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The Focus of Pokemon Games

The Pokémon franchise has captivated audiences worldwide from generation to generation. But what is it about Pokémon that has captivated the people for all these years? Is it the characters within the game, the story plot, the setting, or the phrase "gotta catch ’em all"? Each Pokémon game consisted on having a focus ( a representation on what the game is about). Analyze each game of Pokémon and discuss what these games are talking about.

  • Interesting topic! Perhaps it's the desire for young people (or anyone of any age, really) to travel and adventure. I know more than a handful of people with wanderlust. And to top it all off, there's success as a champion at the end. – ChristinaGilbert 2 weeks ago
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  • I would also consider how Game Freak balances the popular appeal of Pokemon with the international competitive battling community. They need to have cute and cool Pokemon that are fun to use in the story, and they also need to energize and maintain a diverse meta-game. – bshoalz 1 week ago
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Taken by bshoalz (PM) 1 week ago.
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Alternate Histories in Video Games

Analyze the use of alternate history in video games. Why is this a common trope? What are the effects on the player? What are the implications of doing this? Great examples would be Bioshock Infinite with it’s alternate dimensions ending, as well as Fallout 3’s alternate history which separates from ours in around the 1940’s. Thoughts?

  • I love this idea! My favorite video game of all time is Bioshock simply because the alternate histories and realities are so mind-blowing and it makes my head spin with possibilities. – Jenae 2 weeks ago
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  • You could do an entire article on Assassin's Creed! Bioshock and Infinite are great examples because they capture the look, feel, and sounds of their distinct eras!Great Topic Idea! – SeanGadus 2 weeks ago
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  • Several wartime FPS games like Call of Duty would also be a good example. – SarahKnauf 2 weeks ago
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  • Great topic! It's engaging and would definitely interest a lot of readers. I believe working on 2 to 3 examples, analyzing the effects of the alternate histories, is a good way to write about this topic. – klepa 2 weeks ago
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  • Very interesting idea. It could be said that the alternate timeline set in the game's story allows the combination of "the present-day," with elements from another distinct era, giving players something familiar, yet totally new/different. You could also bring in other game examples like "Wolfenstein" and the "Command and Conquer" series. – Jaeb512 2 days 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 8 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 8 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 8 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 8 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 8 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 8 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 8 months ago
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  • Great topic! – alexledonne 4 months ago
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Taken by ZachCarlson (PM) 2 weeks ago.
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Is 'grinding' a fair or contrived mechanic in RPGs to extend gameplay? Was it more warranted in the past than it is now? Why?

Talk about the concept of grinding in video games (Single-player console games. MMO’s would be an entirely different topic). Often RPGs, especially JRPGs, require players to spend time mindlessly fighting enemies to up their level enough to advance the plot. Is that still warranted in today’s game environment? Was it warranted in the past? Is the level-up system outdated?

Use examples of RPGs from the older generations (SNES, PS, PS2, Gameboy, etc) and modern generations (WiiU, PS4, XboxOne, etc). Did technical limitations play a role? Is it an old tradition that’s stubbornly clinging to life? Am I wrong in suggesting it’s outdated and it is still an essential part of RPGs?

  • Wow! This is a really really fascinating topic. I think you are really diving into a very deep area of discussion with this topic! But it is one that merits alot of discussion.One question I might ask the writer to think about is this: "when writing this topic is how deep will this conversation be?" Will a casual reader be able to read an article about grinding and understand the article with little to no knowledge of RPGs or will does the writer have to include alot of background to help clear up information and make this topic more clear to people not immediately familiar with rpgs.Just some food for thought. Regardless, this is an AMAZING topic to address in an article! – SeanGadus 3 weeks ago
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Feminism in Video Games

Are video games getting better or worse at depicting women? What should they do to change it? How can they find a balance?

