Computer games aren’t games 2/2

Computer games aren’t games 2/2

Not only could you use Tetris as part of a Transmedia story, but you could take any session of Tetris being played and find a narrative structure. It doesn’t make Tetris a story, but Tetris actually have some small amount of story-like behavior, for exampel: From level to level, the environment changes, giving impression of progress, or a journey; In each game session the progression is more or less identical going from calm beginning, through struggle, often with a reversal for good, and then an inevitable demise. So, is the game of Tetris a story? No, but neither is the novel of Moby Dick according to me. Does Tetris contain story stimuli? Absolutely!   Just as it’s the actual use of Tetris that makes it a story, it is also the use of Tetris as a game that actually makes it a game. The medium (the computer game) is not the game. The physical artifact only consists of game stimuli. Granted a fairly convincing set of stimuli, but still, the game is only a game when it is being played. With that in mind it is still obvious to most people that Tetris as a medium consists of a lot greater deal of game stimuli than story stimuli. Most people, I reckon, would have a hard time seeing the same story in Tetris, but no problem seeing the same game. Which leads this little rant to games like those in the Final Fantasy series and GTA. There is no question that they have strong game stimuli. We collect points, try to out-do ourselves and others, etc. But they also...
Computer games aren’t games 1/2

Computer games aren’t games 1/2

There are no such thing as mediabound stories. Moby Dick is a novel, and it contains a story, but only if we read it that way. The novel itself is no story. Just as a chessboard and chess pieces isn’t the game of chess. In fact Moby Dick is just as much of a game as the chess pieces are. If two people are told to read the first 200 pages of Moby Dick as fast as they can and that the reader who reads the fastest, and have the most correct answers on a Quizz afterwords gets a 100 dollars, they aren’t only reading a story they are also playing a game (from now on called a Mobydash). In fact, chances are they are game players to a larger extent than they are story readers, since they have to adjust their reading in order to win. If the rules applied to the reading are rules of a game, the reading becomes a game, but it doesn’t end being a story. Chances are we read it both ways simultaneously, only with porer quality than if we hade just sticked to either game or story. In fact we absolutely have the possibility to do both at the same time, even though one of the process might be dominant. So the book is only a book and whether it is a story, game or play is all about how we use it. This principle is in very much applicable on computer games, but more on that later. Today I want to finnish off with cards. There are several activities that turn...
Can you please give me a thousand words in exchange for this picture?

Can you please give me a thousand words in exchange for this picture?

The notion that a picture is worth a thousand words are off course silly in some sense. In a way it’s like saying a car is worth a thousand bicycles. There is no way to know if that statement is true or not, because the criteria simply isn’t narrowed down enough. Words and pictures work in completely different ways, and since they communicate differently they actually communicate different things. Words, for instance, are fuzzy constructs that is great at conveying meaning and imagery without clarity. Pictures are clearer but also naked in that they show us their shortcomings. In fact, one of the problems of images in fiction is that they are so good att reporting that they actually can cloud the truth. For one, and this is no secret, pictures are actually worse at applying variables to what is communicated. What picture could say “You mother’s laughter” and actually mean your mother’s laughter, regardless of who you are? Well yesterday, not many. With a little bit of programming this is off course possible to do today. All we need to know is who your mother is (via facebook or Geni?) and their avatar image, apply a little bit of face recognition (picasa is earily accurate), and a little bit of image manipulation, if the mouth isn’t smiling enough and voila we have a variable picture, or you gould just writer “Your mother’s laughter” with words and the reader wouldn’t have to feel that the face smiling back is looking uncanny. Images is in some sense inferior in their communication in that they in some sense are superior in...

The message adapts to the reader

Copytext with variables is something we will see more and more of. You could even argue that the screentext is starting to behave a little like older forms of communication – before the books there were the stage, the telling of stories by a narrator live before an audience. There will take quite some time before all the emotional feedback can be processed and let the story rise, but it is a really interesting development none the less. Watch the movies at:...

Story is movement

I’m reading through a pile of books (both in paper and on the web – thanks ebrary) on aspects of narrative, and stumbled upon a passage in the book From text to hypertext claiming that “painting can of course, only suggest narrativity” which got me thinking about the choice of the reader. Like choosing to watch certain aspects of the painting in a certain order, och flip from one page to the next in a book. In the latter the convention is stronger, but it is still a choice. Movies are the same thing, though admittedly harder in a cinema. So… without going more in to detail at this point, I think I’ll write something about these moments in a story. The moment of choice. I’ll read some more and come back to you (perhaps with a totally different take on the...