November 01, 2006

Interactive Fiction in Relation to Communications

It seems to me that some of us seniors, at least those I interact with on the blogosphere, are becoming particularly good about relating learning experiences to each other. Karissa has compared and related several things to grammar and argument, which are her passions, Amanda is relating all of the issues of Catholic Social Teaching to each other and to the Setonian (and Journalism), which are her passions, and I keep relating things to Communications, which is my minor that i happen to be learning so much more about this year. I keep repeatedly discovering how much Communications really plays a part in all of the aspects of people's lives. Although usually the experiences I relate it to are different ones and therefore relate to Communications in different ways, all of the relations make me think and they also make me proud that I am applying what I am learning.

Anyways, there are a few different topics I wanted to discuss in relation to the readings and also the class discussion. I suppose my first order of business would be to relate the IF experience to Communications, since that relation is pretty much where my topics stem from.

A view of Communications as transactional means that parcipants in the communication process influence each other and are influenced by their interaction context. In easier terms, it explains how a person's surroundings and experiences in life influence their varied reactions to things as well as the notion of the person( or person's) influence by their peers. An example of this has occured to me while revisiting Interactive Fiction for a second time, only in a different class. The two classes are different in topic, one involves alot of exposure to new software and the other involves molding my internet voice. It was in my New Media Projects class, the one involving the software exposure, that i first encountered Interactive Fiction. My experience wasn't a pleasant one, which i reiterate in my first entry after my second experience with the genre. This time, however, i have so many new thoughts about the genre, especially after hearing the reactions of my classmates. The different reactions of everyone based on their different experiences, has given me a different perspective. Thus, my perspective has been varied because of the different environment.

Interactive Fiction

  • In relation to the class exercise Dr. Jerz asked us to write about Interactive Fiction and the thought of skimming. In Interactive Fiction, one cannot exactly skim until they find an interesting enough place to begin reading, interpreting and understanding. If in Interactive Ficion, stress on the word interactive, you could skim ahead and do things at your own pace, than the text wouldn't exactly be interactive. True, due to the mechanics of the game one is able to move at their own pace, but there is still a specified order to things. This specified order acts as a restrictive agent that forces the reader to slow down and take the time to interact. The reader has to think, to write, to interact, in order to move on in the game. The reader actually becomes a part of the game, emerging as a player rather than just an observer (a.k.a. reader). Unlike fiction, Interactive Fiction doesn't exactly give us everything we need to interpret the story and often there can be more than one ending depending on the choices made. In order to "win" at Interactive Fiction and to get anything out of it, a reader must work to gain understanding and develop an interpretation or sense of the story.
  • In relation to Photopia and also puzzles and games. To me, Interactive Fiction isn't really a game. I find it most comparable to a riddle. When dealing with a riddle, all a person has to go by is the riddle itself. There are the words and the limited explination but the entire logic puzzle must be solved by trial and error. Photopia reminds me of this. It is what causes me to make this analogy. Within the case of this specified game, IF is a riddle. Photopia is work; it is an interactive puzzle which gives the audience no direction and makes them test their strategy skills. The audience must analyze the situation and make an informed decision which may or may not lead them in the right direction. Complete trial and error. *On a sidenote, back to Communications, this is why it is important to determine your audience and study them, and also the reason Usablility Testing is a good idea. In order to make a good Interactive Fiction game that people can actually relate to and interact with, the steps must be followed. *Sidenote 2: Making Interactive Fiction can also be related to a riddle, Communications and Usability Testing. You have to determine what your audience will say (Communications and Usability Testing) and this may in and of itself be a riddle for the author (Who really just has to pick a direction and go with it although it may or may not be right).

Just a few more things.

  • One: Rachel related Interactive Fiction to Choose your Own Adventure stories and I mentioned how that topic also came up in our previous class when the genre was first introduced. I was interested to see how people would react, already knowing how a certain group, and myself, reacted to our first IF instance. It was neat to notice a similarity among the various (interesting and discussable) differences I noted.
  • Two: I was having a great experience with Photopia. I believe I was going in the right direction; I found the seed pod, the thing I needed, headed back to the ship and then trouble started. I seemed to be following through the story correctly but I still didn't understand the beginning. My thought was that there were two different stories going on. Obviously. They existed in two different worlds but I was not yet sure how the different worlds collided. I had gotten to the beach and was wondering through the Crystal Labryinth when my restless feet connected with the wrong wire. The screen went blank and I could not get it to come back on. Everything was plugged in, and I tried turning the screen on and off, but no go. So, sad as I was, I decided that it was time to stop playing the game and finish my homework. I vow to replay. Half the reason I didn't was because I didn't remember exactly what I did to get to where I was and would have probably ended up on an entirely different adventure. It was in my best interest to save this adventure for another day.

    As far as Galatea goes, I already played it and stated my feelings in my Command Line Interface entry The second time around didn't do much for me and I didn't spend as long on it. I was still kind of...bored? Irritated? Confused? by the first experience.

Posted by Lori Rupert at November 1, 2006 11:27 PM
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