Digital, A Love Story

Digital: A Love Story is a free downloadable interactive narrative by Christine Love. Its interface has a quaint late-80s feel—appropriate for the 1988 setting—which certainly got some confused looks on the subway as my shiny MacBook was running an archaic system. The work invites the user to traverse the story by dialing into BBSs, reading messages, and downloading new applications to the in-story desktop.

Despite what my subway neighbors were thinking about the dial-in modem noises,within minutes I was living my childhood fantasy of hacking into mainframes and corresponding with other hackers. The narrative invites you to choose a screen name for yourself, and I admit that at first I gave myself a generic name. However, after about 3 messages, I changed it to something that sounded more screen-name-appropriate, only to change it to something that sounded more like a cool hacker later. It was on-par with the difficulty of choosing a gaming handle, perhaps because I have always equated the two. I was so into the story-world that I wanted my name to say something about me and project an image the same way that I would for an online video game.

And through the course of the narrative, I made friends and enemies, though I’m sure it had nothing to do with my screen name. But I don’t want to give too much away, since discovering the story is really the fun part.