Contributing writer for The Artifice.
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?
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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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?
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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
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