Autodidact: self-taught


iPoe on Your iPod

by V. L. Craven

Poe was old-school even in his own time, tending towards overly-elaborate language no matter the audience–but modern fans can rediscover some of his work in a modern way through the  iPoe apps for iOS.

iPoe Volume One They’re incredible, interactive versions of several of his stories and poems. The text is unedited, but there is music and artwork and elements controlled by the reader. Volume One ($1.99) contains ‘The Oval Portrait’, ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ (which allows you to dismember the old man, whee!), ‘Annabel Lee’, and ‘The Masque of the Red Death’, as well as a brief biography and sketches from the making of the app.  All of these are excellently rendered, though I think Red Death is my favourite. Early on, you can make a Raven peck out a bit of a corpse, (which I had to do a few times, giggling every time) and the final arrival to the party is delightfully creepy.

iPoe Volume Two Volume Two ($2.99) contains ‘Hop-Frog’ and ‘The Black Cat’, with ‘The Raven’ being added at a later date. Bonus material includes The Edgar Allan Poe Route, featuring information about his haunts (apologies) and another sketchbook. The pages you read from are a bit more ornate in this one, but it felt like the illustrations were less interactive than the first volume. Part of that could be down to the fact that ‘Hop-Frog’ isn’t one of my favourite Poe stories, though the app brings it more alive to me than before. All of the selections in both collections are extremely well-done.

My only quibble is that you have to forward all the way to the end of the stories to loop back around to the beginning, rather than being able to access a menu after each tale. That aside, I’m looking forward to ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ though it’s quite long and don’t really expect it to appear.

Here is the tumblr account for the collections, which has illustrations both from the apps as well as other artists.

Dark Tales Rue Morgue

Other apps of interest to the Poe-ophile are hidden object games based on ‘ Murders in the Rue Morgue ‘, ‘ The Black Cat ‘, ‘ The Premature Burial ‘ and ‘ The Gold-Bug ‘. All four are made by ERS Games and distributed by Big Fish Games for the PC, though the first two are available for iPhone/iPod through iTunes.

I’m about halfway through ‘The Black Cat’ and it’s one of the best hidden object games I’ve played. Atmosphere, music, game play, story line, etc is outstanding. I have nothing bad to say about it. I’ve also started ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue,’ which is similarly engrossing.

Dark Tales Black Cat

You can play free demos of all four and then purchase the full game, if you’re hooked. Prices are a few dollars for the apps and up to $15 for the PC versions, though Big Fish usually has some offer on that will bring that down a bit.

[Some people can get the PC-only games to work on Linux with WINE, but I’m having the devil of a time making that happen. If it works I’ll happily purchase both of the currently PC-locked games.]

I’ve looked at some other apps, none of which impressed, but if you find any with merit, please leave a comment.

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