essayThis assignment will ask you to write an 6-to-8 page analytical essay and to create a slide-show video with sound which serves as a new-media preview or promo of that essay.

The Essay
First, in an essay of six-to-eight pages, compare old-media and new-media versions of the same work: a movie that's been turned into a video game (or visa versa), a television show that's been released as a DVD, a book that's been translated to an iPad app.

The three purposes of this essay are to use this specific comparison:

  1. to illustrate and discuss some characteristics of new media as they have been analyzed by the critical sources we've read this semester;

  2. to demonstrate how and why these characteristics matter to the effect and meaning of the text; and

  3. to enable some insight into the cultural work of shared subject matter (that is, a character, setting, theme, etc. that is an important part of the overall franchise or "mythos." See below)

A Single Element
Focus on one particular element that appears in both versions: a character, setting, scene, relationship, theme, or other specific component.

How does this element (character, setting, scene...) differ between the old- to new-media versions?

How does this difference represent the designer's or writer's response to a problem or challenge caused by differences in new vs. old media as vehicles?

he character of girl-sleuth Nancy Drew has been translated from a popular adventure-novel series (first published in 1930) into a video game. How does Nancy change as a character from book to game? How do these differences indicate challenges for the video-game designers? What do these differences reveal about the cultural work of Nancy Drew?

Comparing a similar plot situation in both old- and new-media versions, we see that book-Nancy is a unfailingly ethical, clever, resourceful, and ultimately right. On the other hand, game-Nancy is only as smart and admirable as the player makes her. The player controls Nancy--is Nancy--and therefore game-Nancy is fallible. While readers vicariously enjoy and identify with book-Nancy's intelligence and grace under pressure, players in control of game-Nancy find in her a mirror image of themselves. In what ways do the game creators attempt to suggest and reinforce the Nancy Drew character?

How do ideas and examples from Lev Manovich and Tom Bissell explain the differences between the old- and new-media Nancy Drews? What key terms and ideas from these writers put these differences in critical context and help you understand the challenges designers faced in translating Nancy Drew to New Media? Does your analysis of Nancy Drew contradict what either critic has to say?

A variation on this approach would be to analyze one element of a video game that's been made into a movie: examples of video game/movie crossovers include Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, BloodRayne, Doom, House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Tomb Raider, Super Mario Brothers.

Textual Guidelines
1. Use at least five quotations from Murray, Manovich or Bissell or other substantial readings to sustain and enrich your argument. Employ MLA parenthetical citation an documentation format to cite each reference in your text and to document them in a "Works Cited" section at the end of your essay.

2. In addition, you should use at least two quotations from at least one outside, critical source about either the old- or new-media version. This source could be a work of criticism, an academic article, a published review, etc. This source should help you make the larger point about that shared element and its place in the overall franchise or mythos.

Imagine that you are producing a New Media preview or promo for your essay, which would appear on your personal web site, Facebook page, Twitter feed, or elsewhere to entice visitors to click a link and read your essay.

We will learn to use iPhoto to create a timed slideshow, with camera-work effects like panning and zoom and a sound track. The soundtrack can be mixed and edited in Audacity. From iPhoto, you will export the slideshow as a .mov video file suitable for delivery via the web.

The slides of the slideshow should combine images and words. The soundtrack can feature music, voice, or sound or any combination of these that is appropriate for your purposes.

See some examples of previews promoting documentary and non-fiction works: