According to my citeulike search, I have picked up 205 videogames articles published online in 2011, an astonishing increase from last year’s 133 articles. There are many explanations for this growth: better search algorithms, increasing academic attention to videogames, indiscriminate tagging where some may not be actually about videogames, expanding inclusion of certain publications, some are slated for 2012 in physical form, or possibly some are not even peer-reviewed articles (e.g. theses dissertations, conference papers, etc.). In any case, there are more papers that I could possibly read in my hectic schedule and it is a shame a small fraction of these studies are ever known to the public and gamers in particular.
On my side of videogame science, I have some projects that jumped and tripped over many hurdles and I ran across recent studies that just might explain why running participants with two versions of the same game might not generate any significant results. I have a content analysis project that once in a while doubted its importance or its methodology and yet the fuel is still going, thanks to a penguin living in Michigan. A cultural comparative content analysis of Western and Japanese characters from the top 100 selling videogames of 2010, using youtube videos as my “unitizing data”, wikis as my “recording data” and coding schemes adapted from papers I read of which I have little confidence beyond demographics. I once considered using tvtropes.org as part of my project looking at stereotypic behaviours of videogames characters, somewhat “more reliable” to have crowd-sourced data than the four-or-less team of coders. I even downloaded videogame covers (US, Europe and Japan version covers) because Melinda Burgess and colleagues did that and why can’t I or they? There are obvious and subtle differences between the cover versions and those subtle ones are quite interesting to talk about, but they can just be exceptional cases as far I can tell. Perhaps the common perception that Americans are attracted to masculinity and the Japanese to cuteness might be a reflection of cultural preferences or a normative one perpetuated by the gatekeepers called marketers, producers, executives and localizers.
I can only recall one highlight for this year, as I am currently traveling away from Montreal, where Walter Boot (Florida State University) contacted me back in September to blog on an article reviewing the methodological problems in cognitive videogame research. The post appeared as if I dramatically improved my writing skills, alas he and his colleagues edited it. My posting attracted modest attention, but it was not until the university press release did it generate the expected sort of nonsensical and sensationalist journalism.
I am well on my way to accumulate data that its mass will collapse itself into a brilliant or, worse, a dark master’s thesis and hopefully by that time be offered a place in a PhD program.
That is all.