For my final Master’s project in Digital Humanities and Media Studies at the University of Victoria, I circuit bent a Nintendo Entertainment System to create what I call a “glitch console.” In this project, I argue that circuit bending and repurposing hardware can function as an alternative way to engage with and study video games and game consoles, leading to a more material understanding of games and resisting participation in exploitative aspects of the industry system. Instead, hands-on forms of engagement encourage creative practices and play. I published an article about this project in New American Notes Online.
My process for this project involved extensive research in the areas of media studies, game studies, the digital economy, social justice, and critical theory as well as a deep engagement with online gaming, hacker, DIY and maker cultures. I combined notes and sketches with tactile work on consoles and circuit boars, methodically working through the material elements and identifying visual and sonic effects to lay out an argument that recognizes glitches as material representations rather than chance-encounters. Through this process I designed a “glitch console” that consists of very intentional glitches that can offer a new perspective of studying videogames and their materiality.