idleric

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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Latest Articles

Latest Topics

1

Hyper Light Drifter and the Sharing of Personal Sufferings

Hyper Light Drifter’s game experience is inspired by the developer’s heart disease and his fear of meeting death at any moment. Death is constantly looming throughout the game as the protagonist continues to cough up blood. Players empathize with the fragile hero and the creator effectively shares his struggle

How effective is this channeling of personal fear in Hyper Light Drifter, and what other examples are in other games?

  • The title and article do not correspond. I suggest you either remove art from the title--the simpler revision--or include art in your topic. As it stands there is no aesthetic representation in your topic, though there are an infinite number of examples to choose from if you decide to include one, or more. – danielle577 5 months ago
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4

Political Satires - Old and New

The skepticism towards Politics is nearly as old as history of political system. Various literature throughout the history, including the Attic Comedy of Aristophanes, satirize the political systems and the prominent rulers.

In many ways, Aristophanes can still appeal to the modern audiences thanks to his unforgiving wits and humor against the leading politicians like Cleon. Comparing Aristophanes to the modern satirists such as stand-up comedians or cartoonists could help us understand which aspect of politics changed or remained the same since the ancient Athens.

For example, One thing to note is that Aristophanes frequently used ridiculous characters and exaggerated personalities to make this point. Has this been changed much? Does Aristophanes’ model lose its charm to the modern audiences?

Compare and analyze the characters, the comic elements, and the message of Arisophanes to the modern comedy(such as the Simpsons, South Park, etc) and others.

  • I really like the idea of comparing really old stuff to really contemporary stuff. Maybe it would be better to approach this as a comparative essay between, say, two well selected works, one from antiquity and one contemporary? Rather than a history, which just puts way to much on the writer's plate. – TKing 6 months ago
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  • This could be a great topic for someone knowledgeable. Maybe you could help by listing some of the connections you want to make with today's satirists. – Munjeera 6 months ago
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  • I think it would work really well comparing Atistophanes with a modern satire (I wouldn't worry about the distance in time you're covering, just state you're taking two examples and not attempting to track everything in between).Politics/satire is one of those things that never changes over a thousand years, so depending on your modern source I'd imagine that in core content and method there is little in way of 'advancement'. Perhaps a history of satire/explanation of two dominant schools Horatian and Juvenalian would be a good place to start your article (and help articulate your own direction in analysis).Other interesting areas to explore may be the production of these satires/risk posed in publishing or performing, popularity of approaches/reception to a particular style then and now, etc.I'm sure you'll have a lot to say when you get narrowed down to examples, especially with the current media circus in American politics which is almost satirising itself!! It reminds me how the writers of the British Tv series The Thick of It, in response to calls for them to do a referendum special, said that they wouldn't/couldn't because the political game playing and internal chaos they used to satirise is now fully exposed and playing out in front of us. – JamieMadden 6 months ago
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  • Ridiculous? Exaggerated? "Wag the Dog" is all of that and more. It's real "purty." – Tigey 6 months ago
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2

Resident Evil Remake: Does It Still Deliver Chill?

Resident Evil Remake and Resident Evil Zero were remastered recently. Resident Evil was considered the historically significant game which led to the immense popularity of zombie horror, and survival horror as whole. But is it still effective? Does Resident Evil’s formula still deliver tension and scare as it used to? If so, what does it say about the horror game genres of today? What can the current horror games learn from Resident Evil Remake’s strengths and weaknesses?

  • Well, that depends. Are you asking if it could scare somebody who played through the original, or somebody who is either new to the franchise or that particular entry? I think that the answer depends on who you are trying to scare. If you are trying to scare somebody who played the original, then no because they already played the game and know when the scares are supposed to happen and what they are supposed to be. However, if you are trying to scare somebody who has never played the original, then yes it would more than likely still manage to deliver the intended scare. Maybe this requires a bit more of an in depth look. – Aarogree 11 months ago
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  • In my experience, Resident Evil 4 was the last successful game in the RE franchise. This was largely because of the developers' new approach to gameplay and its emphasis on storyline. All titles that followed after were not as successful, because they did not build much further on this new formula. However, Resident Evil as a franchise set the standard for many of its contemporaries and developers that came later. Atmosphere and environment were always major factors. Resident Evil 4's new camera angle (as opposed to the traditional fixed angle), which followed directly behind the protagonist, allowed for the player to appreciate the environment more wholesomely and assume a more immersive role in the game. This new approach can easily be traced to more recent titles like the 'Dead Space' series and 'The Evil Within'. One aspect of Resident Evil 5 that substantially hurt its "horror factor" was introducing a multiplayer option. This significantly diluted the feeling of isolation and desperation that contributed to Resident Evil's success as a horror game. – DoultonSchweizer 11 months ago
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2

