Friday, October 12, 2007

Midterm Draft, finally

Here is a rough, rough draft for my midterm project. I know it is a little late, but I decided to post a copy of the actual CYOA instead of a binary tree, so this took longer than usual. A reminder: this is a basic idea of the structure of the CYOA. I still need to include a stronger arguement over the entire story, but this provides a good start.

1.) The year is 1995. You are nine years old and you are awoken by the sound of raindrops tapping against your bedroom. It’s Saturday morning and you take a moment to thank God for the fact that your slave driver of a fourth-grade English teacher has not given you a blogging assignment to do over the weekend. You would like to go outside and celebrate, but of course this is Pennsylvania and you are used to the traditional rainy weekends. Besides, in such a small town, there is a good chance that the activity you would find to keep you entertained would be dangerous, illegal in most states, or both. Instead, there are plenty of things that can be done indoors that are sure to bring you happiness.

If you decide to go to the living room to see what’s on television, go to page 3.

If you decide to find a book that you haven’t read in a while, go to page 2.

If you decide to do nothing and waste your time, go to page 5.

2.) Deciding that the most intellectual choice would be to find a nice quiet spot and dive into a new book, you head to your sisters’ room where there is a huge bookshelf of various literatures. The bedroom is shared by your twin sister and your older sister by two years and you rarely ever visit this room. It seems like an entirely different planet filled with unknown gadgets and hair clips, a planet that you do not want to be a part of. There are far more pink-colored items in this room than you would care to see and all of the Barbie dolls and various other girlie things that you don’t even know about are scattered on the floor. You barely make it to the bookshelf. Feeling a bit dizzy from your current situation, you figure it would be a good idea to grab a few books and make a decision when your head is clear. When you come to your senses, you are on the basement couch with two books, a Goosebumps novel, and a Hardy Boys novel.

To read the Goosebumps novel, go to page 6.

To read the Hardy Boys novel, go to page 21.

3.) As you enter the living room, you can hear that something is already playing on the TV. When you round the corner, you see your two sisters watching their favorite movie, The Sound of Music. Realizing that Fraulein Maria has just arrived at the von Trapp household, you know that if you stay to watch, you will be in for a long afternoon. It is the first musical that you have been exposed to as a child and you find it odd how the characters often break into song during normal situations. As a nine year old boy, it is very difficult to understand why a movie such as this could win an Oscar for best picture, but your sisters have seen it about thirty times, so you better not mention anything negative about it or a full-blown war might start.

If you decide to invade the living room and gain control of the TV, go to page 7.

If you decide to keep quiet and watch the movie, go to page 4.

4.) It is general knowledge that staring arguments with your sisters usually ends in turmoil, so you take the safe but painful route of watching the movie. You wait for your chance, and three hours later you grab the remote as soon as the credits begin to roll. Switching the TV without even rewinding the video, you check to see what shows are on.

Turn to page 8.

5.) You decide at nine years old, you have plenty of life ahead of you so there would be no harm in wasting some of it on a rainy Saturday. You lie on your bed and stare at the ceiling, counting the number of glow in the dark stars that your sister put up when she had your room. Oddly enough, as you are staring at them, one becomes loose and falls to the floor. You roll out of bed to pick it up and send it back into space. In the corner of your room, next to your closet, you find the star lying next to a sheet of paper. Glancing at the paper, you realize that it is an assignment given by your English teacher last week; another two page blog. “Rats” you say, “fooled again.”

THE END (turn to page 24.)

6.) You choose that a horror novel would be the most fun at the time, so you decide to read Say Cheese and Die! by R.L. Stine. It is part of his Goosebumps series and you know from experience that they have never let you down in the past. It takes you a considerable amount of time to read, but it was a fairly entertaining read. When you head upstairs, you realize that your sisters are watching some spooky looking TV show. Deciding that you could go for another horror story, you decide to stay and watch. Something seems ironically familiar about the show, and when it cuts to commercial, you realize that you are watching a new Goosebumps show, and Say Cheese and Die! is the episode that is playing. You get the entire story in 30 minutes and it is equally as entertaining as the book. You realize that it would be way more efficient to watch the TV series, you start watching Goosebumps often and rarely read the actual books. For some reason you feel like hearing the Buggles song, Video Killed the Radio Star, but it is not very difficult to resist those urges.

THE END (turn to page 24.)

7.) It is against your better judgment to interfere with The Sound of Music but when have you ever listened to you conscience before when your sisters are around? You swiftly knock the remote out of your twin sister’s hand, the weaker of the two. After endless yelling and screaming, you are immediately sent to your room without questions asked since you are most likely the cause of such trouble.

Turn to page11.

