The Crow's Dream

Philosophy, geekery, and the meaning if life, and what I read this week…

Sleeper Curve

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According to Steven Johnson video games and other forms of entertainment are growing in complexity every day. There used to be a time when comic books and TV shows didn’t deal with complex issues that required a great amount of mental ability to comprehend or to use. Johnson claims that the ability to replay and talk about content right after the content is produced demands complexity. Simple stories cannot be analyzed experienced as interactively as complex ones. I agree with Johnson’s premise, but as he notes in his book, most of the criticism he received came from people who felt like he left something out of the equation. Here then, is a list of things I consider should have been added to his book, had he had the opportunity to write multiple volumes:

Heroes

NBC’s Heroes is perhaps one of the most complex and rich story lines out there. The plot may not be as convoluted as Lost’s, but it is, nevertheless, all encompassing. As long term readers of my blog will know, I had the chance to see the show when it was first shown to the public at the San Diego comicon. I liked it because it was about super humans. I’ve always loved the premise of superpowers, but there is more to it. The internet is abuzz with NBC created sites that add layers of meaning to the story, so that you can spend the whole week decrypting the show and wondering if it isn’t really going on somewhere in reality.

Civil War

According to Marvel, Civil War is supposed to be an invitation for new readers to join the Marvel Universe. The story is very complex. There are tons and tons of plot lines and sub plot lines going on at the same time. The last all encompassing story made by Marvel Comics was the Infinity Gauntlet. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t deal with political issues and civil liberties at it’s core. Civil war expanse is epic and far reaching. Literally, every Marvel comic book I’ve read has been somehow connected with the story. Civil War promised to change the Marvel Universe. The death of Captain America and the new status of Spider Man has done just that.

Second Life

Second life is so last year. If you haven’t heard about this virtual community, you’ve had your head under a rock for the past few years, but when you think of it as a more complex version of my space, the site becomes interesting. Site? No not really, but you get the drift. Online communities are really stepping out of text and morphing in to something completely different. Second life is not a game. It is quite something else, but I don’t know what. It is cyberpunk waiting to hatch, which brings me to the gaming arena.

CIV IV

In the conclussion to his book, Johnson does mention this game, but I don’t think you can mention it enough. I’ve owned it since it became available for the Mac. I don’t have a lot of time to play it, why, with all the other complex things I do, but I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it. CIV is one of those games that engages the crap out of you. There is no way to get away from it. In fact, I’ve been playing it since I was 22 or 23. It never gets old. It is always challenging always complex and always enthralling. I really can do no justice to it, but I had to mention it again.

CIV IV

Yes. It’s that good.

Books

It is very lamentable that less and less people are reading printed text. Still, books have not fallen behind in the sleeper curve. There was a time when publishers thought that abridgments and short, easy to read books were a great thing. That time is gone. Books like Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susana Clarke, The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson and A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin are some of the most complex stories ever, and the rule in the sci fi market. No one wants simple, and that, my friends, is a good thing.
In any case, the list goes on, but I’ll stop here. I wouldn’t want to take more time away from your complex lives.

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Written by Hector

March 12, 2007 at 12:27 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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