Reading as Playing as Counting?

Some insights for us to forward from Murray and Piper as we consider reading, rather, or also, as playing a game or counting numbers.

A key idea from Murray’s introduction to Hamlet on the Holodeck:

The computer is not the enemy of the book. It is the child of print culture…. I find myself anticipating a new kind of storyteller, one who is half hacker, half bard” (8-9).

A key idea from Piper’s argument in “By the Numbers”:

When we read a digital text we are not reading a static object. We are reading one that has been generated through a set of procedural conditions that depend on our interaction with them. Digital texts are never just there. They are called forth through computation and interaction, whether by a human or a machine. This is what makes them dynamic, not static objects. It is this freature that marks the single strongest dividing line between the nature of books and that of their electronic counterparts. (Book Was There, 132)

Some electronic and computational or algorithmic texts to consider, in response to Janet Murray and Andrew Piper.

Piper argues that “playing with texts has always been at the heart of reading” (140).  Has playing been at the heart of some of your reading experiences? If not, could you argue that reading texts is at the heart of gaming? What does it mean to game? How is that similar to, and different from, reading or interpreting?


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