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Hypertext Games or Stories: Patchwork Girl Essay

Information or messages may be communicated in so many ways depending on the conditions inherent within the various situations or environments wherein the process of communication shall take place.

Determining the various ways or means by which information or messages, particularly facts and realities, are communicated is extremely significant not only because important information embedded within truths or realities are instrumental in learning or gaining knowledge, but also because the information which represents facts and realities are valuable in making well-informed decisions, positive and constructive responses, behavior, and actions, and most importantly interaction.

(Preston, 2001) Under these pretexts, the value of developing and identifying various tools of communication is vital for the purpose of facilitating the transfer of information timely and efficiently. The structure and content of information ranges from simple to complex, brief to extensive, specific to general, and so on. Due to this inherent feature of information which is compound and diverse, the rationale for developing varied communication tools is justified.

(Albers, 2005) Therefore, the extreme importance attributed to the transfer of information and messages, particularly truths and realities, and the considerations regarding the complexity of the form or structure and content of information sets the stage for the development of various communication tools configured for various types of information and different venues or situations. Hypertexts A hypertext is one example of a virtual communication tool which was designed to facilitate the transfer of complex and comprehensive information.

The hypertext was a form of technological innovation borne out of the emergence of the digital age – signaled by the development of computers and the engineering of the World Wide Web. The hypertext may be described as nonlinear, that which information is not presented flatly, like how one might obtain information by reading a book from one page to the other. A hypertext facilitates the access or transfer of information dynamically. (Reksten, 2000) The hypertext was structured in order to allow its users to access specific information directly without digesting the entire body of information.

It organizes small lumps of information that go together based on the content and theme of information and places them on a separate node or link. This process of organizing information makes possible the retrieval of needed information directly and adequately. (Reksten, 2000) In light of the unique structure of hypertexts, as well as their purpose in communicating valuable information, its configuration or process of organization shall be analyzed in order to respond to the inquiry whether it is instrumental in relaying truths or realities through a game or a story.

In order to explicitly resolve this inquiry, a type of hypertext shall be reviewed under the benchmarks aforementioned – that is, the Patchwork Girl. Patchwork Girl “Patchwork Girl,” an electronic piece of interactive literature, was created by Shelley Jackson. Through the digital software called the Storyspace, Jackson was able to put together the structure of “Patchwork Girl. ” The realization of Jackson’s work was facilitated by Eastgate System’s publication of her digital creation.

According to Jackson, the presupposition of “Patchwork Girl” was based on the novel by Mary Shelley, “Frankenstein,” and L. Frank Baum’s “Patchwork Girl of Oz. ” In addition, other texts included in the “Patchwork Girl” were taken from the works or contributions of Donna Haraway, Jacques Derrida, and other icons of art and literature. (Schor, 2004) Jackson’s story runs like a puzzle wherein the 323 pages which constitute the story are put together by linking 462 links or nodes.

Unlike books, the “Patchwork Girl” was not created chronologically although the pages which constitute a body of information with singular ideas form a unifying theme, such as characterization, the plot and the setting, the transition from one background to another, the development of the characters, and so on. Since the stories in the “Patchwork Girl” are divided into parts, the order of how these bodies of information are read depends upon the preference of the user. (Schor, 2004) Patchwork Girl: A Hypertext Story or Game?

As previously discussed within the specification of this particular task, the primary difference between a story and a game is the process by which information or messages are conveyed and how they are perceived or developed through the reader or user’s involvement. Stories are well-organized from the beginning until the end. In addition, they are meant to be simply digested, thus interaction is muted. Since stories are determinedly structured, they are presented in detail but it does not support the formulation of new information because the contents of the story are already defined. On the other hand, games are not arranged chronologically.

It facilitates the deep involvement of the user because the outcomes of the game depend upon the decisions and responses of the user. Therefore, the details are limited based on the input of the user. (Crawford, N. D. ) Based on the comparative information previously discussed about stories and games and the structure of “Patchwork Girl,” Jackson’s electronic literature may be considered both a story and a game. “Patchwork Girl” is a story because the sections or chapters were descriptive enough detailing the relationships between the characters, the conflicts, the setting, and so on.

Moreover, the narratives are not determined by the user but were instead written undoubtedly through Jackson’s artistic perspectives and inputs. In addition, the “Patchwork Girl” followed a development of the characters and their interaction with each other as well as movement from one scene or setting to another if the parts or sections are to be taken collectively. On the other hand, “Patchwork Girl” is also a game because it allows the user to explore the structure of the story from different perspectives or viewpoints.

For instance, “Seagoing” and “Seastance” talks about the feelings and emotions of the creature, while “Crazy Quilt” is from the various perspectives of the characters. Furthermore, “Patchwork Girl,” unlike the linear structure of the story, was not arranged chronologically although information or messages were organized based on the theme. This creates the interaction between the user and the hypertext because the user is provided with new information every time a link or a node is visited, although the outcomes of joining the links or nodes together are not determined by the preferences of the user.

By and large, “Patchwork Girl” is a story because it is patterned as a narrative wherein the flow of the story is fixed and the relationship between the characters are established, as well as the cause and effect aspect of the relationships. It is also a game because the story was not arranged chronologically as a linear piece of literature would ideally be and the fragmented parts of the story sets the pace allowing the user to experience excitement and to explore the relationships between the characters dynamically.

In addition, if the user accesses a link or a node, new information or message or revealed in order to complete the puzzle, that is the entirety of Jackson’s “Patchwork Girl. ” Conclusion As exhibited by the technology used to create the “Patchwork Girl,” the development of varied tools for communication is significant in order to create means by which truths or realities are to be communicated effectively. In addition, the complexity or diversity of types of information makes it difficult to transfer information as it is, thus, the development of communication strategies.

Due to the emergence of technology, communication strategies were expanded to include digital or electronic softwares or applications for various reasons. For some, technology facilitates the fast or timely transfer of information, while other individuals consider technology as a means to easily organize and create information, and so on. In the case of the “Patchwork Girl,” technology was used in order to create a hypertext that organizes information, while at the same time diversifies it in order to facilitate the conventional (story type) yet dynamic and interactive (game type) transfer of information or messages.

Overall, innovation was used through the technology of hypertext in order to create a piece of literature which distances itself from linearity and tediousness but integrates the significant aspects of the story type, such as the distinct presentation of information, and the game type, such as the interactive means of relaying information, in order for the author to convey his artistic and creative beliefs and ideas, but at the same time allow the readers to become active receivers of information to facilitate interaction, which constitutes the true essence of communication.

Furthermore, diversifying the structure of communication tools facilitates the resolution of problems attributed to poor strategies or techniques of information which hinders the receipt of the whole text or information. In “Patchwork Girl,” the story was redefined by making it interactive in order to draw the attention of the readers and place them within a situation which allows them to be highly involved and committed.

Under these pretexts, we realize how the study of various types of information and tools of communication, including the hypertext, is necessary in order to determine how information is best delivered or communicated to readers. The structure of the “Patchwork Girl” endorses the importance of dynamic and interactive communication. References Albers, M. J. (2005). Communication of Complex Information: User Goals and Information Needs for Dynamic Web Information. New York, NY: Routledge. Crawford, C.

(N. D. ) The Art of Computer Game Design. Retrieved 09 Apr 2009, from Washington State University. Website: http://www. vancouver. wsu. edu/fac/peabody/game-book/Chapter1. html Preston, P. (2001). Reshaping Communications: Technology, Information, and Social Change. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. Reksten, L. E. (2000). Using Technology to Increasing Student Learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Schor, E. H. (2004). The Cambridge Companion to Mary Shelley. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.


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