Reading Responses

Amy Collinsworth

(Appearance Under Construction)

Hamlet on the Holodeck, Part I

This section of Hamlet on the Holodeck describes the fears associated with new ways to tell stories (chapter 1), the historical precedents for hypertext (chapter 2) and the main features of early hypertext projects (chapter 3).

Try to construct your own version of this three part explanation drawing on a few examples from each chapter. A coherent response would include:

1- This chapter is demonstrating how dangerous hologram or virtual reality games can be. In reference to the beginning of the story, Janneway preferred the hologram life to her own life. This could cause serious issues for her in her real body as she may not pay attention to its needs as well. It is also questioned whether or not you are potentially being ‘faithful’ to your human companion when you are ‘with’ your hologram companion…

I do however like the Huxley’s Brave New World on Bradbury’s freely effect. You must grab hold of the metal knobs of your seat in order to get the same sensation and feeling as the character on the screen. I don’t know if I’d like that or not, I guess I could just let go of the knobs when something bad is happening, and hang on when something really really good is happening ☺

2-Shows us the using of a method in which a story can be split into several different parts but around the same meaning. For instance, in the example where George Bailey get’s to see his life as if he never existed, gives the reader two different stories in one. He sees the present, and the ‘make believe’ present. We get to see two completely different scenarios but within the same story. It makes for a good read to see how different something as small as a speech or trip to the store, or something along those lines, that could really affect ones future.

3-What are the four characteristics of hypertext narratives? Describe each and give examples both from the book and from your own experience. Explain which are immersive and which interactive.

Procedural: Something that happens routinely. Eliza had to follow a series of rules when communicating with an interactor. Therefore, she tended to use the same lines over and over again as part of her routine. (Immersive)

Participatory: Your interaction with controlling the digital image on the screen. Even though there are rules set out, you can still play with the other aspects of the game or computer. With Eliza, you can’t control what she says back t you, but you can ‘induce the behavior’, as stated in the book. She won’t say anything, unless we initiate conversation first. Her robotic life, is based on whether or not we feel like talking to her. (Interactive)

Spatial: Using space in the digital world. For instance, going from PacMan to Google Earth. We were satisfied with the illusion of seeing one dimension on the screen, but now, with the help of visionaries and engineers, we are able to go ‘into’ the screen and view and play from all different angles! (Interactive)

Encyclopedic: This has given us the chance to view things that are not in our possession and one at a time. With the help of computers, we can now view films, books, paintings, pictures, and many other things on screen/book that we can’t just go to the store and buy. If I wanted a Harry Potter book, but they don’t sell it anywhere near me, I could go see if there is a website I can purchase it and read it right there on my screen (Aka, the new Kindle). (Immersive)

One final characteristic is complexity--the author refers to Cybernetics, and systems thinking--probably the most significant paradigm shift of our age. The model for this is networks & systems--ie the internet is helping us remember the ways that ecology, brains, cultures, economies etc are betworks. So what kinds of stories can represent this new (or very old) way of thinking?

Grade school text books. There is nothing else I can think of that would even come close to the subjecting people to read to old ways of thinking. So I guess if it’s a category, I guess educational books. They make us read what could be outdated for years. Therefore, could confuse the reader but also giving them information for later use.

Hamlet on the Holodeck, Part II

Immersion Immersion can be both beneficial and dangerous for one to dive within. To give people that freedom and power of virtually merging into a world of literature would be phenomenal. Just think of the possibilities if one were to morph into their favorite story, or be a part of a movie or game. That's all fine and dandy, up until a certain point. But what happens when the dangers come along? I'm not talking bout the fire breathing dragon in the Knights of the Round Table game, or the blood sucking vampires in Twilight. No, I'm talking about not knowing the difference between the real world and virtual world. You could get so hooked on virtual reality, given it's a place of peace and comfort, and forget about your real body and it's needs here in the real world. Eventually, you won't be able to tell the difference and this is a serious concern. Avatar is a great movie that shows exactly what it would be like living among other 'real' fictional characters using virtual reality.


Whose Line Is It Anyway is a perfect example of what agency is. Agency is bringing the user or reader into the story at random. Not only will you soon find yourself immersed into the story, you will then actually be the story!

Yes, because some stories don’t take place in the third person, which means there is no narrator…you see through the main characters eyes and know their thoughts. So now, let’s say you’re a detective, and have to solve a murder mystery. Now, you potentially are playing a detective. Although you can’t actually decide the future of the detective, you can however, feel as though you are being an actually detective. It’s all about the feeling like your part of something that actually defines the agency.

The book refers to the feeling of when things are going right, you feel like both the dancer and the caller. You get the best of both worlds.

What is a 'violence hub'? how can it be used to create a story that is neither too linear (only one meaning), or too loose (no meaning)?

A violence hub is something where the writer will hear of a real life incident, usually something tragic, and write about it in the story but using different angles and characters. This is more of a ‘based on’ theme of book or movie. It’s usually more movies based on the book than book based on the movie…that wouldn’t make sense! Or would it?

Problem solving in a game/narrative creates satisfaction and a sense of agency. Describe some game you have played that helped you solve a problem in the game, and then was later useful in real life.

Who Wants to be a Millionaire was a good game show I used to watch on TV all the time. The more popular it got, the more attractions it had to the network. Eventually, you could play it on the computer. Now, you’re the one that gets to sit in the ‘hot seat’. I used to play it and watch it on TV, so the knowledge was just flowing in.

I guess any game show really. You learn a lot from it, and most of them have computer games you can play yourself. This gives you both the power to participate and knowledge to gain!

What happens when Murray's friend plays Tie Fighter, the game that has the player yake on the side of the Empire in the Star Wars drama? Why is this a moral game if the action is to play the 'evil side'?

Couldn’t find this in the book?...Not sure where it is..However, I can probably answer the last question. I see the point as to how something can be to do the morally right thing, and get the opportunity to see what it’s like to be evil…I get it, it’s weird, but at least this way…the people can have diversity in their game, maybe sometimes doing the right thing on a game or in real life isn’t always as fun. This way, someone could take out how their really feeling by just playing as the evil side of a game…rather than real life.

Authorship in electronic media is procedural. Explain what this means?

Procedural authorship is when someone writes the rules in which the texts appear as well as writing the texts themselves. It means, writing the rules for the choice the interactor chooses. This is exactly like my story two. I had to write both the ‘good path’ and ‘bad path’ for the user to choose.

What kind of control does this kind of author have?

Dominate control. Either way, the user is just playing the ‘authors’ game. They aren’t really determining the fate of the user. You have to choose a fate that has already been mapped out for you, all your doing is choosing how you want to get there.

How does this compare with a game player? So who controls which aspects of the game/narrative fantasy?

This is like the game Sims. You are given all the tools, it just depends on how you use them.

The user controls the aspects of the game essentially, but it all determines what the author set for limitations. If you can make your player get the flu on purpose, then that game as very little limitations, so the user can do more. But if your like playing the first Mario ever, you can either move side to side or up and down on a one dimensional game. You have options, but not as many as you’d like.


What is the social benefit of seeing multiple points of view in a story?

I think that the benefit of this would be that your not so focused on one characters perspective, but get to actually hear and feel what some of the other characters are thinking. For instance, in Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, the story is broken up into 3 parts. The first part is from Bella’s perspective, as always, and then part 2 is from Jacob’s point of view. It definitely adds to the story knowing his side because later in the story, you can definitely feel what he’s feeling having been inside his head. You become that much more close to a character.

I actually heard too that there is a book that does from Edward’s point of view in the first Twilight series, but I cannot remember the name of it. The only thing I sometimes don’t like about this split personality stories is that I sometimes can’t figure out ‘who I am’ exactly. Unless it is explicitly labeled “This Person’s Point of View” I usually get lost.

What is a 'panoramic close-up' or a 'composite epiphany'? How does this form of storytelling offer us a different level of meaning than a novel or film?

According to Murray, should antisocial material be included in a game/narrative? Why?

Couldn’t Find…

If novels explore character and drama/film explores action, what does simulation narrative or digital storytelling allow us to explore?

