Annotated Bibliography

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Adams, Ernest, and Andrew Rollings. Game Design. California: New Riders Games, 2003.

Summary:
This particular book covers a wide variety of topics relating to video games from the past, present, and the future. More specifically I chose the section of this book that discussed the "Graphics vs. Gameplay" debate. Chapter 3, which covers this debate as well as the importance of setting in games, basically discussed my thesis directly. The introduction talks about the importance of gameplay, especially when games were limited by hardware. Also, it spoke about the movie industries attempt to move into the industry and its failed efforts. I have only explored this section of the chapter, mostly because the information was very supportive of my thesis. I look forward to further exploration of the source because I feel as though there is much more information that will be useful for my research.

How does it relate?
As I mentioned in the summary of the book this source shows direct support to my thesis that gameplay and storyline are the most important traits of a successful game. The introduction begins with strong support for my claim, and continues on to also stress the importance of the integration of both gameplay and graphics. I believe this source will help me build arguments because not only does it support my thesis but provides thoughts on the importance of utilizing both graphics and gameplay to create a successful game.

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"Graphics Matter." 20 Mar. 2007. pixelreview.net. 19 Jan. 2008.
    http://www.pixelreview.net/index.php/graphics-matter/

Summary:
This article talks about the marketing value of graphics in the video game industry. The author agrees that gameplay is important, but stresses the idea that graphics help to make games initially appealing. He continues on to mention that the main problem with graphics is that they are not taking a new direction artistically. The author concludes by expressing the idea that games do not need to be over the top graphically, but rather subtle things are the key to standing out. The stress of this article was that a new art direction is needed in games, and that combined with gameplay is what really makes games successful.

How does it relate?
I chose this article because it provided a different perspective on the debate between graphics and gameplay. My goal through my thesis is to present the fact that gameplay truly defines a game, but also include ideas that integrate the two traits within games. I felt this article addressed the issue in a way that would provide me with both supporting ideas and opposing thoughts that would be useful in building an argument and presenting new ideas.
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"Graphics vs. Gameplay." 18 Feb. 2005. play.forums. 19 Jan 2008.
    http://playmagazine.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=1413&st=0

Summary:
This was a forum though Play Magazine. The discussion in this forum was just as it states, the preference between graphics and gameplay. Users each posted their reaction to the question, each providing different insights on the discussion. The general consensus between the users was that gameplay is far superior to graphics; however, I chose the source for the sparse response that graphics are more important than gameplay.

How does it relate?
As I mentioned in the previous assignment it was generally difficult to find opposing opinions that gameplay outweights graphics. As I know that scholarly sources are the ideal avenue when researching for a topic; however, I feel that video games are certainly unique. The consumers are the force which determine the ultimate success of a game, and as such these opinions hold a heavy weight. Many people provide the same arguments, and this particular forum provided a valid counter to the idea that gameplay trumps graphics, something that I felt was an asset providing an argument to in my term paper.

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Gzz, Erick. "Graphics Vs. Gameplay - The Eternal Battle." 18 Nov. 2006. Wordpress.com. 19 Jan. 2008.
   
http://intelligentgamers.wordpress.com/2006/11/18/graphicsvsgameplay/

Summary:
This article used examples of games that most gamers find to be better than its next-gen counterparts, despite superior graphics. Gzz starts with a strong statement that he can prove that gameplay is superior to graphics through use of older games. He mentions the game Goldeneye, a game held near and dear to most gamers hearts. He explains that this game has enjoyed more success as compared to newer games of a similar format such as Goldeneye: Rogue Agent and A Perfect Dark Zero. He also mentions in passing the success of Sonic the Hedgehog over its newer title for Xbox 360.

How does it relate?
The bottom line is that this article uses examples to compare games with greater success though the graphics are of poorer quality. Another source I intend to use for research is a ranking of the top 100 video games of all time, in which many of the titles mentioned are not next-gen titles. I found this article to be refreshing for my research because it provided examples rather than details to express the importance of gameplay.