8.) Nickelodeon is usually the best choice to watch and you see that a rerun of Doug is currently on. Doug is an animated sitcom about a young boy in school that encounters many adventures and has an elite imagination. The show contains so many elements to which you can relate with that it has been one of your favorite shows on Nickelodeon. Once the show ends, you realize that a rerun of Clarissa Explains it All is on next. This show is essentially the opposite of Doug and is something which would be better enjoyed by your sisters. Your best bet is to find something else to do.

If you decide to find a book to read, go to page 10.

If you decide to find a video game to play, go to page 9.

9.) You head to your room and fire up the Sega Genesis. It is the second generation version and it is much smaller and sleeker than the original. All of your friends that don’t currently own a Super Nintendo are supremely jealous. The game is Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the current best-selling game for the platform. It is a fairly difficult game, but it lacks much narrative aspect throughout the course of the game. The only plot synopsis you receive is at the beginning of the game where you learn that Dr. Robotnik has attacked your island, imprisoning all of the inhabitants and brainwashing them into mindless workers and guards. The game is enjoyable for a while, but you soon get bored with the repetition and long for a more story-oriented game.

Go to page 20.

10.) You decide to relax and read a book for a while. You learn that you will soon be reading Charlotte’s Web in school so you figure it would be a good idea to give yourself a head start. The book becomes a favorite of yours and you become inspired by the resolve displayed by Charlotte. Your wise choice in preparation for the class scores you an impressive grade in the class. You continue on the road to success, eventually becoming a very successful politician. Ironically, you die once your service in the workforce is over, but not before producing many successful children.

THE END (turn to page 24.)

11.) You have been sent to your room, but this is not such a bad punishment since this is where your Sega Genesis is located. It is probably a wise decision to leave your sisters alone for the rest of the night since it is not uncommon to lose video game privileges.

To go back to the living room and get revenge, go to page 13

To sneak out of your window, got to page 14

To stay in your room and serve your time, go to page 15.

12.) You awaken in the middle of the night, soaking wet. The temperature has dropped a considerable amount and your body temperature is becoming dangerously low. It would be wise to head home now, but you aren’t very sure how to find your way through the woods in the dark. The cold is making you delirious and you can’t stop yourself from drifting to sleep again.

THE END (turn to page 24.)

13.) Once again, you decide to ignore your better judgment and head to the living room to get revenge on your sisters. Just to be evil, you attempt to remove the movie from the VCR in a way that might damage the tape itself, ensuring that you will never have to sit through the three hour musical again. In your sister’s desperate attempt to save her prized video, she tackles you into the TV, cracking open your forehead. You spend some time in the hospital and you are sent back to your bedroom to be grounded for life. In your bitterness, you spend multiple hours playing violent videogames. You develop into a schizophrenic mass murderer and spend the rest of your life in an 8 X 9 white padded room where they play the soundtrack from The Sound of Music for the rest of eternity.

THE END (turn to page 24.)

14.) You wait for a little while until the coast is clear and then you open your window to make a run for it. You decide that the best thing to do is go down the street to your friend Adam’s house. It is still raining slightly so it would be ideal to get your bike, but there is a chance that you may be spotted in the process of getting it off the porch. It isn’t too far away, so you could probably make it by foot in about a half hour.

To attempt to take the bike, go to page 16.

To walk to Adam’s house, go to page 17.

15.) A few hours pass as you play videogames and you decide it would be a good time to head out of your room. By this time, The Sound of Music should be over and you might be able to find something good on TV.

Go to page4.

16.) You make your way around the house to the back porch. You bike is sitting under the gazebo and it seems that no one is around. You grab the bike and take it down the steps. As you are ready to start off, you hear the voice of you father and you know you’re busted.

Go to page 11.

17.) You decide that taking the bike is too risky to you make a straight shot through the trees to the road. After about a mile and a half, you reach Adam’s house only to find that he has too much school work to do and no time to do anything else for the weekend. At this point, you only have the option of heading back home to face the music. You know that you’ll be grounded immediately if you head back, but the only other option is to use your survival skills and find some place to hide for the night.

If you head back home, go to page 19.

If you are to stubborn to head back, go to the next page.

18.) You attempt to find to a spot along the woods on the way home where you familiar with. On your way there, you cross a section of woods with dense pine trees that will provide some cover. The pine needles on the ground might even provide a somewhat descent bed. It is still raining, but not much water is reaching you through the pine trees. As you think about how you are going to face you parents tomorrow, you can only hope that the rain does not pick up throughout the night.

Turn to page 12.

19.) The temperature is dropping quickly as you head back home. You finally enter your bedroom with shame as your parents give you a look of disappointment. When you get in your room, you realize that the Sega Genesis and TV are missing. There is no chance of leaving your room anytime soon and you don’t even have any good books around to read. Another quiet night is in store as you shut of the light and pull the blankets over your head.

