Cinema Writing – Pry

Pry is an engaging story about a man named James who is a demolition consultant that comes back from the gulf war and experiences vision failure throughout the story. This grants the reader the opportunity to explore not only what James experiences in reality, but his thoughts as well. This creates a story that is linear in the sense that it moves from chapter to chapter, yet can be engaged with and explored in a plethora of ways, as the reader gets to choose whether to explore James’ thoughts or the reality in front of him.

The story’s prologue provides some useful insight that assists in the understanding of the rest of the story. The prologue is not interactive like the remainder of the story; it is simply a video of a young man who goes off to what is apparently the beginning of his military career. We are also introduced with some brief imagery of some individuals from his military past that appear throughout the rest of the story.

Moving into the main part of the story, we can see that James is constantly struggling with both his reality and his perception of reality, both in regards to his thoughts and his hallucinations. In chapter 1, we noticed that as James is attempting to wake up, he is experiencing a hallucination/sleep paralysis of a woman from his past who is appearing to be trying to harm him. Along with this, his thoughts also provide an extra layer of insight which adds to the overall narrative of the story.

As the story progresses, the reader gains further insights as to how his past is affecting his present through his thoughts and reality. The interactive elements of Pry allow the reader to acquire a vast amount of different perspectives on this matter, and the reader can choose how in-depth they want to explore each chapter. Definitely an interesting and engaging work!

Pry’s Immersion

Pry is unlike any work I’ve ever seen. It utilizes the affordances of a touchscreen device to tell a story through tearing, pulling, pinching, and spreading out. It also reflects the nonlinearity of digital information (as many of the works we’ve previously examined have) by telling the story in seemingly random fragments. By combining video and text, Pry reflects the differences between memory, imagination, and present reality, which are the three things that James is trying to come to terms with. 

One of the moments that intrigued me was the moment that James falls off of the bridge and into the water below. For a moment, I had tricked myself into thinking that I was actually falling off the bridge. I think that after playing the story for a long period of time, I began to feel like I was the main character. I could relate to the protagonist’s struggle by having to trudge through the work: to progress the story, I had to physically pull text apart, fight to keep the character’s eyes open, and try to mentally piece the story together. These three factors created this sense of immersion that I have yet to experience in games that aren’t VR, and I found it rather enjoyable to play.

I found the text to be just as intriguing as the video montage. I usually find books to be immersive because it engages with the imagination, but having to physically manipulate the text took it to a whole other level. It added another layer of conversation about the narrative itself by reinforcing my understandings of the text. It also helped maintain my interest because I could choose which topics to more deeply explore (one of my personal favorite ways of doing this was by tearing open the text). 

Overall, I found Pry to be an incredibly immersive work and intriguing to explore. I look forward to seeing the direction we’ll take literature from this point. 


Pry is an app that tells a story in a unique way. It is all within the first-person perspective starting with chapter 1 however, there are three perspectives within the main character. There is what he sees in the real world. These are usually shown through video. There are his immediate thoughts which are usually shown as white text in front of a black background. Then there is his deep consciousness. Here the viewer sees all sorts of abstract things that tend to loosely connect to what he is looking at or thinking about. These three perspectives can be looked at anytime by using two fingers to simulate prying open or closing his eyes. Most of the experience is this process of prying eyes, but in one chapter, the user holds their device horizontally and simulates the experience of reading braille as they slide their finger over the screen. The braille is even read out loud in real time. The story isn’t super clear, but from what I understand it starts with the protagonist leaving to join the military. The story jumps past all of that and his experience in the military is told through flashbacks. They are flashbacks because you see them in his head. These flashbacks were so vivid that I was sometimes caught off guard in which of the three perspectives I was looking at. What drives the story forward is the user checking in on all three perspectives. You can’t move on if you only look at one.

