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Dungeons and Dragons OGL Upset

The RPG controversy of the year was Wizards of the Coast, a Hasbro subsidiary, draft Open Game License changes sent fans and game developers into an uproar. The OGL was a default license established in 2000 that allowed fans to use portions of the Dungeons and Dragons property in their own work. This was framed in similar ways to open software licensing in that it could be used as a foundation to create independent works as long as it was using the specific System Reference Document in doing so. This allowed gamers to develop their own works and even to sell them. The most commercialised version of this was the work of Kobold Press and Green Ronin that developed independent games using the SRD as a base. This has always been a successful space for creative engagement with a beloved property.

On January 4th 2023 a new OGL 1.1 was to be released but an early leak of this content exploded into the zeitgeist with very concerning changes including WOTC ability to claim royalties from sold works and complete control over the content produced. The backlash was huge and fans and content creators both began to rally online and establish a response to the changes. This response included unsubscribing from WOTC’s digital toolset and protesting in social media. Further, the largest third party users (whose income was most threatened by the change) announced plans to step away and redevelop their own games.

WOTC has retracted its plans but the damage is done. But a number of key questions have begun to be raised: Was this a failure to listen to its fandom? Was this merely a cash grab? Has this action doomed WOTC and its aligned products into the future? Has this been the initiative needed to get more producers developing independent game engines? What does fully open sourced mean financially for game developers? How will this shape the next twenty years of gaming? And, significantly, does this mean D&D is dead?

    1

    The History and Impact of Modern Cartoons

    Analyse the development of modern cartoons and animations. What impact might they have on young children’s perception of the world – whether that is related to how a certain animal/person/character looks like (their visual representation), or whether it impacts behaviours in a certain way. How might kids react to certain characters and relationships portrayed on the screen? Can some of these have a perceptible negative impact on their lives?

    As a starting point, trace the development of cartoons (from Disney, to Cartoon Network, etc) and some iconic shows.

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      Poetry and Art: How is poetry integrated into contemporary visual art?

      Analyse the different ways written and/or spoken word and poetry gets integrated into visual art pieces. These can be artworks where words are used as a visual cue, as an integral part of a performance narrative or any other way. What is the link between the sound and image of a word/poem? What effects does it produce on the viewer/listener? Can words be used as a visual element only? Examine instances where classical poems are reworked through a ontemporary lens and reused in a modern context.

        1

        The Dark Knight: How Do You Measure The "Best" Sequel?

        The Dark Knight is widely regarded as one of the best movies of its kind. It is officially a sequel to Batman Begins, but unlike most sequels, audiences don’t really need to watch the first movie to understand or enjoy the plot of the second. The only major plotline that continues between the two (apart from Bruce Wayne Being Batman, of course) is Bruce and Rachel’s relationship ("If there is ever a time when Gotham doesn’t need Batman, we can be together.")
        Does the stand-alone nature of this movie make it a better sequel? Or a worse one? What metrics do you use to measure the quality of a sequel? We don’t determine the quality of a horror movie by how much it makes us laugh, for example. Do we determine the quality of a sequel by how much it depends on the story of the first movie?
        Compare to Terminator 2, Rocky 2, John Wick 2, Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back, and other movies considered some of the best sequels of all time.

        • Godfather 2, Aliens, Toy Story 2, Logan as well. – Sunni Ago 5 days ago
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        1

        The Hero vs The Villain

        When consuming television media, do you find yourself gravitating more towards the hero or the villain? To whom do you more relate and why? What are your criteria for determining who you’re rooting for? This is an extremely subjective question, but often stories are not presented in nuanced ways that fully do justice to all the sides.

        A good example is the "Karate Kid" franchise. The first three movies are set up to tell a one sided story following Danny, and until recently, that story has gone unquestioned. With the inception of Cobra Kai" lends more dimensionality to the narrative; it shows how the rivalry between Danny and Johnny still exists, but has changed, and allows for a more nuanced understanding of the story as a whole.

        I suppose what I’m asking is how do you determine whether the hero is actually "good" and the villain actually "bad"? Do you hold heroes and villains to the same standards? How, and why?

          2

          Bertold Brecht's distancing in Video Game experiences

          Brecht has implemented in his theatre the "Verfremdungseffekt", which can be translated to the "alienation effect" or "distancing effect." Essentially, by creating interruptions or fissures within the illusion on stage, the audience can achieve a certain distance to the characters and events, allowing for evaluation and critique. During his performances, the audience is presented to some cues that indicates that what they are seeing is an ilusion, that what they are seing is actually an actor playing a scene. This cues can be strange objects, non-connected actions or actors speaking directly to the audience for example. Different of the Theatre of Pleasure, when the audience is emotionally connected to the play, Brecht seeks to create a critical discussion about what is being showed. He redefine it as Epic Theatre.

          Is it possible to have the same effect in Video Games where you, as a player, is somehow intensively connected to the gameplay and the character?

          • A minimum of one or two video game examples must be provided by the author, together with a discussion of how each one employs the technique in question, the player's experience with it, and the degree to which the implementation achieves the objectives that were set out when it was created. Some examples are: The Stanley Parable; Her Story; This War of Mine; Papers, Please; etc. – Samer Darwich 4 days ago
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          Should modern newspapers publish more poetry?

