Siothrún

Siothrún

Has an MFA in Creative Writing Fiction, and M.Phil in ELT. Former Managing Editor for Zelda Dungeon, studying psychology/mental health, and is a freelance editor and writer.

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  • Articles
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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics

    3

    The Rise of Newsletter Subscriptions, Web Novels, and the Future of Publishing

    In certain writing circles, SubStack and Ghost are popular ways of getting writers’ work into a email newsletter format. These sites promise that the writer’s rights remain with them, and, supposedly, revenue can be made through these sites. Ghost in particular sells itself as being a place where a writer can build up their brand. Furthermore, places like Royal Road and Wattpad are places where writers can post their work as web novels, which then might be picked up by a publisher. These places may accept donations on the writer’s profile so that they can make money from their craft.

    The topic taker should research the following things for this topic:

    Does writing a web novel or posting writing on a subscription service affect the writer’s process?

    Is this way of allowing writing to be placed out into the world good or bad–for example, does creating a web novel cause the writer to burn out?

    Are places like these sites using writer’s aspirations for free revenue on their behalf? In other words, are these sites promising something like notoriety or a path to publishing that they cannot keep?

    Finally, does writing for sites like these mean that the publishing industry might be going through a change, or, are sites like these a new way of gatekeeping making money off of writing/getting work published?

    The topic taker can also talk about problems within traditional publishing and the toll it may take on a writer and their psychology or process of writing if they wish as well.

    Relevant links for research:

    (link)

    (link)

    (link)

    (link)

    • Add some descriptions to the links for the writers. – Sunni Rashad 4 weeks ago
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    • The first link is to Royal Road, a place that posts up web novels, and typically markets lit-RPGs. Writers can take donations for their writing, but, they have to get noticed first. The second link is to Substack, a subscription based service that writers can use to build a email newsletter platform. They claim that you can make decent money off of this system. The third link is to a site debunking the Substack claim of making money from their platform on their writing. This site claims that Substack pays a certain amount of writers enough money to live on to make Substack look profitable. The fourth link is to Ghost, which claims to help writers build a base/brand for their writing, though, like Substack, you can monetize subscriptions and possibly make money from with enough of an audience willing to pay. – Siothrún 4 weeks ago
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    • A study of this new way of getting one's works out to the public would be very interesting indeed. Just the question on the writing process could be explored with depth. Two major shifts I can perceive, compared with traditional publishing. Firstly, the writer is self-publishing, not dependent on being accepted by a publisher. This seems to be the democratisation of publishing. Secondly, the writing process now incorporates instant feedback from readers, at each stage or instalment of the writing, unlike in the past, when authors only get to know critics and public opinions after their works have been launched by a publisher, after the time lapse from the actual writing process. Would this constant feedback from public opinion beneficial to the author? Should the author obey their own artistic vision or popular demands? – Lydia Gore-Jones 2 weeks ago
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    Isekai and its Pervasiveness in Anime

    From Digimon to That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime, isekai is a genre of anime that holds a lot of staying power in the industry. The topic taker should research:

    The beginning of the genre

    What made it popular

    Its impact on the anime industry

    Is the animation of isekai not to the same standard of other anime, or just drawn in simpler styles? Does the numerous amounts of isekai better or worsen working conditions for anime artists?

    What genres do isekai cross over with?

    Why is isekai so popular?

    Are there too many isekai?

    Will isekai bring about new genres of anime?

    By researching these aspects of isekai, the topic taker should be able to get a full picture of the how, what, and why of isekai. The topic taker is, as always, free to do more research on isekai, such as whether or not isekai helps its viewers by increasing positivity in their mood, help them relax from the stressors in life, and so on.

    Research links to get the topic taker started:

    (link)

    (link)

    (link)

    (link) mainstream popularity of Isekai,fear of what’s after death.

    • I'd add some description to the links. – Sunni Rashad 4 weeks ago
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    • The first link is to a Wikipedia page to help define what isekai is, in case the topic taker is not familiar with the term. The second link goes into popular types of sub-genres for isekai. The third link is to a Reddit post that asks why you could perhaps neglect to mention that the main character is from another world and it wouldn't change anything about the story that's important to the plot. The fourth link discusses why isekai is so popular in anime. – Siothrún 4 weeks ago
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    Taken by kelval34 (PM) 1 week ago.
    2

    2000s Anime and its Theme of Justice

    The 2000s had quite a few anime that dealt with what it means to "become" justice, in a sense. Fate Stay Night has a protagonist who tries to fight for his sense of justice. Claymore examines the topic in a more brutal way that also deals with what it means to be human, and, of course, Death Note and Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion both examine what would happen if their protagonists were given a means to end the wrongs of the world in which they live, only to pay a price for it later.

