work is
revealed through the main characters’ use of their iPhones and the searches, texts, apps,
imagery, animations, audio, and functions that appear on their iPhones. Links are provided
at the end of each section to the next sections. Built with HTML5 and playable on desktop,
laptop, iPad, and portable devices.

Modality of presentation: Web based work
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Will Luers, Hazel Smith and Roger Dean

“novelling” is a recombinant digital novel that employs text, video and sound. It poses
questions about the acts of reading and writing fiction, and inhabits the liminal space
between the two activities. The work is a generative system that algorithmically orders and
spatially arranges fragments of media (design elements, text, video and sound) in 6-minute
cycles. Every 30 seconds the interface changes, but the user may also click the screen at
any time to produce a change.
Straddling the lines between literature, cinema and music, “novelling” evokes the history of
the novel (remixing and rewriting 19th and 20th century sources), but it also questions the
form’s basis in plot, character and words alone. “novelling” unfolds through suggested
narrative connections between four characters. The characters, immersed in their isolated
life-worlds, appear to be transported elsewhere by what they are reading. Are they reading
and thinking each other? How does the writing relate to the reading? Are the words on the
screen versions or even drafts of the novel? Do the sounds come from a different interior
world? The work is suggestive of novelistic spaces, spaces of interior reflection and exterior
gestures, intimacy and estrangement, gazing and being gazed at. The variable and
deterministic system of selection and arrangement produces a fluid, ever-novel and potential

Modality of presentation: Web based work
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News Wheel

News Wheel

Jody Zellen

In public relations and politics, spin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing a
biased interpretation of an event or campaigning to persuade public opinion in favor or
against some organization or public figure. Interested in the metaphoric and literal meaning
of spin I created the iOS app “News Wheel.” “News Wheel” explores the poetics of ever
changing news headlines. Each time the application is launched, a wheel appears on the
iPad or iPhone screen composed of 9 pie-shaped slices depicting current images from the
front page of the newspapers. A tap on the wheel causes it to spin, and another tap to stop.
Each time the wheel stops current headlines from one of nine RSS feeds appears on the
screen. The more taps, the more headlines. Selected words can be deleted or rearranged by
the user to create new textual relationships. Pressing and holding down a word allows it to
be dragged across the screen creating a chain of text.
Lately, with each passing week, the news spin seems to get increasingly out of hand, with
mainstream news sources being labelled as fake news by the U.S. President while outright
lies are touted as facts. “News Wheel” gives literal form to this troubling phenomenon
allowing users to rearrange headlines to create their own poetic narratives. “News Wheel”
becomes an interactive, creative and poetic way to view, juxtapose and interpret world
The public can interact with the app. Create poems from the headline texts. The collages
can be saved to the device and later shared. The app can be downloaded for free to an iOS
device however in this presentation the public can “play” with the app in a public space and
share their experiences and creations with other viewers who become an audience for the
users performance with the app.

Modality of presentation: iPad, iPhone
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The Poetry Map

The Poetry Map

Matt Bryden (concept and poems) with Jon Munson II (programmer)

The Poetry Map is a collection of 67 poems arranged against the backdrop of a map – with
each poem located at the site of either its location or composition. The poems are divided
into four distinct paths, and can also be accessed in a random order. The reader navigates
across the map as they read the poems. Further, a number of ‘magic tickets’ reveal bonuses
such as audio recordings, images and videos as you travel.
The Poetry Map is designed to make poetry more accessible, and to contest the assumption
that poetry which appears online is of less value than poetry appearing in a poetry journal.
The four sequences are only available through this interface and will not be published in
hard copy. This recognises the fact that there is a substantial difference between reading a
poem online and reading a poem in a book. Just as the sequences would not necessarily
work in book form, neither would poems that work in a book necessarily translate to the
screen. While ordering them, I found that often the ‘better’ poems did not work on the screen
– I needed poems that were quickly graspable and led one to ‘read on.’ So the four
sequences went through many permutations to create the optimum ‘reading’ experience.
The length of each sequence was also an issue – with the potential distractions that exist
online (not present in a book) I needed to create four sequences that were readable in one
sitting, before one was tempted to check one’s mails or click on a newsfeed.
Similarly, I did not want to throw the digital kitchen sink at the project simply because I could.
I found that some readers – perhaps more practiced poetry readers – found the additional
features a distraction, while for others it was the ‘treasure hunt’ of revealing these features
that drew them through the poems. An additional consideration is that the poems already
have a visual element to them. Each path follows a different trajectory, and the poems’
themes are often reflected in the topography, be it a dense cityscape, a forest in the Czech
Republic or a a ferry terminal in the South of England. The third sequence, principally set in
Eastern Europe, differs in visual tone from the others with its occasionally blurred maps,
giving one a sense of being at a distance, almost out of reception.
The concept of the Poetry Map is to cast the reader adrift in the poems. The cartographic
background provides a handrail of sorts, while a different kind of mental territory is
simultaneously traversed. The interface is attractive, and draws many people in before they
realise it. Simultaneously, the information gap (where will the next poem take me?) engages
the interest. This accessibility led me to capitalise on the site’s potential and create
user-friendly worksheets for students and teachers, which are available on the site.
The Poetry Map has been described as ‘a wonderful concept perfectly realised’ that ‘makes
the poems so readable and moreish,’ whilst students have described feeling ‘like a detective
working on a case’ ‘needing to put on my thinking cap’ and the map itself as ‘unlike anything
I’ve ever seen.’ The Poetry Map has been used in schools across the world from a university
in California to a primary school in Somerset, England.
However, while the Poetry Map enables students to learn to navigate a world in which not
every detail is known, what John Keats referred to as ‘negative capability’, this is not an
experience designed exclusively for students. It can be enjoyed by anyone, with a declared
interest (or not) in poetry.

Modality of presentation: Web based work
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ABRA book


Amaranth Borsuk, Kate Durbin, and Ian Hatcher

Abra is a magical poetry instrument/spellbook for iOS. In this free app on iPad and iPhone,
readers encounter a series of poems exploring themes of mutation and excess. The poems
themselves are constantly in motion, mutating gradually from one to the next. Readers can
take part in this process, touching words and watching them shift and undulate, casting
spells to set the text in motion, and grafting new words into the text, expanding Abra’s
vocabulary and introducing a lexicon of emoji and words in any character set on their device.
We invite readers to make the text their own.
A collaboration between the authors and a potentially infinite number of readers, the project
merges physical and digital media, integrating a hand-made artists’ book with an iPad app
that can be read separately or together, with the iPad inserted into the back of the book. The
artist’s book contains a number of physical features that emulate the mutation and
the interactivity of the app, including blind-printed text, heat-sensitive ink, and laser-cut openings
that invite the reader to see page and screen as a continuous touch screen interface.

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