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The Intruder

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