PRY, by Tender Claws
The concept of a digital story isn’t a new one to me as a child of the 21st century. I remember being younger and playing interactive games on our old desktop. At the time, I wasn’t able to be impressed by the creativeness behind the games and activities that went along with the story, nor was I able to grasp the concept of how literature was starting to evolve. However, after experiencing the novella-app hybrid PRY, I look back at those simple computer games fondly, acknowledging the history of interactive stories that PRY and all future interactive stories have.
PRY takes a different approach to the interactive stories than what we’ve covered in class. PRY isn’t like reading a story where you had the option to play a side game that illustrated a point or watch a short video that explained a scene or even like playing a video game where if you wanted you could take the time to read the journal in that one room that gives a bit of backstory to a character cough cough Gone Home. The creators of PRY utilize the touch screen of iPads and iPhones in order for readers to experience what the main character of the story is doing, whether it be prying open their eyes and seeing what James is seeing or delving deeper into his subconscious mind.
Not only does PRY bring a visually stunning world to the reader’s literal fingertips, it contributes an intriguing story as well. PRY is about a Gulf War vet, James. It explores James’ past with his friends Jessie and Luke while also giving glimpse of James’ childhood and family. It’s hard to describe what someone will learn about these characters. In order to learn the clear picture of what happened to James, the reader has to pry into the story. I found it particularly interesting playing the braille section of the story as it offered a brief glimpse of what it would be like to be blind, sliding my finger across the words in order to play them and the subsequent video montage.
It can be frustrating for some to not have the full story once they go through the app, but for others, like myself, the process of approaching the chapters a different way to gain new information is one that can be very appealing. Readers aren’t spoon fed information on what is going on or what happened in the past. They have to seek out answers and reread chapters to make sure they discovered everything available to them.
While that option doesn’t sound like the easiest way to go about reading a story, the creators of PRY highly recommend going through the chapters multiple times in order to find all the information available in them. The plot was intriguing enough for me to want to discover all of James’ secrets on my own, even without the encouragement of the creators.
When someone experiences a story like PRY, it’s easy to be swept away by the technological feat it is for literature.However, if a reader goes into PRY just looking for an app to play on, they’ll be highly disappointed. The key to enjoying PRY is to appreciate the technology but to get lost in its story.
I give PRY a B+
PRY, [Danny Cannizzaro and Samantha Gorman], Tender Claws, 2015, Novella App
US Armed Forces. Desert Storm. 10 Aug. 2014. Wikimedia Commons. Wikipedia. Web. 26 Mar. 2017