Metagame 3

It Is Pitch Black

Inspired by Will Crowther’s inaugural text-based adventure game, Colossal Cave Adventure (1975–76), Nintendo’s graphical action-adventure, The Legend of Zelda (1986), and Mark Z. Danielewski’s transmedial novel, House of Leaves (2000), It Is Pitch Black is an original “text-based action-adventure” game combining the text parsers of interactive fiction with the polygonal collision of 3D navigable space. It Is Pitch Black features a nonvisual environment illuminated not by lamp, but by the quickly scrolling debugger log of recombinant poetry (see Figure 3.18). The speed and scale of output are directly proportional to the speed of the computer running the game and, as such, index each of the game’s discrete states while representing the streams of consciousness of two women: Patricia Wilcox, an avid caver married to Will Crowther in the 1970s, and Karen Green, Will Navidson’s long-suffering partner in House of Leaves. In It Is Pitch Black, both Patricia’s and Karen’s journeys through the dark are narrated through the footnotes of “Will,” the conflated author-figure. To download It Is Pitch Black, go to http://manifold.umn.edu/pitchblack.

Figure 3.18. It Is Pitch Black is an original metagame that consists of a scrolling text log of recombinant poetry that indexes an unseen, navigable 3D space.

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