Video Games and Hypertext?

All throughout this week we have been discussing hypertext and its format. Not one to be considered “computer illiterate” in any means, I must admit that I did not know the meaning of http and html until starting this course. As we talked about in class, hypertext was around before computers were essentially “invented” which more correctly means before they were as accessible and transportable as they are today.  As we all know by now, hypertext is text displayed with links (hyperlinks) that said person is able to instantly access. As I discovered throughout this week, hypertext can also included tables or pictures, as seen the poems assigned for Mondays reading.

Playing Adventure Time was somewhat of a shock to me. You could create a game based solely on words and links?  This got me thinking about the relationship, if there was one, between video games and hypertext. Surely the two conceited because both contained words and had to deal with digital technology stuff that I didn’t understand. After a little digging, I was surprised to find that the two are hardly related (and there are whole websites devoted to discussing/arguing this relationship). Growing  up in the age of computers where every 8 year old has a cell phone (why???) it is natural to assume that Video Games include hypertext.

The term Video Game has come to mean any game played on an electronic device. Whether we play COD on our Xbox, or WOW on our computer, we call them the same thing. For homework we had to play Adventure Time, which is a game based solely on hypertext. Like this game, Zork is similar being a desedant of Adventure Time/Colossal Cave. It is also one of the earlier interactive fiction video games. This game runs on the PDP system that we talked about in class yesterday. Some say that this game was the gateway into video games. There is even an Iphone game app for it (who knew right?). The definite split between Video Games and Hypertext games occurred with the creation of The Legend of Zelda, which I’m sure we all played.  Instead of only using text and the keyboard to navigate through the game, Zelda uses graphics. This was the start of the gaming console, and the use of interactive graphics. Not a lot of hypertext to be found.

Video Games as we know them today are obviously not hypertext. The only real similarity between the two is in the form of their menus, which are links to other things (a feature of hypertext). Think of a Video Game as being able to create your own story, while Hypertext is a system through which you navigate.

If your dying to read more about it, here a website dedicated to studying the differences between the two.

  2 comments for “Video Games and Hypertext?

  1. February 7, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    While I enjoy Adventure Time as much as anyone else, I think you mean Adventure a.k.a. ADVENT a.k.a. Colossal Cave Adventure?

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