Tuesday, April 15, 2008


While this snippit of article from over on the Washington Post is talking about LOST, (I kan has new episode, plz? *pacepace*), I think that much of what they talk about applied to how some approached Uru, as well. "Content" needed to be supplied constantly, stuff needed to be happening constantly, or Uru wasn't entertaining. Rather than taking Uru as 'real', where adventures don't happen every day, and waiting for things to unfold, people we chomping at the bit.

That may be part of what purred the move to episodes. Also, and I say this with deepest admiration for the person behind the story... but the story was being run like it was being written, not played out. It was an observable narrative, not an interactive experience, and that put people off of the story, badly.

"This is really about unfolding narratives and our decreasing ability to live in the unknown," says M.J. Ryan, author of "The Power of Patience."

While humans may have always wanted to know what happens next (See: rabid readers of Charles Dickens's "The Old Curiosity Shop," released in installments in 1840), Ryan says the Internet has transformed that feeling from a desire to an entitlement.

Traditional narrative was about a linear beginning, middle and end, says Ryan. "But the narrative of the Internet is associative and non-linear." Instead of watching a complicated story unfold, users can hop around seeking specific puzzle pieces. "It encourages the bottom line. It's about who wins, who loses, and what's on the island."

What worries Ryan are the implications of that bottom line: "If we can't even wait to see what happens next week on a show, what does it say about our abilities to live our lives in the not knowing? Because for that, we don't really have an option."

"It does say something about human nature and instant gratification," concedes Jon Lachonis, who created the popular Web site TheTailSection.com. But, he argues, his interest in "Lost" is more social. "Whatever the mystery du jour is, there's a real communal approach to talking about them."

No comments: