Thursday, September 19, 2013

I think this blog project will give me a rare opportunity to analyze something video game related within an academic context.  I have been trying to decide whether to focus on a community site devoted to a single game or a site devoted to an entire genre.  In the end, I decided that a site devoted to an entire genre should give me greater variety, more content to analyze.  I have therefore chosen a website devoted to the fighting game genre:

As a genre, fighting games can trace their origins all the way back to the debut of Street Fighter in 1987.  Depending on whom you ask, however, the genre proper did not emerge until the release in 1991 of Street Fighter's sequel, the immensely popular and influential Street Fighter II.  This game established many of the conventions that continue to define the genre to this day.  Currently, the Street Fighter franchise is in its fourth iteration (though this is misleading because there are multiple versions of each sequel).

The community aspect of is most apparent in its forums section.  The site has many members and many discussion boards devoted to a wide variety of games other than Street Fighter. Because fighting games tend to have a strong tournament community, members constantly post tips and strategies related to specific characters in the game.  Fighting game sessions can get very competitive and players have much knowledge when it comes to increasing their probability of winning.  I would say this strategies-sharing component is the primary purpose of the forum.  


  1. Hi Ken,

    This sounds like an interesting topic – and one I know basically nothing about, so I'm curious to learn more! I’m not familiar with Street Fighter or fighting games in general, although I assume the term just means what it sounds like. For readers who are as ignorant as I am on the subject (though I may very well be the only one!), it might be helpful to take a bit of time to define your terms in order to orient people who are less gaming-literate.

    For there is definitely a particular brand of digital literacy central to the field of gaming! What part of the site do you plan to focus on in particular? From your last paragraph, it sounds like you will be focusing on message forums and the interaction that takes place there. Is there one particular message board forum that you might keep an eye on?

    You mentioned that strategies-sharing is an important part of those message board communities. Merchant’s discussion of digital capital seems pertinent here: when he defines the term, he says, “those who have access to new technology and knowledge of its potential wield the power of the new force of digital capital” (244). I think Merchant was talking more generally of people having access to technological tools in society, but the concept can be applied here too. Do certain message board participants – those who have made it farther in the game – have more digital capital than others? How does the exchange of that digital capital (i.e. game-playing tips) occur?

    Good work so far!

  2. Hi Ken,
    I like your topic. It sounds interesting and like Hanna, I think it would be good to define some of the terms that you will be using in your project. I know some of the things that you were talking about but not all. You seem to know a lot about the history of the gaming that part of your research? If not, maybe it should be!

    Perhaps you should direct your attention to a particular game in your site (that is how it works right?). I think that would help narrow your topic and really allow you to get to know the community that you will be studying.

    Good luck with the rest of your project!

  3. Hi Ken. I'm looking forward to seeing your data analysis memo get posted so I can leave you a comment. Good luck!