"The authorities outlawed dodge ball at Ignacio's school A kid got hit in the cheek with a hard foam ball and his parents complained to the school board." This is how Steve Ersinghaus opens the story, giving us the event, the situation, and the possibilities upfront. From this plain and concise language, we sense an upcoming battle. What we find throughout is that this battle of ethics is a direct parallel to the battle of the game itself as a father, drawing on his own childhood, is caught in that gap between real life and the parental impulse to protect. It illustrates a human condition that has never erased the urge to challenge and the need to succeed.This proves to be the heart of the piece and the manner in which Ersinghaus transcends both time and arenas is exquisite.
The presentation of this Stoning Field in Flash is a wise choice; the movement and life of the medium makes the action more intense, the importance more immediate. Ersinghaus also uses some of the least intrusive forms of multi-media that allows the visuals to add to the story, yet remain in the background; something that is vital to the success of a piece that incorporates audio and video into the text of story. Particularly when there is interaction required of the reader—scrolling, forwarding to a new page, backing up, making choices—not to mention the necessary pauses in narrative for loading new segments, the softness of minimalism proves the medium is being used to its best advantages. A video of running legs is unobtrusive, something that doesn't scream at the reader yet the notion of movement is well within the reading area and is almost a subliminal reinforcement of text. Likewise, still images are subtle, often fading in slowly to add to the dream quality of the story—befitting of the father's memories. The audio is used as background, again soft tinkling like a mobile of glass, a voice that's just barely there.
Technically there are many of Flash's features employed throughout the piece, yet each is a pleasant surprise, some in shapes that reveal more text, thus more insight, of the story. Some, like a small blue ball mimic the theme. All in all, Stoning Field is beautifully written, poetically soulful, and reaching into the the heart of human nature as game becomes war. And, the medium of Flash was indeed the best way for this story to be told.