The Elegance of Context

Mark Sample's article "Platform Studies as Historical Inquiry, or, Video Games Bleed History" may not have the most elegant title ever, although it is surely and unmistakably accurate. Sample places the methodology of inquiry into reach of a broad audience by applying it to the social context of video game systems across the past three decades, more or less. 

Sample bases this exploration on the levels of Digital Media, as first coined by Lars Konzack then adapted by Nick Montfort; I appreciate the invitation to continue adapting these layers, but so far I haven't thought of anything even approaching the useful simplicity of the current model. I found it fascinating that few scholars have considered the platform, code, or form and function layers, focusing instead on the interface and reception layers; I suppose it makes sense because the interface especially influences any game's reception and operation and this defines the game's longevity; physical platforms and their accompanying code, on the contrary, enjoy almost anything but longevity...they are the momentary blips in the current of trendy technology rendered obsolete by moving continuously on into the obsolesence of the past where they stay loved for their historical value. Studying only the upper layers of platform studies is like studying on Mona Lisa's eyes (important as they are) and forgetting about that smile.