Review of “Surviving History: The Fever!”

Surviving History: The Fever!

Rachel N. Ponce, The Appendix

http://theappendix.net/special/the-fever/

Have you ever read one of those “You Choose” books that let you make choices in the story? Well, for an online historical version of that, I elected to try out an online game called “Surviving History: The Fever!,” written and created by Rachel N. Ponce. It is an interactive application run by The Appendix. The idea of the game is to educate on the fever outbreak in Philadelphia in 1793. While the main character in the story is fictional, it is based on real events, and the sources are listed to provide the historical information that the story is based off of.

This application offers a lot of really great information in a narrative tone. That allows for the unique opportunity to receive true historical information in a way that is interesting and tells a compelling story. The first person point of view offers a really immersive and interpretive experience within the story. The design of the website clearly demonstrates the purpose of the site and very easily indicates what you can do throughout. The “How to Play” tab tells you exactly how the game works and allows for it to be easy to use and navigate.

Overall, I really loved the experience that “Surviving History:The Fever!” offered to me! The choice aspect and first person point of view was a really great way to get involved with the narrative. By creating choices that got increasingly harder, the author provided a way for the audience to become even more interested in the outcomes. There were also badges and accomplishments that could be unlocked. This provided an incentive for readers to continue. The multiple different endings possible throughout the story also encourage the audience to play again, to try for a different ending. On my first try, my main character died! This made me want to do it again to get a better ending! However, I also felt that there were various aspects of the site that could have been better. At different places throughout, the script of the story was incredibly wordy, and could get a bit boring at times. The visual design of the website is also a bit unexciting. With a bit more work, I think the site could be more visually stimulating and exciting. Overall, I think that “Surviving History” has far more strengths than weaknesses.

Now we may ask ourselves, “What can this site do digitally that analog methods couldn’t do? Didn’t you compare it to a choose your way story?” And while it resembles that type of book, it offers a level of interactivity that could only be attained by digital media. With choices and consequences available only one click away, it allows users to have fun with information at the tip of your fingers. I think that this would be a great start for mobile gaming app, or an array of different games. I really enjoyed playing this game and getting involved in 1793 Philadelphia. If you would like to check this game out for yourself, feel free to check out the link here!

Crystal Coon

Slippery Rock University

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