  • I don't have a lot of knowledge on this subject because of my limited experience with video games, but I think it could make for an interesting article. The first female characters that come to mind are the tough warrior types (female knights in medieval fantasy games) or, on the other hand, the overtly sexual types (such as Cortana in the Halo series). This article would need many examples to form a complete argument. – AlexanderLee 3 weeks ago
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  • There's also the tropes of the damsel-in-distress (re: plot device) or the naive/innocent girls who are really there to be love interests (or to be killed off to spur the protagonist onward in his journey). I think the topic might be difficult when considering the amount of female representation across many genres of games. It might help to narrow it down to specific genres or even specific series, or high-selling games with notable female characters. You can even discuss the seeming absence of female characters in certain games. – Karen 3 weeks ago
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  • Could you suggest some thought-provoking video games that could compliment the topic? Some suggestions with a strong female protagonist or sidekick could be helpful. The only one I can think of now is Bioshock Infinite with Elizabeth as the sidekick. Other than that, I think this is a promising topic. – AbeRamirez 3 weeks ago
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  • I would suggest looking into Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite and the damsel in distress trope and how it confirms and breaks from this trope.Also, you might possibly examine Ellie from the Last of Us. She is a very interesting female character.– SeanGadus 3 weeks ago
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Taken by SeanGadus (PM) 3 weeks ago.
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Morality in Video Games

Write about how morality plays an important role in the story of a video game

  • Interesting topic. A discussion of morality in video games could cover both aspects of the game that lurk in the moral grey areas or are blatantly immoral and whether players might feel remorse or hesitate in performing an action (i.e. just because you can doesn't mean you should). – S.A. Takacs 1 year ago
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  • Grand Theft Auto would be a suitable reference for this topic. Munjeera – Munjeera 12 months ago
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  • I think this is an interesting topic. I agree with Munjeera about Grand Theft Auto being applicable to this category. In fact I think a whole article could be written about morality in the GTA series. Side note, I think choice based games could be looked at as well because it puts players on the spot for situations that may highlight their morality. – Lexzie 10 months ago
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  • No other medium demands a more intimate relationship with the audience than video games because the player is perpetually required to progress the story forward. In this way the player becomes an active participant in the world as opposed to a passive observer. This is why being the player on your last heart in "The Legend of Zelda" will feel incredibly epic but will look like a bunch of cheesy blips and beeps on a screen to anyone else watching. Creating a game in which it's central mechanics would rely on the players morals would be so effective because of how emotionally invested the player feels already. – mynameisreza 10 months ago
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  • I agree with Lexzie about the importance of choice-based games when it comes to morality. Games developed by Telltales (like The Walking Dead) might be suitable examples. – faezew 10 months ago
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  • If you're gonna write about morality in video games, what better example to use than the Bioshock series? There's still a lot to explore there. – Tanner Ollo 9 months ago
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  • This raises questions about what exactly should be allowed to be shown in certain films to certain audiences. There is much scandal surrounding violence in video games and films especially involving young people. This scandal sparked from the Columbine massacre and has become more and more controversial. Maybe change the aim of this topic to 'the influence of ethics from video games' – Brandon T. Gass 3 months ago
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  • Are you considering working anything like Half-Life 2 or Portal into this? I feel like these games could be a fertile ground for analyzing ethics within a video game medium. – Matt Sautman 3 months ago
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  • It would be interesting to explore the idea that Fable 2 starting with "mortality". I remember it being a huge deal that, instead of dying, the character would just receive facial scars. It took away that "punishment" that gamers either love or hate. – kaseyshaw 3 months ago
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  • Bioware games like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and the Mass Effect games would make great references for this. – hagenb 3 months ago
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  • It's important that games don't label their moral choices as "good" or "bad" each action should come with its own package of pros and cons and the player should make their decision based on which set of pros and cons they feel better about. – JacksonAP 3 months ago
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Should Nintendo stop making hardware and just focus on software?

The Wii-U was a commercial flop, with only 13 million units shipped, yet everyone continues to love Nintendo and all of their franchises. With the Nintendo Switch coming out soon this could be Nintendo’s last chance at hardware if this console doesn’t succeed. If this console fails, will Nintendo become the next Sega and become focused just on software instead of hardware?

