Chroma initially impresses with its high production values, possibly the best example of a "synaesthetic" work of electronic literature. Like most of Loyer's work, it is a visual and auditory delight, but in a way completely suited to private consumption on a personal computer (as opposed to a theater), with compelling moments of interactivity that integrate the user in the world of the fiction itself. The story world, guided by three protagonists with the names Orion 17, Duck at the Door and Grid Farmer Perry, is infused with the myth of the "mnemenos" and the search for purer states of interconnection. As in the classic underground video game "Rez," one of the foundational synaesthetic video games, gameplay is motivated by the desire for greater aesthetic pleasure rather than mere survival, a perfect example of task-oriented interactive art.
Author description: Chroma is an interactive serial that examines issues of racial identity in virtual environments through a tightly choreographed combination of graphics, voice and music. Three digital explorers are tasked by their mentor with the creation of avatars that will enable exploration of a newly rediscovered "natural cyberspace" humans long ago lost the ability to access. Conflict arises when one character pauses to question the wisdom of blindly forging ahead with human representation in the digital world. Interactive real-time animations are used to represent the thoughts and feelings of the main characters, and respond to the user in intimate ways that help to illuminate the unfolding story while building emotional connections with its central players.
Instructions: Requires Shockwave plug-in, and will not run in Google Chrome. Once the menu appears, click a floating numbered box to select the desired chapter. At any time during a chapter you can click the pattern of dots in the lower-right corner to open the navigation menu.
Previous publication: 2001
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.