While my project at this point focuses on comparing board games with electronic versions of those games, the games have crossed into other media as well. Below is a clip from the 1985 film Clue. The film is a comedy based on the game of the same name, and shows how the entertainment industry looks to things that are already familiar to the public. The same is true for the video game industry, which is filled with sequel, remastered editions, and games centering on characters from previous consoles.
I’ve been drafting my text for the exhibits this past week. I’m almost ready to start importing the text into Omeka, as well as add the items that I have yet to upload into it that I was unsure if I would end up using. I have a session with people who work with Digital Humanities tonight, where I will ask about the forum software they have used. Once I decide on this, I can add it onto my server and post the initial discussion boards.
One of the reading this module talked about whether to design an exhibit linearly or non-linearly. The key design aspect of my project is that there is a historical component and a discussion component. Because of this, this reading brought to my attention that I need to consider that visitors will see one side and not necessarily the other. One of the solutions is to mention the other part of the site at some point, whether it is in the about section, a pinned post, or somewhere similar. Once I have more of the site developed I can see which method works best.
My proposal is to create a website using Omeka in order to present the history of video games. The main question I intend to ask is how this industry came to be, and how the people who consider themselves part of the Gaming culture interact with fellow Gamers. I intend to include the rise of arcade games to the transition to home gaming via consoles and computers. Video games have become a billion dollar industry, and while there has been some research into its past, there is little that provides an over-arching research into the industry. I plan to create a forum companion to the exhibit for people to share their experiences as Gamers. This will provide insight into how this history was lived by those who experienced it. I personally consider myself a Gamer, and this project will also allow me to satisfy my own curiosity into the industry’s past.
The main technology that I will use is the Omeka Content Management System. This will allow me to organize the various types of games, systems, and so on that have made an impact in the video game industry. I will also include the contribution plugin for people visiting the site to propose their own ideas for items that made an impact. As for the forum aspect, I am currently looking into which technology will support the project best. It is possible to use the contribute feature, but I have yet to test how it functions as a means of conversation. There are a number of forum software websites that may work better than something built into Omeka itself.
The target audience for my project is anyone who plays, or has played, video games. I do not differentiate between people who currently play, or haven’t played in decades. I also consider all levels of play, from people who play every day to those who play once a month. Since I am part of this culture, I am aware of how fellow Gamers enjoy talking about their favorite games, and to find others who play them in order to share any multiplayer components. This is the main reason I intend to include a forum. Being an academic project, it will allow fellow Gamers to have this discussion in an area free of any trash talk that is prevalent in other forums. Any researcher will be able to view the research into video game history, as well as view the topics that current Gamers are having related to the topic.
Demographic: Sporadic Gamer, 30 y.o., works full time, female
Descriptive Title: Sporadic Player
She wants to share her experiences playing games in a setting that does not have any trash talk or trolling. She wants to see if there are any other people who play the same games she does, and whether they want to play with her online.
Quote: Games are great, especially when I find one that I like and can afford it.
A Day in a Life Narrative:
Brittney works full time at a hospital, and has played video games off and on since childhood when her mother bought a Nintendo. She does not have a console or dedicated gaming computer, but is able to play games that are not too taxing on her computer. Brittney has a friend or two that have a console and will play with them once or twice a month. One of her main issues is the cost of entry, with most of her income going towards essentials. She would play more if she could. When she finds a game she likes and can afford, she plays consistently until it is completed. Brittney does not consider herself a gamer because she does not have a dedicated gaming machine, and does not play on a regular basis.
Brittney wants to find a community of players similar to her, in that she plays sporadically and doesn’t have a gaming system of her own. She wants to find ways of finding ways to play games that are affordable, and to find games similar to the ones she enjoys.
Demographic: Gamer, PC and Console User, 22 y.o., Undergraduate Student, Minority
Descriptive Title: Gamer
Quote: I play games not because I don’t have a life, but because I choose to have many.
A Day in a Life Narrative:
Steve plays games for several hours a week, and usually plays something every other day. He schedules his play time around classes, homework, and a 10 hour/week job on campus. He enjoys gaming because it is much more entertaining than watch movies, and it gives him a sense of pride and accomplishment when he finishes a game. Since Steve plays online both on a console and PC, he is familiar with technology and the communities for gaming, especially those his friends frequent. He splits his time playing online with friends and single-player only games. He enjoys the sense of camaraderie that develops when having a shared experience in a game.
He wants to share his experiences playing games in a setting that does not have any trash talk or trolling. He wants to see if there are any other people who play the same games he does, and whether they want to play with him online.
After looking through a few major projects, I have come to realize that the strength of my own project is in the experiences of the Gamers themselves. The genre descriptions of archives by Trevor Owens showed that my idea regarding personal experiences falls under the digital archive set that is centered around people’s experiences regarding a particular event. As such, the items I have started to collect in Omeka I see as providing some historical context for their experiences. I also plan to use them as a way to jog their memories.
If I can show some of the more popular games and consoles, some visitors may remember that they played one of them. One thing I have to keep in mind is making all the experiences searchable by others, since I intend to make the site more of a community than some others. I have yet to decide if Omeka will be able to do this to my satisfaction, or if another program will work better.
The first priority with this type of project is the audience: the people who will view and interact with the project once it is completed. Since my project deals with people who play video games, I must tailor aspects of my project to them, such as providing them with materials related to what they are interested in. If they do not see something they want to look into, they will leave the project without contributing.
One of the things that I know from personal experience is that Gamers like to talk about the games they enjoy playing, which is why I plan to include a forum aspect to my project. This provides a couple benefits that I believe will help the success of the project. The first is that it will allow visitors to feel engaged with the material, and that they are contributing their story for others to read and interact with. There are a number of forums that already exist, but there are none that I am aware of in an academic setting. These forums are also fraught with problems from ‘trolls,’ and the academic setting of this project may help to keep this at bay.