it’s DH

DSSF at Gettysburg College

This summer I had the opportunity to participate in an eight-week program at my school, Gettysburg College, during which I built this website. My program, the Digital Scholarship Summer Fellowship, revolves around Digital Humanities. Digital Humanities is still a relatively new and evolving concept, but here’s how I define it at the moment in the context of my project:

For me, DH is the combination of digital technology and the humanities, using online tools to make literature and other branches of the humanities more accessible. It also offers new mediums with which to present information that formerly only existed in physical form. It allows for widespread collaboration and distribution of information, and gives people the opportunity to work together to create interactive projects that anyone can view. It involves everyone learning from different perspectives while contributing their own. The internet provides a platform for people to experiment with tools that continue to develop and advance every day.

visual novels

My passion is video games, specifically, games that tell good stories. When I learned about Digital Humanities and how it pertains to the overlap of digital tools and the humanities, the first thing I thought of was visual novels. I decided to work on a project where I could introduce people to visual novels and discuss their scholarly value as a form of literature while still being games. As the program ends, I am posting this website to forums like Lemma Soft and the visual novel subreddit to get feedback on what I’ve already done. I hope to update and alter this site in accordance with the opinions of others and developments in the visual novel industry.

my purpose

The purpose of my project is essentially to bring attention to visual novels and try to explain away the negative pre-conceived notions that contribute to their reputation as nothing more than weird Japanese pornographic games. Video games themselves are not generally regarded as something worth academic study or focus but I believe that this is gradually changing with the release of more in-depth and thought-provoking games. I think that video games as a form of media that people can use to share ideas and express themselves fosters a unique and diverse environment for digital scholars. It would also be nice if more people recognized that video games are not only for young boys.

Katawa Shoujo

The original Katawa Shoujo concept art

Digital Humanities emphasises collaboration and diversity, with people from all different walks of life bringing their individual skill sets to create something together. A good example of this happening in the visual novel community is the game Katawa Shoujo, which was inspired by a single piece of art posted to 4chan. The concept for Katawa Shoujo was born from that drawing and soon people across the platform were sharing art and ideas, and development forums were created to actually build the game. Eventually, the most serious contributors banded together to start Four Leaf Studios and officially produced the game. Now the full game is available for free on its own website, born from a bunch of internet strangers who saw a single piece of concept art and decided to work together and make something of it.

Katawa Shoujo, Four Leaf Studios, 2012

Tools used:
WordPress (website)
TimelineJS (interactive timeline)

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