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Dothraki Tribalism and the Ubermensch

"It is the right of the strong to take from the weak." (Martin, 758)

The sociopolitical structure of the Dothraki people is governed by the strong, with tribal communities gravitating around warriors who have proven their greatness in battle. This is seen most evidently when Khal Drogo’s khalasar is disbanded as soon as his strength begins to falter, prompting several of his strongest subordinates to name themselves new Khals to form new khalasars with whoever will follow. This ideology is the reason why none of the Dothraki had any respect for Viserys, who had no true strength of his own, but felt entitled to the Iron Throne by being a descendant of the old dynasty. Though the Targaryen reign was ushered in by the brute strength of Aegon the Conqueror and his dragons (a method of asserting one’s right to rule much in line with this Dothraki system), the establishment of a monarchy after the victory changed the game (of thrones).
Discuss the differences between these two methods of governance. Which one might prove to be more effective for selecting leaders (both in Westeros and in the real world)? How does the Dothraki reverence for individuals with power reflect the Nietzschean view of the ubermensch? How might it mirror the real-life rises to power of autocratic leaders from Julius Caesar, to Napoleon Bonaparte, to Fidel Castro? In what ways might this need to respect the ruler illustrate a sort of precursor to our modern democracy?

  • This is a fascinating topic! An I think I can closely linked the prevalent political metanarratives regarding the conceptualization of democracy in our post-colonial world. However, I don't think that this sociopolitical structure illustrates a previous system. Instead, I think the khalasar was Martin's way of decrying the weakness a impotence (despite the claims of universality) of the broken Western political system. Between Trump and Khal Drogo, i'll take Drogo any day. – AnaMRuiz 2 months ago
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The Evolution of the Horror Genre in Video Games

"Horror" has become a rather subjective term nowadays in that people define it differently and recognize certain qualities of a horror game differently. What is it about certain horror games and/or horror franchises that makes them so successful and so appealing? Is it atmosphere? Is it the amount of jump scares? Is it audio? Is it all of these things combined? Analyze the way the horror game has evolved over the past few decades.

The writer may want to consider (but is certainly not limited to, or required to consider) notable franchises and games such as the Silent Hill franchise, the Resident Evil franchise, Doom, Alan Wake, Five Nights at Freddy’s, Amnesia, Until Dawn, Outlast, and/or Dead Space. What is it about these games that makes them so successful in the horror genre? How thin is the line between horror and just plain silly or ridiculous? Lastly, how might publishers prevent recycling and rehashing the same horror tropes when making a new horror game?