  • An interesting topic. I believe we already have an article exploring what the Nintendo Switch needs to do in order to succeed, but I do think it's at least important to address that. Perhaps one can give examples of Sega's own failures or trace their own history - can any other major comparisons be made between the two? Or will Nintendo simply bounce back from any potential failure of the Switch because they are so well-loved due to their brand or franchises? What would it even mean to become the "next Sega"? – karebear7 4 weeks ago
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  • I haven't been into Nintendo products for awhile now, but I was surprised that the Wii-U flopped.The parallels with Sega are a little scary, though I would say Nintendo has much stronger legs to stand on than Sega did, This is a great topic. – MikeySheff 4 weeks ago
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  • Hi! I wrote an article about the Nintendo Switch and what factors might determine its success but I think there is plenty of room to discussion the idea of Nintendo getting out of the console making game in a new article.Maybe focusing on pros and cons of the move from making both software and hardware to just hardware would be a good fit for this topic. What is gained and lost by Nintendo no longer making hardware and focusing just on software. – SeanGadus 3 weeks ago
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Are Video Games Worth Studying?

From a literary perspective, are video games worth studying, or should you put down the controller and pick up a book?

  • There is certainly something to be said for the level of artistry that games have achieved in recent years. This justifies intellectual criticism of these new developments and, in turn, justifies criticism of previous "less artistic" developments for a better historical understanding and appreciation of the form (e.g. we don't study The Sneeze as a masterpiece of cinema, we study it as landmark event in the history of film; so too will be the case with Pong). However, I think it is high time that Video Games Studies truly becomes a field of its own. Your use of the word "literary" feels inaccurate, which may be a contributing factor as to why many literary scholars are quick to reject Video Games as a form, since they see it as a low-brown infringement on their domain. At the moment, most academic work surrounding Video Games has been contained in Film (as its closest relative with regards to media) and Theatre (as its closest relative with regards to interactivity) Studies, but it strikes us as being too different from either of these to real belong within them. Only with a Department of its own can the form (and its societal appreciation) truly begin to flourish, as was the case when Film Departments began to appear in the 1920s. – ProtoCanon 3 months ago
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  • I think that a interesting way you could pursue this topic is to discuss the Video Games as an art/art form debate. Because if video games are art, then the argument can be made that they deserve to be studied on the same level as art or film.Additionally, I think that thinking about how much of video games are "intentional" could be an interesting angle to pursue. For example, the creators the video game make a conscious decision on art style, what moves a player can do, how the game plays, and what perspective is the game in (3rd or 1st). These are conscious decisions made by the creators, similar to how authors make conscious decisions about how they construct a narrative such as 1st or 3rd person, what information the reader knows about and what is hidden from the reader. – SeanGadus 3 months ago
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  • I agree entirely that Video-Games should be studied as an artistic medium; I personally find them to be a somewhat more interactive medium than conventional art-forms though, which leads to a sort of rift between studying games and, say, film studies. Nonetheless, they should be examined, if not just for the artistic choices made by their creators but the story choices as well. Most games today have a defined storyline or plot in them (though some don't, which is fine). However, the way a developer can portray that story can vary widely across games: some games, such as the Legend of Zelda franchise, give the player a relatively deep pool of lore to sift through just by playing the game. However, other games, such as Cave Story or Superbrothers Swords and Sworcery have a more subtle way of giving the player the story, and may leave parts up to us as players to interpret. There are also games like FEZ and The BInding of Isaac, which have purposefully cryptic storylines which the players must explore for themselves, giving them a greater sense of accomplishment when something finally "clicks" than if they were merely given a predetermined plot point. – bwmaksym 3 months ago
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  • Literary studies cannot remain so rigid. For one, the concept of "literary worth" is rapidly changing as self-publishing options are becoming more and more profitable and accessible. Therefore, what deserves to be published (and therefore read) is subject to change. At the same time, other forms of media have been considered "unworthy of academic study" for generations. At first it was film, then it was pulp and genre fiction, and now it's video games. Video games are not literature, nor are they film and therefore need a specific set of tools to analyse their critical and philosophical significance. Yet, they still provide us with a message, they still use visual and audial aids to immerse us in reality, and they still often follow some sort of narrative structure. To think that video games are undeserving of the title of "art" or too banal for intensive literary study is absurd. – X 3 months ago
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