Digital History Paper Draft: The Horrors of War-games

So far, work on my paper has basically proceeded as anticipated.  The one major surprise thus far has actually been a pleasant one.  While I had initially intended for this project to look at a broad range of games, I have discovered the Call of Duty franchise has been a much rich set of sources than anticipated, and so far I’ve spent all my paper discussing different games in it.  I’m still considering including games from outside the franchise, but I’m not sure how I feel about spending 5/7s of the paper discussing games which are all tightly linked, and then only moving on in the last portion to games that, while still connected thematically, are not quite so linked together.  Whichever way I go, and I’d love to hear people’s thoughts, I’m almost certainly going to need to rewrite the introduction, so while I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on the paper as a whole, there’s probably not much value in thinking about how to improve that.

One Reply to “Digital History Paper Draft: The Horrors of War-games”

  1. It’s exciting to see this project coming together and moving along. To your first point, I think it completely makes sense to focus in on the Call of Duty franchise. From what you have pulled together so far it’s clear that you have plenty of material to work with. At this point, you have a lot of great examples and material. You have also done a nice job of painting a very specific picture of parts of the action and narrative in the games. Going forward, I think the main areas to focus on improving are to work to 1) pull out your thesis 2) situate the essay in some of the readings and literature on the topic (much of which you can take right from things we read in class) and 3) focus on clarifying the structure of the essay and pulling out some of the salient points from each situation that demonstrate your thesis.

    I would suggest that you work in subheadings and signposting. That tends to make it much easier to parse the sections of the paper and it’s also a good way to be able to continually eyeball how balanced the paper is. In this case, having an intro, a review of relevant literature or conceptual context, then your analysis and then a discussion and conclusion section. There is a good bit of flexibility for how you structure the paper but it would be helpful for the reader to get some of that structure through headings. In terms of signposting, we moved relatively quickly from the general statement of issues and the problems right into some close reading of games in the series. It would be great to close out your intro with a bit of a roadmap for the paper. Tell us what you are going to argue and demonstrate in the course of the paper.

    As you work toward the final draft, please include references. You are doing some nice work building off various points from our readings but it would be good to get them cited (either as footnotes or end notes) and then go ahead and include a bibliography of the works too. I don’t have particular preferences on bibliographic format just whatever you want to use and make sure that you are consistent. With that note, the paper does still read as rather lightly sourced. As you go back to work through it again look for points where you can bring in references to support claims. For example, in the beginning of the paper you reference a range of different criticisms that video games face, it would be good to cite sources for some of those.

    The paper has a series of nicely articulated vignettes from the games. As a reader I felt like I got a good sense of what was going on in these given situations. However, it was not completely clear to me at the each of these what the implications were from each situation toward your overall thesis. My sense is that there are connections and points in each of these that are apparent to you as both the author and someone who has played a lot of time in these games but it would be great if you could just go through and make sure you land each of these vignettes with an explicit statement or two parsing what is significant in each situation toward your thesis.

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