This is a little bit frightening.

Media is LIFE. Maybe more for some than others… But if there’s anything I’ve learned since being at Trinity, it’s that media of all form, be it fiction or non, is one of the few things we all share. We watch TV, we play video games, we read books, magazines, comics, and newspapers. We go to the movies, and buy the extended DVD months later. We consume, produce, praise, and complain about media. We enjoy the entertainment media provides for us, and we gain knowledge about local and world events through it. Without media we would be at a loss…

Having come across all of this over the past few years, I had expected to be relatively unsurprised by the information learned through this course. I was, of course, both excited and surprised to find that my “understanding” of media’s importance in our lives was merely skimming the surface. The emergence of transmedia storytelling is beginning to revolutionize the way we consume entertainment. What was once conveyed through the sole medium of the voice has now begun to leak through every facet of technology and media into every crevice of our lives. Shows like Dr. Who are conveyed through every medium possible. Crude cartoons are referencing classical works that were previously reserved for those who were educated and interested enough to seek them out. Alternate Reality Gaming has infiltrated and consumed the lives of those who choose to participate, without even admitting to it’s fictional nature. TV shows and movies use real time events linked to stories to promote their release, or to keep consumers interested. People work together to complete games, understand stories, and mold narratives to their own specifications with fanfiction. Scholars study, analyze, and theorize about the nature of the story– and how it is changing the very fabric of what we perceive to be reality. In a world where reality has become the enemy, escape into fiction is immersive and important to our sanity. Entertainment provides a change from the norm…. perhaps not completely separate from the common themes of reality, but apart from our own personal reality. Stories allow us to forget ourselves and enter into a new world.

Whether this is a change for the better or for the worse, I have yet to discover. Creativity abounds as storytellers must find new ways to hook their audiences. Imaginations are stimulated by the constant need to step outside reality to understand a story. But when fiction becomes more appealing than reality, what is to be said about society? Should we not be investing ourselves in making the real world more satisfying? Should we not strive to make life better for those who feel that they must immerse themselves in fiction to find their way through life? Or is the story really what keeps humanity together? History in itself, as we discussed in class, is nothing but a series of stories strung together to teach us about what has passed.

This class has opened my eyes to both the severity and levity of our situation. I’ve truly enjoyed creating stories to be consumed by others, and coming to understand how complicated it really is to do it right. Similarly, I have been given a Thanksgiving meal for thought. Now when i see an episode of Family Guy, i find myself searching for intertextual references, appreciating the show, and those like it, on a whole new level. Regardless of the reasons behind the importance of stories in society, they provide endless entertainment. The good ones can even open our eyes to the joys and hardships of life with a graceful touch. The bad ones give us something to bitch about (and god knows, we LOVE to bitch). They’re everywhere. Sometimes they’re everything. Stories are the future, the past, and the present. There’s no escaping them, and there’s no denying their existence. It’s a truly amazing concept…

On another note, here’s the link to Evan and I’s comic/journal/short story narrative.

A great end to a great semester in a great class :]

-Robin Murdoch


About niborhcodrum

People tell me I remind them of a chipmunk. I've never really known how to feel about that...
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One Response to This is a little bit frightening.

  1. New Patent for Exalted Storytelling in Videogames!

    All of a sudden people started talking about this patent and the novel game types it proposes:

    Over at the Something Awful forums, a Bethesda employee stated:

    “This may be the first time in history that, rather than blaming video games as the root of society’s problems, they’re being blamed for NOT being the solution.”

    And I answered:

    Yes! That’s what I’m saying! There’s a vast opportunity for epic, exalted art which inpsires the soul!

    And videogames can lead the way with a paradigm shift that both a) leads to deeper storyteling and b) exalts classical ideals and heroic idealism.

    And so, sensing I was a bit ahead of my time after trying to explain it to some MBAs at major gaming companies, I buried it all in a patent or two. It was as if they were against both a)making money and b) exalting art and culture.

    So I figured, if that’s the way they wanted it, then that’s the way they’d get it–they’d come to me.”

    Vampire Zombie Communist Hookers? Patent It!

    Such natural buzz is worth millions, especially when it is based on simple, innovative technologies and design concepts that could easily be added to existing game engines, with far-ranging consequences and new gameplay mechanics, resulting in newfound, superior educational and commercial opportunities:

    “a fallout 3 mod based on this shit would be boss as f$%$.”
    “What’s scary, for me, is that this might be exactly what gamers want.” –
    “What scares me most is I agree with the core pillars of what you are saying.” –

    @SIMDYNASTY: “I didn’t bother reading it, but my friend (who found it) said “did you notice he quotes the Declaration of Independence, Gandhi and then talks about Clint Eastwood and Eminem?”” –
    “That thing is the proverbial gift that keeps on giving.” –
    “Fuck! I actually have to come back and read this later as it will take too long right now. Fucking hell though!”
    @TWITTER: Wow! Most amazing videogame patent ever. Save the earth from communism by not shooting the hooker! 120page WIN –

    “actually a fallout 3 mod based on this shit would be boss as f#@&. you could totally do it, you fight the communist chinese ghouls and use speech trees to save the wasteland from collectivism” –perianwyr

    “All of us who have been struggling to work out how to make meaningful games and interactive narratives can rest easy. The problem has been solved.” –

    “Video Game Idea of the Century!” –Garp
    “This would be the most abstract game ever. I’d play it.” –Dutch
    “That game would be so different that it would have to be good. I’d definitely play it!” –Z A C K
    “I’d play it.” –Bleeding Black

