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Youtube and the new AudioVisual Literacy

I grew up "reading" the internet, but I feel the new generation grew up "watching" it. How can we respond as developers and critics?

[cross-posted from FortressOfDoors]

I've been thinking about writing, journalism, and Youtube a lot lately, and I just realized something: we're moving to a new form of "writing" based on recorded oral culture.

Traditionally, "oral tradition" had no recording method other than people's memory (which can be surprisingly reliable, a far cry from the dismissive assertion that oral tradition is nothing more than "a game of telephone").  But what happens when you take an oral tradition and bring modern day electronic recording to it?  I first heard of this from a research paper my wife did in college, about Somali poetry, based in oral tradition and recorded on cassette tapes.

I think we're seeing a similar thing happening on the internet. My generation of internet nerds grew up "reading" the internet, but I feel the next generation has largely grown up watching it.

The proof is in the pudding, so to speak - popular Youtuber's like TotalBiscuit, the YogsCast, and other prominent "Let's Play"-ers are now capable of driving more traffic to a game than a positive article in a traditional game review magazine.

I don't think writing's dead, to be sure, but I figure it's best I bone up on this new form of "writing," since an entire swath of the population is now used to getting their information this way.

So, with that introduction managed, we've decided to start doing a series of "Let's Play" videos of our own game, with a commentary bonus track like you find on DVD's. This should be an entertaining and accessible way to reach a new audience and also give everyone a look behind the scenes of how we developed the game.

To be sure, I'll still keep writing the old-fashioned way - with words - but I think we all have a lot to gain by studying this new form of "literacy."

Developers Play: Defender's Quest


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