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    benign masochism III: the aesthetics of frustration

    Continuing on in the same vein as before, I came upon an interesting set of posts over at Writer Response Theory dealing with the notion of "frustration" in interactive fiction.

    If we treat interactive fiction as narrative, which I've been arguing that we shouldn't, then frustration is disruptive: it snaps us out of the narrative, John Gardner gets cranky at us because we've broken the vivid and continuous dream of fiction, etc. But if we treat interactive fiction as a game, then the frustration is a necessary component of the game, and can be developed as an aesthetic. Jeremy Douglass's posts start us off there, asking: "What would it mean for a piece or a medium to be 'better at frustration?'"

    Here's the full series: "Frustration in Interactive Media," "Frustration by Experience, Outcome, and Design," "Frustration, Expectation, and Inconsistency," and finally "Frustration, Irony, and Sanity."

    There's a lot to digest here, but a quick glance-through brought me to this line, which I think sums things up nicely: "The art is the error message, and the error message is the art."

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    Monday, September 11, 2006
    4:07 PM


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