There has been much talk about support for public television this past week and so it is time to visit PBS Off Book once again to remind ourselves of the great work PBS Digital is doing. From indie video games, featuring many great games I've played and highly endorse, to the creation of websites and the powerful role of fans in shaping not only the niche cultures they passionately love but also society as a whole, these three mini documentaries showcase the best the studio is producing.
The video game industry is now bigger than Hollywood, with hundreds of millions of dollars spent developing these interactive experiences. But there are also small-scale developers working in the indie game realm, creating unique and experimental video games without the budgets of the larger "AAA" games. These indie game developers devote time, money, and take great risks in a quest to realize their creative vision. They deftly balance game mechanics & systems, sound & visuals, and an immersive storytelling experience to push the gaming medium into revolutionary new territory. Much like indie music or indie film, the indie gaming movement provides a creative outlet for game designers who want to work outside of the mainstream.
Before the mass media, people actively engaged with culture through storytelling and expanding well-known tales. Modern fan culture connects to this historical tradition, and has become a force that challenges social norms and accepted behavior. Whether the issue is gender, sexuality, subversiveness, or even intellectual property law, fans participate in communities that allow them to think outside of what is possible in more mainstream scenarios. "Fannish" behavior has become its own grassroots way of altering our society and culture, and a means of actively experiencing one's own culture. In a sense, fans have changed from the faceless adoring masses, to people who are proud of their identity and are stretching the boundaries of what is considered "normal".
Prof. Francesca Coppa, Muhlenberg College
Chris Menning, editor at Modern Primate
Amanda Brennan, researcher at Know Your Meme
Dr. Whitney Phillips, lecturer at NYU
Alexa Dacre, fan fiction writer
Naomi Novik, Organization for Transformative Works
Seeing Beyond The Human Eye
Pop Culture Through The Lens Of Nostalgia: The Evolution Of 8-Bit Art
The Culture Of Reddit
The Vast World Of Lego Art
Three Points Of View On Fandom, Fan Fiction & Fan Art
The Art of Film & TV Title Design: PBS Off Book
Tattoos: Pop Portraits, Japanese Traditional, American Eclectic
Art In The Era Of The Internet: The Impact Of Kickstarter, Creative Commons & Creators Project
Animated GIFs: The Birth of a Medium
Off Book Series One: The Complete Series