The Trivialist in me

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Aarseth 5,6,7,8,9

"a paradigm of collaborative authorship on the Net: one person gets an idea, writes a program releases it...somewhere else another person picks it up, improves it, adds new ideas, and rereleases it. Most of the time they do not meet" (99-100).

Gives me an idea for an experiment: I write the first page of a story and then send it out to a random person. They write another page, then pass it on to another. I wonder how disconnected (or not) the final product would be? Would the others follow the plot line I had laid down? Maybe we could try this in class.

"once an action has been identified,  the program changes the database and displays a message about the outcome, until the player quits the game, wins, or "dies" and must start again" (100)

Is this anything like the really old version of Oregon Trail from when we were in elementary school? I remember there being little to no graphics. So far, this is my understanding of interactive fiction.

"creating a version is mainly a matter of editing and then recompiling a program file; the end result can be as similar or different from the oroginal as the programmer wants" (100-101)

as an artist, if you want to call the original programmer that, I would be bothered by the fact that so many people are altering by work. My work would seem somehow ungratifying if people were changing it. Who gets credit for the creation of the game? everyone or no one? and don't copyright laws at all fit into this?

"in a literal sense, there is no text, nothing that could be put on a shelf and pointed to as the source of roughly similar experiences by readers" (106)

after you're done, what is left? just the computer program. There is no record of your accomplishments, nothing you could refer to in the future (except perhaps your memory). I guess since every experience with the game is different, it wouldn't make much sense to have a textual record of the game. In my experience with games, I have played those that only have a linear plot and a set group of tasks to complete (Zelda, Pokemon-and this was a long time ago). It's kind of disheartening that after all the hours you put into the game, there is nothing left over. I'd rather read a novel.

"for the trivialists, this will never happen; adventure games are games-they cannot be taken seriously as literature nor attain the level of sophistication of a good novel" (107)

Right now, this is how I feel. I have never played an adventure game; this is probably the reason why I cannot fully appreciate their value. Maybe that will change during Writing for the Internent.

"the semantic gaps int the text that the reader must fill, to bring the "literary work into existence" (110).

so the author need us to complete his work, or maye he just wants to see what the human imagination will do with his outline.

"narrative plto is also something that is only discovered or reconstructed by the reader after the end is reached" (112)

When reading a novel, you are very aware that you are reading a narrative, mostly due to the fact that all characters are referred to in the third person, distancing you from the action of the story. In an interactive game, you are in the story, so it is only on reflection do you realize the narrative plot that occured. Kind of reminds be or Aristotle, who said that only on reflection do we realize we were happy.

"the player of an adventur game is not guaranteed that the events thus far are at all relevant to the solution of the game" (112)

I really want to try this experiment of multiple writers to see if the end result does exhibit some coherencey.

"a typical adventure game is not mastered by being read once but by being played over and over, as the way we reread a great and complex novel" (114)

There is no way that you can appreciate a great novel or play without rereading it several times. I have read Hamlet about 4 times, and there were new discoveries each time I read it. Once you have a full comprehension of what is said, you can being search for why it was said and why events happened. The first read is just a familiarization.

" to that eternal whoever-it-is who ultimately controls every program we use and who is...driving us crazy with its irrational unwelcomed devil in real life but a pleasure-giving Mephistopheles in the cybertext" (120)

another reference I understand! Who hasn't become furious at their computer and kicked and/or screamed curses at it? When the computer misbehaves and malfunctions, it infuriates us, but we praise it whenever it functions the way we want it to. Faustus used the devil for his convience but becomes infuriated when the deal he made doesn't turn out the way he planned.  

"episodic...the puzzles often have to be dealt with in order..and have little or no relevance to each other once they are out of the way" (124)

This quote ties right into a play we read in Form and Analysis 2 called "Mother Courage and Her Children" by Brecht. Each scene takes place years after the last one, making the story seem disconnected. But I think that the reader was meant to fill in the years between with interrpretation.

"Narcissism is a necessary element in the artistic process, as is self-reflectin and self-criticism"

Boy, does that quote hit the nail of this class on the head. The first draft is never the finished product. It is only when we re-read our writing can we see our flaws and hope to improve ourselves. Otherwise, we are stuck in a kind of literary narcissism, a problem I have been trying to overcome with my writing assigments for EL 336. I realize that while I may see the connections and transitions in my head. others do not think the way I do. I therfore must alter my writing style so that my ideas and arguments are feasible to everyone.

"record her saying seemingly innocent sentences. They then edit the recording to reconstruct the phrases they want and, equipped with four casette players, call up the target" (130)

Evidently, Woody Allen had a great influence over all artisitc mediums, because I remembe this gag from a episode of 'Alvin and the Chipmunks.'

"human not have to improvise the action on the run; much less do they have to put up with a main character with a will of its own" (139)

a play cannot be generated and be instantly ready for production. Rehearsal are conducted not only so that the actors can learn what they will be doing, but for the playright to see that is and isn't wroking with the staging and language. A computer therefore cannot write a masterpiece.

"virtual interaction loses emotional and social meaning when transposed to a computer file and re-read" (147)

The value in these games is not the actual words (I'm hesitant to call it text because the meaing of the word has been muddled throughout this book) but in the action. You can't expect to get the same effect from a transcipt of a sports announcer than you would had you actually attended the game.

"Like the plays of Shakespeare...MUD sessions are texts. They are to be experienced subjectively and can provide meaning without the absoltue need for staging, although it usually helps" (149)

This is true. Last semester, I read Hamlet for two classes, one of which focused solely on the text. The theater class I read it for envisoned the play as literature and a work to be staged. Through this combination, I was able to make a discovery that I found a multitude of evidence for in the text. 

 funny selections from the reading, some of whcih result from the fact that the book was written in 1997:

"multipath movies like the current Hollywood CD-ROM productions" (102)

"section 204D, paragraph 7.6 of the connecticut police code of conduct specifically prohibits kissing suspects" (123)

"player: thank you

 voice: whaever do you have to be thankful for?" (126)

"when a novelist marries a poet, their children are fictionally poetic" (133)-*groan, rolls eyes*

"MUD has come to stand for Multi-Undergraduate Destroyer, in recognition of the number of students who may have failed their classes due to too much time spent MUDing" (143)

"lies back on ol' lynxie poodle muffkins" (155)

"really because it is so really really really really big and large and huge and giant" (155)







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