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Latest Topics

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Economic analysis of early-access and preordering games

Analyze the steady push of AAA developers to offer "early-access" to an unfinished game, the economics of pre-release hype and how it can immensely help the numbers of a sub-par game (see: No Man’s Sky), and the disturbing trend of releasing a game whether it’s finished or not–only to release the rest of the game as expensive DLC (Star Wars Battlefront). Are these methods sustainable or will enough disappointment eventually dissuade gamers from preordering?

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    "Elle" and GamerGate

    Analyze theme of sexual violence and rape in Paul Verhoeven’s film "Elle" while contrasting the issues to ideas of sexism expressed in the Gamergate controversy.

    Michele, the film’s protagonist, is a video game developer who explores themes of sexual violence in her work.She becomes a victim of rape and proceeds to engage in sexual subversive behavior as the film progresses. She is a remarkably strong female lead, and her male counterparts seem infantile in comparison.

    Questions to explore while delving into this topic are: what are the limitations of art when dealing with these highly sensitive issues? Does this film display misogynistic sexism or does it elevate the power of the victim when experiencing sexual trauma? What does "Elle" reveal about masculinity and femininity? Does this film confirm or deny sexist portrayals of women in video games?

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      Pomegranate symbolism in ancient literature

      Pomegranates have been cultivated by humans for thousands of years, and perhaps one of the oldest harvested fruit. The red, bulb-like fruit is mentioned in Ancient Egyptian texts, Greek mythology, the Bible, and the Quran. Different cultures used this fruit as treatment for various ailments (i.e. tapeworm in ancient Egypt). It is interesting how different ancient cultures viewed pomegranates and used them symbolically in their literature.

      • So the article would provide a perspective about Pomegranates (what they are, where they are grown, which cultures had them) and then expand on that point, using symbolism and literature perspectives.Or so I understand. Will it have religious connotations? Just curious. – shehrozeameen 1 day ago
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      • I believe it will have religious connotations as some cultures (such as the Zoroastrians and Jews) used pomegranates in their traditions and rites. – AaronJRobert 1 day ago
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      Games and Rising Costs

      I’d like to see a discussion on the rising costs of games and the resulting considerations that are being made re: industry trends, such as where the resources are going, and what that means for creativity, innovation, etc.

      Also what this means for the on-going discourse re: content vs costs. How much content justifies the cost of the Day One pricetag? Developers are pushing a notion that many hours in an open world will equal more bang for your buck, and so we’ve seen on-going debate about quality vs. quantity while more and more games are being made in accordance with the "more hours = worth it" mentality. What of those of us who don’t have the hours in a week to sink into a game? Do we get left behind?

      • I work at an electronics store that sells video games- I am also not a huge gamer- and have therefore always been baffled at the exorbitant price tag attached to most games upon their release. I would like to see someone discuss this topic in the way you have proposed. From what I understand, Open-Word maps (such as those available on Skyrim, Grand Theft Auto, Fallout, etc.) are becoming the norm and may be taking away from some of the deeper, more involved narrative interactions (ex. L.A. Noir.)My one suggestion would be to introduce the competition that modern day piracy provides. PC gamers can often pirate games for free and play unlimited time for free on their computer, along with downloading mods, making this platform a more customizable and cost effective choice for gamers. This creates a sales deficit for platform games that a huge price tag helps make up for. Other than the addition of that point I'd narrow the thesis and keep rolling with it. – AndyJanz 3 days ago
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      • This, is a topic I would love to see being put forward! Thank you for sharing! – shehrozeameen 1 day ago
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      • This is a really good topic. I think there has always been a debate about the value of a game versus the number of hours you spend with it. I don't think you can equate value to number of hours a game takes because you should also factor in the quality of experience, nature of the game and its genre and other factors.The indie video game community is an interesting example of this. Indie games can range in price and range of experience. Online distribution of games through Xbox Store, Steam, Playstation Plus, and The Nintendo E-shop has allowed some companies to sell games for a cheaper price then $60 and challenge some notions of what a game should cost.You can also think about DLC and the sometimes hidden cost it can entain and how companies roll out this extra content, which will be charged for. – SeanGadus 1 day ago
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      • It's also important to note how many games are getting price cuts so soon after release. For example, Titanfall 2 and Battlefield 1 can often be found for $30-$40 despite it only being out for a few months. Also, Amazon Prime and Best Buy Gamers Club offer 20% discounts for preorders and games until 2 weeks after release. Lots of analysis could be put into the economics of preorders, the culture of AAA producers pushing pre-orders and how pre-release hype can immensely help a game's bottom line regardless of quality (see: No Man's Sky). – Sofie 15 hours ago
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      1

      Graphic Novels that have powerful themes

      It would be enticing to examine graphic novels that explore very powerful themes. "V for Vendetta" is a story that explores totalitarianism. These books could have important meanings that could potentially apply to the real world. These powerful themes can be based of off real-world problems such as government corruption. Whoever writes this can choose any graphic novel or comic book series they feel is relevant to today’s world.

