Gaming

  • OTW Fannews: How fandom works

    By Claudia Rebaza on Sunday, 13 April 2014 - 5:32pm
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    • The question of how fandom works has been popping up in the media. Entertainment Weekly used the finale of True Detective to raise the question: 'Does modern TV fandom actually make it harder to understand TV shows?' "I wonder if the conversation around True Detective made the show seem more ambitious than it actually was. I wonder what it would be like if we could have those conversations about shows that do have a deeper point beyond 'Good vs. Evil.'" (Spoiler warning for the series).
    • At The Mary Sue, Rachael Berkey used the return of Veronica Mars to look at changing fandom. "I was seventeen when I joined my first fandom. It was 1999, and Rent was kind of a big deal...Fandom feels like a completely different beast in 2014. There’s a lingo to it you have to translate until you really go native." She believes that "Fandom has hit its stride in the second decade of the new millennium. Thanks to successful fan-funded projects like the Veronica Mars movie, the great things about being a part of a fandom are being pulled right out into the open."
    • Bronies for Good posted a podcast of Feminism and the Fandom. "One of the core aspects of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is how it strives to provide empowerment for young girls through a medium that is typically unfavorable to women. As part of the content blitz for International Women’s Day discussed in more detail in our previous post, and in collaboration with The Round Stable, we have invited fellow fans to discuss femininity, feminism, and women’s issues in the context of MLP:FiM and its fandom." (No transcript available).
    • NPR's Code Switch transcribed their discussion of race in World of Warcraft. Although the interview began by saying "Don't worry, this isn't about racial disparities between black, Latino and Asian players", in fact the discussion does end up there. "DEMBY: So there were no, like, guilds full of young Latino kids? SCHELLDORF: I never met a single person with a 'Hispanic-sounding' accent on the game. But I can say that those who sounded Asian or black were less welcomed...HERNANDEZ: I wish I had found a Latino guild! It would have made things way easier. A friend actually joined an Australian guild one time on accident, so there are definitely some guilds with national or racial identity out there. For us it was about finding a good raiding guild, and eventually a good raiding guild that didn't hate on our accent."

    What factors about how fandom works have you noticed? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Discussing fandom

    By Claudia Rebaza on Friday, 21 March 2014 - 1:29am
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    Banner by Erin of a message form with the OTW logo on a megaphone and a form saying 'You:Discussing Fan: Fandom' with a send button next to 'OTWFannews'

    • Not Another Teen Wolf podcast posted about their interview with OTW legal staffer Heidi Tandy. Among other things "We learn about the Organisation for Transformative Works and the basic legality behind being a fan creator. We also reminisce about the early days of the internet, when there was a lot of scaremongering surrounding fanfiction in terms of copyright. Why was AO3 started – what was the initial gameplan? Why did a resource like AO3 become necessary?”
    • Although the NATW podcast chat spent only a bit of time on copyright, Copyrightuser.org posted the video ‘Copyright & Creativity’ to make "copyright compelling to creators and average Internet users, trying to demonstrate that it is not just a set of rules but an interesting world worth exploring. To this end, we approached leading copyright experts and sent them a short questionnaire about the relationship between copyright, creativity and technology, with the idea of writing an accessible script based on their answers." The site is "an independent online resource aimed at making UK Copyright Law accessible to creators and members of the public. The goal is to provide answers to the most pressing concerns creators have about copyright, helping them understand their rights."
    • Heidi Tandy and recent OTW academic chat panelist, Anne Jamison, were at South by Southwest discussing fanworks. The importance of internet platforms in allowing non-celebrities to develop their own fandom took a different tack on creativity. When asked, "What is the secret sauce to creating good content?" BuzzFeed’s EVP of Video, Ze Frank replied that content "must represent a part of your individual identity better than you can talk about it. Second, your content needs to be an emotional gift, and should make your audience feel a certain way. And third, your content should provide a social role of information. Frank continued by explaining that your content should prove an argument that people have been having all along or play a part in real world conversation."
    • Joystick ran an article exploring the fandom of Twitch Plays Pokemon. "Taylor started doing Internet research in the 1990s, and turned to video games in 1999. Her studies resulted in books such as Play Between Worlds and Raising the Stakes, which explore virtual worlds, MMOs and e-sports. Those examinations bear relevance to Twitch Plays Pokemon, as the same elements of extended narratives and player curation could be found in the earlier days of EverQuest."