          Newspapers, though changed and challenged by the digital age, still offer a unique platform for community exchange and cultural expression. However, most larger newspapers only actively solicit letters to the editor from their readers—not poetry, art, short stories, or photography.

          Are newspapers missing an opportunity to regularly engage in these art forms, or are these art forms meant only for specialized publications and magazines?

          Furthermore, if more poetry were added to newspapers, how would it extend or shift cultural conversations? Does poetry invite a dialogue or merely distort facts with feeling? Does poetry belong in a “factual” space? And, finally, on a practical level, how might a newspaper regularly engage with poetry, for the benefit of itself and its readers?

          • This is an amazing topic! And a very topical one as well. I think putting poetry into newspapers would be a quiet but powerful step in giving people the chance to re-explore verse beyond a classroom setting. It is startling to see how far poetry has faded into the background of our world today. Often, it seems like people see poetry as a complicated, puzzling realm of writing that they can't simply read without much poetic expereince. But poetry is the roots of our written words--the foundation of where story and song found their home in our earliest ages. In a way, poetry is a cornerstone of our shared human culture--and incorperating it into the public press might be a subtle but potent reminder of this. It might help people see that poetry doesn't belong to any one group of readers, that anybody can enjoy a poem whether they are familiar with it or not. I also think it's a nice idea to have a small snippet of abstract beauty fixed between a dense forrest of headlines. – mmclaughlin102 4 days ago
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          • Very eloquently said, @mmclaughlin102. I especially like your point about poetry being woven into our cultural fabric as the foundation of story and song. When reading your note, I kept thinking of a phrase, “to democratize poetry”: that is, to widen the voice, participation, and understanding of poetry. If poetry is seen as being only for specialized audiences, newspapers could have a role in widening its audience and accessibility (to re-democratize it, if you will). Thought provoking. – KatieM 4 days ago
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          1

          The Red Ten vs The Boys

          From 2011 to 2017, Tyler James and Cesar Feliciano created a ten-issue comic book series in which a parody of the Justice League were mysteriously murdered in a plot eerily similar to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. As in Christie’s novel, it was slowly revealed that the superheroes were being killed because they were guilty of dark secrets.
          This series bears a resemblance to The Boys, the comic series by Garth Ennis currently being adapted into a TV show. This series has its own parody of the Justice League, hiding their own dark secrets. The titular characters, the Boys, set out to test the heroes’ limits and, if necessary, deal out bloody justice.
          Compare and contrast these series, their characters, their themes, etc.

            Film

            Hot Fuzz’s Hidden Horror Influences
            Hot Fuzz’s Hidden Horror Influences
            “The Women” a Masterpiece of Troupe Subversion and Toxic Feminism
            Comedy: When the Jokes Go Too Far
            Disney, The Little Mermaid, and the Politics of “Woke” in a Polarized World

            TV

            How Andor Uses Audio to Explore Oppression and Rebellion
            How Andor Uses Audio to Explore Oppression and Rebellion
            From Mythology to the MCU: Egyptian and Norse
            Bridgerton’s Reimagining of Regency Society
            How Stranger Things’ Most Important Licensed Songs Compliment Its Story

            Animation

            Disney Heroines and Gaslighting
            Disney Heroines and Gaslighting
            Celebrating, Analyzing, and Resurrecting Fillmore!
            Nickelodeon, Disney, and the Story of Growing Up
            Ren & Stimpy’s History: 30 Years Later

            Anime

            Megalobox and the Undocumented Story 
            Megalobox and the Undocumented Story 
            Chainsaw Man and the New Shonen Protagonist
            Spirited Away as Social Criticism
            The Legacies of the Atomic Bomb in Anime

            Manga

            Marketing vs. Genre in Manga – How They Can Get Confused
            Marketing vs. Genre in Manga – How They Can Get Confused
            Elfen Lied’s Eugenic Underpinnings
            The Horrifying Appeal of Junji Ito
            One Punch Man vs. My Hero Academia: Reconstructing the Silver Age of Comics

            Comics

            Why Don’t Superheroes Change the World?
            Why Don’t Superheroes Change the World?
            Continuity and Connectivity in Comic Book Movies
            Comics in Education: Benefits and attitudes
            How Gwenpool Knows the Unknowable (And Can We Do the Same?)

            Literature

            Iago – The Perfect Villain
            Iago – The Perfect Villain
            YA Book Series That Never End
            Preservation, Insight and Growth Through Literary Modernizations
            BookTok Influencers and Their Impact on the Publishing Industry

            Arts

            Tehching Hsieh: The Experience of Time and Duration in Performance Art
            Tehching Hsieh: The Experience of Time and Duration in Performance Art
            Historical New York Musicals and the Human Spirit
            Inside America’s Fascination with Witches
            The Mystery Behind the Influence of Instagram and The Popular Culture Industry

            Writing

            Writing About Place
            Writing About Place
            NaNoWriMo and the Art of Eating the Elephant
            Writing in Isolation during a global pandemic
            Fantasy Writing in the Age of Reason to Today