Friday, March 24, 2017

Multi-Verse? (Enchanted Assemblages)

Don't worry, there will not be any elaborate cross-overs.

Any geek will be familiar with the idea of the multi-verse, a series of minutely different universes which branch off into infinity, each of which has a different reality according to different principals and decisions; though the scientific version of this idea is rooted in conceptualizations of physics, let’s ignore that theoretical iota and focus on something else, my adaptation.

                Readers will note that a previous post of mine focused on comments and how players interacted with other players; I had said that comments acted as alternative interpretations. Since this game is all about anti-literalism and pseudo-academic collaboration, this is a positive. But, if players are able to use, for example, an alternative description of something which has been de-familiarized—one offered not by me but by another player—than that opens the door for the question ‘how does the player see that alternative?’ And it is a good question.

                This is important to ask since the game world does have an internal logic. It may be a logic which exist outside of traditional fantasy, but it is a logic nonetheless. If I as the creator provided a rationale for why magic exists and the purpose of that magic, then it only makes sense that the inclusion of alternative interpretations be realized with something more tangible than ‘well, let’s just pretend that other players interpretations are my own’. I never liked cop outs, after all.

                The obvious solution to this question is to simply say that the alternative interpretations act as a kind of multi-verse: when you, the player, choose to either [close read] or to [de-familiarize] something, comments/alternative interpretations are what you, as a different person in a different reality, could have done in that reality; the catch is that those alternatives are other people, so you don’t have any control over how they were posted.

                I suppose this leaves open the question how you are able to witness these alternatives. After all, part of fidelity is being able to cite other players’ contributions, so obviously, your avatar is able to perceive these alternatives. But how?

                Honestly, I do not really know. I am thinking that because the player is a knight-interpreter, someone who is an expert in interpretation, and therefore wizened in the alternate routes they could have taken in interpreting a text, this training can act as a mental dues ex machinia. Any writer or scholar will know that working on a thesis involves many false starts and a great deal of revision. As one labors on such a undertaking, they realize all of the intellectual roads that they could have embarked upon had they tackled their topic from a different theoretical framework—whether one uses Derrida, Marx, Badiou, or Sartre, after all, matters and will influence how you examine a text. So, it is a mere trickle down to apply it to mere close readings.

                Even though the idea of a multiverse is old news, and even cliché at this point, I feel that it works well-enough for my adaptation; though it is tempting to encode the comments as the actions of those who came before you, thus adding to the idea of a hermeneutic sedimentation, this problematizes the text to an unacceptable degree, namely, that it demands too much extra reading and consideration from the player, aside from pushing the text in a direction which gives too much leniency to player inaction while simultaneously prizing those who post first. Maybe in a specific Node this idea would be well-suited, but as an overarching ideal to run the game, it simply causes too much of a fuss.

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