Sunday, March 12, 2017

I’ve Got Ninety-Nine Problems of player immersion and authorial intent (Enchanted Assemblages)

This is what I am reduced to in order to keep my spirits up.

Part of my struggle in being a post-Structualist is that I must accept as legitimate all interpretations which forego textual literalism (with the exception of interpretations which spring from incorrect ideas). It can be a pain. But it is a reality that I have accustomed myself.

                But, how does this exactly translate into my adaptation? Good question.

                Authorial intent is the devil in the details. It is when a writer—more accurately, an author of a text—declares that [so and so] means [so and so]. It is J.K Rowling declaring that Dumbledore is homosexual without anything from the text backing it up; in other words, it is a holy script—something the timid use to try and excuse their inability to depict what they mean, something which legitimates an idea which exists outside of the text.

                In contemporary times, J.K Rowling is notorious for her attempts to try and use authorial intent to justify opinions which do not exist in the text. Moreover, however, she uses her own characters as a means to that end. In some spin-offs, for example, she uses the construct of ‘Dumbledore’s Notes’ in order to provide a stand-in for her own commentary on what the story means. Though this behavior is obnoxious in the extreme, I will spare you why it is obnoxious, suffice it to say that Rowling apparently has never encountered the ‘death of the author’ before and why we, as readers and interpreters, cannot take the author at their word; to fully explain this would take a longer piece this than this post, and quite frankly it is outside of the purview of this blog.

                It is enough to say though that I reject authorial intent wholesale.

                ‘How can you reject it, though?’ I hear you say, when I myself am an author of one such text (Enchanted Assemblages). Well, this is the problem of the adaptation; not really a problem, though. Closer to a clarification. You see, I have two different kinds of Nodes on my adaptation—the hermeneutic body, for those of you keeping up—and one of those adaptations feature the titular character of the Green Knight. In this Node—‘Deconstruction’—Mr. Green has already passed by the area and interpreted it; it is up to the player to deconstruct it and offer their own interpretation to what Greeny got right and wrong (in the player’s eyes).

                In other words, the interpretation provided by the Green Knight is not holy script. It is not my holy script or attempt to dictate to the player what the ‘correct’ interpretation is; meaning, I am not roleplaying Rowling by slyly inserting what a certain Node means while giving the player only the lip-service to submit a lesser interpretation. Nope! I reject that all!

                I liked brainstorming this aspect since it made the game more ‘meta’ and more tightly wove the idea of the hermeneutic circle into the adaptation itself. Now, the player has full control over the game world in that even those aspects which have already been interpreted, can be re-interpreted; the sedimentation of interpretations intensifies and truly creates a history as players continue to interact with the Node and each other.

                Moreover, I am happy that I brainstormed this since it not only would have gone against my own philosophy to proscribe what a ‘proper’ interpretation consists of, but it would have hamstrung the player by forcing their efforts onto a narrow road. Now the player has freedom, they can keep their fidelity without being constrained by authorial intent, and I can feel relieved in that I have avoided becoming Rowling, if for only another day!

Boethius's The Consolation of Philosophy (Notes:54)

Born into a wealthy Roman family in 480, though Boethius had lost his father at an early age, he was adopted by an even more prominent fami...