Open “Default Lives” by M.D. Coverley
This satirical game poem creates a small deterministic universe— a system into which a player is faced with choices, real and illusory, as they shape their “life.” Conceptually patterned after the Hasbro “Game of Life,” this hypertext version presents similar choices to its players but using an interface that lays out the general structure yet retains the element of surprise. Coverley uses this to drive home a critique of gender roles, career choices laying bare how they determine and limit one’s choices in a supposedly free and open American society. Her tongue-in-cheek tone, hokey music, prosy lines of verse, and a humorously generous ending soften the biting commentary enacted in this game, inviting readers to play, explore, and reflect.
Featured in Cauldron & Net.