Annotated Bibliography #3

We have a two-fer today. Enjoy.

O’Sullivan, James. “The New Apparatus of Influence: Material Modernism in the Digital Age.” Journal of Humanities & Arts Computing: A Journal of Digital Humanities, vol. 8, no. 2, Oct. 2014, pp. 226-238. EBSCOhost, doi:10.3366/ijhac.2014.0131. 

While interesting, this article does not really connect to my overall topic. I was using the search terminology of “electronic literature” in part of my process of feeling out my research, but did not read the abstract super closely. Once again, I cast a wide net and came up with some material that just is not all that useful to me.

For those who are interested, this article explores the current transitionary period of literature from print media to electronic collections and some of the debate surrounding an e-text’s merit as literature or a literary form. It is an enlightening read, but it is not necessarily useful to me or my thesis.

That’s research for you, particularly given the scattershot nature of the initial hunt for materials. You gather as much as you can in the hope of finding what you need, and over time you begin to hone in on specific terminology.

So while the annotated bibliography above was technically a bust, the following entry is a jackpot.

Spring, Dawn. “Gaming History: Computer and Video Games as Historical Scholarship.” Rethinking History, vol. 19, no. 2, June 2015, pp. 207-221. EBSCOhost, 10.1080/13642529.2014.973714.

I am of two minds with this article. Dawn Spring’s “Gaming History: Computer and Video Games as Historical Scholarship,” is fascinating to me because of a love of history and it approaches the idea of games as a tool of learning. One of my colleagues who I work with would also find this article fascinating. So, my one mind regarding this article is utter fascination and intrigue. The article lays out some information on how narratives in video games can intertwine and reflect primary and secondary historical sources. The author also goes on to point out the amount of research that developers engage in regarding their games, particularly if they concern a historical period. Spring also positions her own article with existing scholarship concerning the fusion of video games and history instruction, illustrating the discussion is active and growing within academia.

There are some particularly interesting examples presented about historical-based videogames with scholarly or immersive merit that are mentioned. Games like the Total War series, Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis, and the Assassin’s Creed franchise all seem to provide a unique contribution to this exploration of history scholarship and interactive entertainment. Two other games, Red Dead Redemption and L.A. Noire, are looked at extensively through the article for their contributions based on research and authenticity toward the historical periods represented within the games themselves. Spring also goes on to describe experimental and in-development games as well. Of the examples that are introduced, the most enlightening is a game titled Walden, based on the experiences of Henry David Thoreau on Walden Pond. Players are tasked to survive in the wilderness, but beyond that, develop an aesthetic appreciation for the region through gameplay.

So, regarding my second mind, concerning this article; while I found it fascinating, it does not necessarily related to what I am doing directly. Yet it also sort of does. The discussion of game mechanics and aesthetics to build a historically accurate scene, to provide insight and context is illuminating and an area of study of would love to explore further. Relating it to my thesis, I can see that my larger device of characters linked across centuries in the narrative provides me plenty of opportunity to engage in real research and worldbuilding. I will need to keep this article in mind for practical examinations on how history and settings can be expressed through gameplay and game design. I do intend to find a way to integrate this article into my critical introduction as well. It is a little more of an interdisciplinary bent, away from literature specifically, yet these ideas of authenticity of setting through game design elements seems practical to what I am doing. After all, I want to create literature using game design elements.

On that note, I need to go back and try to mine a few quotes from this article. I will be adding this to my secondary research log.

Yes, so I found my first article that I feel I can really use as a source. Something with evidence or a perspective I can cite and quote within my proposal or critical introduction. Admittedly the relationship between this article and my thesis feels tangential, but as I read and constructed the annotation I began to forge those connections between the two.

I mentioned a secondary research log here. To again utilize an earlier fishing metaphor in this blog post, I mentioned casting a wide net. If the first research log is the net, then the secondary, or “quote log” that I have is a basket or bucket that holds the truly great catches from the net. Within the quote log I include the citation, the annotation, and eventually a bulleted list of quotes complete with small annotations that focus on explicating or connecting said quotes to my larger outline.

This is kind of taking a turn into the area of the writing process itself, so I will save that for another time.


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