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The Critical GeoWiki Experiment

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 4 months ago

The Critical GeoWiki Experiment



"...people in SL are literally living inside of a map"

-- Jerry Paffendorf [SL: SNOOPYbrown Zamboni] of The Electric Sheep Company



  Team Members: Bola C. King, Amanda Phillips  





The Plan (TM):


Just as Franco Moretti posited creating maps from nonvisual texts, we intend to work with maps of virtual spaces and examine events and objects associated with them. While we are treating these maps as texts, it is important to note that virtual environments are visually rendered, as opposed to the malleable, imagined spaces created when engaging with "traditional" texts. We will take maps from two different virtual environments (Second Life and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past) and turn them into "critical GeoWikis," publicly editable maps that correlate information to locations on the maps. The ultimate goal of the project is the stimulation of scholarly interaction with and commentary on the GeoWikis.



The Actualizations:


See the current state of the concept sites for Bola's and Amanda's projects.



Individual Approaches:


Second Life map(s): For this prototype, the source will be the map of a region (or small group of regions). There are various applications, reviews, and other commentaries on certain spaces, but thus far none of this has been collected in a comprehensive manner. The maps will be collected as .JPG-formatted screenshots for use in the GeoWiki application. The data to be compiled will be collected from both in-world and other internet sources (including blogs, web reviews, ads, postcards, and more). These will then be connected to the GeoWiki to allow for multifaceted exploration.


A Link to the Past (LTP): The map source will be the map of kingdom of Hyrule captured and assembled by Ian Albert.  For this project, only the main "overworld map" (featuring only the exterior areas of the kingdom) will be used, and not maps of individual dungeons, in order to limit the scope of the data collection.  Initial data for placement on the GeoWiki will include plot events, major item acquisitions, boss battles, game glitches, and Easter eggs, color-coded for clarity.  Ideally, entries from visitors to the wiki will flesh out critical observations, personal experiences, and the like.



The Texts:


Second Life: First opened to the public in 2003, Second Life is a 3-D virtual world or multi-user virtual environment (MUVE). A user creates a character (known as an avatar) which can interact with this world. Although some MUVEs, like World of Warcraft, are games, not all of them are. Second Life, among others, is a place where many different types of interactions occur, from sports and games to regular socialization to business transactions conducted with the in-world currency, the Linden dollar (L$).


LTP: Released in 1991 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past tells yet another story of the hero, Link, and his quest to save Princess Zelda and the kingdom of Hyrule.  In the middle of the night, Link receives a telepathic message from Princess Zelda that she is trapped in the castle dungeon.  Sneaking out of his house at night, Link rescues the princess and learns that a wizard named Agahnim has usurped the throne and plans to break the seal releasing the evil sorcerer Ganon from the Dark World.  In order to keep Ganon from escaping, Link must embark on a journey spanning the Light and Dark worlds and rescue the maidens who can bind Ganon in the Dark World once and for all.


Bola C. King's Bibliography

Amanda Phillips' Bibliography


The Why:


We have chosen to experiment with a GeoWiki application because it offers the dynamic functionality of an interactive map and the flexibility and accessibility of a wiki.  We hope that the critical GeoWiki method will prove to be a viable research tool for other scholars working with virtual environments.


Second Life: Ideally, a Second Life GeoWiki would be a powerful and interactive tool both for Second Life residents and for academics. For residents, it would serve as an alternative to the in-world search utility and an enhancement to the immersive experience. Academics in a large variety of fields are already studying Second Life, both from the outside as a medium and from the inside as an emergent culture; this project would provide a unique data-collection and analysis tool that hopefully can offer insights that can aid in both veins of exploration.


LTP: Though any number of games would benefit from a spatial analysis along the lines of a GeoWiki, A Link to the Past offers the right amount of complexity for a trial run of this system.  The game is historically significant and critically acclaimed, with a balance between gameplay and story that will yield data useful for both literary and ludic analyses.  The spaces in LTP are not meant for one-time exploration; gameplay involves returning to formerly traveled spaces in order to unlock previously unavailable areas of the map.  Along the same lines, travel between parallel worlds is a unique mechanic of the game, allowing the player to explore the same territory in two different dimensions, with different events and objects attached to each dimensional instantiation of the map.  All of this will result in unique spatially overlapping (but temporally disparate) points of data on the map.










Brainstorms/notes/other goodies are here.





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