  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent would be great to talk about here because it's been deemed one of the scariest games ever by many, so much so that SOMA, it's successor, was deemed not as scary. I disagree with that because SOMA is mature, brilliant, tension-fueled sci fi horror. (Maybe the genre crossovers like sci fi horror could be a point to bring up? Dead Space, SOMA, Alien: Isolation, etc.) But Amnesia definitely had an influence on horror games. I also think the way Frictional Games changed from Amnesia to SOMA, from frights to existential dread, is something to talk about because it deals with the way horror has changed and is received by an audience. (The reaction that a game is not "scary" without jumpscares and many chase sequences, much like how movies like The Witch are received...) On a smaller note, there's the third person (Silent Hill) and then the now ubiquitous first person POV. I could go on, haha. – Emily Deibler 4 months ago
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  • I've never actually had the guts to play horror games, so I'm very interested in reading this once someone takes it (if someone takes it!). The closest I've ever gotten to horror is F.E.A.R. and Bioshock, neither of which are that bad. – Christina Legler 4 months ago
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  • About F.E.A.R and BioShock, and also Doom, it's possible their accessibility can be discussed when talking about cross-genre horror games, and how the action shooter element may make the horror less alienating for a player who doesn't enjoy horror games without some genre-crossing. Some may be more open if they, say, like fantasy and sci-fi, and the horror is dark fantasy or sci-fi/cosmic horror rather than "plain" horror. – Emily Deibler 4 months ago
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  • That's a really good point! For me personally, I enjoy things with dark elements and the macabre, and Bioshock felt like that for me...which is what made the jump scares and occasionally creepy/horrific parts less traumatic for me. Lol. F.E.A.R. is interesting because, like you said, it's more of a cross-genre game. Parts of the game focus on the creepy horror elements, whereas other parts seem to be strictly FPS (if I remember correctly...I haven't played that game in years). There is a nice balance in there that makes it bearable. On the other hand, something like P.T. (which I didn't have the nerves to play...I only ended up watching walkthroughs on Youtube) terrifies me because of the atmosphere and the constant sense of inescapable dread, since you don't know what will happen or when it will happen because the AI is so advanced. – Christina Legler 4 months ago
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  • I was pretty freaked out by the first BioShock, despite being a horror fan. The Splicers were pretty scary, and I have this fear of the ocean. And P.T. is terrifying. It definitely feels confined--and many horror games like P.T., Amnesia, SOMA, and Layers of Fear have no shoot/fight option. In some, you can run and hide, but if it's like P.T., it's just a hallway. There's nowhere to go. And the unpredictability of the A.I. definitely enhances the terror. – Emily Deibler 4 months ago
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  • I love horror games. I think the genre is so broad because you have action-horror games that have many jump-scares and monsters, but you also have games that focus more on the atmosphere and narrative to create the horror aspect. It is very interesting. I hope somebody picks up this topic. – Lexzie 4 months ago
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  • Explore the difference between RPGs and Literature as the first-person narrative is you in a much more explicit way than the "you seeing through someone else's eyes" of novels. Horror is such an engaging gaming genre not because of the individual elements but because of the user's experience in dabbling in adrenaline and conjuring real and lasting images in the user's mind. You have the safety of playing from your living room, but it feels instead like you've invited the horror into that living room, rather than stay removed form it.If we want to pick apart the elements, the ever-evolving graphics, acute plot writing, dark visuals, swelling and eerie original compositions are all contributing factors, but it's the reward of the cinematic, particularly the jolt in transitioning from "how do I react/escape from this once I regain control" and are thrust back into the game post-cinematic. Those cutaway scenes have developed in ways that contribute instrumentally to the user experience. – PiperCJ 4 months ago
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The Evolution of the TV Sitcom

From I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched to Seinfeld and FRIENDS to How I Met Your Mother (among many, many others), the sitcom has its own history in television. It would be interesting to do a study on sitcoms, focusing on how sitcoms over the decades have also been shaped by the sociocultural underpinnings of that era.

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    Bollywood in the United States

    Hindi cinema, or "Bollywood," is one of the world’s largest and widely viewed film industries, churning out over 1,000 films every year. However, despite its wide reach and highly commercial appeal, Bollywood has yet to crack the American popular market. Why might this be? What facets of Hindi cinema might turn away an American audience? How might a Bollywood film market itself to an American audience?

    • You read my mind in suggesting this topic. Crossovers and adaptations to new markets are always interesting. I want to write this topic! Munjeera – Munjeera 8 months ago
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    • Thank you for your note, Munjeera! I can't wait to see what you write! – sophiacatherine 8 months ago
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    Treatment and Discussion of Mentally Ill Characters

    A look into the way mentally ill characters are treated in their stories: why, in most cases, their depressions/anxiety is not discusses, why the idea of getting therapy is not more common in stories to normalize the idea that this is a healthy thing to do. Why mental illness is either romanticized unhealthily or completely disregarded? This would be an interesting thing to think about in YA lit.

    • A look into the way mentally ill characters are treated in their stories: why, in most cases, their depressions/anxiety is not discussed, why is the idea of getting therapy so taboo? Why is it not normalized, perhaps even encouraged? Why are romantic relationships seen as the answer to many mentally ill characters, and why is the writing of the mental illness affecting that relationship either grossly romanticized or completely ignored? – mariamvakani 4 days ago
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    What Can We Do?

    Writing can be essential to anyone who is passionate about it. There are people who believe that they can write and others who simply can’t. The thing with writing is, that you can produce good writing. We all pick up from somewhere and we certainly have the potential to build up upon our skills. But the real question is how can you come a better writer?