Prying into the mind

Joel Cummings 

I will say that I have already traversed pry in an earlier class this year, but it was still interesting to go through it again and find more details that I had missed on my first playthrough. The use of gestures and interaction with this piece work perfectly, I think. As the reader looks at the real world and back to his thoughts it shows that time is moving, and you can either spend your time looking out to the world around you or miss it to see what is going through his mind. This work follows the story of James a demolition consultant after he returns from 1991 Gulf War. With his vision failing you look into his mind and try to understand what is going on as his past collides with his present. With every action you can dive deeper into James’s thoughts or try and ignore the idea that you are losing sight. The gestures that you use also remind you of the situation you are in some of the gestures needed are the simple tap, or swipe. But mostly you will either pinch or pry to look at his thoughts or to open his eyes to the world around him. The creators of this interactive “tender claws” have made a piece that I have seen nothing like and it is amazing to see the creativity and thought put into this piece.     



Introducing Pry

Pry creates and tells a story in a way hardly seen in other forms of storytelling. It uses the touch-screen environment to its fullest, having the reader both pinch and expand in order to experience the work in a variety of ways.

While the content itself may not appear linearly, it seems that there is only one path through in which the reader can experience. The story is separated into clearly defined chapters as though to emphasize that point, while also mimicking the format of a book despite being composed of both text and video.

The story itself does carry through at a relatively quick pace. When it begins, it brings forth questions of what’s going on, quickly followed by questions of time–what is past or present in these sequence of events? The reader is given the task of unraveling that, while also determining what is true and what is not. There seem to be these sort of ‘false memories’ incorporated where he imagines his own murder by both a female character by the name of Jessie, as well as the protagonist’s brother.

The protagonist whom the reader seems to peer through the eyes of, and often times Pry open, is introduced as James. He appears to be suffering from PTSD due to his time in the military, as is indicated both by flashbacks to when he was in uniform, as well as his difficult focusing. There will be times when his vision will blur and his ears will ring, or when he sees the face of a girl even when his eyes are closed. If the reader pinches the screen together, words or images will flash by, expressing the hurriedness and chaos of his inner thoughts, perhaps.

He has moments, increasingly frequent the further into the story the reader travels, where he overlaps memories. His past and present collide as though he’s struggling to tell the difference. He also takes some time to delve into his past which is when we learn of his brother.

The screen itself forces the reader into a landscape reading mode for chapter 3, horizontal instead of vertical. Braille begins to populate the screen, and as the reader runs their finger over it, the protagonist speaks and images appear like old home videos. Depending on the speed the reader goes over the braille, they may see one quick clip or a different clip of video for each word or key term in the sentence. The braille is an interesting feature, and certainly the most notable in my opinion, that again takes full advantage of touch screen’s built-in features.

Pry by Tender Claws LLC

Pry – Part 1

The first half of Pry was really enjoyable, and I’m really excited to go through the second half now. In the prologue, I didn’t really understand what was going on and even after going through the first four chapters, I’m still not sure I understand it. However, Pry was so immersive for me I found myself sucked into the story and it really feels like you’re actually there. The way you “open” the characters eyes to see the world around him and “pinch” the screen to go further back into his mind is such a unique way if viewing the story that adds so much to the storytelling. There were also multiple points that just had me mesmerized staring at the screen. I dont remember exactly when it was, but at one point there was just a load of words flashing into the screen changing rapidly. I caught myself just staring at it completely entranced by this and it was insane. I think I can honestly say I’ve never been as invested in a digital story before.

One of the coolest parts, which I’ve already seen a couple people comment on as well was the Braille chapter. The idea that as you scroll your finger across the Braille on the screen it actually reads it to you was absolutely genius. I love the effect that has, not only does it contribute to the story and the characters vision loss, but it helps you relate and further pulls you into the story making you feel like you are the character in the story.

I’m still not completely sure of the whole story, from what I can tell it’s about someone who used to serve and he’s dealing with life after. Some of the things he’s struggling from are his PTSD, and like mentioned before, vision loss. Overall, I think this app does everything right. It’s really just an amazing work of art and I can tell the people who made this put a lot of work and thought into it. I also really want to know who the girl in the beginning was that (I think?) killed him.

Cinema Writing

One of the main sections of Pry that intrigued me would be Chapter 3 with the read-aloud braille. I found this intriguing because in a digital-screen setting, braille seems to be essentially useless. However, I feel that this portion worked well with the main character reading aloud as the user ran their finger across the screen.

Another section that I found intriguing was Chapter 4, where the main character is paranoid that his friend is going to try to kill him. I liked how Pry shows this paranoia by blurring the main characters normal vision, thus encouraging the user to see his subconscious, which ends up being riddled with possible murder weapons and different deaths. I feel like this connected well with the introductory portion of the app, where the main characters girlfriend attempts to kill him in a jump-scare as well.

These two moments in the app both contribute small details to the constantly growing story, hinting at different key factors that the user should take note of. One of these especially being that the main character has a fear of being murdered by those he cares about.

I feel that the combination of text and video in this app works very well, and the exploratory method of “prying” between video and text and a combination of both makes it very intuitive for the user to traverse whichever of the main three narrative structures that they want to, whenever they want to (within the allowance of the narrative).

I think that this work is about a person with PTSD and/or schizophrenia. I believe this because the way the narrative plays out and provides us with both reality and subconscious fears is very similar and accurate how it feels to have real-life anxiety. It becomes hard to distinguish between what’s actually happening and what is a fear, and I think the constant switching between conscious and subconscious helps to blur the separation and make the truth even more indistinguishable. The flashbacks and worst-case-scenario subconscious beliefs definitely hint towards this work focusing on a character that has some sort of mental illness.

Blog 10 – 3/29/19

Pry is a story about a war veteran struggling with PTSD, on the iOS App store that rethinks the way an eBook is created. The story was created mainly for use on a tablet but also works on the iPhone.  Pry is fantastic as it uses haptics, expanded cinema, and interaction design from which methods and functions are intensely intertwined. Pry gives us a relationship of touchscreen clickables and text that uncovers reading as a unity of haptic and thinking processes. Pry provides the reader with the feelings of the main character’s thoughts through literally pinching the screen as if you are opening your eyes from a dream and haptics that give you a sense of being in the story.


The goal of the piece I think is to give the reader through, and touchscreen gestures a new way to feel the story’s content instead of just reading and imagining. Touching and tilting the screen gives us the feeling that we are the main character. Readers can decide how long to focus on the character’s thoughts. The period of focus changes the parameters of the next available scenes. The thing that makes this story great is that we get to feel the inner world of the main character through floating text, animations, and video flashbacks as well as experiencing the and the outer world of video that details the main character’s day-to-day experiences. This story is incredible for all readers young and old that would like a new way of immersion in storytelling.




I think of all of the divergent streams that Rettberg discussed in this chapter, the one that interests me the most are interactive installations. I think what interests me most about them is that the narrative unfolds in an interactive physical space. As the viewer, you are able to physically experience the story in a very real and tangible way.

I recently went on vacation to Las Vegas and decided to visit the Real Bodies Exhibit at Bally’s. If you ever get the chance, I would highly recommend it.  Some may not really consider this an interactive narrative installation, but I would kindly disagree. Each “room” or area of the exhibit sets a scene that tells parts of the multi-level story about the human body. As you travel through the exhibit, you are able to explore various objects, specimens, and art pieces that coincide with narrative text written on the walls. As interesting and cool as it was to see all the various organ and body specimens, I think that the writing was my favorite part. It was very poetic and beautifully written. I think I ended up taking more photos of the written text than I did the actual specimens. Below is one of the photos I took of some text. I realize that the text is difficult to read from the image, so I included the text in the image caption. 

THE BREATH OF LIFE- The significance of breath in the world religions cannot be underestimated. For Christians, it is often interpreted as the power of the holy spirit; for Jews, it is the spirit of their god manifested in 5 parts: life, soul, personality, mind, and individuality; for Taoists it is the Qi (Chi) the very force that animates all; for one Native American tribe, the Muskogee, all breath is made possible by a divine power. Consider now how this translates to all of us, both believers and non-believers. The importance of air quality, of “taking a deep breath,” of taking time to breathe, all the approaches share something in common with meditation and world religion. It is no wonder that breath is equated to divinity. It is the very first and the very last action we take while on this planet.

