You know those things in life that you want to do, but you’re never really sure how to do them or what to do with them? You spend a solid amount of time trying to figure out the specifics of it, and more often than not you never follow through with the idea. It becomes one of the little things somewhere in your brain that you remember every so often and think to yourself how you could have or should have done that.
That concept is the beginnings of this website, and of anything that I do really. What gets us from there to here is the act of seeing something through to its completion. If I didn’t sit down one weekend and just do this and make this site, it would’ve been another thing floating in my head that I could have done.
“Bit By Bit” is one of those ideas that I don’t want to fall away forever. It’s an idea that I’ve had, but I didn’t want to do it until I knew it would be perfect. A big part of that is making sure I had a title that I loved, while the rest of it is making sure I am able to detail just what I would be doing. Why don’t we do those details now…?
What is Bit By Bit?
Most of what I do on the site is an amalgam of the video game writing that I enjoy. It’s difficult to admit how unoriginal a lot of what I do is, but if I am writing what I would enjoy reading I should start by at least emulating and tweaking what I already do enjoy reading, right?
Bit By Bit is largely inspired by Jeremy Parish’s “Anatomy of a Game” series, which itself is largely inspired by Glass Knuckle’s “A Critical Look at Mega Man” series. What both of these works do, is look critically at game design and break it down to its core. In Glass Knuckle’s series, the focus is looking at what each area in a Mega Man game is doing, at what each screen has to offer to the player, and how each part of that game has an important role in shaping what those games are and what they would later become. Jeremy Parish’s series does something similar, breaking down the stages or areas in a game, giving them historical context, and even at times acting as a sophisticated guide to playing the game.
I have always been intrigued by the process of creating these types of articles, and I find them incredibly fascinating to read through. The tough part for getting into writing them myself has been the floating questions I have. “What can I say that hasn’t been said?” “How can I do this in my own way?” “Who is going to care about what I am writing?” One by one, I’ve answered these questions: Everything I say hasn’t been said in the way that I would say it and the personal experiences I bring to it, I can do it my own way by adding something else to the process, and no one caring what I write hasn’t stopped me from running this website so I might as well keep on going!
In Bit By Bit, I plan to look at the design of each game that I cover, but I would like to go, well… bit by bit on each one. I want to talk about each stage and area of the game, but I would like to do so in segments. I want to focus on the game’s design, obviously, but additionally spend an article just talking about the sound or the music. From there, look at the art design and what it might have meant for the system’s limitations. I want to look at the specific mechanics in the game, and how those worked in the context of the game, as well as the context of gaming culture as a whole. For a loose idea of where I am going with this, I would say refer to the aforementioned inspirations for this project, but if I do my job right, I would be providing something different than would both of those do.
When? What? How? Where?
Because I have been thinking about how to go about this for a good while now, I already have some stuff written and planned out. However, I don’t want to say precisely when it is all rolling out. I can tell you that the first entry in this series will release by the end of the month, in order to tie in with RPG month. As far as which game is my first subject, I won’t say just yet but know that the game is something very close to home…
I still need to nail down the layout of everything and what content goes into what section, but it should all come together as I get rolling. Everything will be posted to the site as an article, and each post will be numbered in reading order. I would love it if I could eventually compile these writings into books, as Jeremy Parish does with his series, and if that is the case I will be sure to include information on that when it happens.
I hope that you are as excited to read these as I am to write them. I think it is going to be a really fun exercise in writing and games writing specifically. Plus, it’s an excuse to revisit in detail a lot of my favorite games. That might be the best part of this whole upcoming series. Please stay tuned and let me know what you think as we start down this new journey of mine.