i’m a gamer

you know, as much as i had never thought of myself as one, i found myself proudly putting my hand up in this weeks lecture when adrian asked who in the crowd considered themselves a gamer. i guess i’m not a gamer in what most people think of the term. i don’t sit on my computer or my console playing games 24/7, i don’t shoot

other people from across the globe, or battle them in magical duels over the internet. but i do play my games (more often now than i did in high school thats for sure) and i do love them. even if it really is only one or two games that i actually play (*cough* pokemon and kingdom hearts *cough*).

first off, there are many types of video games, and all of them are different (and this doesn’t count all the games that aren’t video games) so it’s hard to be able to make an overall, wholesome statement about all video games being hypertext or not. i think it was Elliot who mentioned that when hypertext first came around, people started calling it a video game. but there’s a difference. a video game, even if it does have a word that you can explore, is still set in it’s story (if it even has one, but we’ll get to that) whereas a hypertext can have nearly limitless possibilities, the story doesn’t have to result in this one specific conclusion like a video game. BUT! as Jasmine then pointed out, when playing a game, there can always be parts of the game that you haven’t yet explored or discovered and this is like hypertext, you cannot see all the possible paths. but is this enough of a connection?so, “what relevance does this have?” i hear you ask. well, you inquisitive reader you. one of the big points discussed in this weeks lecture was whether a video game can be considered a hypertext narrative. and there were so many differing opinions coming out from the symposium too. we had a resounding “NO!” from one side of the table and a yes! from another and then kinda just landed in the middle. so let me break down the points for you

i’m not sure. adrian emphasised the necessity of story and narrative within both the hypertext and the game. well, mainly that a hypertext does have a narrative but a game doesn’t have too. i mean yes, some do, but there are other games that obviously don’t have a narrative, like pong. or tetris. so where hypertext is about new and different ways of telling a story, a game doesn’t even have to have one, so how can it be a hypertext narrative? another point that adrian brought up was that “games are about winning” and that “you can’t win a story”. but, when you read a story,

isn’t reaching a positive outcome within the story kinda like winning? i mean, you want the outcome to be good and when it it you feel as if you have won.  i guess it’s still different types of winning. but with a video game that has a narrative rather than a competitive or points system, there’s also no real definite “win”. does beating the game mean you have won or just completed it like you have completed a story? take kingdom hearts for example, you play a single character, sora, and your quest is (in simple terms) to bring peace to pretty much everywhere. yeah, there’s fighting along the way, and you can win those individual battles, but when you complete the story, is that really “winning” or have you just reached the conclusion of the narrative? and some games you never win. like tetris or temple run, the aim is just to keep going for as long as you can, so really you’re only option is lose, there is neither a “win” nor a narrative conclusion. so really, there really is no proper way to answer this question. because there are too many different types of games to classify anything. as long as we keep playing and reading, does it really matter?

just one more small note from the lecture, i really liked Adrian’s point about the meaning not living in the text (or shot, as his example was in film) but in the combination of two shots or links between the texts. on it’s own, a text is nothing (similar to the theory that context cannot survive) but it must be combined with something else to have a meaning and different combinations can have different meaning. this reminds me of something we covered last semester in cinema studies about editing, what is known as the Kuleshov Effect and pretty much is about how the meaning of a shot can be altered completely by the following shot. check out this video below from none other than alfred hitchcock for a much better explanantion.

that’s all from me now, a bit long this post was. i guess there was a lot to talk about.






Is this my diary? unlecture part 2

so, i told you i was going to need a second post to cover everything that was mentioned in this weeks unlecture. this post will also probably cover some stuff from last weeks class and my most recent post about hypertext. but anyhow, onwards and upwards! (speaking of, i saw up for the first time the other day. it is brilliant.)

one of the main interesting things that was mentioned by both Elliot and Jasmine was the Korsakow program which i had neither heard of or was able to spell. but it’s a pretty cool concept nonetheless. similar to a hypertext novel, it does what a typical film can’t do by being fluid and changeable. it allows the viewer to create their own film by choosing the path that they wish to take. every time you return to something, it is completely different to what is was the first time you do it. now, this concept emphasises what was described as the “gap” between the media maker and the receiver. in any form of medium, the author can never guarantee the receiver will decipher the intended meaning of the text being created. and so hypertext and korsakow is allowing this gap to flourish so that rather than a specific meaning intended by the author that may not be received, each member of the audience can make their own personal interpretations of the text. there are an unlimited number of pathways one can take. it’s like in the brain, any one idea or thought can lead down a large variety of different neural pathways that span across the whole brain, each one leading to a different thought and each one individual.