Protagonists of Historical Fiction: famous or less-famous

It is tempting to write a historical fiction from the point of view from the famous figures of the era. Many fictions wrote Napoleon, Elizabeth I, or Alexander the Great as the protagonists with their own voices. However, this poses danger of simplifying/glorifying/vilifying the figures and bend the historical details. For example, the author writing Napoleon as the heroic figure might purposefully ignore his atrocities in Haiti or other blunders, or even try to glorify his vices.

Some authors find it restricting to write on well-known figure so they create new characters or take on lesser known characters. Hitoshi Iwaaki, the manga artist who created The Parasite, had Eumenes, Alexander the Great’s secretary, as the main character of his historical comics "Historie". This provides more liberty for the author but may not attract readers’ attention or place himself in dangerous paradox by making supposedly "obscure" figures too good – if such a significant person had lived, why did historians fail to recognize them?

But which type of protagonist can provide more entertainment? What would be the good model to follow?

Which type of protagonist can provide more entertainment: famous, infamous, or non-famous? Which would be the best model to follow?

  • It is the author's responsibility to be very diligent about their research and fact checking in either case. Period. At that point, I think it mainly depends on what point the author is trying to get across. Maybe they want to justify or show a different side of a famous person in which case it may make more sense to use the famous person. But if they want a little bit more freedom, then yes it'd make more sense to use someone less famous. And if the writer isn't really concerned with history as much as the characters, maybe they don't really care about the facts and therefore need to toe a line between being believable and interesting. – Tatijana 1 year ago
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  • This is interesting! Comparing the portrayal of famous historical figures could be helpful for this topic; you could look at how widely they vary. I imagine that major historical figures may attract a wider audience, but I think that the fact that it's "fiction" would have to be taken into account. I imagine that each interpretation on the facts is entirely different from another. The interesting thing about an original character would be that we don't know the outcome; there is a sense of mystery as a reader as to the character's fate, whereas we go in knowing the fate of a historical figure. In that sense, I think you could make an argument for both types of historical novel being the best model. – laurakej 1 year ago
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Sengoku era and its influence on Japanese Pop Culture

Sengoku era, or Warring State Period of Japan, was the period of chaos before the foundation of Edo Bakufu. The constant chaos led to the lack of official historical record(ones produced by government), occasional brutality, poor lives of peasants, and many tales of heroism at the same time. In fact, some of the historical figures from this period appear in Japanese pop culture occasionally, especially Oda Nobunaga, who was voted as the most popular historical figure by Japanese. Considering this massive influence on pop culture, it would be interesting to observe the major figures in this period of Japanese history and see how their influences still manifest.

  • One thing to maybe look at is the impact certain historical figures had during the Sengoku Era i.e. the battles they took part in, the significance of the battle, etc. For example, one could look at the Battle of Okehazama and how that battle cemented Nobunaga's legacy in Japan. – Xperimance 1 year ago
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What makes the good historical figure for historical fiction?

To be exact, what kind of historical figure attract writers and audiences’ attention? There are plenty of historical figures out there with interesting life stories, but only portion make into history books, some into novels, and few into movies. What would be the standard? For example, has there been a movie about Alexander Graham Bell and his invention of telephone? If there was, how many were there and how recent were they? Compare that to the life of Napoleon, or Elizabeth I. It may seem apparent that war heroes make into movies more than others, but even then there seem to be striking differences in the attention they receive. This could lead to the study of what type of individual people consider to be "hero", and examine the psyche of the society.

