I realized a while back that my notes on games are lacking. Oh, my notes on game studies are incredible--hundreds of pages of summaries, and comments, and points requiring further investigation. And when I choose to investigate a game for a specific paper I have in mind, I'm excruciatingly thorough. But when it comes to noting down what makes a game special when I'm playing it for the first time, I tend to fall a little short. By the time I get back to the game, I have to replay it entirely, and that is a rather different sensation than when I play it for the first time. So when I finished a game yesterday, I started jotting down a few notes on how I felt about it. And kept jotting. And jotting. And jotting. When I finished, I had been working for a full day, and I had 6000 words. Someday, I will devote this level of concentration to my dissertation, and wrap the whole damn thing up in a month.
Normally, I'd put all of this out in one huge blog post, but this time... This time, I don't think I will. You'll notice I haven't mentioned the name of the game, either. While I'm sure anyone who's talked to me in recent weeks would be able to divine it pretty easily, the omission now is rather deliberate. And it stems, in part, from me mentioning this game to others. For once, my fellow academics were interested in a game not because of the novelty of my description (or rather, feigning interest in the "novelty" of my description) but because they thought there might be something there worth discussing. That interest forced me to face some tough questions, and unpleasant realities about myself. First, on the unpleasant part, I didn't want to share information on MY find. (Never mind that I found through the effort of a popular videogame news site.) Academia is full of good people, but it's also competitive. I wouldn't want someone to publish my ideas without giving me proper credit; does the same apply to anything I'm working on? Or anything I've played? Like I said, I'm not proud of my response. The people who were pressing me about this game are my friends. And mostly doing research so far from my own that any conclusions they made about the game would be far, from my own as well. But it got me thinking--I probably shouldn't be giving away my top tier ideas for free. But if that's the case... then what's this blog for?
The off-the-cuff answer is that it's for the stuff that isn't about my work. But I see myself as a pop culture scholar. EVERYTHING is a potential work subject for me, so there's no line of demarcation there. The other answer is that it's a place to work out ideas, which again, is fine. But should I really be publishing half-baked ideas? And it's a place for self-promotion--but that directly contradicts blog purposes 1 and 2. Much as I try to make it something fun and interesting, the Bibliophile posts perform a service. So do the academic book reviews. In fact, so do the pop culture studies--the post on the Punisher still draws more hits than anything else on the blog. But maybe it's time to think more in terms of the big picture, and what I want the blog to be--and what I want to be myself, for that matter. And until I work that out, I think I'll keep this 6000 word rambling, at least, to myself.