Abhimanyu Shekhar

Abhimanyu Shekhar

Designer by day. Uncommonly invested in movies, games, and books by the night.

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Latest Articles

Games
59
Games
64
Film
83
Film
19
Film
51
Film
29
Animation
35
Film
45

Latest Topics

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Subscriptions: Game developers moving toward subscriptions

This article will analyze the growing trend of game developers and publishers moving towards subscription models instead of one-time purchases. Examples: Apple Arcade, Google Stadia, Microsoft’s Game Pass (old, but now more aggressive than ever push towards subscription-only titles and removing one-time purchase options swifter than ever), Ubisoft , EA Play, PlayStation Now. Studios with a single game or franchise are also going the subscription route. Is this good? Bad? Subscriptions of the Game Pass, for example, have increased by millions in the last year. And it’s true that indie games, when they come to Game Pass, earn more than they could ever make solo. Xbox Game Pass is a unique case which will need its own section here. Instead of subscribing to a service that gives free delivery (like Amazon) or TV shows (like Netflix) – a game can be anywhere from 20 hours of fun for hardcore games or 1,000 hours of play and replays – how is it fair that you pay less than I do for the same game in this case? A headline: "GDC has released its annual State of the Industry survey of 4,000 developers, over one-fourth of which were concerned such models would devalue games." Another topic to cover is games-as-a-service (or more broadly tech-as-a-service) models being adopted by videogame publishers and developers. Even gaming hardware seems to be moving in that direction, with Nvidia providing subscription to RTX 30-series gaming capabilities instead of actually owning a video card. Starting from newspapers and magazines; then moving to TV shows, movies, and software; and now to games – subscriptions seem to be the way forward. But is it really better to have a monthly subscription to play games than to own the games and judging by the current pace of things, even renting your hardware and not owning it?

  • A couple of articles here in The Artifice have already explored similar problems (micro-transactions, in-app purchases, and yearly-releases) in the gaming world. The progressive increase of an economic model based on subscriptions in the video game business can be an interesting topic to explore, as long as it frames the phenomenon in larger and more meaningful terms than “good” or “bad.” The question “Is adopting the subscription model in videogames development good or bad?” needs to be reformulated. Good for whom? Bad for whom? It is certainly good for the business. It might be good or bad for consumers, depending on what they get from the deal. But and outstanding article about this topic would need a stronger and more daring approach. – T. Palomino 4 months ago
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When do we call them shows and not TV shows?

Let’s face it, the "TV" bit in "TV shows" is pretty pointless. The majority of the people you find talking about TV shows are watching them on computers, laptops and even phones. Sure, Netflix likes to say that they cater to the TV audience and that most of the viewing happens on TV apps, but there is hardly anyone who has a subscription to one of the many services such as Netflix and HBO Max but watches stuff only on their TV. We can also explore what we could call these shows now.

  • In this topic, perhaps more statistics could be mentioned about the percentage of people streaming compared to that of consumers watching TV. Consumers are increasingly watching content they can identify with, and streaming platforms like Netflix and HBO produce entertainment that reflects consumers' identity. Who has the most monopoly today on how entertainment is marketed to the public, and why is this done? - Richard – Richard 4 months ago
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Pending

What makes a TV show intellectual or stimulating?

From Marvel’s superhero-based TV shows to shows such as Black Mirror – we have a very differing opinion of "good". For shows that fall into the intellectual or stimulating category, what makes them tick? A few shows to compare: Black Mirror, The Wire, Sherlock, Westworld, Peaky Blinders, The Vikings vs. Stranger Things, MCU shows, sitcoms, Game of Thrones. Also, where does it leave shows like Breaking Bad, The Boys? More specifically, is it the story, acting, direction, or the intended audience?

  • I believe this has some legs, but the question, I think needs more direction. Either as a contrast or a complement. Your examples are decent enough as many have entered the popular canon many to critical acclaim but there's quite the variation between genre, subject matter, and target audience as well. Even though The Boys and MCU have superheroes you can clearly identify the goals and direction of the work. The only commonality of the works mention is their popularity which could be expanded upon, the cultural value of recognizing a popular property, along with the works own entertainment value. – SunnyAgo 3 months ago
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Is it time to let Marvel go?