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Newman, James. "The Myth of the Ergodic Videogame." The International Journal of Computer Game 
    Research
Vol. 6 Issue 1. (Dec. 2006) 19 Jan. 2008. http://www.gamestudies.org/0102/newman/

Summary:
I used the section labeled "Beyond Visualism" from this article. Newman talks specifically about the game Tomb Raider. His goal is to help the reader understand that the importance of the game comes through interaction rather than appearance. Newman seems to associate graphics as a marketing aspect of video games, and believes that interaction or gameplay is the chief determinate of how "fun" a game is. He also talks about a generation that grew up with poor visual entertainment as far as games are concerned.

How does it relate?
This article directly supported my thesis statement as I was reading through the selected section. This argument will most likely be used as the main idea behind my thesis. Newman stresses the importance of interaction between a player and character, and also expands upon the idea, using observers engagement to the game. I believe I will use the example of onlookers who become involved in the game without even playing, and simply through the storyline and character relation.

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Ng, Wai-ming Benjamin. "Street Fighter and the King of Fighters in Hong Kong: A Study of Cultural
    Consumption
Localization of Japanese Games in an Asian Context." The International Journal of
    Computer Game Research Vol. 6, Issue 1. (Dec 2006) 19 Jan. 2008
http://gamestudies.org/0601/articles/ng

Summary:
This article talks about the success of Street Fighter and its influence on the game industry in Hong Kong during the 1980s and 1990s. Ng mentions the overwhelming success the game enjoyed in Hong Kong, despite its "primitive program and character design and unsophisticated graphics, SF1 won the hearts of the players with an innovative control system." This game has created its own culture in Hong Kong, an influence that cannot be ignored, and vital to the history of video games.

How does it relate?
Ng references Newman's article about the idea of interaction above graphics. The article demonstrates the impact this game has had on society, despite its lack of high tech graphics. I felt that this was an enormous source of support for my thesis, the fact that the impact of a game created nearly 20 years ago is still being felt. The graphics were in no way responsible for the popularity or the influence that this game has provided. Like the Newman article I feel this will fit in with my term paper as a main point of support.

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Ramsay, Morgan. "Value Innovation for Video Games." 15 Aug. 2007. Heretic. 19 Jan. 2008.
   
http://www.hereticgroup.com/articles/2007/0815/index.html

Summary:
This article talks about the expenses directly associated with the new wave of video game graphics. The idea suggested through this article is to reduce expenses for graphical enhancement, and focus money and efforts on more enriched gameplay.Ramsay mentions that most games that employ state-of-the-art graphics have not enjoyed the success of their predecessors, an exception being Gears of War. "Instead of relying on one-hit wonders made possible by massive teams and astronomically extreme financing, these organizations gain more freedom to innovate in the areas of gameplay, features, and social connectivity—all of which should be viewed as opportunities for competitive advantage." This quote basically sums up the direction that author feels the industry needs to head towards in order to regain the success of game titles past.

How does it relate?
This article takes a look at the success of games that are utilizing next-gen graphics in order to sell games. The fact that many games have failed even with these jaw-dropping graphics shows the consumer somehow values gameplay and storyline. Once again, this transitions nicely into my thesis, and provides a very nice basis that games enjoy greater success with engaging gameplay and a vivid storyline.

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Strohm, Axel. "Is Gameplay Really All That Matters?" CNET Networks Entertainment. Gamespot. 19 Jan.
    2008.
http://www.gamespot.com/gamespot/features/all/gamespotting/041202/p12_01.html

Summary:
As the title of the article suggests Strohm presents an argument that is based on the idea that perhaps graphics hold more importance than given credit for. He poses the question of whether or not we would halt our gameplay if each and every level looked the same. He continues on to point out titles such as Jet Set Radio, a title that sold few copies but had had interesting gameplay. Strohm continued on to wonder if Tony Hawk Pro Skater may have found the same misfortune if its graphics were cell-shaded like Jet Set Radio.The article closes in saying that games need to find a balance, and that roughly 10 percent of games in today's market are able to do so.

How does it relate?
The article was one of the rare occasions that I found a grounded example that went against my thesis. I enjoyed reading the article because it provided a different viewpoint of graphics as an element of games. I believe this source would work as an excellent way to build an argument in my paper, and look to prove my thesis by refuting this viewpoint.

