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Narratives: Does the Internet/Technology in a story destroy your immersion?

#1JenniferTatePosted 1/27/2013 6:16:59 PM
I've got a question that came up after a discussion today, and I'd like my GFAQs friends' input. It's story and writing-reading related, but it does pertain to video games and I will specifically cite games for examples, so I hope this isn't considered off-topic.

I'm a writer and artist working on my own scripts, stories, and projects (comics). I have a lot of ideas, sometimes they come too fast for me to focus on, which actually sucks. I had an idea today that I started developing: it's your standard post-apocalyptic sci fi adventure, think Fallout, The Last of Us, Metro 2033, I Am Alive, that sort of story and world.

In this world, it's been about three, four hundred years since civilization declined. That's a long time when you look at human history and such, I felt it worked well. I worked out the broadest details to make the actual story I wanted to tell plausible in this world, and bounced the ideas off of my editor and close friends.

One confidante came back and told me the idea was neat in theory, but the Internet, cell phones, satellites, and modern technology make it implausible and unbelievable. I explained how I could reasonable explain away those things as factors, but was countered that the Internet and technology can never go away.

So here's my question (and thank you for reading this far): Do you even consider things like the Internet or other modern technologies when you are immersed in Fallout, Metro 2033, or watching The Walking Dead or reading something like The Hunger Games?

I don't mean to fully ignore them, as I like to have it at least touched on why technology of convenience we have isn't a factor in the narrative, but the discussion went on to say that something like Fallout and Last of Us or Resident Evil simply isn't enjoyable:

Why wouldn't you e-mail Europe and see how their post-nuclear war went. Surely something must have survived the EMP, or they must have scouted the world with all the technology at hand (VATs, mech suits, etc). Why can't you just use global satellites to coordinate survival in the Last of Us, why would society indeed decay like that when we have Internet or smart phones and could easily coordinate and communicate rather than have civilization fall?

And those are deeper questions, to be sure, but the point is I don't agree with "The Internet/iPhones" to be a catch-all, suspension of disbelief smasher. I like when they touch or hint as to why those things aren't a factor, but when I'm playing a game or watching a movie (especially horror), I happily suspend some logic just for the sake of enjoying the world I have to explore, rather than worrying about every pieces of logistics.

I'm interested in how you guys feel about this?
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Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth. - Mike Tyson
#2LandfillAOPosted 1/27/2013 6:40:48 PM
Never really thought of it tbh. But there are ways to take those things away, as you said. First of all I'd say 90% of the population (and that's being generous) doesn't know how to run maintenance on servers, electricity or phone lines. Things like natural disasters could easily wipe out substations, servers etc. and satellites could possibly suffer I assume as well. Honestly, when you look at how severe the apocalypse is in something like The Walking Dead it seems like too much of civilization is gone and too much time is spent on trying to survive as opposed to trying to put a camera in a phone.

Heck, there are theories that technology was lost upon the world before when you look at some of the creations throughout history and the technology which they were supposedly created with.

If the apocalypse was large enough in scale, I can easily see technology being lost. I mean, The Walking Dead does kind of touch on communication and technology, people communicating all over the world until everything goes offline and everybody loses communication.
#3JenniferTate(Topic Creator)Posted 1/27/2013 9:50:32 PM
I appreciate your input, Landfill. I agree with all your points, and the lost technology angle is a great point. As you say, I feel everyone would be too focused on the immediate task at hand, and collateral damage and loss of skill sets is huge.

In particular, I was thinking of tectonic shift and how we use physical cables across the ocean floor. Those could easily be lost without maintenance.

When I look at The Last of Us or Fallout, I look at the immediate situation: those situations are what the player/protagonist is thrown into, and it's the core of the experience. In the Last of Us I'm not even concerned with the viability of the Internet or hunting down a plane to make the trip easier, the conflict is going from A to B in a crazy world so crazy that the immediate concepts and experiences we're thrown against make it clear that updating Wikipedia and keeping Skype contact has long ago been taken off the table, for whatever reason.
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Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth. - Mike Tyson
#4Link43130Posted 1/27/2013 10:04:04 PM
The dude in I Am Legend uses a radio to try and contact people, that was pretty cool.
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Steam/XBL/PSN: Link43130