I think we have done ourselves a disservice by losing the mystery of literature. At least I don’t see news reports about books that have had an enormous impact.
I see the odd headline of a reviewer championing a new title. However, it never registers with me that there is some new movement in literature that has begun. Or that there is a book that will essentially command all of literature.
In addition, the ease of presenting a book (and regardless of commercial success, becoming a professional writer regardless of success) makes it possible for a lot of writers to do so.
There was a time, almost like an epoch, when talented, gifted writers penned insightful and wise works. It just… ended. There must be many reasons why.
Film adaptations may have helped kill the most brilliant era in literary history. Film adaptations of novels are often so well-done that audiences may be enticed to watch them rather than follow through and read the original novel.
The appetite for lower-brow interests, as well, is much stronger than that for intellectual interests, and that has a damaging effect on the book market overall. I think of Stephen King. I have read many of King’s novels and stories, and I know he’s a talented writer, and many people champion him as being among the finest, although even something that has many high points to it, like The Shining kind of is almost on par with a writer of the past like Edgar Allan Poe, or maybe Misery that has sort of, I’m not a critic, postmodernist themes to it, or The Dark Tower (the seven books of his fantasy opus) that are so meta they actually include the character of Stephen King, I understand, in books by Stephen King, but I am not sure he is any match in light of the most notable writers of the past.
I knew a lit grad who I said to that King killed literature. My friend said he wasn’t any different than Charles Dickens. Several years ago, my friend worked in clothing retail as a lit major.
Maybe I would have enjoyed seeing the times when we had Earth-Shattering Writers. It isn’t that hard to imagine, though–you can watch a movie about it.
I’ve decided to return to my explanation of the Marvel Comics game Marvel Avengers Alliance, through the “lens” of the renowned treatise on military strategy, The Art of War.
1. The Laying of Plans, Calculations and Estimations
In Marvel Avengers Alliance, you have to “earn” gold, and this is achieved by spending money (such as $5 on ten “gold”). Gold can be exchanged for command points. A combination of silver, which is available for free in the game, and command points together, train your superheroes at the ready–so that they go up a level.
2. Waging War – The Challenge
The game Avengers Alliance consists of a number of challenges between its “bosses,” who are wicked opponents to the Avengers, and yourself and your heroes. Come each time you defeat a “mini-boss” or a “boss” you have won a game mission, and the next mission awaits. That’s the gist of the game, which is good fun.
3. Attack by Stratagem or Planning Offensives
In the game, you have a ready store of gear, supplies and more so that with “research”, carried out inside the game, your superheroes at the ready can advance to more dangerous fights than they have previously taken on. You can also recruit heroes and send them into battle (when they are not “busy” getting you silver) at the outset of each fight, so that you have enough superheroes at the ready.
4. Tactical Dispositions or Positioning
Tactical determinations aren’t a major concern in Marvel Avengers Alliance, but there are opponents against whom you must battle, that protect their own by getting in the way of your attacks.
5. Energy & Direction
There is an energy component to Marvel Avengers Alliance which restricts you by the number of fights you can lose, at which point you need to wait until your energy comes back. Or, if you have energy in reserve to use, which is an extra in the game, you can bring your energy back instantly.
6. Weak Points and Strong / Illusion versus Reality
The game is entirely about illusion, and the superheroes at the ready are the Avengers, who you know from comics, and film. The Avengers have many illusory powers which they wield. Likewise, the villains are monstrous!
7. Maneuvering and Dealing with Direct Conflict
Typically, the fights of the game are three against three, or occasionally fewer. The maneuvering in battle consists of directing your team’s attacks so that the enemies are reduced to zero and fade away.
8. Variation in Tactics aka The Innumerable Changes
Your team has their equipment and superpowers so you can choose your tactics while in the heat of battle. That’s a major part of the game, and if that kind of diversion interests you, Avengers is good fun.
9. The Army on the March / Moving the Force
To collect silver, which goes with training and research, you can send heroes to various parts of the world as it is understood in the game, where your heroes spend time “policing,” which plays into the game to help with your advancement.
10. Terrain or Situational Positioning
The game doesn’t include a terrain component, which is good because the app would be all the more challenging. Each fight resembles good or evil at the centre of the fight.
11. The Nine Situations / Terrains
Author Elish Bul-Godley discusses Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu in: Why Wall Street Loves “The Art of War” – A 13 Point Plan To Mastering Business Strategy, and if you have a thirst for combat, perhaps Sun Tzu’s strategy will appeal to your better judgement. Bul-Godley quotes Sun Tzu saying: “Strike at its head, and you will be attacked by its tail; strike at its tail, and you will be attacked by its head; strike at its middle, and you will be attacked by head and tail both.” Indeed, often your fights will be against a trio of evildoers, and you have to decide how best to attack your enemies.
12. The Attack by Fire
Fire-dealing weaponry is part of the game, and an arsenal is available both to you (who is the “Agent” in the game), and to the superheroes who have fire attacks at their disposal.
13. The Use of Spies / Intelligence
Fortunately, Intelligence, by which you gain information, factors into the game as much as the story does, keeping the fights coming, as a mission is always ready for your heroes.
14. There is no #14
Sun Tzu must have won the war at 13, for The Art of War stops there.
If you have an interest in a game like Marvel Avengers Alliance, feel free to blog about it and I shall enjoy reading you!