Citation: Wilks, Christine. “Underbelly.” Hyperrhiz: New Media Cultures, no. 08, 2011. doi:10.20415/hyp/008.g03
Abstract: I created Underbelly in Flash and I call it a playable media fiction because the reader must explore its mysterious map-like interface using their mouse to play the story. It's about a woman sculptor carving on the site of a former colliery in the north of England, now landscaped into a country park. As she carves, she is disturbed by a medley of voices and the reader/player is plunged into an underworld of repressed fears and desires about her sexuality, potential maternity and worldly ambitions mashed up with the disregarded histories of the 19th Century women who once worked underground mining coal.
Underbelly incorporates a rich and often grotesque mix of imagery, spoken word, video, animation and text. Lurking in its dark regions, you'll find hidden voices and animated elements that dramatise the tensions and contradictions in the sculptor's life and provide glimpses into the past. Unearthing these clues and fragments, you're mining not only to find the meaning of the story but the way out, at which point the story-world branches into multiple routes and a 'Spin the Wheel' game of chance. (If you're lucky, you may find the 'perfect' happy ending.)
Turn your sound on / put your headphones on.
Use your mouse to explore - on some occasions you will need to click.
Look out for the crawling woman; she will take you to the next region.