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"IGN'S Top 100 Games." May 2005. IGN Entertainment. 19 Jan. 2008. http://top100.ign.com/2005/index.html

Summary:
Plain and simple this is a list of the top 100 games of all time from 2005 to the day video games began.

How does it relate?
I know at first it seems as if the reader may think "What does this have to do with anything?" Well the answer is simple, look at the titles that ranked between number 10 to number 1. Not a single next-gen title ranked among the top ten video games of all time. More interestingly was the explanation for Super Mario Bros. being included on the top 100 list. "Or maybe it's cherished above all others because it so effortlessly represents everything that makes us love Nintendo-developed games in general: an unwavering attention to play control and level design." This description alone supports my thesis, and will be a large part of the support for my term paper.

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Vorhaus, Mike. "Improving Game Marketing: The Game Purchase Process From A Consumer's Point of
    View."  June 2006. Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc. 19 Jan. 2008.

    http://www.mi6conference.com/Magid_MI6.pdf

Summary:
This was a research project done to report to MI6 Game Marketing about the trends of consumers who purchase video games. Gamers were interviewed and asked the primary reasons for purchasing a game. The top reason actually went to graphics, barely edging out gameplay as a factor in purchasing games. Price came in second, but for my purpose price is not an aspect of the game that contributes to its success. At the end of the article there are several quotes from consumers about what TV Commercials could include so they could make a more informed decision. Nearly all of them mentioned they would like to see more gameplay and less cutt scenes, such as this idea, "More gameplay and less cut scenes," "More actual gameplay."

How does it relate?
This was a vital source that used research as a means to identify the qualities that influence people's choice to purchase video games. At first I wanted to use this as an opposing article, but through further investigation I felt that this article was more supportive than objective. You may ask how so? The poll showed graphics were the biggest reason people purchased games. The reason being is that people complained in the TV Commercial sections that they would like to see more gameplay. Most consumers are forced to purchase based on looks unless they are of the crowd that takes time to read reviews before buying a game. I will use this as support that graphics are once again a marketing strategy more than they are formula for a successful game.





1 Comments

You've found a lot of interesting sites. Your scholarly sources all come from one periodical -- the journal Games Studies. I certainly have no problem with the quality of the information you'll find there, but take a look at the works cited pages of some of the recent Games Studies articles, and you'll see that the authors refer to a wide variety of sources, any one of which could be an avenue for your further research.

Now look again at the articles you have cited on pixelreview.net, play.forums, intelligent gamers, GameSpot, etc. Note that those authors don't end with a scholarly list of sources (a "Works Cited" list or "Bibliography"). These articles are written for the general reader, not a scholarly audience; the authors may have loads of experience in their fields, they may be excellent writers, they may have insights that are worth considering in a scholarly environment, but because their articles are not peer-reviewed by a panel of scholars, these articles don't fulfill the requirements of being an academic source.

Looking at the reviews is certainly a legitimate strategy for a scholar. But if you want to talk about Mario, for instance, that series has been around for long enough that you will find many references to it in scholarly sources. Stephen Poole recently released the full text of a history of video games that you can download from this page. http://stevenpoole.net/blog/trigger-happier/

Darrell is also intersted in Mario, so you both might want to take a look at and discuss Trigger Happy, which has a lot to say about Mario.


While it's true that that one particular list of the 100 best games doesn't include any next-generation titles, look at the date in the URL

http://top100.ign.com/2005/index.html

This list is several years old.

Check out this list

http://top100.ign.com/2007/index.html

But also note... that's just a list. How was that list created? Note that the 100 items are broken up into separate pages, so you have to click through a hell of a lot of ads in order to see all the items. What purpose, then, does this list serve? Is it a selfless distribution of knowledge for the benefit of people studying games? Or are the authors hoping to generate controversy, so that people will debate the rankings (and generate more traffic, which the site owners can use to justify raising the rates for the ads on their site)?

That's part of the problem of relying on non-academic sources. The owner of a magazine can say outlandish, unsupported statements, and the article is considered a success if it generates buzz (readers, links, comments in the user forum).

I'm looking forward to how you plan to move forward after your class presentation.

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