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is known for its action-packed superhero blockbusters. The whole genre is single-handedly carried by Disney at this point, with WB’s DC being the honorable competitor even Marvel must pity. But with Phase 4, viewers are already reminiscing how good the initial movies were. This is point every franchise or medium reaches – "the old stuff was so much better." Derive comparisons between this phenomenon and other cinema franchises (might as well expand to other media, such as music or art) – and conclude whether the Marvel’s marvelous days are over? For once, with great powers come great responsibilities. As the sole arbiter of the "superhero" genre, is Marvel’s lack in handling its responsibilities* going to spell its doom? *When I say lack in handling responsibilities I mean churning out movies solely for ticket sales even when the story could use more work (latest MCU movies and TV shows) and trying to milk as much cash as possible (launching a barrage of TV shows).

  • I think this definitely worth writing about but I wouldn't be willing to do the research of Phase 4. I finished with Endgame, and nothing else has really sparked interest in me. – SunnyAgo 3 months ago
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  • I think this definitely worth writing about but I wouldn't be willing to do the research of Phase 4. I finished with Endgame, and nothing else has really sparked interest in me. – SunnyAgo 3 months ago
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2

The art of recycling in creating a game franchise

We can all name more than one game franchise that’s essentially a recycling of sorts. A lot of R&D goes into improving features and adding new ones, but they still "feel" the same once gameplay begins. Why does this happen? Are such games not receiving enough hard work? Or is it just us feeling that way while the truth is different?

  • I think it often has to do with cost management. If Ubisoft makes an Engine for Assassin's Creed, it is cost effective to reuse the Engine on multiple games rather than start from scratch each time. – Sean Gadus 2 years ago
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  • The Sims 4 cops a lot of flack for this very reason. Could be an interesting game to explore in such an article. – Samantha Leersen 2 years ago
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  • @J.D.: I have a few games in mind. Source engine based ones, Unity based ones, Pokemon, COD, Sims, NFS, Elder Scrolls primarily. And yes, the amp is coming because the symbol isn't allowed to be formatted into here, but won't be a problem in the article. @RedFlame: I will definitely specify more than a few franchises so readers have a clear idea of what exactly we're talking about. And valid point - perhaps, I'll tackle both types of recycling separately. Makes sense to let people learn there's not just one kind of recycling that goes into games. – Abhimanyu Shekhar 2 years ago
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  • I think this article can do very very well if you also throw in some numbers in terms of development cost and creating new IPs in general. It wasn't touched on extensively, but I remember when watching the documentary on developing God of War (2018), they briefly mentioned how tough it was starting a new IP in general with new mechanics. If you have numbers or at least quotes of reputable people in the industry talking about the numbers then this article can go far. – Daniel Ibarra 2 years ago
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  • I think this could be an interesting thing to do a comparison with. Recycling in gaming vs. recycling in other media (Literature, film, Music). – Bct417 2 years ago
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Why some games create such an unforgettable impression

Witcher 3 – why was it more than just a game? It was the prerequisite for the Netflix show. Pokemon games – why did they spawn a whole franchise of merchandise, TV shows, and more? In this article, I will dissect what makes a game have that sacred "emotional connect" for most of the people who play them.

  • Gungrave is another game which ended up creating a fine anime adaptation. You may want to check it out. – RedFlame2000 2 years ago
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  • Some games definitely leave a long-lasting impression on me. A key franchise for me is the Xenoblade Chronicles games, especially the first and second games. It took me a month for the second game after playing it every day, and almost a year for the first game. Because it took me quite a while, I truly felt like I was traveling and adventuring with these characters that I grew to love. The story also really brought that out, as I always reached a new plot point with each sitting, or met a charming new character. Those games still sit at the top of the lists of my favorite games, and it would be hard for me to forget any aspect of them. – Max 2 years ago
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  • I have written the article with your feedback in mind, do check! – Abhimanyu Shekhar 12 months ago
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Pending

The importance of indie game development and why we should fight monopoly

Indie game developers have always been there. And the tools and platforms that allow them to reach more and more gamers have only improved over time. But monopoly of the big game studios is a serious concern, which grows day after day. Why should we actively fight against that and how is it even more important than gaming as a hobby itself?

