The Legacy of Copy Cat Games

USEFUL LINKS

Club Penguin Rewritten
Kim Possible: A Stitch in Time
Moshi Monsters Rewritten
Poptropica
Zach and Cody: Tipton Trouble

Copy Cat Games Episode 1
Copy Cat Games Episode 2
Copy Cat Games Episode 3
Copy Cat Games Episode 4

THE OVERVIEW

The premise of Shayla and I’s digital artefact was formed through our engagement with the first blog post for this class that focused on developing an analytical framework that could be used to analyse a forgotten game. Immediately we both saw the potential in analysing forgotten games from our childhood and theorised that an audience, much like ourselves, would engage with the nostalgia that an artefact such as this could offer.

Furthermore, in circumstances such as the one that we are in currently with Covid-19 disrupting our daily lives and a majority of the population having been forced inside for months on end, retreating into past hobbies and interests is very common. We saw this in action through the return of the game Club Penguin in its rewritten rendition Club Penguin Online during mid-2020 that saw large groups of young adults flocking to its servers to relive their childhood experiences. This suggested that a digital artefact such as the one we were considering would have a place amongst an audience of other adults wishing to surround themselves with the happiness and safety of their childhood. Thus, the idea of playing and analysing rewritten games from our childhood was formed.

We decided on the media of a podcast for two main reasons; 

  • It appealed most to the audience our content was aimed at 
    • This study notes that 50% of podcast listeners are between the ages of 12 and 34
  • It provided a place for post-structuralist discussion and negotiated reading
    • Myself, Shayla, and each one of our listeners has their own unique experiences with childhood games and their modern renditions. So in this sense, it’s important to hear two different people discuss their similar and differing opinions in order to be more engaging and accessible for listeners 

We wanted our digital artefact to abide by the concept of FIST; fast, inexpensive, simple, and tiny. A podcast is all of these things if executed well, and at this point, we’ve certainly developed our podcasting style so that it is more effective and less time consuming than when we had begun. 

THE FRAMEWORK (and excerpts from podcast episodes)

THE TIMELINE

Surprisingly, we adhered pretty well to our original timeline, which you can see below.

We did do a test episode in which we worked out a bunch of problems. We played Zach and Cody: Tipton trouble in that episode but it wasn’t released just to its poor quality and the fact we knew we’d be playing Kim Possible: A Stitch in Time which is another Disney game later on. Our episodes follow the same layout that we had determined and our last undetermined game ended up being Poptropica. This is what our actual timeline looked like. Give or take one week here and there it was essentially the same, as shown below.

Shayla and I also stuck to our alternating editing schedule which proved very effective with managing our workloads. 

THE FEEDBACK

This article that feedback loops are important for the growth and progression of a project as they allow creators to see how their intended audience react to what they are producing. While SoundCloud was a great platform to house our podcasts episodes, the exposure and subsequent feedback loops that it allowed were not very effective for small creators such as ourselves. Thus, we turned to Twitter and WordPress to promote our podcast and hear back from our listeners. Jacobson (2017)explains that Twitter is built for immediacy meaning that it is more real-time than other social media platforms, allowing for faster feedback. Moreover, it is one of the most casual social media sites and people tend to engage more often and more readily with content. Our engagement via Twitter was good, although we didn’t put enough effort into using this platform considering its benefits. It is also possible that we didn’t receive a large amount of feedback from Twitter as our listeners, having clicked the link and been brought to our WordPress blogs, decided to comment on the blogs instead. WordPress was a good platform for providing a short synopsis of our episodes and housing most feedback. Also, the comments on our WordPress blogs are longer and generally more useful when providing constructive criticism and possible changes for our podcast. Thus, we used WordPress more effectively than Twitter, though together they both provided excellent feedback loops that allowed us to engage with our listeners.

Each individuals experiences with certain media will vary based on their culture; an accumulation of the ideas, customs, and social behaviour that has shaped their being (Moore 2020). We want our listeners to be active participators with our podcast episodes just as both Shayla and I are active participators in playing the games and recording the podcast, so taking into account their thoughts and opinions is integral. Shayla and I received a lot of feedback about our various podcast episodes, some relating to the topic of the episode itself and others focusing on the medium of the podcast and their reception of it. Below are some examples and the changes they brought about:

  • One comment suggested that around the 15-18 minute mark was a good length for our podcasts so we decided to make the episodes we recorded after we received this comment as close to 15 minutes as we could get them to be
  • Another comment liked that they could relate to the anecdote of calling up friends on the family landline, so we tried to incorporate more anecdotes into our episodes that we thought our audience could potentially relate to
  • And this comment related to our bitter nostalgic mood about the issues with Kim Possible: A Stitch in Time and stated that many rewritten disney games are similar. So we decided we would not review another disney game as although having some variety between the episodes is good, we wish for listeners to have a positive experience

THE OVERVIEW

Overall, while I consider our digital artefact rather successful considering our adherence to our timeline along with our engagement and the general quality of our podcasts, there is still ways in which I believe we could have improved. 

Our use of our analytical framework along with the value of each of the analytical elements is the strongest aspect of our digital artefact. Each element provided unique insight and guided the discussions of our chosen games in an effective and engaging way. Moreover, each element is related on a number of layers to the other elements, allowing us to draw well-informed decisions about our experiences with the games.

While our feedback loops were fairly effective, more interaction between Shayla and I, and our audience would have benefited our creative process and our final digital artefact. We found that the majority of our listeners while having enjoyed our podcast, were one time listeners. To progress our digital artefact, finding a way to bring listeners back each week would be a priority. Perhaps one way to do this would be to construct a social media account perhaps on Twitter or Instagram for the podcast itself. This could provide more information about the podcast and give viewers updates on episodes with greater ease than the way in which we are currently promoting the podcast.

References

Batcho, K 2019, Speaking of Psychology: Does nostalgia have a psychological purpose?, podcast, American Psychological Association <https://www.apa.org/research/action/speaking-of-psychology/nostalgia>.

Grainge, P 2002, Monochrome Memories: Nostalgia and Style in Retro America, Westport, CT: Praeger

Jacobson, B 2017, ‘6 Ways You Can Use Twitter in Your Customer Feedback Loop’, Search Engine Journal, weblog post, <https://www.searchenginejournal.com/twitter-customer-feedback-loop/210418/#close>.

Leonard, A 2008, ‘Video Games in Education: Why They Should Be Used and How They Are Being Used’, Theory Into Practice, vol. 47, no. 3, pp. 229-239.

Moore, C 2020, ‘BCM215 Game Media Industries: Participatory Media Culture’, BCM215, University of Wollongong

Swalwell, M 2007, ‘journal of visual culture: The Remembering and the Forgetting of Early Digital Games: From Novelty to Detritus and Back Again’, Journal of Visual Culture, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 255–273.

Understood team, ‘6 surprising benefits of video games for kids’, Understood, weblog post <https://www.understood.org/articles/en/4-surprising-benefits-of-video-games>.

‘The Power of Feedback Loops’, Get 2 Growth, weblog post <https://get2growth.com/feedback-loops/&gt;.

Winn, R 2021, ‘2021 Podcast stats and facts’, Podcast Insights, weblog post, <https://www.podcastinsights.com/podcast-statistics/&gt;.

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