Structure- You’re Doing It Right

And yea, in the distant past, i.e. the eighties, Viola predicted that three great structures wouldst arise. Though many hath scoffed at his mad predictions, lo and behold!, he told naught but truth.

For in the modern world all three of these structures exist.

First, we have ye olde Branching Structure. Most venerable of the three, this can often be seen in video games. Particularly video games that are sandbox (So called as they allow the player to do whatever they want within the limitations of the game engine, like a child playing in a sandbox)  rpg, or allow the player moral decisions over the course of the game. Some prominent examples of this are Fable and its sequel, which allows the player to choose to be unspeakably evil or pansy good, Spore, which is sold on the concept of sandbox, the Sims, also sold on sandbox, all MMORPGs to a certain extent, and Bioshock, which allows you to save or slay the Little Sisters.

See the wondrous joys tha- HOLY HELL, WHAT IS THAT!?!
See the wondrous joys that sandbo- HOLY HELL, WHAT IS THAT!?!

However, the limitation of the branching form ensures that you constantly move forward, never looking back. Unlike other, linear games, this allows for deviation from a single, written storyline, but it still ensures that you have to play the game again and again to see every possible outcome. Though, in the case of a sandbox game, this is much of its charm (How can I horribly end their miserable existences this time? Starvation? Asphyxiation? Death by tortoise?).

Moving onward, we find the Matrix Form. This nifty thingamahoosit allows users to enter at any point, continue as they see fit, and even backtrack to see where they’ve been.

And, no, it has no relation to the hit movie.

This is most commonly seen in Wikipedia and its children, the Wikis.

The advantages of this form are myriad. Great depositories of knowledge, each interconnected by tenuous links that allow one to simultaneously read about the ingredients of Korean soy sauce and the political atmosphere of fourteenth century Russia before going back a page to re-read the plot and significance of Transformers.

Of course, this leads to a phenomena I’ve heard called the Wikipedia Wander, which I like to call the Wikipedia Walkabout cuz Australian slang is cooler and it truly is a test of manhood to tear away from the screen.

You enter the dread portal to snatch information about the French Revolution and, ten minutes later, you’re looking at the rise and fall of Chuck Norris’ career.

Finally, we have the Schizo Structure. In this dubious form, everything is equal and unequal, significant and pointless, forward and backwards.

This was made for 4-chan.

And every other forum and message board in existence, to a lesser extent.

Whether it be a high minded debate over modern politics or the cutting edge of surgery or an neanderthal row about why PS3 is superior to every other system ever, because I said so, that’s why, all are both significant and insignificant.

We see how ideas develop, strong points are expounded, and then, tomorrow, it’s all gone. Forgotten.

For other, slower moving boards, this could take weeks, or months, and much is saved to archives, but what was today’s hot topic is tomorrow’s old news.

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Published in: on October 12, 2009 at 10:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

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