Thursday, January 30, 2014

Zork and Neuromancer

Zork and Neuromancer

While playing the game “Zork” I got a lot of feedback that I thought was useful.  For one I didn’t know the game was going to be set up the way it was, but more like an actual video game such as Pac-man, Racing, or Battleship that’s on Atari, considering the fact it came out many years ago.  But once I started playing it and it started making sense, I actually started to enjoy it.  Seeing on the screen, “You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.  There is a small mailbox here. >___” leaves me to wonder what I have to put to continue.  Throughout the rest of the game I’m stuck with that same feeling wondering what do I have to put to continue?  That type of urgency gets me to think more and keeps me into the game. By playing Zork you can understand Neuromancer in many ways.

While being in the late 1970’s, Zork is considered to be one of the earliest interactive fiction computer games while still having origins that were drawn for the original game Colossal Cave Adventure.  It was known for being the perfect unique game from the quality it has shown from the storytelling and the complexity of its text parser, which didn’t limit to basic verb-noun commands, but was recognized by the prepositions and conjunctions.  So from playing the game I noticed a lot of detail that compared to Neuromancer.  This book is known mainly for being an important work in the cyberpunk genre that tells the story of a washed up computer hacker who was hired by a skeptical employer to pull off one of the ultimate hacks in history.  When you think of this book, you can easily see that it’s about computer hacking. But by playing Zork, the graphics of the game with the way the “tiles” are set up when typing in your answers to the game, resembles the way older computers graphics were set up and the way the “tiles” were used when typing on a keyboard and seeing what appears on the screen referring to a computer being hacked.  It’s almost how the structure of the game is being used.  Each time you give an answer you will eventually receive a response on if you can continue or not.  That’s the whole purpose on how the technology of the game is set up so when you compare that to Neuromancer, the steps are in the same way because while reading this book there’s many different guidelines they have to follow and certain orders which leads them to hack a computer.  Another reason I can get a better understanding of Neuromancer from playing Zork is because in this video game, the main idea is a player who goes on an adventure of detouring through dangerous land in order to get wealthy/rich.  Just like in Neuromancer, Case is going through a similar-like adventure to crack a code and get a prize as well.  These are the reasons on how I can see Neuromancer being concerned in a world of which life has become rather like a video game.

Overall, both Zork and Neuromancer relate to one another by being a part of the whole sci-fi/cyber world, in terms of how they are fictional while taking place in a world where it’s not the same as today.  They both take place in a time that is far from this age in century but at the same time has people thinking how cool it would be to go back into that era.


Adam said...

The first paragraph doesn't argue anything, or even make a comparison between the two works - it reads as a set of almost random comments about playing Zork, which serve no clear purpose. Ideally you want to be *begin* with a clear argument or at least idea in mind.

The second paragraph begins to make a comparison. I have trouble following it, but here's my version: the highly ordered nature of the way we move through and interact with Zork is like the highly elaborate and ordered (something) of Neuromancer. The (something) is where it falls apart for me - I don't understand what parts of Neuromancer you found to be highly structured. This required a lot of thinking and elaboration to work well. It's an early idea, but you aren't elaborating it through the relevant specifics of either the text or the game, and it's not even clear enough to be called an argument.

Your last paragraph does nothing.

Overall: You need both a clear argument about a text (or text & game, in your case) and evidence for that argument. Both are critical and both are missing here. What are you trying to say, and how are you going to convince us that it's correct?

Kurt Wichman said...

If I had not done the same prompt, I'm not positive I'd be able to clearly identify what you were trying to say. However, I think the comparisons you DO make are valid and interesting. Like stated, I also did this prompt but paid no attention to the 'steps and processes' comparison that you did. I think it would have been more substantial if you developed it more instead of just making the claim and moving on to the next point. If you had a more structured argument and outline/shaping of your essay, the points you make could be more fulfilling. In your last paragraph you compare how they are both of the sci-fi genre, but give that point no support. With more evidence and support, you could certainly strengthen the argument about how they are both examples of cyberpunk.