Tuesday, August 21, 2001

Looking through Jill Walker's article: Do you think you're part of this? Digital texts and the second person address I must agree on her approach. An interesting aspect of many adventure games and hypertexts is the use of the second person address. I would indeed argue that what is often referred to as first person view in many computer games is in fact second person view, since the game adresses the user directly. And often we will find texts like: "Do you dare to..." or "Your mission is to...". This you is indeed directly adressing the user taking part as a role within the game.

In the 1980s a whole lot of popular literature sold as Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks was all with a second person adresse. You were the hero in your own adventures like Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. The Steve Jackson mentioned is an englishman and not the american Steve Jackson behind Steve Jackson Games. This issue of second person adress is very similar to role-playing games in which the game master after describing the environment asks the player(s): "What do you do next?"

Anyway the shift towards adressing the second person is exciting because in literature studies you will learn that novels are written in first or third person. Even though third person view may in fact be following a single person and therefore be much like first person. The second person is to some extent forbidden. Why is that so?


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