Human Involvement

One of my very favorite things about elit is the feeling of control and legitimate imput that I, as the consumer, get out of it. Now, it obviously sounds really bad from a humanistic perspective to say that I love being in control, but let’s face it – that’s the one thing that’s missing from traditional literature.

While I know that I am still limited by the techincal parameters of the poem, the game, the story, etc, unlike reading a traditional book, I feel like I have control over the events that occur. I imagine that same emotional response is what sparks literary travesties like “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” – the need to be involved in a story we already know. To each their own, I guess.

But I know my teeny-tiny God complex is what makes games like the Sims so much fun. “This relationship needs a little infidelity” or “I think it’s time to kill Joe in the pool” are opportunities that I find I am unable to pass up. And that I have a small need to test the environment of the game. How accurately can I reproduce the Twilight universe? (It turns out, extremely accurately.) An endeavor like that gives me a chance to make something that is otherwise extremely sub-par (like Twilight) a much better story and to test endings and relationships that didn’t occur in the book.

Something like the Sims also gives users a chance to test life situations – I know I’ve made so many Sims of myself and people I’ve been interested in dating, just to see how it turns out. Usually, too good to be true. I think games and other systems like the Sims should be considered elit because they do eventually tell a narrative and would not exist without the computer. Unlike some other games, the choices I make determine a unique end to each game, every time.

  2 comments for “Human Involvement

  1. cmccrzy
    February 17, 2012 at 11:42 am

    I feel like sometimes it’s not a god complex but more of a need to work out our desires of what we think should happen in the story. We just want to know how things would change. When you get to know characters enough, you might feel bad for them or want to punish them more. That’s where fanfiction comes into play. You also just want to have fun with some of the characters or give them a voice. You just want to explore. And that’s what a lot of elit does apparently do: give you that chance to explore. Although most of the elit is still limited. You can only explore insofar as the creator of the work has thought things out (unless you’re playing Colossal Cave Adventure, I suppose).

  2. davidadas
    February 21, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Hrm. I find your connection between literary control and “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” to be very interesting and also very accurate. I believe that is what fascinates people so much about video games. It’s not just the fun mechanics that hook us but the fundamental ability to involve ourselves in the story as well.

    There is a flip side to this coin too, however. One of the main reasons I switched from English to Computer Science (oh so many years ago…) was the ability I had obtained to create things you, as the consumer, could control. Whether it’s a video game, an iPhone application, or just a story you programmed in Inform 7, the ability to create something others can use and perhaps even enjoy is a very rewarding process. I imagine many of our Elit authors would agree — making these is as much fun (at times) as playing them!

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