I think that by combing the two into one unit, you are combining what they show as well. We see the film/story being told right in front of us, and we have the chance to be apart of that. We now take part in the drama and get to forgo the action. Simulation narratives seem to be a great way to get the most out of your story telling experience because you need to create a story based on what you decide and how you handle it. You are the hero, the monster, the fighter, the mermaid, whatever game it is you are playing, you are going to be the deciding factor in making sure you experience the drama, action, and really develop your character. No one will know bout the character more than you.

However, the game must include limitations as to controlling which action you take part in. They don’t want to ‘overwhelm the interactor’.

Hamlet on the Holodeck, Part III

Multiform Plot

Describe how bards produce stories.

By word of mouth. The pass down stories orally, which is frowned upon in literature, mainly because it’s repetitive, redundant, and cliché.

How do they use a substitution system?

A paragraph is given with words missing and players are asked to contribute words based on syntactic or category descriptions (a noun, a body part, a furry animal, etc.) with hilarious results (189). I think of the funny game Apples to Apples because you are given a line on one card, and out of all the cards the players have, they must choose the one that fits best, or makes it the funniest when read out loud.

And why is this relevant to digital storytelling?

Because now, one can go online and search for anything in literature they found to ‘need fixing’. They can copy and paste their favorite story line or speech or whatever into the ‘substitution’ programs provided, and replace certain words with the funny buzzwords on the program. Giving people the chance to really be the one creating the substitution.

What are the three organizational levels of a bard's tales?


Themes: Generic narrative

Plot: Highest level of organization, “the main idea” of the story.

What are the benefits and dangers of stereotypes in a story?

When one writes a story, they need to come up with ideas and characteristics for their theme and characters. But where do they get these ideas? Usually, from everyday life. We use our real life traumas, tragedies, successes, and happiness to influence our stories. However, one main downfall is that just because we see this happening doesn’t make people want to actually hear the truth. To write an autobiography or a story from someone’s perspective, you have to be careful that what you say is made sure that you won’t offend anyone or make irrational points in your story. Not only could this offend someone, but you could potentially get sued.

Eliza's Daughters

Describe a chatterbot and explain how they work.

A text based character like Eliza who carries on conversations with people around her.

I remember using this on AIM. They’re so many of them, but you could always tell what they were saying. Some of them wouldn’t get as ‘graphic’ back to

you as you would to them, but they were fun to ‘mess around’ with.

What is an intelligent agent? Give an example.

Engineers turned from building encompassing centrally controlled systems to designing worlds made from a collection of ‘intelligent agents’.

They are mainly looked at as servants ideally, a website that goes to book your flight, hotel, reservations, etc.

What is emergent behavior and how does it work in a game world?

They go beyond ways then what they were specially programmed to do (240).

They were caused by an ‘intricate’ number of traits, like emotion and sensations, which causes them to emit actions that were not programmed directly for, but skips that and goes for the entire ‘act’ itself.


Murray talks about fictional neighborhoods but her examples are a bit outdated. Can you describe a digital environment that has been a fictional

neighborhood for you?

THE SIMS!!! I haven’t even read that part yet, and can already answer that with immense intensity. I LOVE the Sims more than any other computer game I

have ever played. My favorite N64 games (the first console to come out in 3D) were Duke Nukem, Zelda, Mario64, Mario Kart, Banjo Kazooey, and Diddy Kong


These games made it as though I was on an adventure everytime. You were the one in control, and you were the one doing all the action…but not just on a 1

demensional screen, but 3! You get the sensation as if you were actually inside the game rather than viewing it from the sidelines.

But even though these games may be the it types of games, one can never forget the classic games, which I still play today.

Hamlet on the Holodeck?

What are the two tendencies in digital stories that Murray sees and describes as the blaster and the builders? Can you give examples of these from your

own experience and explain the effect of these opposing worldviews on the culture you live in?

The blaster type of tendencies would be like Rampage, or Call of Duty. Where as the builder games are games where you get the chance to build your own

types of ‘games and accessories’ like Lego PC, Sims, Second Life, etc.

Like I mentioned above, I grew up playing the Sims and I guess that has to be the closest to an example given. Although I did play a lot of destroyer

video games, not necessarily console games.