Friday, September 30, 2011

Fiction, life, computer games

I read fiction in sequential order, starting with the front cover and progressing page by page until I reach the back cover. Why not jump to random places in the book as we read, as we do with computer programs or mathematical proofs? Because fiction represents life, and life is lived in sequential order, each day following the previous one, starting with the day of our birth and progressing until the day of our death.

Computer games also force us to sequentially progress from level to level, and we usually cannot progress to the next level until we have succeeded in the current level. Why can we not skip ahead? Is it because they're supposed to model life?

In fact, in most computer games the character keeps getting stronger and stronger as they accumulate experience. Are there no computer games in which the character, after a certain point, starts diminishing in strength and has to practice compensating for decreased abilities? For example, if they have to throw some objects at a target, beyond some level, there might be some random perturbation that makes them shoot not so straight and miss the target with increased probability. I wonder how unpopular such a game might be.

7 comments:

  1. Fiction often jumps back and forth in time. It's not that it describes life in the order that it happened. It's that the author chose in which order you discover things, and wrote things in an order that should make sense.

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  2. Anonymous, you're right of course. But why do we not read fiction like a Math paper?

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  3. I read fiction for enjoyment. It is a story. I read math proofs for knowledge. If I wanted knowledge from a fiction then i would go straight to the end to find out what happened.

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  4. I don't see such a sharp divide. Enjoyment is part of the reason why I read math papers, and knowledge is part of the reason why I read fiction - not because I care so much about what happens to fictional characters, but because it gives some knowledge about human nature. (Although I do read trashy airport novels just to pass the time and throw them away afterwards).

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  5. Jessica Delmar was a drug addict game, a nerd and did not have many friends, the divorce of his parents make him lose his.

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  6. Actually, I often read fiction randomly, rather than in order, and then read it more carefully at leisure if I find it worthwhile. I seem to enjoy it as much.

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  7. In one of the campaigns of Warcraft 3:The Frozen Throne, the main character (Arthas) loses power as the game goes on. Previously that power was acquired by the same character in Warcraft 3, also as a playable character. Kind of similar to what you mention.

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