    What stories have you come across about storytelling platforms? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • Transformative Works and Cultures releases No. 15

    By Claudia Rebaza on Saturday, 15 March 2014 - 7:30pm
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    Banner by Diane with the outlines of a man and woman speaking with word bubbles, one of which has the OTW logo and the other which says 'OTW Announcement'

    Planning to see the new Veronica Mars movie? You may also want to check out the new issue of Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC)!

    TWC has released No. 15, Fandom and/as Labor, guest edited by Mel Stanfill and Megan Condis, both of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The issue's seven articles, two Symposium pieces, roundtable, and three book reviews all relate to topics such as fan labor, gift culture, community, and work. A variety of fandoms get a turn in the spotlight.

    In a roundtable, scholars and an industry insider, Bertha Chin, Bethan Jones, Myles McNutt, and Luke Pebler, discuss the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign and its relationship to fans. TWC’s Symposium section features shorter, often personal essays that address particularly fannish connections. In the two essays that comprise this section, Tisha Turk argues that fandom’s gift economy should be understood as involving a wide variety of gifts, a complex system of reciprocation, and the use of gifts as a sign of their reception; and Joly MacFie remembers his time creating badges and zines during the punk era in the UK.

    Several peer-reviewed essays discuss specific media properties in relationship to fans and labor.

    • Bethan Jones discusses Fifty Shades of Grey, noting that pulling a piece of fan fiction off the Internet to publish it professionally means that the fan labor performed as the text was created and disseminated remains unacknowledged.
    • Christina Savage analyzes the TV show Chuck’s “save our show” campaign, placing it in the context of other such campaigns to show how fan labor is used strategically, in this case by ensuring the visibility of their campaign by engaging with sponsors and using hash tags.
    • Rose Helens-Hart, in an analysis of Tosh.0, analyzes how the show’s Web site encourages fans to use personal networks to spread the brand.
    • Matthias Stork analyzes the Glee fan-insider divide as fans were recruited to do work and promised access, only to later have this denied by the producers.
    • Bertha Chin’s analysis also deals with Web sites, fan-created ones; she analyzes Sherlockology and Galactica.tv in terms of gifting versus exploitation.
    • Giacomo Poderi and David James Hakken analyze modding a video game, using online posts made by users to illustrate how fan labor works.
    • Robert Moses Peaslee, Jessica El-Khoury, and Ashley Liles move out of the realm of the virtual and into the physical, as they analyze the motivations and work of fan volunteers at media festivals.

    Three reviews appear in this issue. Stephanie Anne Brown reviews Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory, edited by Trebor Scholz (Routledge, 2013); Simone D. Becque reviews Cognitive Capitalism, Education, and Digital Labor, edited by Michael A. Peters and Ergin Bulut (Peter Lang, 2011); and Anne Kustritz reviews Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal, by J. Jack Halberstam (Beacon, 2012).

    The next issue of TWC, No. 16, will appear in June 2014. Bob Rehak will present a guest-edited issue on the topic of Materiality and Object-Oriented Fandom. TWC No. 17 (September 2014) will be an open, unthemed issue. Although it is too late to submit to that particular issue, we always welcome general submissions; in addition, two other special issues (European Fans and European Fan Objects and The Classical Canon and/as Transformational Work) are in the works and are still open for submissions. We particularly encourage fans to submit Symposium essays. Read the submission guidelines for details!

