Overlap - Investigations in new and forgotten storytelling

A Psychogeographical Tour of Proteus – Part One

This is part one of a two-part look at Ed Key and David Kanaga’s Proteus, based on several builds of the game plus an interview and email correspondence with Key himself. Part two will be released tomorrow.

Sat at the end of a long terraced street, the unremarkable new build home I grew up in as a kid was the gatehouse between a grey suburbia and a put-upon but utterly addictive spinney. The garden backed onto a haphazard cryptoforest – squeezed on either side by a deserted barracks and a new building estate – full of sycamores, nettles, shopping trolleys and endless adventure. I would have lived there if it weren’t for the monsters at night.

I never mapped this jungle, despite the benefits of being able to navigate its smelly, sickly streams or escape the yawning, pit-of-the-stomach horror of me and my friends realising we were utterly lost in its belly as the sun began to set. Why not? I think, despite the terrors, deep down I was aware they were nothing against the value this rich, story-filled space held as a mystery. The phrase ‘here be dragons’ is the most exciting part of any map…

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Amusement Arcadia – The Machine

Described as “…a computer designed to analyse and decompose Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Rambler’s Lullaby II”, on the page, The Machine’s chattering, clattering stream of data at first looks like book music for an organ or the kind of game listing I would have typed into my beloved Spectrum 48k.

It’s neither of these things, but the comparisons are interesting. Written in 1968 by author, filmmaker and Oulipoist Georges Perec, The Machine is in fact a radio play, adapted for live performance by Sheffield-based performance artists Third Angel in Sheffield  just last month.

The play’s story borrows the forms and restrictions of computer programs, but it’s a lot more interactive than its monolithic title suggests. Not so much in the dazzling – and often very funny – back and forth between the computer’s separate processors as they attempt to fathom Goethe’s poem about solitude by (for instance) substituting its nouns for fairy tale motifs, as in the audience’s slow assimilation into its subroutines and  algorithms…

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About us

Overlap is a place for investigation, discussion and events about new and forgotten storytelling. We focus on emerging and undiscovered platforms for stories and narrative – everything from videogames, augmented reality and role-playing games to flash mobs, social media and more.

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