“Strange Rain” by Eric Loyer

"Strange Rain" by Eric Loyer
“Strange Rain” by Eric Loyer

This haunting soothing work is made of equal parts narrative, game, and poem. Its different “play modes”— wordless, whispers, story, and feeds—allow audiences to experience it (respectively) as an interactive ambient musical art piece, a kinetic concrete poem, a story, or an artistic interface for Twitter. Except for the last, each mode is layered on the previous one, which helps train readers to successfully navigate the work. The added incentive of unlocking achievements through the Game Center, encourages readers to continue exploring the work by providing a sense of progress and a roadmap of curiosity and expectation.

The story is the most intriguing part because its speaker is a veritable Prufrock when it comes to facing the situation thrust upon him. Part of the interest is that the reader gets to control the thought process somewhat, and even whether he considers going into the house, ending the work. As readers play his thoughts like a musical instrument they discover more of the story, leading to different possible endings.

Loyer has designed helpful tutorials so newcomers can enjoy a productive exploration of the work and it’s interfaces. Like the speaker in the narrative poem, it’s easy to get caught in a rut in this piece. My suggestion: do the tutorials and explore achievements early on, learn the interface options that advance the game, and then turn those features off to lose yourself in this hypnotically immersive work.

Featured in ELO 2013: Chercher le Texte Virtual Gallery