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					      Riddles

One of the earliest forms
  Of Interactive Story
     Early comparisons
» Game, Story, Novel, Puzzle
» Poetry (Novak 1991)
  » “Interactive Fiction is computer
    gaming‟s best parallel with poetry:
    complex, subtle, and these days,
    absolutely unsaleable (Guest 2002)
              Riddle
» Ancient
» Dismissed as being a diversion for
  children.
» Riddle is often considered poetry
  (“Riddle is a short lyric poem that
  poses a question, the answer to
  which lies hidden in hints” Turco
  1986)
              Riddle
» Poses a question
» Answered by reader or listener or
  riddlee.
» Folk riddles “A riddle is a
  traditional verbal expression which
  contains one or more descriptive
  elements, a pair of which may be
  in opposition.”
              Riddle
» Covered with eyes, but it can‟t see.
» I tremble at each breath of air and
  yet can heaviest burdens bear
               Joke
» How many Freshmen does it take
  to screw in a lightbulb?
» Response format, not a riddle
  since they do not describe
  something that is genuinely to be
  guessed, but rather provide the set
  up for a punch line.
      Other non-riddles
» “What‟s that thing on top of the
  engine that controls the mix of fuel
  and air?
» Simply asking for a term, not
  offered to be guessed but rather in
  the hopes of learning the answer.
      Other non-riddles
» Mathematical problems.
» Situational puzzle:
  » A man walks into a bar and asks for a
    drink. The bartender pulls out a gun
    and points it at him. The man says,
    „Thank you‟ and walks out.
  » Yes or no questions to figure out why
    it works
             Riddles
» Meant to challenge the listener but
  to be soluble, rather than those
  meant to be insoluble or those not
  intended to challenge.
» Excellent riddles have to be both
  enjoyably challenging yet soluble
  with the information provided.
             Riddles
» The unique quality of the riddle as
  communication is that it engages
  the attention of the riddlee in
  particular ways and contains a test
  for its success. Both parties must
  be engaged.
        Mystery novels
» Like a riddle but reader doesn‟t
  explicitly need to solve the mystery
» Ridlee needs to turn the unknown
  and unfamiliar into the familiar in
  order to know the answer.
              Excellence
» Must have some agreement between
  riddler and riddlee.
» Author is obliged to pose a riddle that is
  tantillizing in its opacity, yet fair in the
  clues it provides.
» Riddlee is obliged to solve the riddle, to
  announce the solution and explain the
  riddle-question and how each of the
  clues operate.
          Arrangement
» Aristotle‟s Rhetoric
  » Pattern of Surprise
  » Then delay
  » Then excited recognition
         Early riddles
» As old as time, before writing.
» Early surviving riddles from
  Babylon
» Who becomes pregnant without
  conceiving, who becomes fat
  without eating?
              History
» Sacred texts contain riddles
» Well-regarded in ancient Greece.
  » Legend says that Homer was
    confounded by a riddle and died of
    frustration.
              History
» Riddle of the Sphinx from Oedipus
  » What is that which has one voice and
    yet becomes four-footed and two-
    footed and three-footed?”
» 18th Century Riddles were very
  popular.
» After that, riddles became more for
  kids than adults.
     Poetry and Riddles
» Principles by Howard Nemerov:
  1. A poem must seem very mysterious.
  2. But it must have an answer (=a
     meaning) which is precise, literal,
     and total; that is,which accounts for
     every item in the poem.
  3. It must remain very mysterious, or
     even become more so,when you
     know the answer.
             Principles
1. Invite the interactor to solve the
   riddle, by being enigmatic in a
   certain way or by presenting
   something to be solved that is
   alluring.
  1. Stimulate the curiosity.
           Principles
2. Provides for the economy of
   objects in the world. If there are
   red herrings, they must add to the
   meaning, even if otherwise
   extraneous.
            Principles
3. When the explicit mysteris of an
   interactive fiction are solved, a
   work that becomes more
   profoundly mysterious can be
   “played” again with interest even
   when the solution is known.
               Examples
» Where did Pilgrims land when they arrived in
  America?
» When do elephants have 8 feet?
» What gets wetter and wetter the more it dries?
» You throw away the outside and cook the
  inside. Then you eat the outside and throw
  away the inside. What did you eat?
            Examples
» What goes up and down the stairs
  without moving?
» What can you catch but not throw?

				
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