Welcome to my final blog for BCM215 – Game Media Industries, over the course of the semester, I have been creating a Digital Artefact and documenting not only my experience within the game media text of Apex Legends but also building on my research and development of my analytical framework that I have used to structure my Digital Artefact work. This blog post is dedicated to providing a detailed report of the entire experience with regards to multiple different aspects which will be discussed in meticulous detail, so please feel free to read on!
Rank 1: Concept & Ideation, Methodology, and Utility
Concept & Ideation:
- DA Pitch: The original concept for my DA, was to explore different FPS titles to understand how different experiences presented in games like Apex Legends, Squad, and Escape from Tarkov encourage the development of multiple different skills through playing which included the likes of communication, decisionmaking, cognitive and leadership.
- DA Beta: After feedback from teaching staff, I decided to shift my Digital Artifact towards climbing a competitive games ranked ladder and documenting the experience and what I learned through each tier of play. The game of choice was Apex Legends a battle royale title, released in February 2019, and developed by Respawn Entertainment. With this change, my analytical framework also shifted which will be discussed later.
My Digital Artifact takes shape as a blog series with an accompanying video titled ‘Apex Legends: Road to Pred’, In the blog episode I discuss the experience of climbing through each tier, which is built upon my analytical framework of Difficulty, Skills & Demands, and Enjoyment. The video aspect of my series was a showcase of two or more matches of my own gameplay ranking up, I often picked 1 victory, and 1 top 5 finish, as a means to show two different scenarios. Through these videos, it acts as a means of self-reflection and learning point as I identify the positive and negative aspects of my matches.
The utility of my DA has remained relatively the same in regards to what I presented during my DA Pitch, however, I have made some slight adjustments due to the fact that I’m now documenting my experience rather than researching already completed research on skill development. My utility is to provide a means of understanding the experience and requirements to be able to climb up the competitive ranked ladder. My target audience is broken up into 2 core groups:
- Apex Legends Players: This group is the main body of my audience, with my target being those looking to climb or those who don’t have time to dedicate to playing and improving. With my series, they can watch my matches and learn from my experience of the importance of different skills as they rank up.
- Journalists & Researchers: This is my secondary target audience, as I provide a first-hand account of the experience climbing up the ranks detailing each step of the way. I wanted to provide a formal take on describing my journey that could be used in articles or research in regards to competitive gaming.
Rank 2: Analytical Framework & Background Research
During the semester, I have previously released two additional blog posts that explored both the Joost Rasessens’ ‘participatory media culture‘ analytical framework along with my own framework which I dive deeper into the application into my media text and paratext of Apex Legends. Which you can find: HERE.
My Analytical framework was the basis for how I wrote each of my ‘Road to Pred’ episodes exploring Difficulty, Skills, and Enjoyment. This provided me with a wide range of angles to discuss my experience climbing the ranks, this directly related to Joost Rasessens’ framework approach which has each of his concepts building off one another.
Difficulty: is built upon many different concepts like “Mechanical, Interpretive, Affective” (Jagoda, 2018) and Algorithm. Difficulty can be referred to as a “game’s ability to communicate goals” (Ismail, 2019) so exploring how Apex Legends creates goals through a competitive ranked system was an interesting aspect to build upon.
Skills & Demands: Online competitive gaming can “teach skills that are translated into everyday life” (EMM, 2021) for example “Problem-solving, communication, leadership, and multitasking”(Murdoch Uni, 2020). So the importance of translating these skills and how different levels of play affect different skills to develop was crucial.
Enjoyment: Lastly, Enjoyment can come in many different ways in-game media texts, especially in a competitive landscape, So through the DA, As I rank up “expectancy is a ruthless mind block” (Quinn, 2021), and due to the concept of “hard fun” (Pavlus, 2016) it develops a motivation which “urges (you) to make progress toward a goal without the promise of an externalized reward”, (Pavlus, 2016) which directly relates to my DA as you are not given any major reward besides a few in-game rewards and higher rank. So documenting my experience and why I continue to strive to climb against the odds was important to document for my audience to discuss.
If you would like to read into more detail about my analytical framework’s background research you can do so by visiting the aforementioned blog posts and DA BETA post.
Rank 3: Response to Student Feedback
During the Pitch and Beta assignments during the BCM215 course, we were to provide feedback for our peers and in return receive feedback ourselves which we could then adopt into our assignments or our Digital Artifact in General. Therefore, I will break down my feedback from both my Pitch and Beta and how I responded to both of them going forward.
In my BCM215 DA Pitch, I only received one actionable piece of feedback from Bonnie Stonestreet, which provided me with additional resources that I could apply to my previous DA concept. Along with this, Bonnie provided some useful tips in regards to following the guidelines of the marking criteria. This advice set me on the right path for improving my work to mirror that of the marking criteria which reflects my improved marks in both my second round of Blog Posts and Beta.
In response to my DA Beta, I received a total of four additional sources of feedback from other students, although comments were lacking in substance compared to the level of Bonnie Stonestreet’s feedback. The two main ideas brought up was that of sharing my work, and ways to improve my assignment work. After receiving this feedback I decided to increase my level of advertising of my content across multiple platforms including Discord, Reddit, and Twitter to provide a good spread of potential viewership. Nonetheless, in terms of improving my presentation of assignment work, I believe I have taken it on board but only time will tell if it was successfully adopted or not!
Video: Presentation of DA Work, Trajectory and Success & Limitations
Murdoch University, (2020) 8 workplace skills you learn from gaming [online] https://www.murdoch.edu.au/news/articles/8-workplace-skills-you-learn-from-gaming [Accessed 26/10/2021]
Ismail, R (2019) There’s No Such Thing as a Hard Game (Or an Easy One) [online] https://variety.com/2019/gaming/opinion/theres-no-such-thing-as-a-hard-game-or-an-easy-one-1203176853/ [Accessed 27/10/2021]
Palvus, J (2016) Why We Love the Games That Enrage Us Most [online] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-we-love-the-games-that-enrage-us-most/ [Accessed 28/10/2021]
Raessens, J. 2005, Computer games as participatory media culture, In J. Raessens & J. Goldstein (Eds.), Handbook of computer game studies (pp. 373-388). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
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Eudcationmattersmag (2021) Game on: Esports helping students improve life skills [online] https://www.educationmattersmag.com.au/game-on-esports-helping-students-improve-life-skills/ [Accessed 13/10/2021]
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Quinn, C (2021) BEING GOOD AT COMPETITIVE VIDEO GAMES CAN MAKE IT HARDER TO ENJOY THEM [online] https://www.keengamer.com/articles/features/opinion-pieces/being-good-at-competitive-video-games-can-make-it-harder-to-enjoy-them/ [Accessed 13/10/2021]