Devices: iOS and Android
Length: 1-2 hours
Cost: $3.99 iOS / $2.47 Android
The iPoe concept is simple: Take well-known stories from one of America’s most beloved writers, and bring them into the 21st century with a mobile app (both iOS and Android). It’s a wonderful way to revisit Edgar Allan Poe’s writings; and, aesthetically, the app sets a high bar for excellence in commercial multimedia fiction.
From the opening pages, it’s evident that a lot time and talent went into making this app. From the artwork to the music to the small elements of interactivity, it all breathes new life into Poe’s stories and poems (at least it did for me, and I read Poe quite a lot as a teenager).
What’s surprising is how enjoyable the experience is, all without being especially innovative. iPoe really is just a few illustrated classic stories with a soundtrack – but this proves that, when it comes to digital literature, you don’t necessarily need to reinvent the wheel to create an engaging experience. Ultimately, it’s the original text that takes center stage here, and the app is better for it.
Some of the interactive elements do seem gimmicky at times – at one point, you can play with the limbs of a severed body for no real justifiable reason. At other moments, the interactivity is actually quite effective, and it helps round out the experience by revealing shocking images or by providing general atmosphere.
This iPoe collection includes the stories The Oval Portrait, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Masque of the Red Death, and the poem Annabel Lee. Note that, since the iPoe was first released, its creators have gone on to create a line of similar apps, called the iClassics Collection, which includes work by H.P. Lovecraft, Charles Dickens, and Oscar Wilde (not to mention more stories by Edgar Allan Poe).
Also, I think it’s worth noting the enchantment I felt when I first opened iPoe a few years ago. While not an earth-shattering concept, iPoe is without a doubt an innovative, fun, and accessible app, and it’s an essential experience for anyone interested in the multimedia literature space.