It's been a while & future projects
Catching up post was in order. I have been absent from the blogosphere because real life has been demanding more attention of me for quite some time: I moved to the UK, started my last year of English Literature, began working on my dissertation. Which, by the way, is related to this blog and to what you will soon see being published here: interactive literature, narrative structures of hypertext fiction and video games.
My intention is to replay an assorted list of modern and old RPGs and analyse their narrative elements, picking up the different ways in which the stories are constructed, paying special attention to the tools. In traditional literature, the basic and ultimate tool through which the world is constructed is the word, with all its nuances. In video games, developers are given multimedia tools of various sorts which would facilitate the creation of a very complex experience, but which are often mis- and underused. Even our basic societal tool, the language, is often underemployed in our medium, leading to the conception of video games as a lower art, if at all.
I would like to explore, in my dissertation and the ensuing, previewing posts, the ways in which narrative is construed in games, and how a better understanding of traditional media might help consolidate games - and also what traditional media could learn from modern interactive narratives.
My list of games is ever-growing. So far, I intend to discuss: Planescape: Torment, Mass Effect (not sure if all or just one of them), Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II, Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2, Neverwinter Nights 2 (probably 1 as well), Chrono Trigger (fantastic SNES game that plays with the concept of time), TES: Morrowind or Oblivion, Bastion, To the Moon, Dear Esther, World of Warcraft... Sadly, I don't have all the time in the world, or I would play and re-play these and many more. But, by all means, if you have any suggestions or know of a title that might be fertile for discussion, feel free to comment. For instance, I am not that well-acquainted with indie titles that would challenge the way in which video games are usually constructed, and would welcome any ideas in that department.
On another note, what I am currently playing: Mainly Mists of Pandaria, but in my usual unconventional way: I have avoided the abrasive LFD scene so far and I only do some dailies while taking my breakfast, when I am not yet person enough to be capable of mindful interaction with my environment. Thankfully I play on a PVE server. I am one of these people that Doone considers that play a sandbox in spite of the game rules. Quote: "The truth is that RPers bring something from outside of Azeroth *into* Azeroth. They bring their community with them. No I don’t mean they round up 100s of RPers and collectively subscribe to the game. I mean they have an idea of how to play the game despite the activities available. In this sense, the virtual environment is more of a canvas for them than an already painted landscape to navigate. There are other unique groups of players in WoW who behave similarly to this, so it’s important to emphasize the point here: these exceptional players aren’t operating under the rigid rules of Azeroth, but despite them." WoW, or rather Warcraft, is the medium of my own narrative and that of other players, and a world we inhabit in spite of all the changes. I can still enjoy Netherstorm, the Burning Crusade, within a new context that I bring to the game. I already went to Pandaria as a player, a plunderer; in the future, I will visit it with the spirit of a true adventurer.
Last note, on a more personal level. I feel like sharing with you, even though I had always strived to keep my personal life away from my blogging persona. But then I recalled how I love hearing other blogger's real life anecdotes and their personal experiences, because that somehow makes them closer to me. I think I could spare some personal thoughts from time to time, so here we go:
This being the last year of my degree, I began thinking about the future. Will I study a masters? What do I want to work as? I undertook English Literature for pleasure, and thinking at the time that translation would be an industrious endeavour, but I am no longer certain. It is a creative job, but very constricting as well. You would be arranging words always within the limits of another's creation. I want to make my own words. I would publish that novel that I've been working on for quite some time, but that is no job, not unless you get lucky. Teaching? Perhaps, to win the bread, for a time. I might even like it if I tried. But as with sushi, I tried plenty of times and I still detest it. But it looks so round and spongy... Well, where am I getting to? I thought I would try to work in the video games industry as one of those guys/gals that works on the game script, quests, plot. My boyfriend might start a degree in Video Games Development next year, in a very reputable university, and I would go with him, elbow my way into some company, indie or mainstream. Perhaps found our own. It's risky, but less than stepping into a classroom full of boisterous little rascals. It is the road less traveled by, And I must follow, if I can, / Pursuing it with eager feet, / Until it joins some larger way / Where many paths and errands meet. / And whither then? I cannot say. [The Road Goes Ever On]