I agree! I disagree! Both! (Sort of)
Posted By: William SpencerDate: 7/30/01 10:03 a.m.

In Response To: A little advice... (oogažooga)

: Not everything bungie put in the marathon series has to mean something, so
: try not to focus on the inane, it could be either of no consequence, or a
: simple bungie error(yes they make errors). Don't concentrate on the little
: things or you'll lose sight of the big picture.

: It really bothers me that people look so deeply at it, it's not as complex as
: all of you make it seem. Bungie didn't spend a quarter of the time
: story-wise trying to make it as we did trying to decode it.

: -ooga

1) You're right. Heck, Bungie admitted that most of it was slapped together, and in the big scheme of things, what does one computer game trilogy matter?

2) You're not quite right. Actually, the little things do matter. As a beginning film student and long-time bibliophile, I can attest to that.

When one reads (or watches, or plays) a story, everything in the story contributes to the overall structure. Perhaps you recall doing literary analyses in high school or college, and discovering that little snippets of otherwise meaningless detail actually help reinforce the message of the play.

My first good literary analysis, back in 9th grade, was about Romeo and Juliet. I pointed out how the repeating theme of the stars - as in, fate - that is mentioned peripherally in many speeches helps makes the ending of R&J more inevitable. Romeo and Juliet can't do anything, because fate has already determined it. Read in that light, it becomes much less a story of human folly - fate was against things from the start.

Just as minor details can help to reinforce things, so can they knock things down. This is what hurts many sci-fi movies: you're getting into it, you have suspended your disbelief and actually feel that the monster really is going to get those kids on lover's lane...and then you see the monster's zipper, and you suddenly realize that this is just a cheesy B-movie. It would've been so easy to retake the scene and make sure that you couldn't see the zipper, but the director or the editor didn't take the time, and we're stuck with it. It can be that simple, sometimes.

Suspension of disbelief is even more vital to good story-telling than background metaphors.

Marathon's even trickier in that it's a game - I wrote an essay on this last quarter for Intro to Architecture - and it must be interesting to play as well as to read. The criticism of some levels as "Doom-like" is an element of this - such linear levels are often uninteresting to play, as well as incongruous with the setting. (Who builds spaceships - or anything? - like this?)

So why do it? For an artistic type like me, it helps me be aware of these things so I can use the lessons learned in my own creations. "People WILL be over-analyzing this, so make sure you get it right!" That's the reason why shows like Star Trek have extensive writer's bibles - someone is paying attention, and if you're creating a cohesive fictional world or environment, it needs to have as few holes as possible. "The little details DO matter." So I don't throw in useless or incongruous dialogue, but instead try to make the work a whole. So that I make sure that the look and feel of the world is coherent, not slapped-together, because it makes it easier for the viewer to believe in it. In other words, over-analyzing this gives me practice for considering these factors in my own work.

Besides, "over-analyzing" can be just plain fun if you're in the right frame of mind. After my folks and I watched Independence Day, we got some entertainment out of dissecting some of the subtexts. For instance, did you notice that the woman who did what her husband told her to do (the fighter pilot's wife) survived the devastation without a scratch, while the woman who disobeyed her husband (the First Lady) died horribly and painfully? What does this teach us?

I do agree, however, that not ALL facets of the Marathon series (or any) should be taken literally. "Never attribute to malice what you can attribute to human error," as one saying goes; trying to bring EVERYTHING in the games into one single picture is impossible, because some things just were errors or, while intentional, simply don't fit.

But, heck, it can be fun to try.

Some folks do this crazy stuff; just don't let it bother you TOO much.

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Pre-2004 Posts


A little advice...oogažooga 7/30/01 6:08 a.m.
     Re: A little advice... *NM*Mark Levin 7/30/01 7:30 a.m.
           hmmMark Levin 7/30/01 7:31 a.m.
                 Re: hmmMark Levin 7/30/01 7:31 a.m.
                       Re: hmmClaude Errera 7/30/01 9:04 a.m.
     I agree! I disagree! Both! (Sort of)William Spencer 7/30/01 10:03 a.m.
           Re: I agree! I disagree! Both! (Sort of)oogaBooga 8/1/01 7:00 p.m.

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