You can find the trailer for this pitch here which goes over a basic overview of what the video essay (series?) is going to be about, the subject matter (game developers dealing with hardware limitations, design etc.), who it’s for (people interested in game development/game design in general) and so on.
However, this blog post will not try not to retread those points and will instead discuss specifics of research, the analytical lens I will be using, as well as the content schedule and feedback loop.
In terms of research that will be used, it will be a combination of academic, scholarly work and other resources like websites and videos. However, my guess would be that the majority of the research presented will be the non-academic sources. A few examples that I might use would be the website Gamasutra, a website which self-professes that it tackles the “Art and Business of Making Games”, with different categories highlighting multiple aspects of game development like programming, design, and marketing, oftentimes with articles and blog posts written by well-known developers like Terry Cavanagh, Tom Francis and Dominique Grieshofer, and other important industry figures. Another helpful resource would be the Game Developer’s Conference (GDC) video archives on YouTube where developers can discuss specific aspects of games they’ve been working on recently and the tech and design behind them, or they might be talking about older games and their design (typically referred to as ‘Postmortems’). A full list of potential “starting” resources can be found at the end of this blog post.
The analytical framework (to be more specific, compared to the video) will be a largely Structuralist approach, pulling apart aspects of design and function, focusing particularly on how hardware affects design. The video (series?) might also address a Post-Structuralist or subjective approach – specifically how different people weigh up these different design choices and what they value more in different kinds of games. This may include what I value more in particular genres, but the focus will absolutely be on structuralism, limitations and how the ‘formal elements’ of games (control, design, art style, aesthetic etc.) tessellate with each other in regards to those limitations.
When it comes to content structure and scheduling, Crunchy Bytes will either be a single video looking at two or three eras of gaming (e.g. early vs modern games) or a series of videos split up into those separate eras, following one after the other, chronologically through those time periods. However, to prevent over-ambitiousness, each era will only examine a couple of games in-depth. For feedback, I will post the video (or videos) on Twitter and on other websites like Reddit if possible, and try to obtain criticism through those avenues of media. I will also post, on a semi-regular basis, screenshots of progress I’m making with the series.
And that’s my pitch, in a nutshell. Thank you for taking the time to read through this blog post!
Potential References/Resources (from A-Z):
NOTE: Links may be broken in the future thanks to link rot. If so, I’ve done my best to include the details and titles of these pages for posterity’s sake.
NOTE #2: This is only a preliminary set of resources i.e. it’s a jumping off point for future research. As a result, some of these may not be included as references in the final video or series.
Ars Technica – https://arstechnica.com
Dominique Grieshofer – https://store.steampowered.com/publisher/DomGho
Eurogamer – https://www.eurogamer.net
Gamasutra – https://www.gamasutra.com
Game Developer’s Conference – https://www.gdconf.com
GDC YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0JB7TSe49lg56u6qH8y_MQ
Introduction to Game Analysis by Clara Fernández-Vara – (Not available online through University website)
A Man Chooses, A Slave Obeys: Agency, Interactivity and Freedom in Video Gaming by Rowan Tulloch – https://eds-b-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=1&sid=159a363c-11f9-40ea-9548-c785062f6eb1%40sessionmgr102
Spatial Design and Placemaking: Learning From Video Games by Ricardo Álavarez & Fábio Duarte – https://journals-sagepub-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/doi/10.1177/1206331217736746
Structuralism – https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structuralism
Subverting utilitarian subject-object relations in video games: A philosophical analysis of Thatgamecompany’s Journey by Corné Du Plessis – https://www-tandfonline-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/doi/abs/10.1080/02580136.2018.1532189
Terry Cavanagh – https://store.steampowered.com/developer/terrycavanagh
Tom Francis – https://store.steampowered.com/developer/suspicious