As far as literary possibilities in the virtual and augmented worlds, I think there is a lot of potential. Along with new VR/AR literary works, I think that a lot of pre-existing works could also be recreated in the virtual space. In fact, the work that I wrote about for my ELD entry, Queerskins, which is an online multimedia novel, has a version that was created as an interactive installation that included a virtual reality experience. Viewers were able to interact with real life objects in real life spaces as they were described in the novel. I think that the interactive installations give the viewer a truly immersive and interactive experience. Click here to read more about these installations.

Final Project Overview

I am going to be putting together a Twine project based around the storytelling one of my favorite video games, The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild. The game has become known for being a massive facelift of the Zelda series and revolutionizing the open world genre. It gives the player complete freedom to travel its world and discover things in any order. Because of this, cutscenes that tell of the game’s story also must be discovered during your own exploration if you want to see all of them. In fact, many of them don’t have to be found to finish the game. There are instances where a character that progresses the story will say something different to you depending on what else you have done and who you have met. Much of it is about revealing story rather than creating it. It is possible to walk straight to final boss and finish the game under an hour if you are that good. Because of how scattered the story is the player may decide to put it all together and interpret it as they want. Because the game and its story are so open every player has a different experience and many have shared them online or with friends. Breath of the Wild also tells its story passively through its setting as the player travels a world filled with ruins. The Twine will be organized in a way that that resembles the world map. It will feature important landmarks, spots that show how parts of the story are structured.

Divergent Streams

Locative narratives were what I found most interesting. Locative narratives utilize GPS, IP addresses, location tracking, etc. For a few months now, I’ve had an idea, its an ambitious idea but one that would really be unique and interesting. Family history is incredibly important to me and I think it would incredibly cool to utilize locative narrative in order to tell it. The narrative would be my families movements across different parts of the world.

At some point in my life when I save up the money, the idea would be to travel to areas where my family either lives or once lived and I would plant QR codes in these locations. These QR codes would contain descriptions of my families history, what my family did there or does there if they still live there. Lines would connect each point, essentially creating a web. Again, its ambitious, but not out of the realm of possibility.

In regards to VR and AR the possibilities for storytelling are really limitless in possibility. Stories set in a space environment or some horror scenario are the first to come to mind. Kinetic poetry can also really be taken advantage of. The 3D space that VR provides really takes kinetic poetry to a whole other level. Just imagining what “Cruising” could look like in a VR space is incredibly exciting because in cruising there is a huge amount of motion but it is all in a 2D space. VR would allow this to transition into the 3D.

Final Project Proposal

Final Project Description – Jake Martin

For this class’ final project, I will be doing a team project with Elaina. We’ve decided we wanted to further research hypertext fiction and collaborative Electronic Literature by creating a work of hypertext fiction within Twine. The style of the game is going to take inspiration from past interactive games such as Colossal Cave Adventure, and ZORK. Like these games, our version of the game is also planned to have an inventory system. We’re not sure yet how or if we can incorporate a scoring system into this in Twine. We also plan to include some sort of tribute or easter egg in our version of this game to the originals. However, since we are using twine we will not be using the text parser aspect of these other games, instead it will be a piece of hypertext fiction, where the player clicks through the stories by making certain choices that will be laid out for them. This piece of work is going to be based off of Little Red Riding Hood, and will contain many aspects of that story. The story will start out with the player (Little Red) being tasked with delivering a basket of goodies to her grandma. Before leaving the house, the player will be given the option to explore inside and outside the house to collect key items before leaving. After leaving the house, the player will tumble into a cave, where they must work their way through the puzzles to reach grandma’s house. Once you reach grandma’s, she asks you to venture back into the cave to collect her lost treasures. Reaching grandma safely will all the tasked treasures results in winning the game, with various different ending based on what items you took from the house in the beginning of the story. We do also plan to incorporate the wolf into the story as some kind of antagonist, possibly finding him down in the cave will cause him to attack you. For this project we’d like to explore the idea of passing back and forth the twine project and each of us adding our own ideas into it, so while we have a storyline and gameplay laid out, the journey to get there will end up being a surprise to both of us. We also like the idea of using Twine because the unique way the player can go into the actual Twine project, and look at the multiple paths lain out like a map.