Extra Thoughts

Well, I fully admit that with all the final papers and then flying home for the holidays, I completely forgot to post anything else to this blog.  I’ll write up a few more posts tonight just to ease my conscience and for the off chance that Dr. McNeilly is seeing this.

This was initially a draft sitting by (now for almost a month) of a bunch of small ideas for my final term paper that I wanted to record them for potential future use:

  • the history of controllers, and how we interact with video games through touch – what are the goals of the people who make controllers?  how much focus is on comfort, ease of use?  how are controllers and controls made to feel “natural”, with the way they fit in our hands, respond to our touch?  what about controllers that normally serve other purposes, like a phone screen or a keyboard, and do we use them differently when playing a game?  what about the way controllers interact with us, through vibrations and lights?  this would possibly be best served through research into the timeline and history of controllers.
  • the question of playing god in games – many people seem to prefer video games over mediums like books or TV for entertainment because of the level of engagement (feeling like video games require active participation while others only require passive attention, and there’s probably something about hot and cold media here), but why is this?  how much power do we want in a game (depends on game genre, perhaps) and how much do we expect?  some genres like simulations, tactics, and sandboxes seem to be the most obviously “god-like”, where the player can control anything from an amusement park to natural environment to countries, but obviously still are restricted by constraints of the game and still look to the game for indicators or success.  other genres may offer control over individual characters restricted to a narrative, whether that be a visual novel or an RPG.  arguably one of the most ubiquitous (if generally unnoticed until it’s gone) features of video games is the idea of saving, which i think is possibly paramount in a feeling of control over video games.  how does a player feel if a game takes away the ability to save?  what if the game auto-saves?  what if the game “quick saves”, making save files that can only be returned to once?  what if the game saves even when the player purposefully wanted it to forget?  what if the game is meant to be played over with several saves?  i think it’s likely the main focus of this would be save files, but i also think this is more useful with a study backing it up.
  • similarly to the above concept of passive/active, how does being a fan and engaging in fandoms transform encounters with media that would otherwise be considered passive?  have they become more popular and mainstream?  how do some fanworks become accepted as “legitimate” (Sherlock) while others are ridiculed (50 Shades of Grey) and most others left just among the community (sites like ff.net or AO3)?  how and why does the medium fanworks occur in affect how it is received?  is this better considered from an inside or an outside perspective?
Extra Thoughts

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