December 8, 2010

A Steampunk Christmas

Lasting First Impressions of A Christmas Carol from PadWorx Digital Media

A Christmas Carol One of the great things about the iPad are the eBook readers for when you just want to kick back in your favourite chair, tune out your world and delve into another.  But the iPad is much more than just an eBook reader.  With all the power and ability behind this magical device, why use it for just the printed word?  Enter PadWorx Digital Media. In September, 2010, PadWorx Digital Media, a Toronto based company, announced that they would be developing a truly immersive reading experience.  More than just a digital book, PadWorx created a work of art from, well, a work of art.  Instead of reading just a plain ebook, PadWorx hopes to immerse the reader in the story by providing a true multimedia experience with audio, animation, and user interaction.

Their second of such tales, released perfectly just before the holidays, is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  Mixing a steampunk theme with audio clips and interactive animations, the story is really brought to life before your eyes.  A Christmas Carol has always been one of my favourite Holiday stories, but I’ve never actually read the original book, so I was quite excited to give this new medium a try.

Upon launching the application, the book title appears and really sets the tone of what is to come.  The title page is completely interactive (once you’ve "turned it on" by selecting the highlighted valve) and shows the Steampunk theme that is prevalent throughout the book. Even tilting the iPad causes certain elements of the title to swing accordingly which was surprisingly fun to play with.

This is not the complete text of A Christmas Carol but an abridged version, although, as with any abridged books, the essentials are all here and brought to life in an entertaining way.  The music and sound effects really add to the atmosphere of what you’re reading such as the eerie sounds of dragging chains when Jacob Marley first appears to Scrooge.  I got chills reading the text because of the accompanying sounds.

Whenever an interactive element is available on screen (not every page is interactive), it is highlighted distinctly so there is no guesswork involved as to what you need to touch to begin the interactivity.  One thing to watch out for, however, is not to be too hasty and turn to the next page right away since some pages will remain onscreen while the text changes as you press the interactive areas.  If you miss something like this, there is no "backup" option, so you must restart the full page again which is one of my few complaints with this application.  There also doesn’t seem to be any kind of bookmarking ability available, though it will remember your page when you exit the application.  Opening it up again will immediately take you back to where you left off.

For anyone looking for something more than just a plain text ebook, I would recommend checking out PadWorx Digital Media’s offerings.  The interactivity of this application brings excitement and fun to a literary classic.  Charles Dickens would be proud.

PadWorx Digital Media, I gave you an hour and I am IMPRESSED.

About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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One Comment

  1. Thanks for the 1 hour and kind words!

    About the bookmarking…it’s there, but just a little hard to see. If you look in the top right corner of each page, there’s a bookmark outline. Give it a press and a special bookmark appears on the page (complete with a picture of Mr. Dickens on it!).

    Thanks again.

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