Pargol Hashemnia

October 31, 2009

Real Life Versus Young Computer-Based Generation

Filed under: Uncategorized — pargol444 @ 8:33 pm

Choose the future of interactive fiction

This article looks at one of the latest interactive trends, namely ‘interactive fiction.’ In the age of the Internet, where the young generation has the power to control life and experience, they are now expecting the same from books. The author discusses the three ‘strands’ of this new craze.                                                              

The first strand is associated with “nostalgia.” It mentions that the interactive fictional books, such as “Fighting Fantasy” are beginning to be reissued. It should be noted that the interactive fictional books are closely related to the interactive video games of the past such as, “Dungeons and Dragons” which were popular in the 1970s.              

The second strand relates to the fact that although the interactive fictional books are again arising, the themes and the storylines have been changed form the cliché fantasy themes of the past. For example, these books include real-life themes such as, “If you want to have sex with your ex-girlfriend, consider getting back together with her, then think better of it, go to page 183.”                   

The third stand is the next step in the progression of interactive literature. The “wovel” (which is a contraction of “web novel”) is an online fictional book, which offers the reader the opportunity to gain control over the book and decide the conclusion. The authors of wovels publish weekly and wait for the readers’ responses and votes on what they wish to happen next in the story. Therefore, the author writes each chapter in accordance to the readers’ wishes.                                    

Despite the re-emergence of interactive fictional books, a question remains, “Do readers really want the responsibility of driving the narrative, or is that the author’s job?”           

No, Second Life is not overhyped

Second Life is the latest development in 3-Dimensional virtual world programs. Some people see it as a game; others view it as a marketing opportunity. For David Kirkpatrick, Second Life represents the future for cyberspace. Second Life is more than just a game; it is a place where impossible can be possible. Second Life is a virtual platform, which provides the users with the opportunity to express themselves without the limitations of time and space. Users, or “avatars,” of this program can chose to interact with each other on a social forum, or spend time in their own company. In Second Life, there are established codes of behavior, but there are no enforcements and regulations that could support those codes.

Linden Dollars is the type of money that the consumers in Second Life use in order to do business transactions. Linden Dollars is a currency of its own, and could be converted to USA Dollars. Large companies are realizing that Second Life is a great source of money and are planning to invest on this program.                       

In addition, Kirkpatrick asserts that Second Life is affecting peoples’ real lives, as an increasing percentage of the population is tapping into this new technological use. Interestingly, even Reuters have employed a reporter to provide daily coverage of what goes on inside the Second Life.                                                                       

Second Life represents the future usage of the Internet technology, as it allows for a huge range of everyday functions to be carried out online. However, Kirkpatrick argues that although the Internet has great potential, it is still in its early stages of development, and will gain more capabilities in the future.                                                   

eLearning Technologies

Second Life is, amongst other things, a new learning experience for the young generation with their limited attention span. The owner of the eLearning website is Dr. Tony Karrer, who is the CEO/CTO of TechEmpower, a software, web, and eLearning development firm. Dr. Karrer fully endorses Second Life as a new form of education. His website includes tutorials about how Second Life can be used as an educational tool.                                                                                               

Second Life offers a new method of teaching, which is more effective, relevant and productive than the traditional learning methods. Second Life has revolutionary functions, which out shine the dry practices of real world institutions. In Second Life, users can become immersed in their chosen subject. The learners will actually gain the opportunity to experience new information on both practical and theoretical levels. For example, when learning about the construction of computers, the learner can actually have a tour inside of a computer and see its components, or discover history by traveling to the time periods in question. This type of learning experience quizzes the learners, and gives feedback in a much more entertaining way than tradition methods of assessment. Second Life is not limited to space and time like the traditional education methods that are being used in today’s classrooms.

The Yes Men                                                                                                                                                                                         

The Yes Men is a community of self-proclaimed hoaxers, who impersonate what they call “big-time criminals,” in order to publicly humiliate them. The Yes Men targets leaders of large corporations who put profits ahead of everything else. The Yes Men’s shared aim is to expose large companies, and highlight the truth behind the media propagandas. In the official website, the Yes Men specifically highlight the fact that they are part of the Left Wing extreme movement, and act against the injustices caused by Capitalism. This website contains different archives of videos, books, links, and blogs which all document the Yes Men’s missions in changing the direction of large corporations in becoming more responsible, and honest with the public. The website also features the Yes Men movie, which is about following “a couple of anti-corporate activist-pranksters” who, amongst other things, impersonate a spokesperson of World Trade Organization. This movie has a comical theme, which displays the Yes Men infiltrate important corporate events as guest speakers, as well as providing false interviews for BBC news. By attending these events, the Yes Men were able to force some corporations to resolve their weaknesses and change their path in order to practice justice, and fairness amongst the societies.                        

It should be noted that, on the Yes Men website, the Yes Men do not claim to be a substitute to protesting, but they do state that this is a new approach to changing the world.

So what does all this mean?                                                                       

All four sources that have been presented in this blog highlight how the distinction between the real world and fantasy is becoming more blurred. In the past, readers could escape from reality by opening a book. They could visit different places and times through stories that they would read. Now, interactive books enable readers to actually create their own fiction, rather than just reading other people’s works. Also, Second Life takes this one step further, and the users create a ‘story’ in which his or her online persona is the protagonist. The Second Life offers an improved alternative to real life; restrictions are removed and everything is beautiful. The Yes Men also includes the idea of fantasy in two ways. Firstly, it addresses the false ‘fantasy’ that is created by the corporate world. Secondly, its members take on new identities in response to addressing the problems of the real world. Despite these similarities, the Yes Men is different from the other three sources, rather than offering an alternative, its members seek to change the real world by assuming new identities. The Yes Men offers a resolution to the problems of everyday life, and not just an escape. In other words, the Yes Men facilitates participation in real world events for its users, rather than engaging them in a virtual life and using fantasy to give them an escape from the reality. Also, the Yes Men does not specifically target the young computer-based generation, as the other sources do.


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