Applying Ludology to a transmedia project
In earlier posts I’ve written about how there are similarities between some transmedia projects and video games. In this post I thought I’d explore ludological elements in games and how the principles of ludology might help design and appraise transmedia projects. This post will draw largely on ‘Adapting the Principles of Ludology to the Method of Video Game Content Analysis’ By Steven Malliet. The article aims to ‘provide a blueprint, mapping the difficulties and challenges one encounters while performing a qualitative video game analysis’ (Malliet, 2007). I would argue that some transmedia projects would encounter similar difficulties and challenges.
Malliet finds four considerations for researchers studying video games:
- ‘To develop an analysis scheme that takes into account aspects of simulation in addition to aspects of representation;’
- ‘To mark out the boundaries of what belongs to the text of a video game’.
- ‘To deal with the fact that analyzing a game entails playing a game, and consequently, that the object of analysis is partly a construction of the motivations and preferences a researcher carries along into the play experience.’
- ‘In addition, presenting the results in a way that is constructive to the debate on the effects of playing violent video games brought along one extra issue:To extract a number of content descriptors that can be used in upcoming research on the effects of playing electronic games.’
He concludes that because researchers have such a high input into the flow of the video game it adds an extra dimension to how they interpret the game.
Now I’d like to take each of Malliet’s methodological principles and apply them to a transmedia project, in this instance ‘The Matrix’ franchise, to create a series of research questions.
- How does each medium in ‘The Matrix’ franchise actually position its world, not just the representation of it but the actual characteristics of the medium and their effects on the user? (for example the films draw us into the narrative, the video game into the atmosphere, the comics into the theory).
- What distinguishes ‘The Matrix’ franchise from its user/fan base? Where does the authorship stop and the fan fiction begin?
- What sort of characteristics might you be taking into ‘The Matrix’ franchise? How would that inform which mediums you use and how you use them? (some people might have a background in computer programming, kung fu films, science fiction, resistance movements etc. Each of these would motivate a different interaction not just with the content but with the medium also. An older person is perhaps less likely to play the video game element of the project.
- How can you describe the way ‘The Matrix’ franchise implements its content in a useful way for further analysis? (For example: exploring a term for the way people extrapolate ‘bullet time’ to other media)
Hopefully this post is helpful in providing even further frameworks for analysing not just video games but transmedia stories too.
Malliet, S. (2007). Adapting the principles of ludology to the method of video game content analysis. Game Studies, 7(1).