  • OTW Fannews: Marketing to women

    By Claudia Rebaza on Monday, 3 March 2014 - 1:22am
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    Banner by Bremo of a smiling Frank Sinatra passing a group of excited fangirls

    • There have been discussions in the media over past months that suggest that a significant reason for the erasure of women in fandom is that companies have no interest in marketing to them. This was made explicit in an article on io9 which discussed the fear of TV network executives that their cartoons had too many female fans.
    • Even targeting stereotypical female interests seems difficult for marketers to do, leaving women's fashion options lacking for years. Perhaps that's why this feature on a history of fangirl fashion in Elle seems to be more a collection of random female fan photos than an exploration of the creative fashion statements seen at fan gatherings.
    • Part of the problem may be the general disapproval expressed when women come up with their own ways of enjoying fandom. Even when commercial entities use many of the same ideas it's somehow different when fans do these things for themselves. This attitude may be a factor in why even some fannish people resist becoming fans.
    • The Shipping News focused on what such disapproval said about wider society. "[I]t’s not the fans that make it all about sex, it’s everyone else...we just like to see people fall in love. Sure, sex is a part of that – a super fun part that we enjoy immensely – but anyone that has read over 80,000 words to get to a kiss, knows that porn is just a side effect...they have got to stop assuming that slash fandom is synonymous with sexual deviancy. Slash fandom encompasses A LOT of different things, so the fact that they are obsessed with the part that is porn says more about them than it does about us."

    What issues involving female fandom have you come across? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Restricting fandom

    By Claudia Rebaza on Thursday, 27 February 2014 - 8:06pm
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    • OTW legal staffer Casey Fiesler has written a paper on “Remixers’ Understandings of Fair Use Online" which found that fans' understanding of fair use is often incorrect. “What the community typically believes and does can actually affect what is judged legal,” says Amy Bruckman, professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech and researcher on the study. “So it’s in their interests to have cohesion to craft codes of best practice.”
    • The Australian government has released a report on Copyright and the Digital Economy that supports the development of fair use, and specifically mentions fan fiction as a reason to adopt it. "Fair use in relation to quotation may provide more room for some artistic practices, including the sampling, mashup and remixing of copyright material in musical compositions, new films, art works and fan fiction. More broadly, some artistic practices based on appropriation, including collage, where images or objects are ‘borrowed’ and re-contextualised might be covered by fair use." (p.212)
    • When commercial entities get sold, or decide that a particular project isn't sufficiently profitable, fans can lose both the product and the work they put into it when it's shut down. "An enormous fan outcry began as the remaining [YoVille]players were the most dedicated the game had, and they didn’t want to lose everything they’d invested in their virtual lives. They threatened Zynga boycotts and made heartfelt YouTube videos pleading their case. Their response got the attention of the original creators of the game, Big Viking, and now there’s a new push to buy back the title from Zynga, rather than having it be killed outright."
    • Another problem is when businesses fight to restrict new technology that can help consumers influence those decisions. "Studios and broadcasters argued then that [recording] technology would end civilization as we know it. Instead, it opened up a universe of new opportunities. Just last week, my colleague Ryan Faughnder reported that the Fox comedy Enlisted may be saved from low-ratings death by a surprising surge in DVR and on-demand viewing."

    What legal and business stories have you come across that involve fandom? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom accomplishments

    By Claudia Rebaza on Monday, 24 February 2014 - 6:22pm
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    Banner by dogtagsandsmut of an iPad with a blue ribbon displayed saying 'You rock!' and the post title over a half logo

    • Transformative Works and Cultures editor, Karen Hellekson, will be delivering one of the Academic keynote presentations at the 72nd meeting of WorldCon in London. She will discuss a range of Doctor Who fan videos, including those that recreate missing episodes and re-frame post-2005 episodes.
    • Legal staffer Heidi Tandy will be presenting at South by Southwest on Tuesday, March 11 at 10 AM at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas. Together with professor Anne Jamison, she will be discussing Why Fanfic Is Taking Over the World
    • The 5th annual Digital Media and Learning Conference, themed “Connecting Practices,” calls for learning organizations and institutions to pursue “extreme collaborating" and will be attracting hundreds of technologists, educators, activists and researchers to the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston, Massacussets on March 6-8. Among the projects being highlighted is an "online fan fiction community that brings together readers and writers to create, read and review fiction works, fostering mentoring relationships that advance writing and intergenerational learning."
    • The speedrunning site Speed Demos Archive has been holding an annual winter livestreamed speedrunning marathon called Awesome Games Done Quick which has been raising money for cancer research. This year, they raised over a million dollars for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. As LibertyVoice noted "The non-stop game-fest continued for seven days straight and then kept going for bonus games."

