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Aug 21, 2006



Could you clarify what you're discussing when you write that "she makes light of some things that just seem wrong: like the writing of game developers, and the internet; wouldn't you think, in a book about new media, that online resources deserve to be cited just as clearly as papers in print?" I'm not quite sure what you're saying here. Perhaps and example or two would clarify what Ryan is making light of, and in what way these seem wrong.

I'd also like to know more about your reaction to Chapter 6.


Sure. Sorry for the confusion there.

Re: the writings of game developers--Ryan makes an offhanded comment about how books like *Rules of Play* carry no weight in academia (of which her text is a part). Re: the internet--when she quotes print texts, she uses a full citation; when she quotes something published online, she only writes the author's name and "online".

Re: Chapter 6--it's a handy, accessible intro to concepts of narrative in interactive fiction (text adventures) and hyper-fiction. Summed things up nicely, had a nice flow, and approached things from a slightly different angle than I had seen before.


Ryan's editors or The University of Minnesota weren't strict about APA guidelines then, which specify exactly how online citations are to be made.

There are carefully written books that should carry some weight in academia ("Rules of Play" among them). I know that rigorous academic practices were required for Playing Video Games: Motives, Responses, and Consequences, published earlier this year by Lawrence Erlbaum. (I have a chapter in it that was gone over with a fine-tooth academic comb.)

It's a pity that Ryan's book doesn't live up to the academic standards of the day in a book like this, falling instead, apparently, to the same sort of poor writing practices she cites as coming from the game community.


>> What, pray tell, does the success of Survivor, really have to do with narrative?

Well, Survivor and its progeny (at least the successful ones) skillfully manipulate audiences with the same tools that Aldred Hitchcock and his writers, Billy Wilder and his collaborators (excellent remastered DVD of "Double Indemity" was just released!), and dozens of other screenwriters and directors have used since that train robber fired his six-gun at the camera lo these many years ago.

Episodes of "reality" TV are carefully constructed stories using all the artfulness and techniques of cinema acquired over the past century. They are edited for the most dramatic impact. The characters are shaped through editing, lighting, selection of challenge etc. to create the most audience interest (either positive or negative) possible. Suspense, pace, protagonists, antagonists, rising and falling action, reversals etc. etc. etc. are an intrinsic part of every episode and extend over the arc of the entire series.



Bah, I hit "Post" before I was ready. Aldred Hitchcock. Sigh.



I probably shouldn't chime in here since I haven't read this book. (Univ Minn offered us one review copy and Bonnie was quickest on the draw. My stack of books I need to read is way too high at the moment anyway.)

I just want to say that while I can't say anything about this, I'm a big fan of what I know of Marie Laure-Ryan's prior work. I own copies of Narrative as Virtual Reality and Cyberspace Textuality (which she edited) and I've found them really very helpful in thinking through the nature of MMOGs and reader agency. I've learned a lot from her. I especially appreciate her willingness to challenge popular discourse about new media and offer her own innovative approaches.

Though I don't know if she reads Terra Nova, ML-R also participates in some of the interesting debates over at Grand Text Auto. As you can see over there, she's very engaged with the thinking in this space.


Again, I haven't read this one yet, but I'd encourage anyone interested in narrative theory and MMOGs to dig into her prior work.


It also should be noted, to be fair, that I myself am largely unfamiliar with Ryan's earlier works. I'll be sure to get started.


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