This may seem tedious and overly complicated with four of my posts back to back, but please bear with me as this is an experiment of sorts. I am curious how other people interpret the words of an author. In graphical games there is not much room for guessing. You see it as it usually is, although there may be hidden meanings or things in graphics, the basic concept is usually the same, especially on these newer graphical games with so much realistic detail. But perhaps on something much older, say Maniac Mansion or Leisure Suit Larry, maybe due to the low polygons, it still allowed for some freedom of imagination.
But let's say we take an interactive fiction or a MUD or perhaps even a book. Now take a moment and carefully take in what I am about to ask you in the next sentence and refrain from reading what I have in the spoiler tags and what others have written until told to do so and I want you to take what you read and only that and describe to me what you see and how you are feeling and why. How do you interpret "This is an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox here."- The very first lines of text describing the beginning scene from the interactive fiction game Zork.
Now tell me what I have asked of you, but again without looking at the spoilers or other people's answers. You can however write everything in one reply, just view the rest of my initial four posts in order once you are done with each part of my instructions. Also explain does your description reflect playing the game before, so you are already familiar with the setting or not.
When you are done with that, tell me more details that I am about to ask you. Maybe you already answered them, but I am curious to know how well you interpret something on it's own. Not that we interpreted the same thing, although that would be oddly cool. ^^! I mean how much did your mind give you on the very limited details that it did?
So tell me more details on
Did anything change in your mind of that initial mental picture? If so, what? Be as truthful and as straight forward as possible, if there were minor or major changes or none at all.
Now you can read what I wrote. As for me I saw
Now I do not know why it is night time. There is no reason for me to see it that way. And it feels late summer or early fall as well, for no reason. There is also no reason for me to see the field as hues of darker muddier greens, browns and greys, unless my mind connects night with those darker shadings. I also see a chimney on the house, even though there is no description of the house other than it being white and has a boarded up door. And to me the house looks like a cookie-cutter doll house with not many features, but of one dimension, in other words made of a single piece of standing bright white cardboard, like 2D in nature. I also picture it being two stories tall. Again there is no description of that. And the boarded door has three boards across it- two horizontal although slightly at angles and uneven with the wood splitting in the grain and a knot in one of the wood planks and the third piece at a forty five degree angle and over lapping the other two nailed into the door frame.
But why is the house on my right instead of my left or not even behind or in front of me? Cardinal directions have no fundamental basis of left or right to the player. Yes a compass will show if you are holding it correctly that West is always on your left, but that still does not account for why the house is sitting where it is relative to me.
After reading my interpretation of what I saw and felt at those first two sentences, again did the image you initially or shortly afterwards again change at all? And if so how? I am curious because I do not think we all interpret things the same way and each of us see things differently from reading, but I am curious how and why.
I am also curious how an author interprets their own work. Do they see something as (more) complete, simple or even odd or off the wall when they read their own descriptions or other people's work? How do people write a game that invokes the players imagination with out giving too much or too little detail? I have always thought about that. Kind of like do we all see the details the same in a book. Thanks for playing or at least sticking around this far. ^^!
I actually put myself as if looking from the white house's front door. I saw a small house with double wooden doors, a very green field, a small earth path and a red mailbox, like those in a pole with a white flag on it's side.
It was a sunny day and the sky was perfectly blue. No fences, no cities, no holes anywhere, nothing else.
Oh! And after reading your interpretation nothing changed to me. I still stick to my first impression.