3 video essays
With this digital artifact, I explored a community that I grew up in. This is the Call of duty Trickshotting community. The COD trickshotting community spread like no other, and purely came from making content within the call of duty games. This started with Call of Duty Modern Warfare (2007) this is where gamers had the opportunity to record and upload content to YouTube of themselves playing the game, which started a phenomenon like no other. This was a continuous movement that spanned over the following Call of Duty’s, with the community growing larger and larger every year. This introduced the concept of having online teams, where players could join and climb a virtual ladder of the more subscribed teams. There were sponsors, paid work and social media status involved as well, as joining big teams like FaZe and SoaR could be life changing for some players. Within this contextual report, I will explore how this community evolved over the years, how the Archaeology of Trickshotting made it to what it is today, the paratext of the community involved and narrative design to what a trickshot was, and what made it different from player to player.
Everyone knows what a trickshot is, it could be to do with sport, or bouncing a ball into a cup. The call of duty community has taken the identity of a trickshot to a whole new level. There is a lot of history to unpack when we discuss the trickshotting community, as there were many memorable events and historical moments that happened in the period it was most active. In my first video essay, I explore how this era of gaming originated, drawing on the original content creator who started it all, this being zzirGrizz. zzirGrizz was one of the first call of duty content creators who originated a culture of unique gamers to touch the call of duty scene. His style of content influenced those around him, with other great content creators joining him in his strive. For example, other content creators like Optic Predator burst into the scene with unique gameplay and videos to staple himself as an “OG”. There were many content creators mirroring each other in the community, but it started to explode when teams became bigger and bigger. An example of this that I talked about in my video essay was FaZe clan, how they originated and started to capitalise on the trickshot scene. FaZe soon grew to be the largest clan within the scene, with those around aspiring to achieve what they accomplished. It all started from a few people with an idea, which soon grew to be a gaming empire that dominated the gaming networks. In my first video essay, I used clips of historical moments within the community, helping to paint the picture for those who may not be aware of how big this community was. I think its best if we look at YouTube and trickshotting as a Wunderkammer. A Wunderkammer is art piece that is a cabinet of curiosities , this cabinet can vary depending on the subject, but it just means that anywhere you look there is something to be seen (Galambosova, 2022). If we look at it in this context, Robert Gehl explores this idea of looking at YouTube as a Wunderkammer, he explains the archology that YouTube has in today’s generation of media. This is something I relate with as we look at trickshotting as a Wunderkammer, this own media interpretation that uses YouTube to collect and store all this information that this community created. As the content has become limited over the years, due to the community not being as popular as it was from the years of 2008-2014, YouTube can archive all of these videos, as discussed “Clearly, YouTube is an archive. YouTube is not a peer-to-peer sharing program which links individual computers together in an ad hoc network; here are central servers which hold the video content that users have uploaded” (Gehl, 2009).
When we discuss paratext, it refers to how the original text of a subject expands and migrates into different mediums/formats. With the trickshotting community, the paratext went beyond the medium of playing the video game Call of Duty, but instead evolved new avenues for players to take the platform to the next level. This is where trickshotting teams started to get introduced into the gaming community. Trickshotting teams creates its own narrative when it came to the game, because players were not only interested in the video game itself, but also interested in creating an online presence of making content surrounding the game. These teams would push out player montages, teamtages and overall content surrounding the team and players involved. There were people who played the game, and people who created roles for themselves, like becoming an editor or a team leader. These roles not only helped the scene but help create new content surrounding call of duty for fans of trickshotting and the game to enjoy. In my video essay, I draw on themes on how the paratext of the community goes beyond just the game, and how sponsorships from third party associates started to latch onto this community. These were brands like Kontrol Freaks and Imagine Customs, which I discussed in the video, but it just adds to the paratext surrounding call of duty trickshotting. A person could not only play the video game, but also watch content on it made by players, with sponsors from third parties, which would also drive more available content for audiences to consume. I used various clips from large trickshotting teams which showcased their brand intro. For example, FaZe clans intro involves a sequence of logos to showcase the sponsors associated with the organisation, it starts with a Gammalabs logo (a supplement company), to scuff (controller company) and finally then FaZe logo. To understand paratext in this context, I looked at Christophe Durets work on Contemporary Research on Intertextuality in video games, in this he discuses the idea of communities in gaming going beyond the text “Other game scholars have used paratext in a similar fashion to examine an audience’s relationship with a text. Discussion revolving around epitextual analysis of paratext has resulted in thinking about the effect of trailers, marketing, and community groups (Duret, 2016). This idea further continues my point that the trickshotting community turned the text into its own, creating own content from an existing medium and manipulating it into a new context.
The third and final video essay focuses on the narrative design surrounding trickshotting. What was a trickshot? What did it mean? When did it change? These were the questions I answered in my video, looking into the evolution of a trickshot, how the time period changed from early years of gaming to the later years. It Also explored how the style and complexity changed over the years because of the over saturation of people hitting the same trickshots, and how people wanted to stand out amongst each other. The first part of the video dives into these questions, breaking it apart and pulling on iconic moments within the community, like FaZe Temperrr’s ‘Temperrr shot’ an iconic trickshot. I than compare this to pancakes trickshot, which was a pinnacle moment in the community as it changed the complexity of trickshotting. I discuss this in the terms of narrative design because each trickshot was different in its own way, each trickshot told its own story in a way, we could see the players skill involved with a trickshot. The button combination, the style and distance between a trickshot made each clip have its own individuality. In the second part of the video essay, I change the style by doing a live commentary of myself playing the video game and trickshotting. Breaking down how a trickshot is done, with the mechanics in the game that allows players to do so. Playing on the idea of narrative design, you get to see myself connect with trickshotting, how I trickshot, my style of gameplay, as this expands on the idea of players having their own individualism. This idea of narrative design is discussed in Michele D. Dickey’s work Game Design Narrative for Learning, he explores the idea how narrative design goes beyond the medium presented to the audience, as discussed “Narrative is typically used to establish the setting and initial motivation, but often it is not the main focus of game play” (Dickey, 2006) he further explains how the fps games don’t focus on the narrative design compared to RPG’s and adventure games, but mainly focuses on the core gameplay elements, which I believe is what makes the narrative design of trickshotting so prominent.
The wrap up this report, I think that it’s important that we hold onto archaeology of call of duty trickshotting, as it was a really important time for gamers like myself to be a part of, but also for people in the future to look back on to see the origins of how successful gaming organisations got their framework from. And this goes towards the paratext too, there was so much content to be confused surrounding cod, and this was just from the communities alone, which developers love because it’s free marking for their product. I think it’s important that we explore communities surround the gaming industry or any industry as they are the prime examples of a successful medium. With this, the narrative design finishes the cake due to the open world it creates for gamers to interpret and turn a medium into a whole new thing just from creativity and community alone.
Dickey, M., 2006. Game Design Narrative for Learning: Appropriating Adventure Game Design Narrative Devices and Techniques for the Design of Interactive Learning Environments. Educational Technology Research and Development volume, Volume 54, p. 245–263.
Duret, C., 2016. Contemporary Research of Intertexuality in video games. In: Advances in Multimedia and interactive technologies . Sherbrooke: Information science reference , p. 279.
Galambosova, C., 2022. What Is a Wunderkammer? Best Cabinets of Curiosities. [Online]
Available at: https://www.dailyartmagazine.com/cabinets-of-curiosities/
[Accessed 8 October 2022].
Gehl, R., 2009. YouTube as archive: Who will curate this digital Wunderkammer?. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 12(1), p. 4.