Inanimate Alice: Episode 4


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Rating: 4.2/5 (44 votes)
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inanimatealice4.jpgJohnBMore an interactive piece of fiction than a traditional game, Inanimate Alice: Episode 4 continues the story of the young game animator as she leaves her home in Russia and travels abroad. Inanimate Alice serves as both entertainment and a peek into the future of literature as a fusion of multimedia technologies. The haunting images and accompanying music and text weave a remarkably gripping tale that must be experienced to be believed.

The story plays out in a series of still images with Alice's words dancing onto the screen. For the most part you just kick back and watch the show, but sometimes you'll need to click an arrow to keep the narration flowing. In a few instances you'll have a choice as to what to do next, and at any time you can play back previous "chapters" by clicking the icons on the right side of the screen.

Giving away any part of the story would be a crime, so it's best to just click and dive right in. Inanimate Alice really draws you in and features just enough interactivity to take away the stagnant movie viewing affect. Get ready for thirty minutes of multimedia bliss.

Play Inanimate Alice: Episode 4

Read about all the episodes of Inanimate Alice at JIG.

24 Comments

it's been so long!!
looking forward to this.

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Wow, just seeing the title caused a flashback. I remember this! I'll be reviewing the series after my final exam tomorrow.

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Wow...

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Yay! Finally. I've been waiting for a long time for this. Thanks for the link.

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Really, REALLY nice production value in this. I've always liked the idea of interactive art; even though there's really no variables (like those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books from when we were kids), it works.

Makes me wish I had an art, music and development team in my pocket so that I could write a "screenplay" of something like this myself.

I'd be interested to know what other stuff the author's done (aside from this series); I'll have to try and look it up.

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Phew, this game was excellent. The bit that reads

"But now I am going to die."

made the whole story for me. And even then,

I thought that would be the end of it, but no! The game throws at me another twist and I get tossed into the

submachine-like maze, which was so atmospheric that I found myself jumping at every sound.

Overall, I'd say this is the best Inanimate Alice yet.

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It was great to see a new episode. Stuff like this makes my day.

I have to admit that the labyrinth really freaked me out.

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The new episode IS tremendous but now Inanimate Alice fans can get school kids to create their own stories from the world with the software described in Ep 4, i-Stories. You can find out about it, order it, (or get your school to buy it!)at http://www.istori.es/

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I have to say I was disappointed. With the first 3 episodes I got the sense that there was some bigger, sinister picture that Alice was caught up in but didn't recognize because she was only a child, and that she would soon play a major role. But this episode seems to foretell a more mundane story from here on out.

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Hey JohnB, Allegra, Kirkpad, Syntax, Karin, Josh, Griff, Suho and Joye... thanks very much for taking the time to check out the latest episode!

First @ JohnB - many thanks for the review!

Josh: the episode is written by Kate Pullinger ( http://www.katepullinger.com ) and the multimedia is by me, Chris Joseph ( http://www.chrisjoseph.org / http://www.babel.ca ), with a lot of the photography in this episode was by Maxine Beuret. That's the team for now, (unfortunately)... which is why is can take so long for an episode to be made. Everyone else listed in the credits agreed to the use of their pre-existing materials (images, sounds effects etc.)

Funding is still very hard to get for things like this, but hopefully all your comments will make things easier for us and other people to make more in the future!

Joye: sorry you didn't like this episode! But don't give up on the series as a whole... there definitely is a bigger picture that the (more) adult Alice will be a major part of. But for now, she is finally enjoying a couple of years of stability in her life, making some friends, doing the things that 'normal' kids do...

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Loved it!!

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OH MY GOD I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS FOR SO LONG!

Now, to be honest, this Alice installment didn't get my blood pumping as much as the last three.

But that's not necessarily a bad thing. I think there were some parts that were SUPPOSED to instill fear.. but I think the main reason it didn't sink in as much because those repetitive sounds.

This is sort of a middle point in the story, I guess. Alice's family aren't in any physical trouble at the moment.

But I've got to tell ya', there are so many wonderful photos in this. The labyrinth was a REALLY incredible environment. I'd be scared to take pictures there myself!

Still, the third Inanimate Alice still takes the crown as my favorite so far. I think both the mood AND the interactive experience in that was completely spot on. And the end almost brought me to tears.

In this Alice..

I didn't feel as scared. Perhaps its the absence of more human sound effects? I think I felt more scared in three because I could hear the muffled voices screaming at each other, and the shoes stomping up and down the stairs as Alice hid.
As Alice "dangled" from the ledge, I didn't really feel like I was dangling. I felt safe, on the top of a ledge, and so the fear factor was kind-of gummed down.

But still, a very well done installment.

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@alan

Thank you so very much for providing the link to istories. I just created an account with them. I have been searching for a way to get the kids in our town to document the stories of their grandparents or any elderly citizen. Because when they die, their stories are lost forever. I have researched the software, hardware, cameras, etc., that would be required to pull something like that off... it just isn't feasible for a small rural public library. So I was thrilled when I clicked on the link you gave and maybe found the solution to my dilemma.

I had never seen this Alice story before. I loved it. What a beautiful and artistic way to express any story.

Thank you JohnB for posting this! This made my day, my week, my month, MY YEAR!

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I am still looking into this. It seems to be a "gadget" that has photos, graphics, sound already installed and you can add more.

The details about how is works are pretty sketchy. The pdfs that are in the email they sent me are for links to teaching sites and lesson plans about inspiring children to read and write.