  • Absolutely this examination could lead to an exploration of the "psyche of the society" on the whole - you could even explore the considerations of the individual and how it relates to that of society for this topic (and many others in general). As for what makes the standard of what sorts of historical figures we tend to utilize for historical fiction, I think that you're on the right track. I would consider examining the personal lives of several specific characters (Freddy Mercury, Abraham Lincoln, TE Lawrence etc) as well as their renowned accomplishments. For Mercury, how his personal life influenced his music and made him such an endearing figure. For Lincoln, how his politics were effected (I'd even explore why he was fictionalized into a vampire hunter, as that is completely incongruous with the widely known President). For Lawrence, how his exposure to a different culture affected his decisions and why we would be intrigued by this (perhaps from a desire to escape from our own realities). There's definitely more that you can do with this subject, I think it's going to be a fun one to think on! – 50caliburlexicon 1 year ago
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5

What makes horror prosper?

Horror is one of few genres which the imagination can compensate for the lack of styles. For example, Howard Phillips Lovecraft may not have the best writer in terms of techniques, but his imagination made him the master of modern horror. Similarly, James Herbert’s The Rats was criticized for its overt violence and writings, but the image of man-eating rats turned it into a memorable horror classics.

On the contrary, some horror stories may have stylized writing, but it does not deliver the gut punch people are expecting.

Also, when you examine the history of horror movies, many "classics" were regarded as pure garbages by the critiques but endured such attacks. In many cases, the imaginations of horror movies later inspired many talented writers and led to the blooming of quality works.

So I was wondering, what makes a great "horror" literature/movie/etc? It is a simple question but hard to answer. What makes certain horror more memorable and enduring? For example, Richard Marsh’s The Beetle was said to be as popular as Dracula, but now it remains as one of forgotten works.

So what makes horror survive and prosper?

  • I think it's drastically different when it comes to horror literature and horror movies. A movie can be really horrifying merely because it's extremely gory and distorted and have really dark music going on the background - it does not necessarily have to be anything meaningful. However, since you only read a book by your eyes, all the horror has to be delivered by words, which is much harder. A writer has to know how to manipulate words to convey the horror to his/her readers.In addition, I think many people watch horror movies just for the excitement while the people who read horror books look for more than just the excitement. – JamesZhan9592 2 years ago
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  • I may write on this topic; I want to write about Poe and Lovecraft and the horror genre in literature so this topic might fit well with that. I think a good horror story has to tap into our fears: fear of death, fear of the unknown, fear of pain, etc. In the original "Halloween" movie, which seems tame today in terms of sex and violence, one of the creepiest aspects of Michael Meyers is that we don't know why he is the way he is. There's no explanation for his behavior. – S.A. Takacs 2 years ago
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  • I appreciate this topic, nice one. Horror way back when Mary Shelley was doing work, was much different than what we have now. Saying that, the horror genre is pretty subjective. That said, many find Frankenstein to be a horror, many prefer to analyze it as a piece of science fiction. Even looking at the short story called "The Machine Stops", a piece written early 1900s describing the lives of people run by machines with nothing but buttons and screens (back when screens were just dream, crazy huh?), could be considered a horror when read- a horror of a possible future. So saying all of that, there isn't really a defined set of outlines for the horror genre, and so that's what brings us to the modern day movies, where there aren't really reoccuring guidelines that I can notice after each modern day horror film. A great horror plays on the fears that we all have, fear will always exist and thats why the horror genre exists- whether its a literal monster or a dystopia. – Arian 2 years ago
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  • This is a great topic. I think one way you could pump up this article, is perhaps adding several notes on the biology of the human psyche when exposed to horror, and the adrenaline thats released (many scholars have written on this). Also perhaps, examining what was considered scary in the 1940's, as opposed to which horror genre survives and thrives the most in 2015. Great idea, would love to read once its published. – Valeria Sharivker 1 year ago
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  • This is a good topic, and something I think about a lot. One interesting way to approach this may be looking at the way gore films seem to have become a larger point of focus in recent years, as suspense-centered films (like anything made by Hitchcock) have seemed to be made less often. Is this one of the ways horror is keeping up with audiences? Giving them something new? If so, what's the next stage? – KTPopielarz 1 year ago
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6

Permanent death in video games

It is a recurring argument that video game cheapens the death of characters due to its replayable nature. I remember watching the Youtube video of the cutscene of the major supporting character’s death from GTA4, and read the comment which jokingly said that the main character should have taken the bullet because he would have revived at the hospital. Death in video games are often avoidable, or a penalty. In many cases, dead characters can be revived with a special mean.