      • There are so many graphic novels you could talk about, I'd recommend bringing some more focus to your topic. – SeanGadus 2 weeks ago
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      • I'm interested in writing on this, but I do agree with the revision note. Are you wanting the author to bring in works of their own choosing? Are you wanting a specific theme about power? – Matt Sautman 2 weeks ago
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      • Can you explain what you mean by "powerful themes?" – Stephanie M. 2 weeks ago
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      • I agree with the revision notes posted so far. While I definitely approve of this topic, I think elucidating a few more details would be helpful for prospective writers. Please expand. – Vishnu Unnithan 1 week ago
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      1

      Social Media: Is it an advancement in communication or is it holding us back from having meaningful conversations?

      Social media has evolved quite swiftly. We are able to watch the news on Facebook, while also reading and analyzing the opinions of others. On Instagram, we are able to view our favorite celebrities and their daily lives. Then there’s Snapchat, which has become a new medium for communication, interaction, and pointless "snaps" of our activities taking place at an exact moment.

      Is this a good or bad thing? Have we grown closer to one another through the advancement of this form of news and communication or are we simply becoming obsessed, lazy, and judgemental?

      • No matter which direction the writer chooses for this I think it's important to talk about the impact of social media on long distance friendship. It may draw us away from people in our present space, but at the same time it allows us to maintain some sort of connection with the people we've had to leave behind as our culture becomes more spread out and even globalized. There's also the facet of this topic that could explore friendships which actually begin online. Are these any less real? – Mariel Tishma 3 months ago
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      • I agree with this topic a lot. I do not have ay form of social media, so when people want to get to know me more that ask to talk to me on SnapChat or Twitter. It is crazy how they are talking to me and telling me these things, then they can take 5 minutes out of their day to talk to me more. Some people do not like to talk directly to peoples faces, so I think they use this as a cover up. – aliyaa19 3 months ago
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      • With truth in reporting laws gone, we have a new problem of self-referential media. It's always been a problem in academia that academics have tried (and often failed) to be aware of... but now it's become a machine. Not sure how we break the chains... – staceysimmons 3 months ago
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      • I agree with a lot of this, but I feel like it could boil down to just being condescending towards millennials (Please don't! My intelligence isn't determined by my birth year!).Also, I think you discredit a lot of the positive aspects of social media. Pinterest is great for recipes, and rarely vapid or narcissistic. Twitter can be stupid, but it can also be humorous and effective in promoting social movements. And as much as I absolutely abhor Instagram, I have seen many younger people take an interest in legitimate photography (and not just 'selfies') because of it. Social media probably does more harm than good, but there are definitely positive aspects.But yeah, I have no defense of Snapchat, ha. – m-cubed 3 months ago
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      • There's definitely some potential to this topic. A cost/benefit argument can be made regarding social media. Whoever chooses to tackle this article should weigh the pros and cons. The benefits of keeping in touch with friends or family members who have moved hundreds of miles away is invaluable. Additionally, the ability to create a professional network can make or break some newly graduated or licensed professionals in their careers.That being said there are considerable cons to the prevalence of social media that could be addressed. Most notably, and already mentioned, the epidemic of fake news in today's society. As opposed to real journalistic integrity of obtaining sources and fake checking those sources, today's "media" relies on gotcha headlines and three degrees of hearsay to sway an audience into believing something that isn't true. – rtpnckly 3 months ago
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      • From a PR standpoint, social media is a great tool for storytelling. The ability to share one's experiences instantly (such as on Snapchat or live video) is valuable. Other platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram are also great creative outlets for both everyday users and content creators. While there are disadvantages, such as the proliferation of "fake news" and cyberbullying, social media allows us to learn from one another and stay connected. – AaronJRobert 3 days ago
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      Marvel Cinematic Universe: How much is too much?

      The Marvel Cinematic Universe is complex and fascinating, and like many fans, I love the crossovers among the films. However, with the addition of several TV series (Daredevil, Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D., etc.), it seems nearly impossible to keep up with the intricacies of the world. With more TV content on the horizon for Marvel, I wonder if the platform is too much. It’s confusing for new watchers to fully understand the overall plot without having seen previous Marvel films. I think the argument can go both ways. On one hand, the multimedia platform is exciting and facilitates depth. On the other hand, is there a point when it will all be too much?

