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Latest Topics

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Is it important for video games to have well-written plot and dialogue?

Break down how important well-written plot and dialogue are to video games. While obviously pure action games like Smite and Overwatch don’t need much of a plot, and nothing resembling dialogue, what about games with a campaign mode? Does steering away from Hollywood cliches, poorly-constructed storylines and so on significantly improve the quality of a game? Or does gameplay/cinematography/etc. always trump the quality of the writing?

  • I would love to read an article about this. It's like when CG just became popular and every movie wanted to use it as much as possible, sacrificing the writing and characters for it. – NBlumenthal 1 month ago
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  • Narrative can be a powerful tool and if that's missing from contemporary video games, its definitely worth exploring. In film, the standard narrative is the traditional trope, so maybe talking about how narrative works in different mediums would also be helpful. – mazzamura 1 month ago
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  • Absolutely important, especially considering that some of the consumers of video games are children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities, such as autism, who may have difficulty with social interactions. Many of these children spend a significant amount of time playing the video games. While this may not be intended use, video games can help to these children to improve conversational skills and ability to communicate. – Vaishnavi 4 weeks ago
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  • This article would make for a wonderful read! While game-play, AI, graphics and other technical features are often dissected in detail, few reviews take a genuine in-depth look at the plot of video games. Many are just happy to set up flimsy 'Shoot 'em up' plotlines. – Vishnu Unnithan 4 days ago
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  • I feel that the trends are changing, and people are realizing more and more that games as a medium have a new perspective to offer when it comes to how to tell a story. As for how "important" it is for a game to have good plot + story...well, it's certainly becoming more important that it used to be. Overwatch certainly fulfills a certain need - and therefor story isn't as relevant - but on the other hand, The Last of Us didn't have people singing its praises because of it's *gameplay*. I'd be interested to see a piece written on this topic. – Tina Thai 1 hour ago
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Have annual games lost their luster?

There could be an exploration into video game series that release new games every year. It can be an investigation into whether or not consumers are tired of annual releases and how game franchises can suffer because of annual releases. Assassin’s Creed is a perfect example because its games have either been hits with gamers or disasters such as Assassin’s Creed 3.

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    The Allure of Spending: Mobile Games and Gashapon

    "Gashapon" is used to refer to capsule toy vending machines that are popular in Japan. People are able to see which characters are featured in a machine, but won’t know who they’ll get until they put in money. Multiple mobile games from "Pocket Mortys" to "Puzzle & Dragons" use this system, where premium currency will offer a chance to obtain a rare and powerful character at the cost of getting an entirely different character. What is it about this system that gets players to spend their money once or multiple times? How many of top-earning mobile games use this system? Is there a "good way" or "bad way" to implement this system in a mobile game?

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      Undertale: Just One Big Inside Joke?

      Undertale is a game that has exploded to absurd levels of internet popularity since its release in September of 2015, especially considering that the entirety of the game was created by one man, Toby Fox. Playing it myself, I absolutely loved the game–its mechanics, the writing, and the story as a whole. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I may have only liked it because of all the parallels and references the game made to other games and game genres. In other words, I’m not sure I would ever recommend Undertale to someone who has not already played a lot of video games.

      I have lots of questions surrounding this topic. Is Undertale only good because of all of its in-jokes? As far as it relates to modern internet humor, that seems to be an essential part of that brand of humor nowadays. Is it a good/bad/neutral thing that this extremely compelling video game is really only accessible to a seasoned gamer? Are there other game genres that are ripe for the type of commentary and inside jokes that Undertale pulled on the RPG genre? Can anyone come up with an idea for a game to poke fun at another genre of game?

      • Interesting idea! I also loved Undertale, but I am not a huge gamer and I didn't get many (if any) of the major game references. So I wouldn't say that is the *only* reason the game is good. I personally loved it for it's exploration of the whole concept of games (which I suppose ties in to the "making a joke at the expense of games" idea), and the story as a whole. Perhaps, though, this article could still use the concept of the "in-jokes" as examining different ways that the game has been or could be appreciated. E.g. some people love the story, some the in-jokes, some the art. Or discussing the idea of Undertale as a parody of games, instead of making it out to be the only reason the game is good. – Mariel Tishma 2 weeks ago
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      Story-mode or Bust

      It seems the last years have brought several games that are merely multiplayer platforms for running and gunning, or some other vaguely unique multiplayer archetype. Rainbow Six Siege, Titanfall, Evolve, Battlefront, and the like. In previous years, these games may have simply been considered unfinished or still in progress; they wouldn’t have, or shouldn’t have, been released. In addition to games without campaign or story-mode, many titles have taken to increasingly short stories that can be completed in a day or two. Call of Duty and Battlefield are perhaps the most blatant offenders; and though most don’t buy a CoD game for its story, I can still remember the days of Call of Duty 2 and Modern Warfare 1 & 2, and the enjoyment of playing their campaigns. They may not have been exceptionally long, but they were far more thorough than what we see today.

      One could argue that not every developer has the money to implement a quality campaign and multiplayer platform, but this could be, in part, because most try to issue a new iteration, sequel, or game relatively every year. Is this good? I enjoy both story and multiplayer modes, though I hardly consider a game worth its money (especially $60) if it has only multiplayer. This is not to say there are not very long story modes that fall prey to repetitious mechanics and gameplay.

      • One issue people need to get over is the idea that every game needs a in-depth story-driven campaign, or campaign at all...As you mentioned, certain games, especially shooters, or played by people who buy it strictly for the multiplayer and don't care that the campaign was lacking or not there at all....You bring up a great point in this article, and it is something I believe is overlooked when it comes to the game design process. – MikeySheff 3 weeks ago
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      • I think the value of a game is often called into question in multiplayer only games or games that don't have a "single player component". I think this is not always a good thing but it is part of the some gamers consciousness.Additionally, thing to think a bout is how hard it is for a developer who specializes in making mutiplayer parts of a gam ego suddenly try to create a single player campaign, it is difficult to switch gears as it takes different things to make a single player campaign good compared to a multiplayer experience,they can be vastly different experiences.Amazing topic! – SeanGadus 3 weeks ago
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      • I love this idea! 'Super Bunnyhop' has a video related to this idea of story modes and multiplayer only games. I used to feel very strongly about games having some form of single-player content. However, after becoming obsessed with Rainbow Six Siege I have totally become convinced otherwise. It might be interesting to show how this idea of 'multiplayer only' started and how the trend evolved over time. – Daonso 2 weeks ago
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      The Art of the Cut-Scene in Video Games

      Video games often rely on story-telling not only through playing the game itself, but from the use of cut-scenes. Many cut-scenes stay true to the visual style throughout the game, while others have 2-D animated shorts. Either way, video game cut-scenes serve a variety of purposes, from enhancing appreciation of the artistic design of the game (such as close-ups on individual characters), to taking away direct control of the action from the player. Looking at cut-scenes in successful (or not-so-successful) video games, what purpose does the cut scene serve? What are its most essential components to make it a successful addition to the game itself?
      (Note: there are of course many examples of video games that have cut-scenes that “stay true to the visual style” as I mentioned—with 2-D animated shorts examples from Atlus’s Persona series comes to mind. That being said, this article may be better written by someone with a wider range of video game knowledge than myself.)

      • the skip button available – Fluxz 4 weeks ago
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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 1 month 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 month ago
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      Taken by bshoalz (PM) 1 month 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 months 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 months ago
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      • Several wartime FPS games like Call of Duty would also be a good example. – SarahKnauf 2 months 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 1 month 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 1 month ago
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