e-Lit Resource
First Person: Introduction

Pat Harrigan and Noah Wardrip-Fruin began the First Person thread on the online journal Electronic Book Review. Using Electronic Book Review’s riposte system, as well as First Person’s own website, the goal was to create an ongoing discussion of various essays--from creators and theorists alike, engineers as well as artists--in the field of academic video game criticism. Since 2003 contributors to the First Person thread have explored a new model for connection between online publishing and traditional edited books in which printed works are not only reproduced electronically but also substantially expanded via responses to the collection (ripostes) and enriched by incorporation into the ebr database.

The thread contains discussions on the contentious link between “story” and “game,” as well as new creations brought about by digital technology. Locating the literary in digital media is of primary concern to the editors of First Person: “Surely 'story' is not all there is to literature in new media; if we are talking of literature, where is text -- where are the words?”

Each section of the thread was introduced by Harrigan and Wardrip-Fruin (see links below), which would eventually become chapters in print publication. The conversations that developed helped contributors edit, revise, and expand upon their original essays, which were then to be collected into the First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game anthology published by The MIT press and edited by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan. This anthology has been followed by two subsequent volumes, Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media (2007), and Third Person: Authoring and Exploring Vast Narratives (2009).

First Person now stands as a realization of the collaborative nature of online journals such as Electronic Book Review. The essays and ripostes are not merely grouped together via hyperlinks, but are actively discussed and dissected by “theorists and practitioners from a wide variety of backgrounds,” the editors write. The editors hope that “the online discussion will continue to grow -- with expanding “first person” commentary from another level of thoughtful readership: including, perhaps, you.” Even in 2010, six years after the original creation of the thread, new essays regularly appear; the scope itself will widen beyond the topics raised in the 123Person volumes to include emerging forms of fictional and playable experiences, along with new protocols, new interfaces, and possibly even new ways of drawing the boundaries among text and code, digital gaming and textual narrative.

First Person main thread: http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/firstperson

It’s all About You, Isn’t It? Editors’ Introduction to Second Person: http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/firstperson/playable

Editors’ Introduction to “Computational Fictions”: http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/firstperson/mechanistic

Editors’ Introduction to “Real Worlds”: http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/firstperson/foreal

Between Acting and Narrating: Editors’ Introduction to “Tabletop Systems”: http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/firstperson/traditional

Critical Simulation: http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/firstperson/introducing

The Pixel/The Line: http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/firstperson/unpaginational

Game Theories: http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/firstperson/introduced

Hypertexts and Interactives: http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/firstperson/outgrowth

Beyond Chat: http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/firstperson/beyondchat