My Unlikely Presence and Unconventional Wisdom

I will begin this post by laying out that my presence in this course, and therefore this blog, is unconventional.  Most, if not all, of this class play these games (or some games) on a regular basis, know the industry, and know what shapes a ‘good or bad’ game.  I have absolutely no idea – and don’t pretend to be an expert on something I know little about. 

That said, that is exactly why I’m here.  At two posts per week, already in the first 48 hours of enrollment I will pen this post on my purpose and strategy, and am already required to play, analyze, evaluate, and write about a game.  Within two days, I will have already broadened my horizons.

I love writing.  I love everything about language – writing strategy, strategic communication methods, new media, the changing media landscape.  I could go on tangents, but to tie this to what led me to this course, I will point out that last summer, I had an internship at the Tribune Company’s flagship Los Angeles Times newspaper that has led to remote responsibilities as I transitioned back to school in Ann Arbor.  So, holed up in a Starbucks café, I am able to reply to emails, write strategy, and aid in the development of a department called ‘audience acquisition’ and another called ‘digital revenue products.’

To tie back, digital revenue products were added to include the ‘paywall / membership program’ that rolled out last Monday – which requires readers to pay beyond 20 articles and entitles them to new features including special entitlements at LAT sponsored events, exclusive journalism coverage, oh, and…games. 

Here is the release from the Times’ VP Digital Revenue Products, Jen Collins:

Where there would once be simply discussion of journalism and print newspapers, there is now discussion of tablet computers, mobile software, event exclusivity, and games.

Why are we including games in a package of new digital products on a newspaper site? Because games influence people.  They educate, inform, and persuade.  In a standard English class, those are the types of words that describe motivations for writing, but each and all of them are utilized, often concurrently in most video games today.

That said, I hope to improve my analysis skills in this course – learning to value and appreciate and up and coming (or ever-expanding, it’s already come) industry.  I hope to learn about a field I previously knew nothing about, and to do so in an environment and community with a diverse knowledge on the subject.  My apologies in advance that my newest game system is a 1986 Black / White Gameboy, and that it holds cartridges for each of the 3 games I own: Tetris, NBA Basketball, and PacMan. 

What do you think are other evolving industries, and how does that shape the media today? Do certain forms of media (such as games) affect others (such as newspapers)? Is it the other way around? How do these sorts of media affect perspectives on life in general, and on varying topics? Do they affect certain aspects of life more than others?

1 comment
  1. Hey Bruce. I enjoyed hearing your perspective on all of this. You seem to be coming into this class with similar priorities to my own. I lost my interest in video games a while ago but I’m quite interested in writing, so I’m looking forward to taking a different look at them for the next few weeks. Hopefully I can find a new appreciation for them as well. Even when I was playing video games for hours a day, there were few that I engaged with as anything other than a time-waster. We’re a week into class and I’m already seeing them differently. I’m looking forward to finding out where my mind goes from here.

    I’m not sure video games has quite the impact on older media as it once used to. It seemed like video games used to be a fairly frequent topic, but only as something for news reports to disparage. Video games were things that will make you a fat, lazy, serial killer, and things that will make you a fat, lazy, serial killer are things that need to be reported on. That type of narrative seems to have tapered off, and not much about video games has taken its place.

    It seems like the new massive technological topic is social media. As far as impact on other forms of media go, Twitter and Facebook seem to be molding old forms slightly more. I’m not sure a twitter feed is more compelling than a video game, but it’s certainly more functional. I imagine that, over time and in a way I can’t exactly picture, video games would have a greater impact on social media than any other type of media. Doom starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson might be a counterpoint, but it wasn’t a very good movie, so I’m going to pretend it doesn’t exist.

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