Saturday, November 30, 2013

Final Project Proposal: Complicate the Narrative/"The Romantic Dead"

1. Working Thesis Statement
My project is twofold: I want to produce a short e-book with several essays connecting videogames and literary traditions and thinking, and I want to submit one of those essays, "The Romantic Dead," for publication somewhere.

For the e-book, the purpose is basically "Videogames are a new medium, but they speak to the artistic traditions of the mediums that preceded them and expand on themes and ideas of the past in new ways native to this new interactive medium, and this book shows several ways in which that is true."

For the essay "The Romantic Dead," the thesis is "TellTale's The Walking Dead and Naughty Dog's The Last of Us are both neo-romantic pieces that update the ideals of romanticism to the post-industrial state."

2. Preliminary exploration
I've done plenty on both these fronts. My personal gaming blog has several posts I've already written that link literature and videogames. I read and reviewed Ian Bogost's book How to Do Things With Videogames. I've also curated a lot of content on the debate over videogames as art here.

3. Relevance
To digital culture: Many lament the rise of digital culture as a kind of death of civilization and great art, but this project seeks to prove otherwise, and instead show how digitally native mediums only enhance art and are just another step forward.

To a specific audience: I'm hoping the e-book will serve as a kind of primer for humanities students and teachers trying to bring this new form of expression into their classrooms and studies. Also, I feel like serious gamers--especially those who have played the game I write about--will be very interested in these essays just as a way to get them deeper into the worlds of the games they play.

4. Format
Like I said before, I'll have two formats here: one will be a more formal research paper (that could easily be a guest blog post as well) and the other will be an e-book that I'll also have available in PDF format (I have to typeset a book for a print publishing class I'm taking, so I might as well just do this, right?).

5. Outlet
There are several outlets I'm looking at for both sides of this project.

I really want to submit one or two of the essays to the BYU English Symposium to get these discussions going in the BYU community, but there are other venues I'm exploring as well.

I've been eyeing the online journal Game Studies for awhile, and think "The Romantic Dead" might be a good fit for it. I also like the website First Person Scholar, and though their call for papers says they focus on graduate students, I still think my work could get accepted there. Finally, the RE: Humanities conference is specifically asking for writing about games, so it could be a venue that is eager to accept my work.

6. Curation
Content for analysis: see the pictures and links in my posts here and here.

Secondary texts:

  • Greg recently showed me the Google+ community World of Video Game where he shared a video from one of my posts that currently has 94 +1's.
  • Subreddits /r/gaming, /r/truegaming, and /r/games are all reddit communities interested in games and game thinking
  • Video Games is another Google+ community that's very active and encourages a lot of discussion
7. Social Proof
I've worked a lot with both +Greg Bayles and +Gideon Burton already discussing these ideas, and both have reacted positively and encouraged me to move forward. I received a lot of positive feedback when I presented my paper from last semester on Shakespeare and videogames at RMMLA, which encouraged me to keep writing about the connection between literature and videogames. In an information session with the faculty of the MIT graduate program in Comparative Media Studies Writing, the director of the MIT Game Lab, Philip Tan said my research works in perfectly with their program and what's going on in game studies right now.

To be honest, I still feel like I haven't found the community that I know is out there talking about games like I do, but I've found a lot of good people and continue to search all over for like-minded people.

8. Next steps
I have lots of content already, so next steps for me are to figure out the best way to collect these essays into an e-book and how best to distribute that, as well as study the specific submission guidelines for each venue and adapt my work for each of them. I'll also continue searching for communities and venues, just to make sure I get the widest interested audience possible.