“The ontological dimension refers to the specificity of computer games in relation to film and television” (Reassens 2005)
Deconstruction is a form of participation that refers to the various methods of interpretation that actively operate, helping us to understand a game and form meaning through bringing elements in a text to the surface. Participatory media culture involves deconstruction looking at the expression and reconfiguration, through the creation of game paratexts. Looking at my game media, Five Nights at Freddy’s, we can see that the idea of the animatronics being evil killers has been deconstructed over time. Typically a player will play solo defending themselves against all of the other characters involved within the game. Reflecting back on their earlier games where it is theorised that players who would fail the night, being confronted by the animatronics, would be attempted to be discarded inside the animatronics. However in the latest game, Security Breach, the player is accompanied and assisted by character Freddy Fazbear. Previously used for trapping bodies within the animatronics, the Freddy animatronic will now invite the player inside its chest and act as a hiding spot.
Reconfiguration happens through the paratexts associated with a game where the game experiences reform as other texts. Paratext looks at the practices, discourses and texts that extend from a text to create further meaning for audiences; a text about a text. They are useful in the way they help audiences to better understand, approach and navigate the content within a text. Some popular paratexts of the Five Nights at Freddy’s games include; etsy stores, cosplay tiktoks, and merchandise such as plush toys based on the game’s characters. Through the production of these paratexts, we have seen the deconstruction of the scary-looking animatronics reconfigured into more cute, friendly looking characters through drawing and design. These exist amongst other paratexts such as FNAF youtube videos, books and songs which all provide extra context and insight, further engaging audience members with the text.
Construction occurs when the process of deconstruction and reconfiguration result in entirely new texts or paratexts. Machinima is the practice or technique of producing animated films through the manipulation of video game graphics. Machine cinema in FNAF can be seen through some of the Five Nights at Freddy’s songs which feature visuals and ideas based on the game. One song in particular became extremely popular. Released originally in 2016 for the promotion of the FNAF sister location game, ‘Join us for a bite’ alongside others was produced and released by JT Machinima Music to hype up the fifth game of the series. Later in 2019 the song reached extreme popularity on tiktok and currently has over 200 million views on youtube. Not only do the vocals (by Andrea S. Kaden) provides insight on what has happened in the game and what is to come but the accompanying music video takes aspects and footage from the game which has been manipulated to create this animation. The song 2016 and game have been used to produce more animated films which include the ‘Join us for a bite’ minecraft animated video.