Silent Conversation – text platformer

weirGregory Weir of Ludus Novus has released a game called Silent Conversation on Armor Games. The game involves guiding a letter ‘I’ avatar to move over the words in extracts from poetry and prose, including William Carlos Williams and H P Lovecraft. The typography (Silent Conversation is as much a lovingly typeset treatment of fiction as it is a videogame) is is often arranged in Mario-esque platforms and the challenge is to hit as many words as possible whilst avoiding words highlighted in red.

In his own words:

This game grew out of an idea that I had in childhood. I was a voracious reader, and occasionally, late at night, I would see the structure of the words on the page as something physical: the end of a paragraph was a fissure in a cliff edge, and each indentation was a handhold. I could visualize a little person running along the lines, exploring every crevice of the story. This is an attempt to realize that concept.

In terms of scoring and the function of the game, there’s no explicit need to read the extracts, but progress through the levels inevitably means that the player reads and absorbs the text. Could this game-led approach be used to encourage unenthusiastic readers, or could elements that require the player to read the text be added to a similar text-platforming game?

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