  • People just like to gamble. Oh and if you can edit it I'm pretty sure that the indie games are more likely to be found online. Websites like coolmath Games, Crazy Games, Poki.com, and lagged.com. – horrorfan 2 years ago
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The War of Colors

Watercolor, acrylics, poster color, and oil colors. Well, there are more. I think it’ll be a fun and interesting article to simple analyze the pros and cons of color types in a humorous sense. Something like the personification of colors. Amid our serious articles, we need something light to serve our audience.

  • That would be a very fun article indeed! The major thing is not to take this seriously because there is no way a certain colour or material is better than another. Each one has a different purpose, and it's very subjective - you would start a war in the comment section! So make it fun and ironic and light :) – Rachel Elfassy Bitoun 7 years ago
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  • This sounds delightful. I don't know that much about art but something like this could be informative and lots of fun to read. Hope someone takes on the challenge. – Celeste Reeb 7 years ago
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  • I agree with Rachel, this could be a tricky subject to work with though unique in its approach. The topic sounded a little too vague before; if only because the subject of colors could be applied to just about anywhere artistic, not just the "Arts." Maybe have an article centered around artists like Pablo Picasso who used color to emphasize the subjects of his art's emotions (Rose Period, Blue Period, etc.). – dsoumilas 7 years ago
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  • As a mixed media artist, this topic intrigues me. The thing that concerns me is your suggestion of using humor to convey the topic. As a person who uses sarcasm and humor in most of his writing, I wouldn't know how to use humor in an effective way when talking about different paint mediums. – Kenny Lim 7 years ago
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Latest Comments

Abhimanyu Shekhar

One particle in two places is actually possible in quantum physics, but only until observed. There are at least a dozen takes on what makes this shift from “unobserved” and superimposed to “observed” and in a definite place happen. Most theories tend to suggest this snap (technically the collapse of the wavefunction) happens instantaneously when we’re no more limited to the sub-Planck length and enter the macro-universe (sizes atomic and up). Though this has no relation with time travel, these particles exist in the same slice of time.

Time Travel in Fiction
Abhimanyu Shekhar

I agree that it’s not an over-explored topic, but I also think that it’s actually on the rise. And my only concern arises when mental illness is used in a way that downplays the actual hardships, such as in constant satire throughout a work.

Is Mental Illness an Over-Explored topic in Indie Games?
Abhimanyu Shekhar

You note that there are many adaptations including Israel and India and reference a link (8th). It might be important to remark that the Indian remake is in the making, and currently there is in fact no Asian remake of the show.

Social Commentary in The Office
Abhimanyu Shekhar

Persona 5 is a great game. However, JRPGs are not for everyone especially with their focus on episodic narratives, pre-established characters, and very long introductions. On the other hand, gamers who do love storylines more than the action will definitely find Persona 5 to be one of the most emotionally-stimulating games.

Why Do Some Games Create an Unforgettable Impression?
Abhimanyu Shekhar

I do believe that you’re not completely right when you say that the Guardians of the Galaxy are not as invested and loyal to Earth as Steve Rogers or Tony Stark. The whole point of those movies was to help them “discover” their ties to Earth and find out much they actually do care for the planet. But yes, I agree that if they’re going to be a face of anything, it’s going to be galactic, not limited to Earth, because that simply makes more sense.

Who Will Be The Next Face of The Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Abhimanyu Shekhar

I fully agree with the survivalist tendency being robust but vague and your analogy to Supernatural is actually very, very realistic (one of the shows I grew up watching). In fact, I believe there’s a survivalist syndrome and it’s not permanent and can be sort of “obtained” if you’re faced with a set of specific circumstances.

How Trump Won: Heroes, Villains and Surviving the Apocalypse
Abhimanyu Shekhar

Really spot-on. Being an Indian, I thought I knew all about the Indian culture and food in general, but I guess I was wrong! Really insightful piece. One thing I’d like to point out, though. “Masala” and “curry” are two symbols foreigners related with Indian food, but you’ll surprised how different their meanings are here. Masala in general stands for dry powders that act as the raw materials while curry is a specific type of dish only, in general. But we understand where these terms come from and what they signify in a context.

Indian Food: A Multicultural Enterprise
Abhimanyu Shekhar

Wow, Spawn’s case is really interesting. Regrettably I don’t know him, my lack of exposure nothing else. Yes, it’s really hard to differentiate right from wrong in such a case and the fiber of morality becomes really thin here…

Superhero Villains and their Struggle with Morality