But there are games that make deaths significant through several means. The most recurring example would be the story branch, where a character’s death decides the story route the gamer can take. A death of a character will consolidate the plot into certain route, so the gamer will have to be wary of the consequences.

There are other games with different approach to make deaths meaningful.

For example, the death in XCOM means that your effort and investment on a soldier have been wasted, and this becomes financial and strategic setback. The elite soldier takes series of combat experiences and upgrades, and they cannot be mass produced. In addition to this, there is no way to revive the soldier so the gamer have to be extremely careful with the characters.

In Fire Emblem, each character is given unique personality and look, plus unique stats. Similar to XCOM, the death of a character is a strategic trouble, but Fire Emblem goes one step further by creating emotional attachment. The characters become friends with each other, and in some games get married. They may have a child, who fight along with them in the battle. In this case, the death of a character is more than a casualty – it’s a tragedy. Your one mistake can cause the death of someone’s friend/lover/parent. After you get to know each character, their death feels heavier.

I am wondering if there are other cases of significant deaths in games. Are the deaths considered mere penalty, or emotional experience? I think this could be a good study of human psychology regarding how we treat deaths

  • One should also include the reasoning behind chaperoning death. Games have always been a safe place to explore everyday problems, teaching strategy and giving people experience outside of tall world consequences and life and death situations.This is a good thing but so is making death mean something when games start having so many extra lives to no consequences, death actually has become a game mechanic more than the definitive punishment of starting the game over that it used to. – fchery 2 years ago
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  • In Heavy Rain you play as 4 different characters, who are all capable of dying and staying dead. It is possible to complete the game with not a single character alive, which was just refreshing if nothing else and it does give the characters greater significance to the story. There is game mode introduced in the Arkham games (I can't remember if it was City or Origins) which can be unlocked where you can play through the storyline with only one life. This is such a challenge and I'm sure other games have similar features, too. I really like how Shadow of Mordor dealt with character deaths and how it integrates the many deaths the player will inevitably have into the gameplay. The Nemesis system means that certain orc captains will remember you after they've killed you and they will gain in power when they do. It's a really clever system that will definitely be implemented in future games. – Jamie 2 years ago
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  • An excellent example would also be Mass Effect. At one point in the first game, you have to decide which of your team mates has to die and the decision means consequences, some unforeseen. What makes this a good example is because Mass Effect is a series that is based entirely off your own choices. – SpectreWriter 2 years ago
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  • It might be good to consider how some games attempt to weave in player deaths with the storyline, such as Bioshock: Infinite. In Infinite when you die there is no breaking of the third wall; you don't go to a different screen, but rather a different part of the game that effectively sends you back in time to a certain point (which actually makes sense with the plot later on). While it's really just the same as reloading from a save point, I appreciated that they made an attempt to explain how you can die and yet just keep coming back. – OddballGentleman 1 year ago
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  • To this day people feel heartbroken over the death of Aerith Gainsborough from Final Fantasy VII and are still trying to find a way to bring her back to life. It would be very interesting to see more games like this where major characters purposefully die and cannot be brought back by expected means like a phoenix down. Besides these one can also look at permadeath in Diablo 3 where dying not only makes lose all progress but you lose possibly weeks to months of effort to level your character. It would be good to look at these two sides of permadeath games and see why they are implemented story and gameplay wise. – tylerjt 1 year ago
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  • The new game Until Dawn would be a brilliant example of exploring the consequences of permanent character death. There are plenty of chances to kill off characters that have significant impacts on the rest of the game. It really puts pressure on your actions, and forces you to think far more carefully before you make each decision. It shows the full repercussions of character deaths, not only on the story, but on the characters as well - you can compare and contrast what happens depending on who dies and who lives. It creates a far more real experience that, I believe. – averywilliams 1 year ago
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  • Also, State of Decay possess an interesting option when it comes to the death of their characters. As you can continually change what character you are playing as at anytime, when who you are dies they stay dead and you continue on as a different character. But the character that died, might have had a certain skill or trait that was helpful to the group's survival and might change the way you play your game. – BlueJayy 1 year ago
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Latest Comments

I believe such terror-centric horror films like the Witch will do the genre more good and provide more diverse types of horror. Jump-scares and gores can exhaust the audiences, and by the time the movie reaches the climax they might be too tired to care.