    What fan accomplishments do you think should be remembered? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Creativity everywhere

    By Claudia Rebaza on Friday, 21 February 2014 - 4:59pm
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    Banner by Erin of a sunrise behind the OTW logo with images of a globe, paintbrushes and a computer sound button.

    • Crunchyroll displayed a slew of artwork when taking note of a new fanart meme. "The last week has given rise to bit of obvious genius on Japanese art portal Pixiv. Suitable for some awesome wallpapers, the hot trend of the moment in fanart is to draw characters trapped behind the glass of a smartphone."
    • Meanwhile, io9 pointed out how fans are drawing the next Disney princess even though her details haven't been released yet. "Only one image associated with Moana has come out, and Disney has said that it isn't concept art for the movie, which focuses on Moana Waialiki, the only daughter of a chief from a long line of navigators. But based on that artwork and the setting of the film, a handful of artists have started drawing their own visions of Moana, drawing from various South Pacific cultures."
    • Bowing to user demand, the World of Warcraft site battle.net added a fanfiction forum. "That's right, you asked for it and now you've got it. We hope you have your creative juices flowing because now is the time to share just what it is that's been crawling through your brain and itching to be be shared beyond the confines of your skull. Those voices you hear? Those are your own characters or interpretations of the world (of Warcraft) whispering in your ear and begging to be set free upon your fellows."
    • IGN looked at audio fanworks for games. "Fans go to great lengths to celebrate the games they love. Some write fan fiction, draw beautiful images, or cosplay as their favorite characters. Others channel their reverence and admiration into rap albums. Some video game-themed rap songs make a big impact, but several more fall under the radar. The following are some of the best songs that didn't quite nab the recognition they deserve."

    What fanwork discussions have you come across? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom challenges

    By Claudia Rebaza on Wednesday, 5 February 2014 - 7:00pm
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    • NPR's Code Switch asked Who Gets To Be A Superhero?. "But an artist named Orion Martin noted that the X-Men comics have on the receiving end of much real-life discrimination: the main lineup in the X-Men team has been mostly straight, white dudes...So Martin decided to reimagine them, recoloring some famous panels so that the main characters are brown — a gimmick that changes the subtext and stakes for the X-people."
    • A post on Flayrah discussed what makes furries a fandom. "Fandoms revolve around a common interest, not a canon. At times the common interest will also serve as the canon, in such things as the Doctor Who fandom or the Pokémon fandom, but at other times the common interest will be more vague, such as the anime fandom, the sci-fi fandom and the furry fandom. In those cases the fans are fans of a concept that can encompass many different fandoms due to a common element. Furry certainly has what we can term a canon. Fred Patten has compiled a long, but incomplete, list of works that influenced and led to the formation of the furry fandom between 1966-1996."
    • Gamer Zarnyx discussed early prejudices and missing past experiences. "I am aware that had A Link Between Worlds been my first game in the series, I would have been voicing an entirely different opinion. I am aware that it is a little bit selfish to dismiss the game as 'just another Zelda game', just as I am aware it would be ridiculous of me (again) to dismiss Nintendo and tell you my faith is wavering. That's not my intent for a company who has given me more amazing memories than forgettable ones and continues to do so even now...But as I listened to my sister's gleeful squeals sprinkled in with the 'oh no' moments of hearing death approaching...I wanted that excitement too instead of the occasional jaded groan I mustered when encountering some of the same things I encountered on so many adventures before this one."

