Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Wed. Section; Being in Control.

"Instead of narration and description, we may be better off thinking about games in terms of narrative actions and exploration." (Manovich)
"'We are creating environments to just wander around inside of. people have been calling it a game for lack of anything better, and we've called it a game at times. But that's not what it really is; it's a world.'" (Manovich)
"'A lot of them [fiction writers] develop their individual characters in detail, and they say what is their problem in the beginning, and what they are going to grow to learn in the end. That's not the method I've used ... I have the world. I have the message. And then the characters are there to support the world and the message'" (Manovich)
"Given that new media are most often experienced, like paintings, via a rectangular frame, virtual architects can study how painters organize their spaces within the constraints of a rectangle." (Manovich)

During section, I would like to focus on the above quotations from Manovich's article. I find it fascinating that he differentiates the terms "narration and description" with "narrative action and exploration." In particular, I would like to focus on the map versus an exploration/visit/tour. When explorers navigated physical space, they used maps and there are certain ways and protocols involved with reading a map (along with different sets of tools). First with map, you can figure out where you are by using a compass and looking around your surroundings to see if the river is flowing a certain way, or if there is a moutainpeak there etc, etc to orient yourself. With the Internet and videogames, you aren't sure where you are. The map of the internet is so vast and so expansive that you can't for certain say that "YOU ARE IN THE WHITE MOUNTAINS OF NEW HAMPSHIRE" as you would be able to if you went there. However, with the Internet, you can't just say, "Oh I'm on a blogging website" or "I am on a website about China." No, because these aren't specific enough....

I'm not sure exactly what I'm trying to say here, but I just would like to talk about the sets of tools that the interface has in order to "orient" ourselves within the unreal space. The "go back one webpage" button or the "ctrl f" button or the "return to home" or even on this website "dashboard" "my account" "help" "sign out" "view blog" and so on. There are so many choices and so many places to go, which allows for one to get lost in the space, AND/YET feel "secure" about being lost because you can always just type "gmail.com" or "google.com" and click the "back one page" button. So I guess I would like to point out and discuss how Internet, video games (the pause button, the return to home, the save key) all take in to account of our fear of insecurity. I can be sure that when I type in gmail.com, I'll be able to check my email and confirm an interview that I have this Friday...

And does this also play into our the idea that the grass is greener on the unreal side? And how is this problematic? Could this ever create a society of control -- but this is somehow not possible due to its distributive creation (i.e. how Internet/video games are now a writerly text)? And then just as a technical question, why is it that we prefer the navigation in this 2-D model and we haven't made advances with the the 3-D interactive computers? Perhaps this has to deal with our desire to feel "in control" and secure in our ability to exist both in the real world and the unreal world simultaneously.

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