26 August 2011

Instructions: Sorry 4 Graffiti

This is a book entitled "Sorry 4 Graffiti."  It's considered a "non-linear plot game."  Following the Egyptian Bird is a secret way of beating the game.  It's also considered a "hypertext novel."

It comes with a soundtrack, of course, which you unlock when you beat the game.

The game is handwritten on 4x6 graph paper and then coded with hypertext to link between arrows and numbers on the page.  It uses a slight transparency of the image of each page, making the background appear very slightly.  The links were also hand-made, using an inkpad and a numerical stamp.

The actual making of Sorry For Graffiti was possible, first, by completing a course in understanding the nature of Time Langauge, discussed on the Kid Analog Blog.

The "welcome" video.

There are 2 different stages, for a total of 6 levels (3 per stage).  Here are their listings:

Mission 1. Get Paint

Your first task is to obtain the spraypaint that you wish to use, to write graffiti on the walls around your town.  Is it right?  Is it wrong?  These are all ethical questions, and it's up to the individual to decide if it's ethical.  By picking up the book, you have decided that it is ethical to write graffiti (but that you feel sorry for it).  Thus, you're involved as a character before reading anything.  A map is displayed and details the locations of the following places, all of which seem good for obtaining paint:

A.  The Art Store
characters:  Rose (clerk)

The trick to getting paint at the art store is to be polite and not decline buying a canvas, but at the same time being forthright about your miserable financial situation.

B.  The Hardware Store
characters:  Louie (clerk)

Getting paint at the hardware store means talking to the guy who talks to your dad whenever he's got to get something to fix the house.  If you lie to the guy, he will call you out for it.  Actually he'll threaten to call your dad.  But if you're honest about your misdeeds, he's actually more likely to 

C.  Channel One.  
characters:  Louie (clerk)

Lou is either there, or he's not.  It's never a definite thing, that he is available.  The trick to getting paint at Channel One is luck.  There's more to it than just that, though.  There's the possibility of partnership with him in a larger venture (see sequel).  

Final Notes On Mission 1. 
There's no way to fail mission 1.  Each place gives you the option of returning and trying again.  There aren't any opportunities for risk or failure, and it's just a place for people to get familiar with the flow of the narrative, and its game aspect.

Mission 2.  Use Paint

Once you have obtained paint, you must find a place to use it.  You're also welcome to talk to other graffiti artists, practice, or get about your business and go on a mission.

There are three missions, and they're listed chronologically as 1, 2 and 3.  In each of those three levels, it shows you what the place is, how to get there, and what the risk, visibility, and danger of each target might be.

Risk is the value of how likely it is that you will cause damage to yourself, and usually has to do with how much causality there is, with falling or getting hit by trains.  It's the value of the possibility of an accident.

Danger is the value of how likely it is that you will get clobbered by Hoods or the Cops.  They're both out there, and they're equivalent in danger.

Visibility is a combined factor, both of how likely you are to be seen while painting, as well as what the likelihood is that you will get caught in the act.  All of these factors come into play throughout the book.

The way that the narrative works, there is a secret to the chronology of the title.  It goes 1, 2, 3.  If you start on the third stage, you won't have any experience from the previous 2 missions.  In fact, stage 3 is infinitely easier if you start it from a secret entrance, which is located at the successful completion of level 2.

Level 1.  The Skate Park
You have the option of choosing between daytime and night-time.  You're also given the opportunity to talk to Reo, who gives you good advice throughout the game.  If you decide to paint in the day, the risk involved is just as great as if you were to paint at night, when all the hoods come out to the park to sniff cheese.

Your best bet, day or night, is the same spot:  a part of the skatepark where nobody will really mess with you.  Just the side of a ramp that nobody ever uses.  It's not much but it's a beginning to a great campaign as a renowned graffiti writer, such that is your mission from the moment you pick up this book (or website, in this case).

Once you have completed the skate park level, it's then safe to move on to the other areas.  This by far is the easiest of the three stages available in part 2.

Level 2.  The Train Line

The train line within itself has three separate entrances, which you've spotted on your many walks to and from school.  The first entrance seems to be that if you hop over the bus stop on 1st and B, you can climb down either a ladder or a tree, and get onto the train tracks.

