New: Indexes!

We’re coming to the end of Year 3 here, and I’ve been organising some of my archives. I keep all my posts stored away in a couple of word files, as well as having the actual posts on the website here. I’ve also got a word file that indexes the games I’ve written on – and it struck me that something similar might be useful for users on your end. You might know, for instance, that I’m currently writing on Aquinas – but you might not know that I’ve also written on Augustine, Jacques Maritain, Hannah Arendt, Kierkegaard, and Charles Taylor. The index collects everything I’ve done and just gives you an overview, so that if you’re ever curious you can see all the topics I’ve written on in one place. Instead of having five posts on Mirror’s Edge scattered randomly throughout three years of posting, you’ve now got them all in one place in their chronological order. It’s also alphabetised, which is pleasant. The games index exists here, and the theology index is here. That’s all the basic information you need – for the rest of this post, I’m just going to outline some of the weird little quirks involved in the indexing process. It’s probably not that interesting, unless that’s something that interests you. I mean, uh-

Okay now we’ve got rid of the punters, let’s get down to brass tacks. I’ll start with the video game index. It’ll always be a little out of date, because I’m only going to update it infrequently – maybe every six months or so. That’s probably true for both indexes. I’ve also mostly just indexed by article title – so it’s not a comprehensive list. If the title of the article is ‘Modern Warfare: Blah Blah Blah’, then it’ll be under the ‘Modern Warfare’ heading in the index. But if I just make passing reference to the game in an article focused on Spec Ops or something, that article won’t show up in the ‘MW’ index. So if you want to know about every time that I mention the words ‘Modern Warfare’ across the blog, you’re better off using the search function.

I also haven’t listed articles that aren’t game-specific – so for instance this article, titled ‘Design and the City Sim’, where I propose a hypothetical game as a way of reflecting on the city sim genre. I mention a bunch of games as reference points, but they’re not the focus, so that article isn’t listed in the index. I might include them later, but I have to figure out how to incorporate them. The index currently revolves around game titles, so if an article doesn’t focus on a game, it’s not clear how I’d add it in. Also another thing to consider – sometimes I say I’m talking about a game but it’s really just a jumping off point for a wider concept or problem within the industry. For instance, this article about characters with infinite endurance is listed under ‘Monochroma’, because that’s the game I refer to in making the argument. But Monochroma itself is kinda incidental. You could use any game and make basically the same point.

So this all means that the index is a little bit hit and miss in terms of finding what you actually want. I didn’t want to include all the titles of every post – I suppose I could have, but I thought it was just a bit of a nuisance and not that helpful. Plus many of the early posts have very nondescript titles, because I didn’t know what I was doing. Ultimately the main benefit to this index is that you can open it up, have a look, and go oh, I didn’t know he’d written on that game, and have a look at what’s there. If you have a specific game or article that you’re looking for, the search function is better. The main advantage with the index is that you can find stuff that you didn’t know existed.

Many of the same points are true for the theology index, although that again is organised by different principles. I’ve written on something like 70 games, while theology only really has six or seven authors. For those posts, I’ve organised by author, and sometimes by book within that if there’s enough content. So you find an author, and then I’ve given really brutally brief topics or categories. Aquinas on evil, Aquinas on free will, and so on. There’s also a general category for all the odd ones that don’t address my main readings. The structure again has issues here – sometimes the topics are too broad, or don’t capture everything that the article is trying to do. Sometimes they just refer to the hook and don’t tell you much about the actual content – for example the articles on ContraPoints, Queer Eye, and the Youtube show ‘The Middle Ground’. But again, the basic point is that if you click in there, you might see a post about archetypes in Augustine, and think oh that’s interesting and read it.

Speaking of Augustine, the posts on De Doctrina Christiania are just labelled Book 1, Book 2 – because I was summarizing a bunch of content and the themes are too diverse. So you just have to deal with that. There are also three posts that have Maritain in the title, but they’re an extended discussion of contemporary gay rights prompted by an introduction in one of Maritain’s books, and so in the index I’ve shifted them out from the Maritain heading and into General Posts. They now exist in the index as ‘On Gay Marriage’. As before, some structural oddities mean it can all be a bit hit and miss, and it’ll only be updated every six months or so. Every fifty posts, assuming the queue stays steady. But in the meantime, enjoy the backlog of games and theologians you didn’t know I’d talked about.

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