Bloody Tears of Agony

by Calvin Patimeteeporn

 

Professor Hall:

Imagine you are playing the game Tetris. You’re playing along but you slowly begin to realize that the game is only giving you the awkward (and devastating) “Z” shaped blocks and you can never make a line. No matter how hard you try, the blocks fall down in unwanted patterns, creating tiny spaces that prevent you from your goal. Even though these “Z” blocks have the same number of blocks (4) as the other pieces you need, you are not able to win.

Now retain with this image but add bleeding tears of agony.

This, Professor Hall, is what reading Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser is like:

bleeding

If you think this is bad, you should see me when I read Twilight.

Continuing with my Tetris metaphor, while the number of “blocks” of the “Z” shaped blocks are the same as the others, its the arrangement that throws you completely off. Spenser wrote this epic (epic in its actual definition, rather than the modern slang) in a time where spelling was just as set in stone and mature as Stephanie Meyers’s writing ability. Thus, words he used were spelled completely differently than that of today, resulting in eye-bleeding-worthy confusion. Misspellings and archaic diction both contribute to the verbal pandemonium that ensues when encountered with non-literature savvy people. Much like the scenario in the game above and with Spenser’s work, you can’t win.

 

As well as confusing words, the structure of Spenser’s writing brings grief and frustration as well. Last week in biology, I learned that only 3% of the billions of base pairs in our genome actually code for proteins. This is much like Faerie Queene where basically most of the words used are, for the lack of a better term, junk. There is a small percentage however that actually contribute to story. In Book III Cantos iii, Glauce, the nurse to warrior maiden Britomart, takes said maiden to Merlin to seek help, as Britomart has been struck and sickened by love. Merlin explains to her that she is falling for her destined husband, Arthegall. He could have done so in maybe a few stanzas. However, Spenser decides to switch the characteristics of the wizard Merlin out with that of the Twilight saga, boring and far too long.

Faerie Queene is filled with enough odd spellings to make anyone think they are as illiterate as R. Kelly, and enough unwanted material that Matthew McConnaughey would think he has competition for the next  new romantic comedy movie. So here I warn you Professor Hall, approach Faerie Queene with the caution you would use with a rabid bear. Now if you will excuse me, I feel like this eye bleeding problem has gone out of control.

You are a part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor! Take her away!

by: Calvin Patimeteeporn

Concerning the debate between whether either storyline or gameplay is of higher priority, I have been primarily set on gameplay first, storyline second most of my life. With my experience with early games, storyline seemed pretty useless. However, these games were usually those where storyline would probably be a liability or completely unneeded.

TET

“Oh no! If we don’t make these blocks line up the whole world will explode!”

This progressed through childhood. When I picked up the Pokemon games, I would completely fly past any text and mash the “A” button to breeze by any dialogue. All I cared about was leveling up and beating the Elite Four, winning over the evils of Team Rocket seemed completely irrelevant and boring.

But one game decided to help me see the other side of gaming, the storyline. This game was, of course, Knights of the Old Republic. While I was already a huge Star Wars fan, I was still intent on hacking and slashing through sith and evil droids with my lightsaber . However, when I sat down to actually play it, I was captivated by the narrative and story-based gameplay. Each event and how people interact with your character was completely based upon the choices made by the character, or realistically, me. This was a drastic change of mindset from Dr. Mario where shoving pills down people’s throats required no thought (though it really should have).

Looking back, I realize now that the combat and interface system of the game were a little choppy and not as great as they could be, but I never really cared about it because I was captured by the storyline like the Millennium Falcon was trapped by the Death Star’s tractor beam. The game provided the characters with choices to determine the players alignment with the Force. Either help civilians and fight for justice, or succumb to anger and unleash fury upon the galaxy. This struck me as a great example of one of Wark’s passages where he states that “The gamer elects to choose sides only for the purpose of the game.” (Wark, 012). While, normally people don’t think about killing innocent civilians and idolizing corruption (or at least I hope they do not) they are able to choose a different persona and run freely in the gamespace. This is awesome (in short). So, of course I did this too:


“Bow to your new Sith Lord, Darth Vortrag Nefarious”

So thank you Star Wars, I’ve developed a whole new view on gameplay vs storyline. When a game, though the controls and interface may be sub-par, the storyline is completely 100% capable of making up for this liability. This also benefits by helping immerse the gamer into the virtual world, which, sadly, is still just a virtual world and that completely inaccurate Sith Lord version of myself (though very powerful) is still just a figment of imagination within a game. But if a game can make me draw myself as a Sith Lord, it is definitely worthy of my praise and admiration.

You will now have to excuse me, I have a Sith Empire to run.