    What fandom challenges have you experienced? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Numbers of fanworks

    By Claudia Rebaza on Sunday, 26 January 2014 - 8:42pm
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    Banner by Erin of a close up of Harry Potter with his lightning scar turned into a rising line on a graph

    • A study of primarily gaming-related fanworks was posted on Gamasutra. The study "used empirical methods to investigate how contemporary user-generated content ('UGC') platforms and practices related to United States copyright law. The motivation for the project was the relative absence of data about the copyright status of most UGC and competing claims about UGC’s predominant nature."
    • The researchers interviewed both fans and game creators and found that "There is, apparently, not very much 'groupthink' among our industry respondents about questions of IP, fair use, and user-generated content." Many also really enjoyed User Generated Content. However, industry pros creating fanworks prior to becoming paid assumed that most game players are not like them. "25% agreed that 'UGC is appealing only to a minority of gamers.'" In fact, when gamers were asked "if they had ever created new content related to video games...70% stated that they had. They reported that they spent, on average, about 5 hours per week creating content related to video games."
    • The researchers compared activity by gamers to that of fans of other mediums, specifically Harry Potter story activity on Mugglenet and Fanfiction.net. "Though we were tempted to code for works that were parodies or that somehow altered the meaning of Harry Potter, we doubted that there would or should be a clear dividing line between infringing and non-infringing fan fiction practices."
    • Researchers also "asked respondents about the fair use doctrine in the United States. 91% were aware of the doctrine. We asked those respondents if they thought fair use rights should be broaden[sic], narrowed, or if they should remain the same...64% thought it should be broadened, 26% said it should be narrowed, and 10% had no opinion."
    • Wattpad also released numbers about fan activity. "The Wattpad community spent 87 million minutes each day reading and sharing stories from their phones and tablets last year. Readers also created more than 4.4 million story covers and YouTube trailers to support their favorite stories and writers on Wattpad." The site considers mobile access vital to their success, as "85 percent of time spent on Wattpad is via a phone or tablet. Half of the writers on Wattpad have written a story from a phone or tablet."

    What fandom studies have you seen? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Takedowns from all sides

    By Claudia Rebaza on Tuesday, 21 January 2014 - 7:39pm
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    • Forbes was one of many sites discussing YouTube's crackdown on fans who use video game footage to review or discuss games. "So at the same time as two major console makers are integrating video sharing into their systems, YouTube is cracking down on the video game community. Of course, YouTube’s response to this is vague and unhelpful...Now a number of video game publishers such as Ubisoft, Paradox Interactive and Capcom have stated publicly that people should fight the copyright claims, understanding full well the win-win situation for all involved."
    • On another front, booksellers are censoring erotica writers. "Some U.K.-based ebook retailers responded with public apologies, and WHSmith went so far as to shut down its website altogether, releasing a statement saying that it would reopen 'once all self-published eBooks have been removed and we are totally sure that there are no offending titles available.' The response in the U.S. was somewhat more muted, but most of the retailers mentioned in the piece, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble, began quietly pulling hundreds of titles from their online shelves." The reasons why were never stated. "'I'd get an email from them saying, 'We found the following books in violation of our content guidelines,' she recalls. 'But they wouldn't tell me why. There were no specifics.'"
    • If copyright or censorship fears weren't enough, apparently the study of erotic fiction is being targeted by some government cost-cutters. "The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded $914,000 to help fund The Popular Romance Project since 2010, an ongoing study that explores 'the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs, and internet fan fiction.'...The grants are highlighted in the 2013 'Wastebook,' an annual report ...that highlights taxpayer-subsidized programs that...are questionable or unnecessary, especially during a time when lawmakers are viciously debating spending levels and how to trim the nation’s $17 trillion debt."
    • Meanwhile Slate's Future Tense blog looked at How Artificial Intelligence Might Monetize Fan Fiction. "A fan fiction writer e-publishes a story he wrote using the main characters, a vegan vampire who runs a butcher shop and a werewolf who turns into a plumber at full moon. His book sells millions of downloads, too. Did the fan fiction writer do anything prohibited by law? Not necessarily. As U.S. copyright law anticipates only human authors, it is reasonable to read it as providing no copyright protection to authors that are not human. The fan fiction writer can use the Super Potter Brothers characters as much as he wants; they’re in the public domain. Anyone can use them and make money from them, including the movie studios."

    What fandom takedown cases have you seen? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

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