Friday, February 14, 2014

Zork and Neuromancer: Revision

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.  Those are the different types of games that I was always used to playing so I knew it would be skeptical on how well I would be into it.  But once I started playing Zork and it started making sense, I actually became enjoyable to me.  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.  Some people may not be satisfied with what’s going on all through the game but I like the way the game plays out.  Just from the blast of energy running through my veins while playing the rest of this game and feeling stuck with that strange feeling on wondering what I have to put to continue, plays a huge part on what it's like to experience playing Zork!  That type of urgency gets me to think more and keeps me into the game.  Neuromancer brings that same kind of excitement!  It took me a while to get used to this as well but after I kept reading it started to make more sense and catch my attention.  This novel has its engagement to sci-fi with the Matrix and human elements being read all through it and I wouldn’t have understood that any better than by playing Zork.  Therefore, both are hand-in-hand with having each other make sense.  Overall, by playing the game “Zork” you can start to understand the novel “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.
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.  When mentioning sci-fi, I mean its fiction based on made-up future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, which frequently portray space or time travel and life on other planets, known primarily as “science fiction.”  These types of books are science based depictions and are not necessarily accepted by mainstream science like extrasensory perception, but are often alongside futuristic elements such as spacecraft, robots, cyborgs, interstellar space travel and many other technologies.  Neuromancer uses many of these futuristic elements such as cyborgs being the main overall one, which makes it apart of this genre. 
Zork on the other hand, in terms of both the quality of the story-telling it has an impact on throughout the game combined with the setting being in the ruins of an ancient empire laying far down underground leaves very little doubt how science-fiction it is.  The story-telling is a major key with the player having many encounters with dangerous creatures which include deadly grues (or monsters), an axe-wielding troll, a huge Cyclops, and a sprightly-fingered thief.  The date in which the game sets in the year of 948 GUE also tells the time in which this game is set in old fashion.  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.
In the article “The Dream of a Cyberpunk Future? Entelechy, Dialectical Tension, and the Comic Corrective in William Gibson's Neuromancer,” it talks about how Neuromancer is a part of the science fiction with cyberpunk that details a future that closely resembles the way we’re living now.  This article explains how Gibson encourages self-reflection by looking at what life is like during the present and comparing it to the life that’s like the one in Neuromancer which is in the future.  Now if we really sat down and imagined what the difference would be between these two lifestyles they would certainly be incomparable I believe.  If I were to choose I would still want to live the life we’re living now just for the simple fact that I enjoy what this life brings so I wouldn’t want to chance it and a lifestyle like Neuromancer be much worse.  It makes you think if this world would ever turn out that way with robots and cyborgs by how far technology has come through the years.  The real reason in discussing the future in Neuromancer is because this article can also pertain to Zork as well. 
For instance, you have this video game that’s certainly old, has descent graphics (mega pixels), and is pretty much played the same way through the whole game with story-telling.  Now when you fast forward many years later till now, the way games are being played today have the best graphics, and many more features in them that makes the game more enjoyable than ever before.  Who knew during the separation between when Zork got published compared to the games that get published today would be so much altered or different.  It makes you now look back to how the science fiction life is like in Neuromancer and if there is a chance our present life can make a huge change in that direction, just like Zork did when comparing the video games nowadays.  Many people believe life can eventually plan out in this direction with technology becoming broader and broader every year, but I don’t unless it was mentioned in the bible.
In conclusion, from reflecting back on “Zork” and “Neuromancer”, you can see in numerous ways how much they both help one another in getting to make the other comprehensible.  Neuromancer’s main focus is how Case is going on an adventure to crack a code and receive a prize.  Meanwhile, Zork’s main purpose is similar because it’s a player that also goes on an adventure of detouring through dangerous land in order to get wealthy and collect prizes.  The other reason is how the novel is being built around a computer hacker by the name of Case.  In comparison, Zork would be a perfect comparison because the computers that Case is hacking can be similar to the computers that are being played on with Zork and also it’s graphics by the years.  Lastly, the article would be my final response on how they both help to make each other understandable because they both have a focus on comparing a present time with a future.  Besides my reasons for Zork and Neuromancer being a part of the science fiction existence, both this novel and game are two of the most interesting things to make common with one another in the basis of understanding.

Renegar, Valerie R. and Dionisopoulos, George N. “The Dream of a Cyberpunk Future? Entelechy, Dialectical Tension, and the Comic Corrective in William Gibson's Neuromancer.” Pitt Cat + Library. Southern Communication Journal. Sept. 2011.

Neuromancer. William Gibson. July, 1984. THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP. New York

1 comment:

Adam said...

The introduction rambles too much. I think I understand some of the connections you're trying to make, but the last sentence of your intro says it all: "Overall, by playing the game “Zork” you can start to understand the novel “Neuromancer” in many ways." You still haven't told us what you'll actually be focusing on here - rather than telling us how Zork changes Neuromancer, you say that it changes it in many ways. More focus is almost always a good thing.

The 2nd paragraph serves no purpose.

The 3rd paragraph seems purposeless, but it really isn't. "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." I'm not sure I really get what you're saying, but I know there's something here. You're interested in puzzles, or resistance, or barriers (you might have your own preferred term) in the novel and the game. I think I like the idea, but then I'm not entirely sure I even get it - this needed to be developed much more specifically.

"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." -- Arguably, a reworded version of this should have started your introduction. You have productive, interesting ideas at this point, but you don't yet have a specific argument. This kind of a material is a good *source* for a finished argument.

The paragraphs beginning "Both Zork and Neuromancer" and "Zork on the other hand" are not productive. You are not even coming close to making an argument here. You are doing a comparison, but by comparing every aspect of the two that you can think of, you aren't actually doing anything to advance an argument. You need more focus & depth - you don't need to have such broad coverage.

The next couple paragraphs don't make a whole lot of sense to me.

Then we have the conclusion, where you return to the most interesting thing you've done - the idea that Neouromancer and Zork are both concerned with solving puzzles to get prizes. What you needed to do here, rather than get derailed in many, many different directions, was develop this idea.

1) First, *prove* that Neouromancer in particular is structured in this way. (It's obvious that Zork is - Neouromancer is not so obvious).
2) Argue that when we realize that Neouramncer has a video-game-like structure, we can and should read it in a different way. How, in other words, does boiling Case down to a treasure-hunter change our reading?

Fundamentally, you needed to focus much harder. You had the worthwhile idea, but you had trouble pursuing it. In the future, you need to force yourself to write in defense of one clear argument.