THE END (turn to page 24.)

20.) A few years later, you are lucky enough to upgrade to a Sony Playstation. With this platform, you will be able to play the most state-of-the-art games with 3-D graphics and intense story lines. You begin with some sports games which are fun but soon become boring much like Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Soon, a new game is released entitled Metal Gear Solid, which has been reviewed to contain a deep plot with intense action.

The game has a very deep development of all of its characters and the action is completely story-driven. It takes you well over twenty hours of playtime to finish the game the first time you play it. There are also instances in which your decisions control whether certain characters live or die, thus leading to multiple endings. Lengthy cut-scenes are used to develop the plot of the game making it almost seem like more of an interactive movie than a video game.

This unique representation of narrative captures your interest in such a way that you purchase the sequels in the near future and continue to be a fan of the series for many years. You can only hope that another form of medium will also be used someday to continue the plot development of the intense multiple-game series.

THE END (turn to page 24.)

21.) The novel you choose to read is a Hardy Boys mystery, Dead in the Water. It is an interesting story which is easy to relate to since it involves two younger boys which, throughout the series, seem to get themselves into mysterious situations. The book takes you a considerable amount of time to read and once you are finished, you look out the window to see that it is still raining. Such an interesting story has possibly sparked your interest in reading another book, but there are also other things that could be done with your time.

If you continue to read more books, turn to the next page.

If you decide to try something else, go to page 9.

22.) You continue to read another Hardy Boys novel which is just as interesting as the first and you are becoming addicted to mystery novels. You continue reading until your eyes hurt and you still desire more. Your family asks why you have been spending so much time in the basement on the couch and suggests that you do something else for a change. Your sister mentions that your favorite show is coming up soon.

To continue reading more and more books, go to the next page

To watch TV with your sister, go to page 8

23.) You have been reading alone in your basement during your free time for most of the school year. Your friends at school have been talking about a new videogame that has come out called Metal Gear Solid. You have no idea what they are talking about and feel like an outcast from the conversation. You can’t wait to get home and head to the basement couch. Your only friend for the next few months will be the bookcase of various adventures. A few years pass and you realize that it may be your only friend for a long time.

THE END (turn to page 24.)

24.) Your adventure is not over! Go back and try another route and realize that your choices decide your destiny. If you received a “good “ ending, chances are you picked a variety of different uses of narrative including movies, TV shows, books, and videogames. If you received a “bad” ending, chances are you limited yourself to the form of narrative.

Technology has enabled some wonderful advancement to be created that benefits narrative structures. Visual representations and special effects have been able to show narrative content in ways that text never could. It is important to embrace this new technology as well as old forms of narrative.

Each form of narrative has its own advantage and should be regarded as equally important. Text will most likely always have the imaginative advantage, since the reader’s imagination shapes the setting, characters and plot to their own interpretation. Videogames have their advantage due to the fact that the player must make choices that affect the storyline of the game. Television and movies can have a variety of different advantages such as the use of animation to appeal to younger audiences as well as the way in which musicals provide an extra element to narratives that no other medium could. For the record, the author does not despise The Sound of Music as much as he did when he was nine years old. He has learned that is it important to embrace all different forms of narrative.


zach said...

I like what you are trying to do here. The way you incorporated the development of narrative from sega to playstation was a good addition to the story. However I was a little surprised when I went to the next page and suddenly found myself playing playstation three years later. If you could maybe put another page in connecting the two, I think that would help out.
I also liked the content of your story, I could easily relate to it...Doug is awesome and my sister always has some dumb things on TV. But I noticed there aren't many activities to choose from, it's either play video games, read, or mess with your sisters. If you add in another activity I think that would help out alot too. Besides that I think you are on your way to an entertaining story.

A. Benevent said...

this is a pretty interesting project for a CYOA for one reason that I find particularly funny -- The protagonists of these stories that we've been reading are (with the exception of Night of a Thousand Boyfriends) usually about 12 years old. There's something really refreshing and unexpected in its expectedness of seeing a little kid do little kid stuff in a CYOA narrative.

As to what Zach said, in terms of there being nothing to do except play video games, read, or fuck with your family, Zach obviously never grew up in a small town. I think the lack of anything real to do growing up is what lead to me depending on alcohol or working on/driving a car as a way to enjoy an afternoon.

Anyway, another point I'd just like you to consider is that of argument. Maybe it's the fact that I just got done reading "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" and thus my mind is already trying to figure out what went on there (Dr. Johns I'm hoping you can shed some light on that for me), but I can't really seem to find a concrete answer when I ask myself what you're arguing.

Anyway, it's a solid piece of work, for sure. Like anything else, it just needs a little fine tuning. Keep it up.