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JoyceStick: Creating a Virtual Ulysses

A screenshot showing lines of yellow, magenta, and teal programming text on top of a dark gray background

With modern technology evolving at a rapid pace, there’s been a lot of interest in how technology will change how we read.

While some are predicting the future of reading a text as merely a transition from “real”, printed books to digital e-books, others, such as the interdisciplinary group behind JoyceStick, are exploring how digital media can change how we interact with a text. JoyceStick, a group of Boston College students headed by Professor Joe Nugent, are attempting to bring James Joyce’s Ulysses “into the age of virtual reality”. Instead of merely recreating the experience of reading printed words on a digital screen, JoyceStick seeks to utilize multidisciplinary cooperation to render the events of Ulysses in a virtual reality game.

Although the project is not finished–their most recent update says they are working on recording sound effects–JoyceStick has great potential for immersing readers at all ages and familiarity levels within the world that Joyce creates in Ulysses. Watch the video below to check it out for yourself.

We will also have more information about this project in an upcoming issue of the JJQ.