this whole notion of hypertext leads on from the advancement of technology today. everything has had to change and adapt to fit into the new society. if a medium cannot adapt, it cannot survive. and hypertext is about joining all the little parts of the world together to make one big web of networks and connections where everything can be joined in multiple ways rather than just one linear connection. and our blogs allow us to form those connections and become a part of the wider network. this is similar to the niki’s we’ve been working on in class. each time one group presents their work to the rest, it’s a chance for everyone to gain. the group can get feedback about there work and the others can get both new knowledge and ideas about extra things they could include in their posts. the aim of the niki’s is to create a learning space for everyone in the course to be able to contribute to, in essence, to create a network that they have all worked on.

someone asked in the lecture, “do the blogs even count if no-one is reading them?”. now this was a matter i had considered, because i write as if people are listening, adrian called them our “imaginary audience”. but that doesn’t mean that the imaginary audience won’t eventually become a real audience. that’s why we make those connections, so that we can get that audience. i think it was jasmine who asked “why do you write a personal journal or diary if it’s not intended to be read by anyone?”. and that’s a brilliant point. when i was young i kept a diary. i never wanted anyone to read it, but i still wrote in a manner of telling a story to a reader, just like how i write this blog assuming people are reading it. so is this blog my diary? i guess while it hovers at a low 5 visitors a day it probably is. but hopefully i get up there soon.

and one more thing from the lecture. it doesn’t really relate to anything but i thought it was cool. in fact, i don’t even think it actually happened, i think i just heard something. but at one point adrian said “automatically” and it sounded like “automagically”. now i don’t know if he really said that or i just had a major mishear but either way, it’s an awesome word that i think really represents how our world functions today, especially if you consider it in the eyes of some of the people we are researching for our niki’s, (i’m looking at you charles babbage) who would just see everything we have today as a sort of magic. who could have imagined 100 years ago where we would be today in terms of technology. it really does seem like the world is “automagic”

surviving the titanic

so, i started writing this post 10 whole days ago. then i realised that i’d read the readings for the wrong week and left it to come back to on a later date. and then time completely got away from me and so here i am, ten days later, finishing off and posting this (hopefully) awesome post about the reading. and of course, now i actually have to read the reading again to make sure i remember it. but that’s not too bad.

so, this reading, “the end of books or books without end?” was pretty hypertext heavy. and it was the first reading i’ve read so far that made me intersested in the concept of hypertext. why? because of that one question that was asked: what if you had a book that changed every time you read it?

Now, to me, that sounds crazy. as you all know, i am a traditional book lover. and i will read my books over and over again. but to me it does get a bit repetitive and i often find myself wishing that the book could change somehow.

not to fear! hypertext is here! what do we mean by that? that author’s can create stories with an almost unlimited number of possibilities. and the best part is.. we are creating the story. the story of the book will be based on our choices so it is unique to each one of us. this kinda reminded me of those old goosebumps books we used to read as kids. you know, the choose your own path books? they pretty much all ended in the reader’s gruesome death. my personal favourite was “escape from the carnival of horrors”.

but then, aren’t we destroying the timelessness or changelessness of the book? or are we just making it better? how do you know when you’ve reached the end. how does the author know how to write an end, or where the reader will take themselves? i guess this is where hypertext comes in. as Douglas mentions in the reading, “hypertext it fluid. print is fixed”. where a simple book can sometimes just last a matter of hours (unless you’re reading a song of ice and fire. that thing is huge!), an interactive book or hypertext novel can last for over a week! now doesn’t that sound exciting? and as a bonus you get a brand new story every time you read it. but even for me, every time i reread a book, i tend to find something i missed the first time round. now maybe i’m just not paying enough attention when i read my books, but still, no matter how many times i reread harry potter (now keep in mind this is generally about 3 times a year for each book) i still pick up something i didn’t remember from the previous read. and i have a pretty good memory. so for me books are always exciting.

now, speaking of harry potter, another thing douglas mentioned was the interactive titanic adventure. lets be honest, it sounded pretty cool. surviving the titanic, changing history. where can i find this. but this concept made me think of something else, not quite exact but similar. and that was pottermore.

now if you haven’t heard of pottermore, i really urge you to check it out (click here for the link). pottermore was created by J.K. Rowling to give her fans a more in depth harry potter experience. in addition to an awesome online read along version of each book (in which every screen has hidden clickable goodness), readers can find out what house they would fit into by completing a quiz, earn points for their house which is combined with points from all the others online, they can purchase all their own wizarding goodies from diagon alley, make potions and even compete in duels against other readers online. so not exactly hypertext but getting there. the difference here is the story stays the same, you just get to experience the world of the story in a way that you couldn’t really just from reading the book.

i guess i’m not so against hypertext after all. as long as it doesn’t replace the book altogether. i’ll leave you with one more quote from Douglas.

“the book is a highly refined example of primitive technology while hypertext is a primitive example of highly refined technology”.