Interference

By: Lee Jones

When I play games, I play them for fun and as a distraction from the rest of my life, including schoolwork. This has been the mindset that I have had throughout my life, and this is the mindset that I entered this class with. Now, playing the games is a class assignment, and while my logical mind recognizes this fact, the unconcious part of my brain that schedules out my days still puts gaming under the title of “leisure activity.” When I plan out when to do homework, this unconcious part of me schedules homework for my other classes, such as Latin, before gameplay time. This is not to say that I don’t enjoy the games themselves, and this may in fact mean that I enjoy the games too much. I guess the correct way to term this is that my other obligations interfere with my gameplay time, rather than vice-versa.

Corporate Ownership and You

By: Lee Jones

Corporate ownership does in fact affect the narrative experience of the players. Corporations are in place to make money. In order for the corporations to make money, they have to appeal to the players of their games. In order to appeal to the palyers, the corporations have to find the correct balance between storyline and action. If the game has too much storyline, some players will become bored with the game because it doesn’t have enough action. However, if the game is all action, then some players will feel that they are being cheated out of the storyline that they really wanted. The corporations have to control the amount of narrative in their games to stay in business.

For example, Star Wars Galaxies started as a game that was all about the narrative experience of its players. However, the company that owns it essentially remade the game in such a way that it is now a MMO hack-and-slash game that is not storyline intensive. This move cost the company many of its customers. Stories abound of palyers that had multiple accounts, and soon after the change deleted all of them, or only left one active.

By thier vey existence, corporations do affect the narrative experience of the players of their games. They have to control the narrative to keep the most people happy, and in doing so also lose some of their “valued customers.”

Herunar

By: Lee Jones

This is a very late post about my character in LOTRO. Enjoy it if you like.

Herunar is an elf that was originally from Mirkwood. He was an only child, and, like many elves, he ejoyed simpler pleasures, such as reading and music. One day while he was still young by elven standards, he met a wizard by the name of Radagast the Brown. Seeing this wizard in action against the forces of evil that had been brought into the forest by the Necromancer in Dol Guldur had an effect on Herunar. He decided to devote himself to the study of arcane lore. The library in king Thranduil’s hall helped somewhat, but Herunar soon found that if he was to learn the great secrets of his chosen path, he would have to say goodbye to his forest home and seek answers on the other side of the Misty Mountains. His journey was fraught with danger, but finally he made it to Rivendell. Elrond then told him to travel to Lindon, in Ered Luin, and there he would find the knowledge that he would need to start along the path to greatness.

Immersive Internet?

Stephenson describes a new form of the internet, the Metaverse, in his book Snow Crash. This Metaverse and it’s Street, which connects everything in the Metaverse, are the newest way for the cool kids to hang out and waste time. This world is totally customizable, within the standards of the few rules that the designers decided to put into place. The first settlers of this new world were the hackers, such as Hiro, who designed places for themselves to stay. Soon, however, everyone else started showing up. now the avatars range from the realistic to the “Brandys” and “Clints.”

The Metaverse is not so very futuristic. Most of the technology has already been invented, and the rest of it would not be difficult to invent. The market definitely exists. Think of all the people that spend so much time playing video games on the internet so they can escape this reality for a little while. Now imagine all of the people that would like to escape to a world that they have this much control over. The concept is astounding…

A Quest for a Title

By: Lee Jones

The King of Kong. This title was given to not only a movie, but it was also given to a person. Billy Mitchell held this title for years, until an unemployed upstart, Steve Wiebe, decided to take it from him. Steve Wiebe is the protagonist of The King of Kong because he is the main character, as evidenced by the cameras following him around and telling his present story. The antagonist, Billy Mitchell, was portrayed in the movie as being mean spirited toward Steve Wiebe. He is shown as the antagonist by the fact that he is constantly opposed to Steve Wiebe as well as by his actions. He is shown ignoring Steve’s call and Steve told about how people were sent, possibly by Billy, to spy on Steve’s machine to make sure he was not cheating.

The entire movie was about two quests undertaken by the protagonist and antagonist. Steve Wiebe, the protagonist, undertook the quest to beat Billy’s record for Donkey Kong. Billy, on the other hand, started a quest to keep his title. These quests were the main story telling points throughout the movie. Without these quests, the movie would have no story and would collapse. Steve’s quest was successful, but in the end, Billy took his title back.

Have it Your Way

By: Lee Jones

The Lord of the Rings has survived since the publication of the Hobbit in 1937. Since that first installment, the series has grown into one of the most adored fantasy series in history. The Lord of the Rings franchise has also grown with the help of the production of the movie trilogy. In 2007, Turbine released The Lord of the Rings: Shadows of Angmar. I have been playing this game, and the level to which Turbine reproduced Tolkien’s world has not ceased to amaze me. As a serious Tolkien fan, I did not expect to be impressed with the storyline elements of Lotro.

The movie also did not disappoint me. Peter Jackson, the director of the movie, stuck with the book on as much of the storyline as he possibly could, and left things out in such a way that the things could have happened without the camera actually showing it. I think that the game works with the movie to empower fans with the means to become fully immersed in Tolkien’s world. The fans can watch the movie to “live” with Frodo and the Fellowship, then they can play the game and “live” their own adventure that coincides with the movie, but also does not follow the exact story. The game’s story revolves around a character that the player creates and is influenced by the decisions that the player makes while playing the game. This combination could seem like a travesty to some, but I think that the fans should choose which one to partake of at any point in time.

Maybe Burger King was not talking about choosing between movies and video games and the different modes of telling stories that they take, but I think that their slogan of “Have it Your Way” really sums up my view of this choice. If movies bore you, but you love games, take the game. If games do not interest you, but you love epic movie that will take over three hours to watch, then take the movie. If, like me, you like both, take both and combine them to enrich your entire Lord of the Rings experience.