    • My advice I try to explore different existing stories and ask yourself "Is there something I can add to it?". It usually helps to start with something that already exists and expand on it, until it becomes something new. – RadosianStar 6 days ago
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    • For everyone, writing is different, whether someone is writing because it's therapeutic, or because it's the best medium to express their thoughts on. Expanding on existing ideas is one way to improve your writing, but also reading work from people you admire. You can then experiment, infuse your own style, and create your own improved writing style. – simplyangiec 4 days ago
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    • I think ultimately the trick to becoming a better writer is to be passionate about what you're writing about. The ideas in the writing are most important, not the grammar. As long as the ideas are there, grammar can always be fixed. Also, I think it's important to read different styles of writing, try to see what you like about the different styles and adopt it into your own writing. – sandrasung 2 days ago
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    Portraying the President

    From movies like "Air Force One" and "Independence Day" to the Tom Clancy movies to more modern productions like "The Kingsmen," show how the President of the United States has been shown in movies. How has the role of the President changed over time, and does it reflect the changes in the political climate at the time?

    • "White House Down" features Jamie Foxx as our first Black President who has plenty of smarts and guts to help overthrow an invasion of home grown terrorists. In November 2015 a TV documentary, "Lincoln: American Mastermind" exposed the myth of "Honest Abe" and the skulduggery of Lincoln's campaign manager and staff. Lincoln was a "master politician, clever tactician, and skilled manipulator, bending men to his will." He was all about getting elected. This was broadcast less than a week before most of our presidential primaries. – Lorraine 5 days ago
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    Suicide Squad: Movie VS. Comic(s)

    What was similar and what was different between the Suicide Squad comic and the film? What elements, including characters, from the comic could have made the movie better? What elements from the comic, including characters, would have made the movie worse?

    • This topic could also include the Suicide Squad animated movie. I haven't watched the new movie or read the comics but my love for the animation is what makes me hesitant, since it was so well done. What elements were in both, what was left out? They're both just movies so it's perhaps easier to go into what could and should have been cut to fit an appropriate feature length. – Slaidey 4 days ago
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    Film

    The Cinema of Abbas Kiarostami: The Legacy Lives On
    The Cinema of Abbas Kiarostami: The Legacy Lives On
    Philadelphia and AIDS: Looking Past the Pedantry
    The 21st Century Films Prepared For Classic Status
    Why Draco Malfoy is one of the Most Underrated Characters in ‘Harry Potter’

    TV

    Objects in Breaking Bad: If Things Could Talk
    Objects in Breaking Bad: If Things Could Talk
    Star Trek and Society’s Ridicule of its Early Fans
    #Faninteraction: Social Media and Representation in Popular Television
    The Unicorn: An Argument for the Non-Existence of Privacy

    Animation

    A Look at ‘Zootopia’: How Its Heroine Plays in the Field of Fellow Disney Women
    A Look at ‘Zootopia’: How Its Heroine Plays in the Field of Fellow Disney Women
    Bojack Horseman: Balancing Humor and Dark Themes
    Steven Universe: The Rise of Popularity in Internet Fandoms
    Animated Poetry: A Starting Point

    Anime

    An Overview of Anime in the Mecha Body of Japan’s Economy
    An Overview of Anime in the Mecha Body of Japan’s Economy
    The Anime Guide to Spring 2016
    The Fairy Tail Franchise’s Success: Love and War
    A Response To Miyazaki: The Dark Side of Anime

    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

    What Should Happen To Captured Super Villains?
    What Should Happen To Captured Super Villains?
    Finding the Bridge Between Superhero Comics and Hip-Hop
    Superheroes and Super Villains Who Use Guns
    Disability Bound Superheroes and the Representation of their Struggles

    Literature

    Mental Illness in YA: Rehabilitating Sick-Lit
    Mental Illness in YA: Rehabilitating Sick-Lit
    A Sage’s Passing: Elie Wiesel (1928-2016)
    Paradise Lost: A Shift in Narrative Language After the Fall
    Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Why Must You Be So Cruel to All?

    Arts

    Lively Objects: Curating ‘Broken’ Electronic Art
    Lively Objects: Curating ‘Broken’ Electronic Art
    30 Americans
    Are Fossils the New Art? Analyzing the Lords of the Land Gallery
    Making Metal Great Again: How and Why Metal Music May Regain Mainstream Popularity

    Writing

    Where Did All the Editors Go?
    Where Did All the Editors Go?
    The Neediness of a Writer
    Creating a Writing Habit that Works: Muses, Magic and Faith
    A Writer’s Essential Steps to Staying Motivated