Crunchy Bytes: A Digital Artefact Pitch

(Above: Preview image for the front page of the blog)

This was written for the university subject, BCM215.

Here's the trailer which goes over a basic overview of what the video essay (series?) is going to be about, the subject matter (game developers dealing with hardware limitations, design etc.), who it's for (people interested in game development/game design in general) and so on:

However, this blog post will not try not to retread those points and will instead discuss specifics of research, the analytical lens I will be using, as well as the content schedule and feedback loop.

In terms of research that will be used, it will be a combination of academic, scholarly work and other resources like websites and videos. However, my guess would be that the majority of the research presented will be the non-academic sources. A few examples that I might use would be the website Gamasutra, a website which self-professes that it tackles the "Art and Business of Making Games", with different categories highlighting multiple aspects of game development like programming, design, and marketing, oftentimes with articles and blog posts written by well-known developers like Terry Cavanagh, Tom Francis and Dominique Grieshofer, and other important industry figures. Another helpful resource would be the Game Developer's Conference (GDC) video archives on YouTube where developers can discuss specific aspects of games they've been working on recently and the tech and design behind them, or they might be talking about older games and their design (typically referred to as 'Postmortems'). A full list of potential "starting" resources can be found at the end of this blog post.

The analytical framework (to be more specific, compared to the video) will be a largely Structuralist approach, pulling apart aspects of design and function, focusing particularly on how hardware affects design. The video (series?) might also address a Post-Structuralist or subjective approach - specifically how different people weigh up these different design choices and what they value more in different kinds of games. This may include what I value more in particular genres, but the focus will absolutely be on structuralism, limitations and how the 'formal elements' of games (control, design, art style, aesthetic etc.) tessellate with each other in regards to those limitations.

When it comes to content structure and scheduling, Crunchy Bytes will either be a single video looking at two or three eras of gaming (e.g. early vs modern games) or a series of videos split up into those separate eras, following one after the other, chronologically through those time periods. However, to prevent over-ambitiousness, each era will only examine a couple of games in-depth. For feedback, I will post the video (or videos) on Twitter and on other websites like Reddit if possible, and try to obtain criticism through those avenues of media. I will also post, on a semi-regular basis, screenshots of progress I'm making with the series.

And that's my pitch, in a nutshell. Thank you for taking the time to read through this blog post!

Potential References/Resources (from A-Z):

NOTE: Links may be broken in the future thanks to link rot. If so, I've done my best to include the details and titles of these pages for posterity's sake.

NOTE #2: This is only a preliminary set of resources i.e. it's a jumping off point for future research. As a result, some of these may not be included as references in the final video or series.

Ars Technica -

Dominique Grieshofer -

Eurogamer -

Gamasutra -

Game Developer's Conference -

GDC YouTube Channel -

Introduction to Game Analysis by Clara Fernández-Vara - (Not available online through University website)

A Man Chooses, A Slave Obeys: Agency, Interactivity and Freedom in Video Gaming by Rowan Tulloch -

Spatial Design and Placemaking: Learning From Video Games by Ricardo Álavarez & Fábio Duarte -

Structuralism -

Subverting utilitarian subject-object relations in video games: A philosophical analysis of Thatgamecompany’s Journey by Corné Du Plessis -

Terry Cavanagh -

Tom Francis -

By the way, you can read the re-blogged version on the Game Cultures blog here. It's essentially the same post, just slightly reformatted.


  1. This is definitely one well-prepared Digital Artefact! I appreciate how you outlined exactly what your idea is, and what you're planning to do. One thing I must say is that I was a bit confused on what your DA was actually about, but I gathered that it has got to do with how hardware limitations has affected video gaming.
    I found a website that poses the question of how past hardware limitations have affected the video games of today, and some of the answers might be quite helpful.
    I also found a subreddit that discusses the same topic, maybe there's some different things in there that may be useful too.
    Hope some of this helps, good luck with your DA!

  2. Hey Tim, excellent project pitch. I'll jump right into my feedback for you. Some of my points might be repeating what was addressed in our tutorial this week so, sorry if I sound like a broken record. (I also had to split my comment into two separate ones because it was too long oops...)

    Beginning with your video; it is edited, scripted, and presented nicely, which is very promising considering your chosen DA methodology will be a series of video essays. I think you did a great job explaining what is usually a confusing or complicated concept to those unfamiliar with game media and development. It's great to see that you have sourced all of the footage used in your video via the description box, it shows me that you'll make an effort to maintain integrity in your video essays. I think your concept is very clear from your video, and you briefly address your methodology, research, and social utility which are obviously expanded upon in your blog post. If you're finding it difficult to get your mic and audio quality to a satisfying level as you said on Monday, which is entirely understandable because our bedrooms aren't a professional studio, then my suggestion would be to make subtitle tracks for your video essays to help the listener follow along if they need it.

    As for the blog post; it's good to see you have considered the feedback given in class and shuffled around your formatting to something a bit less wordy. I think you have a great selection of hyperlinks and potential sources. You talk in-depth about your research plans here and seem to know exactly where you'll be finding your information.
    As for academic sources, since they can sometimes be difficult to come by I thought I'd recommend one. You may remember hearing about Marshall McLuhan in any of the early Digital Media subjects. His book 'Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man' may be useful. It contains his iconic 'the medium is the message' concept, which I thought could be applied to your video essays. If you think of a game's source engine as 'the medium' that shapes, influences, limits etc. 'the message', or the final game, then McLuhan's concepts can be applied when discussing how hardware limitations have impacted the gaming industry and development methods over the years.

    1. Back to your blog post; to finish you outline your analytical framework in detail, which gives good insight into how you'll structure your video essays. You also adequately touch upon your content schedule and feedback loops. The only piece of criteria I'd say you could perhaps have talked a little more about would be the social utility of your DA. You spoke about it briefly in your video (to help the audience understand how games work, to show how difficult game development can be,) but I think you are missing a few key stakeholders and the social utility for them. In particular I was thinking of game developers. I'm also interested to know if you plan on narrowing the scope of your topic. The chronological approach is great, but maybe you could consider focusing on one specific gaming platform, or genre? It might make observing the changes over time easier.

      My final critique is that retrospectively I would have taken some of the in-depth information in your blog and shifted it into the extra space you had within the 2 minute limit of the video. My reasoning is that your blog post, while well written and informative, reads more like a contextual essay that would be sent to a tutor than a blog post to be browsed by the 'layperson'. You'd want your post to appeal to people who are unfamiliar with the DA topic and also not affiliated with UOW. Because the video itself is a 'project pitch', I think that it would have been a more suitable space for ticking off the criteria in the task outline. I'd recommend trying to write your blog posts in a tone that matches something you'd read on Kotaku, rather than as an assignment to be submitted to the tutor.

      I wanted to end by saying that I'll definitely be watching Crunchy Bytes because a) this topic interests me, and b) your editing and rhetoric are both very nice and so I'm predicting the videos will turn out great.

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