Creating a digital artifact around a game analysis was a hard task. The most difficult aspect was figuring out how to capture the content, which platform would be used to show it on, and how to market it to the audience. Finding an audience was not difficult, but getting the audience to engage with the content and leave meaningful feedback was very difficult. Editing and capturing video footage to help create the blog posts and add another media element to the written information. Eventually, I found a way to record my footage on the Xbox One, but the amount of time I spent figuring out how to record and edit the footage was significant and affected how many blog posts were being produced.
One of the biggest issues surrounding this digital artifact was recording the game and which platform I would use. Originally, the plan was to record the game on the PC version, as it would be easier to edit the videos and share them, rather than the hassle of recording the clips on the Xbox One, then transferring them from the console onto a laptop device where it could be edited and placed in a blog post. Unfortunately, the graphics card on the PC wasn’t powerful enough to record the footage, which meant that the Xbox One edition would be the one used to record. There was also the issue of downloading the footage from the console into OneDrive, where I would be able to edit the video and place it in the blog post. It took a while but eventually, it transferred over and I was able to edit the video.
When it came to sources I would use for my digital artifact, I used YouTube as a place to look for, as game analyses are common on that platform, most commonly in the form of video essays. The first source I used was one I had watched before, without starting progress on this project. The video was from The Act Man, a YouTube channel where he analyses all forms of game media, including game consoles, sequels, companies, as well as why games are good or bad. One such video was about Left 4 Dead 2, and why it was so successful. His analysis I found was very helpful in setting up my own analytical framework for the game.
Another source I used was a newspaper article providing reasons as to why gaming companies develop so many sequels. This source was used to help with the lens of improvements made from the original game. The angle I used for the source was to detail how the bigger companies would use it to keep their audience and also develop ideas within that genre or world they had created.
I decided to use a blog post as a way to create content for my digital artifact. The benefit of using blog posts was that it was something I was familiar with, it allowed for me to incorporate different media forms into the content, such as video, visual, and written content. It also meant I could link other sources if people were interested in the game or other concepts I had introduced as part of the game analysis. YouTube videos, used as video essays to explain the game, were considered to be sued, but ultimately, I decided to use blog posts, as YouTube would be harder to use, as well as not allowing for too much-written content without being too much for a person to read.
I have heavily enjoyed creating this content and digital artifact. I am a massive fan of the game, and that was a major reason why I chose the game to analyze. There had been other reviews of the game on YouTube, and is still a popular game in the current gaming world, even more so with Back 4 Blood being released in the same year, a game released by the studio that had developed the Left 4 Dead franchise. I have grown up playing the game, so it means a lot to me from a personal perspective as well.
Creating the blog post structure was tough, as was incorporating other elements such as photos and videos naturally into the blog post. It was also tough editing the videos into little pieces that would work for the examples required, to help show the analysis of the game.
Another newspaper article I used was about how video games help develop real-life skills such as leadership and communication, particularly in online first-person shooter games. It also focused on the demographic of college students, who were the main audience for Left 4 Dead 2. The articles emphasize how these games create a situation where players, who may not know who they are playing with, will need to communicate and work together to achieve victory for their team. Even though it was discussing the game Overwatch, the topic of leadership development from playing video games was used as a way to help frame how Left 4 Dead 2 encourages teamwork in the multiplayer modes it presents.
Getting the game clips were not that much of an issue. The only real concern was uploading the videos from the Xbox console to another device so I could edit them for the blog post, as well as the editing process itself. Getting the clips wasn’t difficult, as the clips I needed simply involved playing the game. All I needed to do was remember to record the experience so I could then use it in the blog post. Just for time’s sake, I didn’t start the game from the very first level and play my way through it, instead, I started directly from the level. This wasn’t quite the true experience that the game offers, but it allowed for the least amount of time used to get the clips needed for the blog posts.
Overall, creating this digital artifact around the analysis of Left 4 Dead 2 was at times a troubling experience, but also really enjoyable and interesting, finding out more about the game.