BCM215

Beta Blog Post: Mr. Pickles Want Your Ball

Prior to and while in its development, I conducted an extensive amount of research to inform my discussion in my digital artefact. It involves a series of video essays focused on modding in the context of Nintendogs, primarily focused on the Vinesauce Corruption Mod (popularized by streamer Vinesauce in 2012). I navigate the basic carer duties and document changes in structural elements, like sound and visual, affected by the mod. In conjunction to this, how, as a form of participatory media, it affects the modality, spatiality, and strata of the game or paratext. 

Image result for corruption mod nintendogs

The research I conducted was primarily academic or scholarly, while the media sources I utilized were solely to read up on other popular mods, such as those from Skyrim or GTA, in which I was not familiar with and I believed could be useful to my discussion. To form a cohesive background on mods for other consoles, I used Kotaku. This article was particularly useful, as it assisted me in becoming more familiar with Skyrim, one of the most highly modified games of all time, which I mentioned in my essay. I also used this article from Digital Trends, which served the same purpose. 

Although I did not explicitly mention many sources other than Sotamaa, Postigo, and Scacci, I had a wide variety of academic resources that I used to inform my discussion on game modifications up until this point. 

Scacci’s ‘Computer Game Mods, Modders, Modding, and the Mod Scene’ informed my knowledge on the mod scene, or the surrounding social world that frames the study. It discusses the career contingencies and organization practices of modders, as well as how social worlds intersect the mod scene, which I discuss with reference to the motivations of modders. Scacci mentions the ‘customizing, tailoring, remixing’ motivation, as well game conversion mods, which seek to overrun the game itself and make it virtually indistinguishable from its prior counterpart. I thought this was incredibly relevant, as the Corruption Mod allows you to choose how unrecognizable you want them to be. Want them to still look like a dog? Just make some small changes. Want them to look like a demonic blob of pixels? You can do that too. 

While I did not discuss much of Moody , their paper was useful in talking about modding motivations, immaterial labour, and complemented Sotamaa’s ‘Computer Game Modding, Intermediality and Participatory Culture’ beautifully. Sotamaa allowed me to discuss the institutionalization of fan cultural production, as well as definitions of participatory. This led on to the partial agency and power negotiation between participators I mentioned in my video essay. Similiarly, Postigo’s ‘Modding to the big leagues: Exploring the space between modders and the game industry’ also informed the discussion on participatory relationships.

Raessons and Jenkins gave me an excellent background and widened my interpretation of participatory media. Raessons focused on the multimediality, virtuality, interactivity and connectivity of participatory media culture, while Jenkins informed my understanding of how trends and the new media environment change the way media consumers relate to each other, media producers, and media texts.

Mitew & Moore formed a backbone for the majority of my discussion, mainly centering around the triad of space/spatiality, modality, and strata/technique to discuss how the mod changes structural elements, and how they coexist in the context of the modded game.

View the first instalment of the video essay series here:

References:

Jenkins, H. (2009). Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Mitew, T. and Moore, C. (2017). ‘Histories of Internet Games and Play: Space, Technique and Modality’. Global Internet Histories. Goggin, G. & McLelland, M. J., Eds. Routledge: London.

Moody, K. (2014). Modders : changing the game through user-generated content and online communities. University of Iowa: Iowa Research Online.

Postigo, H. (2010). Modding to the big leagues: Exploring the space between modders and the game industry. First Monday, 15(5).

Raessens, J. (2005). Computer games as participatory media culture. In J. Raessens & J. Goldstein (Eds.), Handbook of computer game studies (pp. 373-388). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Scacci, W. (2010). Computer Game Mods, Modders, Modding, and the Mod Scene. Institute for Software Research and Center for Computer Games and Virtual Worlds, University of California.

Sotamaa, O. (2003). Computer Game Modding, Intermediality and Participatory Culture. Computer Game Modding, Intermediality and Participatory Culture, University of Tampere, Finland.


6 thoughts on “Beta Blog Post: Mr. Pickles Want Your Ball”

  1. Hey Hannah!

    Firstly, your blog post is well laid out, I felt like it was a breeze to navigate and read through!

    Your BETA video was coherently design and produced, highlighted through your use of screen shots, images and furthermore screen recording of your posts and specifically the engagement with the game itself.

    Your acceptance of your failure to produce 4 video essays in the time frame you mention in your pitch is engaging, as it highlights that you are aware of what you have done and what you intend to do differently. This was also supported with your specifications of the views, likes and viewer engagement that you talk about. YouTube is difficult to gain feedback on, although through your use of posting it to Facebook, Twitter and Reddit, you clearly made a conscious effort to receive as much feedback as possible.

    A lot of this feedback is due the specific way in which YouTube analytics works. A ‘view’ on YouTube counts as an individual watching for 20 seconds, which you then comment on how people have watched for approximately 54 seconds, highlighting that people are listening rather than engaging.

    I like the fact you immediately understand that 3-4 minutes might in-fact be too long for a video essay and further, you decide to make future posts and videos 2 minutes long.

    You talk about how people are listening rather than engaging this might be beneficial to you and your listeners? As I’m sure you’re aware, Raessens comments in his text when speaking about the video game; Metal Gear Solid (1999) where he specifies “it is not the entertainment value that is central, but an external purpose: receiving certain experience, the communication of a message”. With this in mind, would you consider a podcast? embedded into a supporting blog post or a podcast on its own? This way you would not only reach a larger audience, but your DA would also undergo an iteration which you specified hadn’t happened yet.

    You had a lot of information to put into 4 minutes, and it was difficult to keep up with what you were saying at some point in time. For future reference, you could have dot points on the screen instead of scenes from the game itself. Although I like that you had the video of the library drama it showed that you actually put the thought and effort into trying to make it work, despite a lot of frustration.

    Overall, it is evident that you have conducted a substantial amount of research, highlighted throughout the duration of your blog post and beta video. Prior to the final submission in week 13 you might find it beneficial to further your readings for your following video essays. I found this article quite interesting; https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1469540513499225, the article discusses that playing a simulation game, Nintendogs, tells us a more general story about how social relations are affected and shaped by technologies. Hopefully you find it helpful!
    Great post and looking forward to watching your other video essays!

    Like

  2. Hello!
    It’s very evident that you have put quite a lot of research into this, which makes it very interesting to read, or more-so, interesting to watch. The use of screen recording your beta is a good idea, as it allows the views to watch and follow along with what you are saying. However I found that whilst trying to watch the video and understand what was going on, it was a little bit difficult to process what you were saying, I had to watch a few parts a couple of times to really understand. However it was very intriguing – and definitely cool topic to work on!
    I definitely agree that the video essays should be shorter, because like you suggested, a short video hopefully means they’ll watch the whole thing.
    I am somewhat unfamiliar with mods, I know what they are, but at the same, not really. Your blog allowed me to understand a bit more as to what mods actually do and how it can impact the gameplay.
    Also, I appreciate the effort you put in to engage with your audiences, and did as much as you could to receive feedback. Obviously different platforms will result in different engagement, but it’s great to see the differences within the engagement.
    I found this source that covers how different contributions from users can shape the software products, and the investigation of conflict between a modding community and a gaming company: https://firstmonday.org/article/view/2971/2529
    Check it out if you would like, it’s a long, but good read.
    Overall, it’s quite obvious that you’ve put a lot of effort into this! Good luck with your future video essays!

    Like

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