I have, as of two minutes ago, handed in the draft text of my first case study. It was meant to be about 5,000 words, and ended up almost 7,000. This wouldn’t be a problem, except that I have ten case studies, and ten case studies at 5,000 words each is 50,000 words, and the hard limit for the entire dissertation is 90,000. So there’s not a lot of wiggle room, and this was probably the shortest and easiest game to analyze out of those I selected. None of this is why I’m trying not to throw up in an office trash can, though. IRead More →

This post should be sub-titled, “Making Me Appreciate Modern Save Game Mechanics.” This has been a writing week for me, as I’ve made it through my play-throughs of Tombs & Treasure, the first game in the series of 10 case studies for my dissertation. I wish I could express the mingled feelings of nausea, anger and relief that sentence causes in me. It’s been a long week. Tombs & Treasure only allows you to save the game through the use of the Ixmol Jewel, an item you receive early on in play. By LOOKing at the jewel, you receive a 16 character alpha-numeric code, whichRead More →

Last week I began the first of the ten case studies I’m using in my dissertation. It was not an auspicious beginning. I decided to start with Tombs & Treasure, a quasi-adventure game released in 1991 for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The game was a Japanese port, and the second entry in a franchise, but was heavily modified before it arrived in North America. It was never released in the UK or European markets. Having played through it now, I understand why it didn’t get wider release. The trouble started when I actually went to purchase an NES. I went to a small, butRead More →

Over the weekend, the counter ticked over 500 responses to the call for survey participants. The survey will be closing this afternoon, and from preliminary looks at the collected data, things seem good. More than half of the submitted surveys have comments in them, which gives a lot to work with in the next phase of the process. After the survey closes, I’ll be moving a copy of the database from Qualtrics, the survey software, to NVivo, where I’ll be conducting open coding on all ‘typed’ responses, to look for thematic relationships. I used NVivo previously to facilitate open coding of archaeological codes of ethicsRead More →

Case studies were selected from games containing representations of archaeology and/or archaeologists. While many games utilize systems or narratives that draw on archaeologically associated concepts, such as the looting of artifacts or the discovery of ancient civilizations, the project only selected games that specifically referenced archaeology, archaeologists, or excavation. Games were then isolated by hardware generation, with a goal of covering (as much as possible) video-gaming from the 1970s until the present. Where potential case study games duplicated hardware types, games were selected to privilege those that showed the clearest connection to the research study area. Though only a select number of games will make it into the final project, recommendations forRead More →