It's such a good spot because every single passenger and commuter can see out their windows at a blank wall.  It seems that it's a good place to put down your message.

You can also try entering the train line via walking to the end of the platform at the train station.  There's also an open fence at the end of C Ave, but it's quite a walk.

Once you're down there, you can deliberate on where you'd like to paint, but once you've decided, you must leave from one of the three entrances.  Things to watch out for are the ladder on the wall, if you hop the bus stop; the security guard at the train station (don't hop the turnstile) and to be quite honest, there's extremely very little risk towards using the end of C Ave to complete the mission.  It's quite simple.

Once you're done with this mission, you need to return home.  There will be a guy walking around grumbling.  Make friends with him, because he's just drunk and disgruntled (disdrunkled) and he is actually the super-intendant for the building on the final stage.  Making his acquaintance will help later.

Level 3.  The Building

There are three different entrances into the building.  One is the front entrance, which is clearly not a good idea.  The second is the fire escape, and a third is the freight elevator.

Here is where things get a bit tricky for the reader.  The front entrance is instant fail.  The fire escape has hoods on it, who could attract the attention of the cops, even though it seems like the most obvious entrance.  And the freight elevator requires the special cooperation of the super-intendant.

To get the super's permission to enter through the freight elevator, you must befriend him on your walk home after successfully completing level 2.  That's when you learn his name.  You gain access from addressing him by name, and he gives you a ride up to the billboard.  It's the safest way.

The trick for completing the billboard with minimal risk of casualty, injury, or capture upon escape is the waiting period.  You must wait until 10pm before the lights go off, at which point it becomes safe to tag the billboard.  The solidarity between yourself and the building supervisor about contempt for Monolith® is what makes it possible for you to attain the level of cooperation which allows you to safely complete the mission.

By completing this book, you gain access to a new book, Sorry For Graffiti 2.  If you did not do so well, you will be thankful to realize that you will be able to play the next episode, Sorry For Hacking Your Mainframe, where you realize that you're not good at basketball or graffiti, and that your talent for righting the wrongs of the world are in the realm of your computer talents.

Ethical Issues

Hey, I know how you might see this.  It's a manual for how to be a good graffiti writer.  Yeah, sure.  Maybe that's the case.  But we have video games which entice people to fight for their arbitrary right to kill people, in war strategy simulations.  As such, it only aims to quell the internal compulsion for people to do graffiti, not promote people to go and do it.  In fact, it's the most realistic simulation of the experience that one could possibly put together, aside from the analogous elements ("sniffing cheese" is obviously a metaphor for doing something nasty, like methamphetamine, for example).  It's why hoods are to be avoided.  Also worth noting are that hoods are generic.  They do not have ethnicity, personality, or even faces.  Nor any distinguishing characteristics to determine one from another, aside from a basic "size" of large, medium, and small.  The same applies for cops, who are cartoonish in nature, and characterized by their commonplace behaviors.  In that sense, the film version (containing live human action) would appear more as a dream sequence or a music video, and less like something which could have occurred in real life.

Yet still I've managed to produce a game that is non-violent, contains very little (if any) swear words, might not actually be considered a 'video game' (although it contains computer programming which essentially makes it so) and it still probably might not be acceptable under the standards of Senator Joe Lieberman.  Ha!  Sorry.

Level 2 (Subway Entrance)
Hopeful Issues

This title is more of an idea of how to write a choose-your-own adventure novel, and could be used for an example as educators try to find new and interesting things to teach to students as we come up with new purposes for the iPad.  It looks great on tablet devices, because each page stretches just about to the size of the screen, and there's less swiping and more pushing of imaginary buttons, all over the pages.

In a more ideal world, one in which I was either being financially compensated for these efforts, or that I was perhaps given more time to complete the task, I would like to conduct a similar exercise for film.  In fact, you might consider Sorry 4 Graffiti to really be the synopsis for a type of film that I would like to potentially write.  It contains all the hard data, for example the basics of the chronology for what happens first, and what comes next.  As a film, however, it could be much more interesting, using a variety of aesthetic tactics which I've come up with, and cannot discuss (until it's up for a discussion).

Just another project, tucked away in the virtual attic of toys known as Stereomedia.

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