Do Not Push The Red Button

What does this game have to tell us about holding the reader’s attention? Give it a go.

Could you stop pushing the red button? I couldn’t. In the words of David Foster Wallace, “There’s some weird, delicate, I-trust-you-not-to fuck-up-on-me relationship between the reader and writer, and both have to sustain it.” For me, this game somehow sustained that relationship.

Storytelling at its simplest? There’s a narrator with a personality. There’s humor and suspense and apocalypse. Was it a sense of competition that kept me engaged, even during the most boring stage when there were 127 decoy buttons?

There aren’t many novels whose opening pages rely this heavily on reverse psychology – Clive Barker’s Mister B. Gone is one that comes to mind…

Pressing the button is like turning the page. There’s a rhythm involved – I think that rhythm is part of why I kept going — and there’s an escape into a world with its own rules… What’s missing is a larger purpose – “Do Not Push The Red Button” doesn’t leave us with an enhanced sense of the plight of today’s woman etc. It’s merely a page-turner — there’s no reason to play the game a second time, except to study narratology…
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