    “here is my concept art for a communist zombie please hire me to make your video game ”
    – –perianwyr

    “This is the greatest videogame patent I’ve ever read.” –EmCeeGramr
    “I think this guy has golden humour.” –Foxspirit
    “Do a Google search on Dr. Elliot McGucken, the dude who filed for the patent. It will blow your mind.” –Zealous D.
    “That’s awesome.” –Tentacle
    “Is this a patent or the insane ratings of mad man?” –speculawyer
    “This thread is so full of win I hardly know what to do with it.”
    “Each line, I keep thinking, ‘This is the funniest shit ever.’ And then I read another line, and…HOW DOES IT KEEP GETTING BETTER?” –alistairw
    “Can you imagine having the guy as your physics professor?”
    “Thread is amazing, though. I can’t help but hope that he’s somehow trolling the patent system…it must be amazing to be a patent worker trying to review it. “And then the player must choose to not quote Marx, thus exalting his classical soul?!””

    “Fu&*^! I actually have to come back and read this later as it will take too long right now. Fucking hell though!”

    “”One man with a gun can control 100 without one. I will suck your blood. Sounds fun. ”
    “the name is “System and method for creating exalted video games and virtual realities wherein ideas have consequences its part of public record, the publication number is 20090017866. Put that number into google and it shows up. The free patent places online generally have the description, but none of the images (which are all similar flow charts). I didnt bother reading it, but my friend (who found it) said “did you notice he quotes the Declaration of Independence, Gandhi and then talks about Clint Eastwood and Eminem?” ”

    “You are clearly a very intelligent, self-driven, inspired and passionate person with vision. What scares me most is I agree with the core pillars of what you are saying. That said some of your flowcharts kill me, I almost died laughing today both from your patent and the Neogaf thread. “When the worst student is told about the way he laughs out loud; if he did not laugh, it would not be good enough to be the way.” -Lao Tzu

    I admire you for your boldness. Honestly don’t think your patent is enforceable, but if you are looking to develop work in the multi-threaded vain your work suggests, you are certainly creating a lot of buzz to leverage. You’ve managed to steer this thread in a different direction…” –Stephen Dinehart

    Ranger, I was not aware of that work, and many of the ideas that I am trying to work out are in there. However, I have a fundamental beef with some parts of it, such as the uselessness of the Hero’s Journey as a narrative structure, the fact that it is a method, not a story, and the fact that it is about game implementation rather than story creation. On the other hand, if such a system ever actually sees the light of day, it would be the perfect tool for creating truly epic interactive stories. My other beef is its generality; I can see three generations of academic debate over just one of the 21 statements: “The method in claim 1 where the said ideas are based upon the pivotal plot points of the great books and classics.” –Jeff Spock

    “Why couldn’t there be a version where, in order to win, you must distribute Marx, Bakunin, and Kropotkin, creating solidarity among the prostitutes, leading to rebellion against the pimps and the establishment of a prostitute’s union?”

    “LF: where the character can battle for said ideas that are based upon classical moral and economic principles of famous philosophers” –Total Hell –

    “dude this is pretty interesting i hope you keep posting around here for a while” –Jay B. Bulworth –

    “mcgucken i would totally buy the shit out of your game ” –Goatstein

    “One of the reasons Spore fell flat is that it forgot to incorproate the mechanisms which separate humanity from the rest of the universe–our moral soul’s natural, exalted longing for truth, beauty, and justice–the fruits of epic storytelling and exalted mytholgies.” –Dr. E

    “You, sir, are fascinating. So much so that I’m not sure where to start.” –Hayt,

    Publius says:
    “I’d probably plop down $45 bucks for your band of revolutionaries versus Marxist zombies shoot-em-up/philosophize-em-up video game.”

    “EA has been struggling to develop new hits to bolster its lineup of reliable sequels to games like the John Madden football series. The company said in late September that it had sold to retailers roughly two million copies of Spore, an ambitious evolution-themed PC game, but it is not clear if Spore was a hit or a profitable game.” –

    “The company also has been under pressure from investors and game makers to come up with creative new game franchises, and critics say it has struggled to do so. The somewhat more iconoclastic Take-Two publishing house was seen by some investors as a union that could bolster Electronic Arts’ creative efforts.” –

    Well, why not incorporate ideas that have consequences and open the floodgates for billions in revenue and a new generation of games?

    “here is my concept art for a communist zombie please hire me to make your video game ”
    – –perianwyr

    Sunday Sundries: “NPC1 becomes vampire/communist” “A video game method and system for creating games where ideas have consequences, incorporating branching paths that correspond to a player’s choices, wherein paths correspond to decisions founded upon ideals, resulting in exalted games with deeper soul and story, enhanced characters and meanings, and exalted gameplay.” Includes a communist vampire.

    Yes–building a prototype will happen in a natural manner, and probably soon, though I am patient!

    Soon we will be able to walk into Best Buy & pick up such novel games incorproating the Gold 45 Revolver/Ideas Have consequences/Moral Premise technologies!

    There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this luke-warmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries … and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of it. – Niccolo Machiavelli

    twitterfeed runcibleansible: RT @ibogost: System and Method for Creating Exalted Video Games and Virtual Realities Wherein Ideas Have Consequences 5 days ago from DestroyTwitter juliandibbell: RT @ibogost

    5 days ago from web ibogost: System and Method for Creating Exalted Video Games and Virtual Realities Wherein Ideas Have Consequences (via @ncroal) 5 days ago from Tweetie arminbw: patent: System and method for creating exalted video games and VRs wherein ide

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