The Intruder (1999)

The Intruder borrows from one of the most popular forms of entertainment consumed on computers, the game, to tell an unpopular story of unresolved gender-based conflicts. An experimental adaptation of a short story of the same name by Jorge Luis Borges, The Intruder is a hybrid form that exists on the border of computer and video arcade games andliterature. Players move forward through a linear narrative only by shooting, fighting, catching or colliding with a character.

Instead of winning a point, a player is rewarded with a piece of the narrative. At times the logic of games is subverted and the player must lose or receive a penalty in order to continue the story. Playing transforms former readers into participants who are placed inside of and implicated in the story---Borges’s short tale of a tragic love triangle.

Throughout the game, players' subject positions shift, and they must play on different ...

Full Description

The Intruder borrows from one of the most popular forms of entertainment consumed on computers, the game, to tell an unpopular story of unresolved gender-based conflicts. An experimental adaptation of a short story of the same name by Jorge Luis Borges, The Intruder is a hybrid form that exists on the border of computer and video arcade games andliterature. Players move forward through a linear narrative only by shooting, fighting, catching or colliding with a character.

Instead of winning a point, a player is rewarded with a piece of the narrative. At times the logic of games is subverted and the player must lose or receive a penalty in order to continue the story. Playing transforms former readers into participants who are placed inside of and implicated in the story---Borges’s short tale of a tragic love triangle.

Throughout the game, players' subject positions shift, and they must play on different and opposing sides in the same story, paralleling the less-than-firm roles often performed in such real-life conflicts. The story is told in10 separate game scenarios that together present a loose parallel narrative of a history of computer games. The Intruder begins with a reconstructed version of one of the earliest computer games, Pong, and ends with a war game that, like its real-life counterpart,serves simultaneously to reinforce and abstract violence---in this instance, the narrative's violent end.

  • Leonardo
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