I wish I could talk to someone who has actually used this "gadget". I priced it and at todays conversion rate of British Pounds to American Dollars: $229.60

That is a big chunk of change for a little public library but still .... If I priced out all the software it would take to put together the quality that I saw here today... it is worth it.

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I really felt the game was too slow, and it wasn't as gripping as the other Alices. The other 3 also seemed to have better story lines

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I've waited so long for this; an excellent series, and this part came completely out of the blue for me so it was great to see it so suddenly.

Yes, this story didn't include the thrills of the previous ones, which in a way was a disappointment but on the other hand was worrying in its own way;

I think now we feel for the four main characters (Alice, Brad, Ming and John) as a family; the disaster in Russia is putting thier relationships under stress, the parents are arguing, Alice feels neglected and she's pushing Brad away; being English myself I see the sort of teenagers Alice is in danger of becoming and it's a worrying thought to see it to a someone I as a viewer of her story am becoming attached to. The effective dumbing down of Episode 1 in this was concerning to see as it in a way devalues her past; she's detaching herself from the experiences that brought her family together. And the fact that there's no consoling moment with her family, not even a scolding from her parents, carries on that impact; it's so different from the end of every other episode. Alice is becoming dependant, but what else is she becoming?!
The labrynth section reminded me a lot of 99 Rooms (search it on JIG guys!) with the atmospheric music, though I think maybe hearing Alice's footsteps occasionally might have added something.

Perhaps not the best of the series so far, but giving the series a change of direction to help keep it fresh and interesting, and indeed worrying for Alice's future.

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Hi 4red3s - we have just added a link to an example iStory from the iStori.es website - the direct link is http://www.istori.es/HarisStory.zip (6MB). Hopefully this gives you more of any idea of what is possible. From your suggestion we will think about adding more screenshots from the software itself, but if you have any specific questions perhaps you could post them here and I will try to answer them! Just to be clear though - the gadget is not included - iStori.es is just the software which allows you to create and share stories on a PC.

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nihongowasha June 22, 2008 5:34 PM

I give it a resounding meh.

It's not a game, and not much of a story. The production values are great, but in the service of what, exactly?

Sorry, Inanimate Alice, I don't mean any disrespect. It's clear that a lot of thought, effort, and ability went into this. It just isn't my cup of tea.

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I am learning more about how this works. And Thank You "Inanimate Alice" for the information. The potential for this software as a real "communication" tool is astounding. I love the way that it allows you to be more an "artist" than a software expert. How many "stories / great ideas" have been lost either because the artist / author could not afford the software or could not figure out how to make it work. I have used SwishMax in the past with moderate success but it still has a rather high learning curve and I cannot imagine trying to sit with a bunch of students and creating anything of quality.

If you are an educator, librarian, artist, author, etc., and need a multifaceted interactive tool to deliver an idea, then this may just be the tool we have been looking for. I hope that it is as "easy" to use as it is advertised? I didn't look but maybe there is a "demo" somewhere?

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Darn! I forgot - one more thing - Thank you for the link to Haris Story. It is from the perspective of the kids on the ground. And I have heard from Jess and she sent me an email with a bunch of links and information. :)

And to those who think that "Alice's Story" is "meh" - Your opportunity to present "Your Story" may be right around the corner. Sometimes "meh" can be inspiring?

:-D

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Alan Mills Author Profile Page June 24, 2008 4:04 AM

To see really exciting new multimedia literacy try out Inanimate Alice. http://www.inanimatealice.com And its a free online resource!
More an interactive piece of fiction than a traditional game, Inanimate Alice: Episode 4 continues the story of the young game animator as she leaves her home in Russia and travels abroad. Inanimate Alice serves as both entertainment and a peek into the future of literature as a fusion of multimedia technologies. The haunting images and accompanying music and text weave a remarkably gripping tale that must be experienced to be believed.
And better still for schools there is a piece of software now available that allows learners to create their own stories. Valuable for all forms of literacy and this is being sold as a perpetual site licence for schools at £99 ! http://www.istori.es

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monkeyhouse Author Profile Page June 26, 2008 12:04 PM

As much as I love the Inanimate Alice series, I was left wanting with this episode. It was short and anticlimactic--Didn't have me on the edge of my seat like the others. I had such high expectations, especially since we waited so long for another installment. Regardless, I'll still come back for more--The music and animation is definitely worth it every time.

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sweet_pea August 4, 2009 7:38 AM

Inanimate alice episode 4 is amazing!! Not as good as episode three, definately not, but the photography was extrememly good, if a bit repetitive. I love how the animations themselves grow more complex and interactive as Alice's ability itself grows. Very interesting. I do think there should be a free online resource analysing each episode, or helping analyze each episode, because I analyze each one before actually absorbing, asking self questions, wonderings and writing observations down as I watch. I watch it again, and see if I can answer any questions, and do the same in the next episode. I also write predictions down before watching anything, and soemtimes they are write. A anyalyse what I know about Alice, what I don't know and what I infer. I feel I have really got to know Alice this way. I also write down what I want from each episode, and sometimes get it. It really helps your inanimate alice understanding analysing it this way, so I suggest it to all viewers. I strongly recommend inanimate alice as a learning resource in classrooms especially at about the yr 7/6 level. There could be a great many lessons based around inanimate alice, although not a whole term, as this could get a bit boring. Any teachers reading this I beg of you take my advice because inanimate alice is a wonderful resource and an invaluable learning tool that everyone should enjoy!!

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If you want a REALLY slow learning curve in developing, use Scratch. The learning curve there is so slow that the average scratcher is about 12 years old. Just saying.

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