The project I found invokes the spirit of digital humanities by combining complex backend programming with a community of gamers eager to see the project come to fruition, and particularly hits home for me as a series I’ve been playing avidly since my childhood (and to this day). The project, called Project M, is a community-made modification (often just ‘mod’ for short) to Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the third installment in Nintendo’s cult classic fighting series in which up to four characters from across the Nintendo universe can duke it out. Although each installment introduced major changes to the game, hardcore fans of the series contend that Super Smash Bros. Melee (the second and most groundbreaking installment) has the most favorable underlying mechanics for achieving the highest level of competitive play due to it affording players the most amount of control over their characters and being slightly more fast-paced compared to other games in the series. As such, Project M is a fan-led attempt to re-write the code of Brawl to play more technically like Melee, in order to take advantage of Brawl’s slew of new characters, stages and minor underlying improvements while maintaining the play style of Melee that drew the most hardcore following to the series in the first place. On the backend, the project is more than just a copy-and-pasting of the old code to an updated platform; it’s a nuanced re-build that caters to fan input (on subjects as specific as playable characters, their move sets and animations) in an attempt to create the most balanced, competitive and overall fun entry in the series to date. Even some technical glitches found in Melee (which added to the complexity and strategy for hardcore players) that were patched up in Brawl were re-instated in Project M to provide fans with a truly authentic (yet not identical) reboot of Melee. Using fan input, the project is simultaneously updating the entire series by adding dozens of character skins, animations and other minor tweaks that were previously unavailable in any official iterations of the series to make a project truly by gamers, for gamers that feels like more than just a Melee clone. By combining nuanced technical tweaks with active community support, Project M truly embodies the idea of a DH project in the context of gaming. Multiple versions of the project have already been released, with patches and updates posted regularly (via Facebook and Twitter) to the project’s website. (projectmgame.com)

 

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