      • This is a very interesting point that you have brought up. With solo films for Black Panther, The Wasp and many other superheroes coming up too, it has become next to impossible to keep track of all the stories. One can also contrast the current times where a superhero film is released every 6 months and series like Luke Cage, Jessica Jones on Netflix ensure that we have stuff to watch all year round with say, a decade earlier when people used to have to wait for a couple of years to get a Batman or Spiderman movie. – Vishnu Unnithan 5 days ago
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      2

      The Legacy of Alice in Wonderland

      The plot of Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is both confusing and simple: a child, in what is said to be a dream, encounters and creates havoc in an alternate world. However, the meaning of the story has changed drastically over time. While some works (ex. Tim Burton’s Through the Looking Glass or The Matrix) use the original story as a metaphor for fighting social and governmental oppression, many others, from the recurrent use of the name Alice for mentally unstable/institutionalized characters (ex. Twilight) to the discussion of drug/alcohol issues (Even in music, ex. Shinedown’s Her Name is Alice) see in the tale a darker message. In both cases, these interpretations at first glance seem far removed from the story of a sleeping child. How have the connotations of the story changed over time, and are these changes reflective of the work’s audience, the cynicism of the era the audience lives in, both, neither, etc.? Alternatively, since we know that fighting social norms was once considered a sign of insanity, are the various connotations actually conflicting, or are they in any way interconnected? In short, it would be interesting to take a closer look at the various legacies of Alice in Wonderland, dark and positive, and determine which have persisted over time and why. What do they say about the work, and what do they say about us?

      • I wonder if the book and movie Still Alice would fit here? It's probably a coincidence that the protagonist's name is Alice, but from what I understand, Alzheimer's can make you feel like you're falling down a rabbit hole. Whoever writes the topic might also want to look into Finding Alice, author Melody Carlson. It's a Christian-based novel but not overtly so. The protagonist, raised in a fundamentalist home, develops schizophrenia in college. She uses allusions to Alice in Wonderland, as well as appropriate descriptions, metaphors, and so on while going through the journey of mental illness. – Stephanie M. 4 days ago
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      • I actually had "finding Alice" in mind while writing this topic but couldn't remember the title and author, so indeed it would definitely be something to think about. Also, another work that the writer could look into is Resident Evil, though I'm not very familiar with it, since many of the elements (character called Alice, security system called Red Queen) reference the work [Note: This is about the movie, I'm not sure how different it is from the games]. I don't know if this falls into the first category of fighting oppression (I thing the games are about fighting a corporation), the second, or if it opens up new avenues of interpretation/legacies, but it could add to the writer's analysis to look into it. – Rina Arsen 2 days ago
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      • The video games "American McGee's Alice" and "Alice: Madness Returns" are excellent samples to study when exploring the mentally unstable Alice route. – KennethC 1 day ago
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      Film

      The Success of Marvel Movies and Why DC Falls Short
      The Success of Marvel Movies and Why DC Falls Short
      The Pros and Cons Of Developing A Cinematic Universe
      Hyperlink Cinema and the Prevalence of Intertwining Stories
      Tarantino Speaks Out: Police Brutality vs. Cinematic Violence

      TV

      Once Upon A Time: A Work of Creative Genius or a Tangled Mess?
      Once Upon A Time: A Work of Creative Genius or a Tangled Mess?
      Why Wouldn’t Everyone Love Lucy?
      “Balance of Terror”: Star Trek, History, and National Security
      Relationship Entertainment: Navigating the Struggle between Romance and Friendship on TV

      Animation

      Feminism and Disney: They’re Not As Different As You Might Think
      Feminism and Disney: They’re Not As Different As You Might Think
      Disney and the Perils of Adaptation
      Masculinity in Steven Universe: A Matter of GEMder?
      The Legend of Korra: Empathizing with Villains

      Anime

      Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood: The Symbolic and Ironic Deaths of the Homunculi
      Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood: The Symbolic and Ironic Deaths of the Homunculi
      Death Parade: Humanity in Yuzuru Tachikawa’s Anime
      An Overview of Anime in the Mecha Body of Japan’s Economy
      The Anime Guide to Spring 2016

      Manga

      One Punch Man vs. My Hero Academia: Reconstructing the Silver Age of Comics
      One Punch Man vs. My Hero Academia: Reconstructing the Silver Age of Comics
      Manga: How to Travel Between Dimensions
      Naruto: The Unresolved Revolution
      The 5 Saddest Moments in One Piece

      Comics

      The Social Stigma of Comic Book Reading
      The Social Stigma of Comic Book Reading
      What Should Happen To Captured Super Villains?
      Finding the Bridge Between Superhero Comics and Hip-Hop
      Superheroes and Super Villains Who Use Guns

      Literature

      Terror and Horror in Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”
      Terror and Horror in Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”
      Fahrenheit 451: What’s In a Tale?
      Poetry: An Appreciation of Repetition in Stan Zumbiel’s “Standing Watch”
      The Brutal Presentation of Modern Society in The Play ‘Shopping and F***ing’

      Arts

      Toys Will Be Toys: Barbie vs. LEGO
      Toys Will Be Toys: Barbie vs. LEGO
      Painters Who Challenged the Conventional Female Nude
      The Body Imperfect: Art as its Champion
      Tattoos: Alternative Expression with Traditional Roots

      Writing

      Creative Texting: Writing and Textspeak
      Creative Texting: Writing and Textspeak
      Parallel and Alternate Realities; Fiction Tells us the Difference
      Genre Fiction in University Writing Programs: No longer the MFA’s Red-headed Stepchild
      Can you Teach Someone how to Become a Writer?