Digital Story Critique 1: Welcome to Pinepoint

The digital story I selected is Welcome to Pinepoint. This interactive digital story tells the tale of a town that once existed but is no more. The idea came to the creators, Paul Shoebridge & Michael Simons, because Michael stumbled across Richard Coultier’s Pine Point Revisited website. Their original intent was to write a book about the death of the photo album, but ended up creating this interactive digital story instead.

I chose this particular story for several reasons. First, I was drawn into this story from the very beginning. The opening sequence gives the reader a look into what they can expect from the entire experience.

PinePoint  PinePoint2

The use of modern technology was nicely juxtaposed with old photographs, text on cut out school ruled paper, hand drawings, and a compelling story of a town that sprang into being and then literally vanished after approximately 40 years of operation. This definitely gave it a nostalgic feel and an ethereal quality that made me miss and appreciate the fact that my home town is still in existence.

Second, it is well suited to my own personal digital story exploration Exploring My World Through a Digital Lens. These site does a great job of incorporating many different media, including photographs. And the photographs that were collected are amazing!

Third, I am interested in learning more about the technology they used to create the site. It looks to be Flash, since I had to update it on my computer in order to see it. I took a class many years ago where I learned to create using Flash. Now, I really want to go back and relearn it and incorporate it into future projects.

For the purpose of this assignment, I have decided to evaluate this digital story on the following 3 criteria: story, research, and flow, organization, & pacing. I chose these three criteria because I believe the creators did a good job in each of these categories, but still left room for improvement, at least from a personal stand point. Each category will be assigned a point value from 1 to 10 with 1 being the lowest achievement level and 10 being the best.

Digital Story Evaluation Criteria
Story How well did the story work? This trait can address structure, engagement, character transformation or any of the other qualities of story discussed in Part II. In fact, an entire rubric can be devoted to evaluating the quality 10
Research Was project well researched and documented? 8
Organization, flow, and pacing Was the story well organized? Did it flow well, moving from part to part without bumps or disorientation, as described in Part III? 8
Total 27

Story

The story was definitely fascinating and captivating. The creators were able to give their audience a look into this town that was barely a blip on the radar for the rest of the world but had a huge impact on many of its residents. Like any town, it had a personality, a history, but it was short-lived. Luckily, it lives on through probably one of its more notorious residents… the high school bully. Richard Coultier was the guy everyone hated/feared, but everyone wanted to be his friend. He sadly came down with MS, but devoted much of his adult life to keeping the memories of this town alive. The creators of this site met with him and 3 other former students and residents of this town to bring us a robust story of a town that was fated to have a short life. And in the process they were able to make the viewer ask themselves many philosophical questions. I gave this digital storytelling effort a 10, because i think they blew it out of the park.

Research

I gave this site a 8 because they only told the story of 4 of the former residents of this town. While I believe this is appropriate for the nature of this story, it would have been great to have had more stories collected. Having your hometown literally vanish off the face of the earth has to be quite an experience.

Organization, flow, & pacing

I also gave this criteria a 8 because it sometimes felt a little out of sequence, or like the creators were like… hey, here’s a section we should address, throw it in. One example of this was Cosmos 954, a Russian satellite that apparently crashed in this town. Or at least I think it did. I can see this being a big deal, but it seems like it could have been included in the “What’s Weird” section. Overall, though, due to the fact that this is a very interactive site, the reader can choose to read the sections in whichever order makes the most sense to them, or they can choose to follow the flow set by the creators. I also really enjoyed how the creators gave the reader control over flipping through internal components such as photos related to the part of the story that was being present.

4 thoughts on “Digital Story Critique 1: Welcome to Pinepoint

  1. The concept of Welcome to Pinepoint is truly intriguing. The site itself took a while to actually go through and view all of the material, but when I finished I felt as if I had finished reading a memoir. It could have been very easy to simply use old news articles and just write about the town itself, but these creators went out and tracked down actual residents to tell their stories. The juxtaposition of these vintage photographs being used in combination with modern day technology brought up a few feelings and thoughts about what the “good old days” actually were. Well done.

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