Project Statement: Pixellated Culture

I went into this project thinking of all potentials for a video game blog. At first I hit some speed bumps when I tried to come up with an idea that was different enough, making reviews and videos quickly out of the question to avoid being called a copycat. Thus Pixellated Culture combined my penchant for all things history, literary, and video game.

One of the first things I noticed when creating this blog is how hard it really is to get out there. There are a lot of blogs just on Blogger, let alone getting WordPress and Omeka in the list. I was unsure how to get into this. Thankfully Blogger’s random button convinced me I’d get traffic and off I went.

Right now, Pixellated Culture, while not a booming success, is a success by my standards. I had wanted only 10 page views per post, and have averaged that and more. This surprised me as I’ve done little marketing of the blog outside my Twitter feed. I do regret not being able to market more, which is probably the only thing I would change if I had to do this again. This whole project has made me think about the status of video games as part of a scholarly agenda and what kind of audience wants this type of blog.

What surprised me the most was the google searches that led to my blog. Unfortunately, those who read my blog appear to be RSS -and- Follow-phobic, as my blog does not have any actual follows through these things, meaning those who do read the blog either follow my twitter links or go out of their way to type the address into the bar. These same people also don’t comment. I consider this a good and a bad thing. It’s bad because I would love my reader’s input into what I cover or if they think I’m crazy, but it’s good in a no trolls on my blog way. Perhaps no news is good news.

This project also made me realize the international application of the internet. Most of this class was spent focusing on American usage and ideas, with the potential for these ideas to go across the board. I’ve had many hits from across Europe. The U.S. is certainly my prime audience right now with a majority of my hits coming from within the U.S., but I have readers in Finland, Hungary, Denmark. Unfortunately, I can’t tell if I have multiple readers in these areas or if it’s just one, but I now have to keep an international base in mind since video game releases vary. This isn’t much of a problem with modern video games, as most developers prefer to release world wide on or around the same day, but they might not have access to all the online games I do.

This blog has also made me consider what is a game. Recently, I decided to do a post on flash games, with the flash games all being on one particular site that I frequent. Hopefully, I can gage the response from that so I know how soon and if my audience wants to talk about those type of games or if they are of a more “hardcore” sector.

One of the last things I noticed as a trend was that my literary posts tended to get more traffic than my historical posts. My post on Bioshock (second post) garnered more hits than my post on Fallout 3 (first post), which could be handwaved by saying it was order. But my post on Silent Hill (fourth post) garnered more hits than either Metal Gear Solid (third post) or Assassin’s Creed (fifth post). What this tells me is that while my audience is interested in the historical aspect (they still read those posts) they prefer looking at the literary aspect, the story aspect. I find all this to be an interesting look into the current gamers’ mind, but can in no way call this conclusive. I will maintain the project in the future, as this topic still remains in my interest and I feel like I can’t let my readers down now.

2 Replies to “Project Statement: Pixellated Culture”

  1. You bring up a very good point about international applications. It does seem as though the default focus is the United States, when the power of the internet in the world to not only record but make history is so strong…..from what I understand, the internet played a key role in organizing the protests that have rocked the Middle East. If I were to make any recommendations for future courses, it would be to make sure to include an international section.

  2. I like the idea of a video game blog that goes into the literature and the history of any games. I think the biggest reason why there is more interest in the literature topics because there is more literature in games. What I mean is that people read books. People have favorite books and will find ways to incorporate those interests into their lives. Not everyone is a historian and the skills needed to work in the video game industry run counter to studying the humanities. Most people don't pick up a history book to entertain themselves and the ones who do generally don't go into areas outside of history. There aren't history specialists working on most games, whereas there is someone who reads books directing every video game. It is a lot easier for a game developer to say he wants to make a response to Atlas Shrugged and why he disagrees with it than it is for a developer to say that he wants to do a game that accurately depicts the Crusades, or even part of the Crusades. Most games I have played have used the history as a backdrop than as a main part of the game. I'm not saying it isn't possible–I would love to play through a historically accurate Assassin's Creed–it is just that the ideas necessary to making a game that is supposed to be a modern Greek tragedy is a lot more prevalent in the video game industry.
    Overall though, nice concept. It has gotten me thinking about some other games differently and I am now considering publishing a couple of my own game thoughts online in some form.

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