Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Graded Blog # 6 (Option 2)

As defined by an online source, interactivity is “the extent to which something is interactive; the extent to which a computer program and human being may have a dialog.” My own personal definition of interactivity is similar. I believe interactivity is a way of being able to convey a message to someone or something; a way of communication. As we have discussed in class, a narrative is a representation of an event or a series of events. So I guess I would say that an “interactive narrative” is a way to represent events and feel as though you are really there, possibly even interacting with other characters; Not just reading a story, but actually being there.

Gilligan’s Cup of Death was actually sort of fun to read. I think it does fit the definition of an “interactive narrative.” At least by my definition it does. The words “interactive” and “narrative” seem to contradict themselves until you read this story. In a “choose your own adventure” book, the narrative must be written in a very personal way. The author uses words, such as “you,” and phrases, such as “where do you want to go next.” This pulls the reader into to story. The reader must ‘interact’ with the other characters in the book to solve a mystery. You are written right into the story because you must make your own decisions on where you want to go next or who you want to talk to.

Interactivity adds a sense of you actually being in the story. It allows you to relate to the story when it is made that personal. While reading Cup of Death, I could actually picture myself driving all over Japan trying to solve the mystery of a missing tea bowl. Instead of just reading about someone else solving a mystery, I got to solve it myself and choose my own paths I wanted to take.

While the author is writing about events over a period of time, she is also pulling the reader into the story, so as to make them interact with the other characters.

Even though I found Zork to be very frustrating while I was playing, it is still an interactive narrative. It tells a narrative in a slightly different way. Instead of just reading, the player must make up the narrative as they go. You have to interact with the computer to give commands to get to your next destination (even if it doesn’t always work!). Eventually, if you make it far enough, you will have your own little narrative that you were in control of.

Interactivity in books and games makes narratives a whole lot more interesting. Instead of just reading about someone else, you essentially get to read about yourself and make the story your own.

1 comment:

Adam Johns said...

Your definition, especially your personal definition, was very interesting: interactivity as define by message-passing (the computer science majors should particularly pay attention to this idea; think in terms of messages passed between objects, maybe).

While the rest of your discussion was interesting, it didn't really make use of your interesting and highly focused definition; you move from the idea of a dialogue (between you and the narrative?) into the more commonplace, to me, idea that interactive means feeling like you're there.

That's actually a decent approach to, and you do fine with it, but I found the first idea more compelling, and the shift somewhat confusing.

I liked your discussion of Zork, but I felt, maybe incorrectly, that you weren't really using either definition here...