Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My Favorite Narratives, Engineering Narratives

Graded Blog #5 (Group 1)

When I first started playing Zork I wrestled with the idea of it being a narrative or not. I decided it did not have enough information and words to be called a narrative. After about an hour of playing it though it came more clear to me that this indeed was a narrative. And when I read the blog assignment for this week I strongly agreed that it was an engineering narrative. Aside from the obvious that Zork is a computer game and Hank himself was an engineer, an engineering narrative is more than that; to me, it is "representation of events or series of events" that involves creation and building where you, meaning Hank or yourself in Zork, are in control of the situation.

In Zork the engineering narrative comes from every event that is put out there for you to choose from. One even for example would be killing a troll and according to my definitioin I need to create an idea in which to kill this troll and since I am the one typing in commands then i am in charge of the situation. As for A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court there is constant rebuilding and a hands on approach by Hank. It is pretty easy to see that this was an engineering narrative because he literally is an engineer. This book helped me come up with a definition of what this type of narrative really means.

As for other video games/books/movies, a ton come to mind, partly because that is the type of stuff I am interested in; building a better place and controlling the way you live. The first book that came to mind is a book I read a long time ago, but always stayed in my mind because I really liked it, and this book is called Hatchet. It is about a boy that gets lost in the wilderness and all that he has is a hatchet that his father gave him and he has to live, create, and fight for himself out there. Then when I think of this book, immediately the movie Cast Away, with Tom Hanks comes to mind. It is the same concept as Hatchet. If you think about it Tom is 'engineering' the way the whole story goes with his actions. He could have easily died within the first couple months but beacause engineered and built a way of life, the story could go on. The last thing that I am familiar with and think could be classified as this type of narrative is the video game, The Sims. If you think about it this game is exactly like Zork, exept more realistic and up to date. All you do is create a person and make sure their needs are met by going about daily chores such as eating, bathing, and working. This to me is an engineering narrative because you are in control of "building" this "person's" life. And besides, it has to be an engineering narrative if it is exactly like Zork.

Overall I would have to say that every book/video game/movie I talked about all have the same basic principles in common. They all represent a building, creating, and managing stage, which in my opinion represent an engineering narrative.

1 comment:

Adam Johns said...

Your beginning talks around the subject rather than about it, but your definition is interesting: you focus on the power of the narrator (with some slippage between reader and narrator) in the engineering narrative. That's a simple definition which can do a lot.

Hatchet, Cast Away and the Sims are all good examples. I particularly like the first two because I never would have thought about them myself. And this brings me to a related topic - Cast Away is a sort of modern Robinson Crusoe, which is very much an engineering narrative itself (and another important antecedent of Twain's book), especially by your definition.

The only thing I wish here is that you had focused more on one example, and taken some time to think about what the importance of these works _as_ enginneering narratives might be. In other words, why should it matter that we classify them as engineering narratives, now that you've done it (and defined it well, I might add).