How I want to marry literature theory & game media studies

Worldbuilding is one of my favourite parts of the creative writing process. And so, inspired by the study intertextuality in game media, I will combine my love for literature, and for history, in examining worldbuilding in League of Legends (League) and its associated canon.  

The Project 

My Love For… 

Literature 

My analytic framework is inspired by the SFWA’s guide to creating a fantasy/sci-fi world and will draw further on game media studies in worldbuilding, reality and particular texts

Additionally, just as prose writers apply descriptive techniques from poets, I’m going to use this research to generate worldbuilding techniques for writers to apply in their own prose.  

History  

Inspired by the media archaeology methodology, I will analyse the League world through objects that fit into my analytical framework – the hexcores, for example, shed light on the magic system discovered in episode three of Arcane: League of Legends (Arcane).  

Additional Research  

Knowing nothing about League beyond what I have seen in Arcane, I will also conduct heavy research in the game and its canon. This will involve subreddits and popular news media comparing the game and Netflix show.  

As I vlog my research on YouTube and apply it to crafting a fictional world of my own, I intend to gather feedback through YouTube analytics, conversations with my viewers (predominately friends) and my own emotions.  

The plan!

Hopefully, my resulting digital artefact will be useful for improving worldbuilding in both my own creative writing and in the projects of other writers who stumble across me.

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10 comments

  1. Hi Jess,

    As a fellow fan of worldbuilding I really love the idea of taking a deep dive into LoL’s lore and using it to inform your own worldbuilding abilities. I think a YouTube series documenting this process is a strong concept, too, and one that many likeminded creatives might find interesting. I thought you presented very well in your pitch video, with strong editing and diction, as well as clear sound.

    With that said, I think you need to work on your analytical frameworks some more. From your pitch, I gathered that your three frameworks were magic systems, geography, and cultural beliefs & values. While these are great concepts to choose, some more engagement with textual analysis methods would have been nice to see. For example, you might take a structuralist approach to LoL’s magic system by examining the structure of magic systems across other forms of media and using any deviations in LoL’s system to analyse it’s textual impact. Or, for cultural beliefs & values (in this I understood that you were referring to the beliefs & values within the LoL world), you might take a post-structuralist approach and analyse how different people from different backgrounds might react to this? I think if your post/pitch had a little more focus on the critical analysis methods you were going to utilise, it would be much improved.

    Some other ideas might include looking at the formalities of LoL and how the game approaches worldbuilding. How is the information presented to the player? Is there any in-game lorebook? Is the lore drip-fed to the player through micro-texts taking the form of in-game characters, items and spell descriptions? Or does LoL rely on transmedia storytelling like Arcane to do the bulk of its worldbuilding?

    I think you might find ‘Worldbuilding Components and Transmedial Extensions of Computer Role-Playing Games’ by Boston, Tinli & Çatak really useful! I’ll link it below. It uses the three frameworks of place (or geography, as you called it), species & culture to analyse the trends and patterns found in worldbuilding across RPG games.
    https://dergipark.org.tr/tr/pub/kulturveiletisim/issue/53378/709869

    So yeah, to wrap it up I just think you need to engage more with major academic writings of the field and then this could turn into something super, super cool (and by the way, I received very similar criticism for own pitch and it helped a lot, which is part of the reason I’m passing it on to you). I’m looking forward to seeing the results of this project!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Jess! Love the three concepts you’re using for your analytical structure!
    I’m also looking at worldbuilding in my Digital Artifact!
    It seems like you’ve got a clear understanding of your timeline. As for uncovering the lore of the universe, here’s a link to the official league of legends universe website: https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_AU/
    That might help you in figuring out the background.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hey Jess, the way you’ve approached this project is really creative and interesting. it’s great how you managed to combine your passions into the way you’ll undergo your DA. i am slightly confused as to what methodologies you are going to use for your analytical framework. you mention looking at magic systems, geography, and cultural beliefs and values but also discuss how you will analyse the League world through media archaeology. however, i think you have a good range of avenues to explore worldbuilding through your game media text which is evident through your sources. the pitch is really well structured and i love how you’ve set out your weekly schedule, this makes it as clear as possible of the daily schedules. since you are undergoing a video series of writing vlogs as part of your DA and you mentioned your ‘expert vlogging skills’, i’ve decided to include a source which looks at tips for vlogging. i think the section on audio might be insightful for your project. https://www.makeuseof.com/how-to-start-vlogging-beginners/

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  4. Looking at world building from gaming and applying it to writing is an amazing idea, I love it so much.

    What I do wish to mention is League of Legends world building is slightly odd in how it works. It is based almost entirely in paratext around the game, more like an extended lore for the series than world building for a singular story.

    It’s something to keep in mind when looking at how it could be translated to prose. Prose as a medium is far less accepting of being required to research relevant lore to the story outside of the text than a game designed to primarily let players challenge each other in combat rather than tell a story.

    Like

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