The Witch: Yes, It is a "True" Horror Film

Lu Bu is supposed to be extremely difficult, because Koei always envision him as the mightiest warrior in their games. For example, in Romance of the Three Kingdoms series, Lu Bu’s Might stat (used for duels, or the army’s attack power), is always 100(max) in any series + hidden stat(privilege given to the few chosen characters such as Uesugi Kenshin in Nobunaga’s Ambition) + the bonus from his weapon which makes him practically unbeatable in duels.

So, it is normal that anyone, unless you are an expert player, will find Lu Bu unbeatable. He is just designed to be a juggernaut.

Analyzing Dynasty Warriors and its Spin-Offs: A Warrior Worthy Of Ten Thousand Foes

This is very well written article. Good work on the in-depth research.

What the West Learned About Japanese Culture from Anime

Animated films tend to give more chances for the fan favorites. Black Widow got her animated film(with the Punisher), and Wonder Woman had really good animated film too. I think the producers are too conservative when it comes to big films due to the budget/profit pressure.

Black Widow: Audiences' Expectations for Female Superheroes

I think the chief reason for these phenomenons is the fear of failure; while Marvel knows that more diverse characters can draw more readers, they are afraid that creating completely new characters may not interest them. So the safest way (in their mind, I imagine) to create “diversity” in their comics is to replace pre-existing superheroes with characters with different gender/ethnicity.

What Marvel Hopes to Achieve with the Changing of Race/Gender in Pre-Existing Characters

Another example (although non-Anime) would be 21. It is a movie based on true event, where the main casts were Asians, but they turned them into Caucasians, with Asian sidekicks. Of course, this stirred quite a bit of controversy.

Interestingly, Jim Sturgess, who played the main character(who was Asian in real life), played Asian character in Cloud Atlas, in which he appeared with make up to appear as Asian. This caused “Yellow Face” controversy as well.

Whitewashing of Asian Characters in Hollywood Anime/Manga Adaptations

I think one of the problems is that many of the characters’ stories are similar – Batman is famous for losing his parents in childhood, but how many superheroes have that same trauma? A lot. After few super heroes with similar backstories, or even power, the characters become indistinguishable, and become forgettable.

Killing Superheroes: What's Keeping New Superhero Invention?

Well, the distinction between super robot and real robot is…really thin, if you are to classify them based on few traits. For example, some argue that super robot is super-heroish mecha that fight outside the army. But Dancougar is a robot under the army’s command with the super robot like gimmick like Beast mode. While considered the fine example of Super Robot, Mazinger Z had strangely many “realistic moments”, such as Koji worrying about being killed when Mazinger Z was dropped from high altitude or certain parts being unusable by enemy’s tricks. And Nu Gundam pushing the falling colony away from the Earth by gathering the wills of other people? The list goes on. Some even say Zambot 3(which is usually considered super robot) to be the first real robot type because it depicted the war(albeit against aliens) in realistic ways and deal with trauma and tragedy of warfare.

There was a long discussion on 2ch regarding this, and they all gave up – there was no robot anime with purely super/real robot traits. Even if you want to have Votoms as the pure real robot…well, later the premise of the series becomes less “realistic”.

I think all this “super” and “real” distinctions were made popular by Super Robot Taisen(or Super Robot Wars) series which classified the robots according to the category for the gameplay’s sake. It might be better to put these terms as “tendency” – those which lean closer to “real robot” tend to focus on reality of war rather than the power of robot, while “super robot” tend to focus on morality play etc.

Mechas: Disassociation from Science Fiction