Archives for the month of: May, 2013

One experience which we seem to share is thinking about the future. We imagine outcomes, project wishes and hypothesise events. This seems to have bearing on our experience of time– that is, our

“–Gorillas recognize that a snare embodies a potential future threat – something that ‘could happen.’ Now we’re veering into messy territory. Do gorillas and/or other non-human apes have an awareness of future?  Can they engage in “mental time travel”? Again, that’s not something that’s going to be settled easily.-Kimberly Gerson “Exploring the Mind of the Mountain Gorilla” accessed28

Reflecting on my choice game, I was thinking I should have made reference to “Options” a song by Gomez, as well as “Freedom from Choice” by Devo. Ian Bogoste mentions Scribblenauts, a game that offers a broad range of choices to solve puzzles, but few real goals, in his book Alien Phenomenology. He obliquely refers to “thickness” when argues that his “Object Oriented Ontology”(OOO) emphasises the “messiness” of the world. In this Bogoste juxtaposes OOO with attempts by metaphysicians to create unambiguous, coherent descriptions of worlds. 

Scribblenauts allows you to call forth thousands of objects to help you achieve the goal of retrieving ‘starites’. Obstacles will present themselves, and the player calls forth objects to overcome them. However, and this is perhaps the nub of my curiousity, the goal cannot really be changed, although the player can attempt many possible solutions to solving the problem presented.

If play represents ontological possibility, as it may be interpreted in light of Eugen Fink’s writing on the topic of the ontology of play, then games represent a degree of thinning, as these define the meaning of limited actions in terms of narrow goals. One must accept the goals to play the game, but to change the goals “to move the goal posts?” is to cheat, or to break or to spoil the game. Perhaps we accept freedom from choice because we are granted highly defined options.

This seems to me to offer a ‘thinness’, in contrast with the ‘thickness’ of broader lived experiences. The interactions in Scribblenauts must be programmed and in Bogoste’s other work, he would argue that this means those  relationships are subject to procedural rhetoric. That is to say, those interactions are delimited by what the underlying code of the machine will allow. As yet, that experience only poorly emulates the thickness of “real life”.