    The topic taker should examine each of the anime listed, if possible, and compare and contrast how each anime dealt with the theme of justice it wanted to convey. How did each anime handle the toll it took on its protagonist? What could be gleaned from the outcomes of the individual anime surrounding what it means to be a savior figure, even if that ideology is subjective?

    Furthermore, the topic taker should delve into whether or not the sense of justice being displayed is entirely subjective to the protagonist of the anime, or if it tackles the idea of objective justice and the toll that takes on groups as opposed to the individual. The topic taker can include other anime that they feel may fit this idea, so long as it was released between 2000-2009, as there seemed to be a trend with anime around that time that shared a certain thematic work and aesthetic which is to be examined in this topic specifically. In this regard, the topic taker could also deepen the topic by looking into what was going on in Japan and/or the world in general at the time to see if current events or recent history evoked the theme of justice being culturally relevant to its viewers. The topic taker may also include, briefly, how anime from the 2000s with this theme of justice may have influenced other anime to re-examine the themes later on, such as with 2012’s Psycho-Pass or more current day anime.

      2

      Has Achieving a Platinum Trophy or Equivalent in Games Become too Time Consuming?

      Most games, since the rise of the PS3 and Xbox 360, have introduced some kind of trophy system that marks completion progress. Some trophies or achievements provide some challenge, while, depending on the age of the game and if multiplayer is involved, some trophies are nearly impossible to obtain. In more current generation consoles, particularly if a game is known to be difficult, like Dark Souls, or long, like the Persona franchise, there is usually a tedious nature to obtaining that coveted platinum trophy or other mark of completion. However, especially in older games that received a remaster or port from a time when there were no trophies or achievements to mark progress, a lot of the added in trophies can become a little ridiculous and suck the fun out of the game until you have that one flawless run.

      The topic taker should examine whether or not platinuming or otherwise achieving a maximum achievement score has become too tedious for players, given the example above. Clearly, completing any game to that level is a matter of choice, so that aspect should also be touched on. In addition, the topic taker should consider whether or not achieving such feats adds or detracts from the fun of gaming, if it may add too much bloat to the game, and, as the title suggests, if it forces a causal gamer to feel more like a let’s player or streamer at the end of the day.

      For resources to start with, the topic taker should consider the list of achievements for platinuming or reaching the most achievements with a variety of games, some remasters or ports that did not have trophies or achievements when they were released, such as the Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 releases, as well as more modern games, such as Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla where the trophy/achievement system is innate to the product, for example, focusing particularly on any trophies or achievements that seem to not make much sense in the list, or clearly have a lot of players complaining about the difficulty to achieve the trophy or achievement–likely resulting in a low trophy or achievement percentage–that bars them from 100% completion.

      Using these starting points, the topic taker could then jump into the phenomena of completing a game and what it means at a societal, within gaming communities, and/or psychological level and then from there determine if completing games for the reward is worth the time put into it or not.

      • I like the general sentiment. Games are turning into perpetual skinner boxes. – Sunni Rashad 3 weeks ago
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      A Perspective on Banned Books in America versus Other Countries

      Recently, a lot of books have been making it onto the infamous banned books list in America, due to containing such themes as "strong female leader" in the case of Wizard of Oz, "racism", especially with children’s books that tend to point to the systemic nature of racism in America, and of course, "sexuality and gender" that basically gets slapped on anything that even remotely hints at an LGBTQ relationship or gender expression outside of the cisgender spectrum. Most of these entries to the ever-growing ban list seem to be coming from conservative areas. It might be good to take a small sample of the banned book list from the past 2 years or so and see how it would compare to, say a European banned books list, if the idea of a banned books list isn’t something that is wholly limited to America in the first place, and see if there are any overlapping topics between the lists to see what trends might exist cross-culturally.

      If this cross-examination is not possible, the topic taker could instead talk about whether or not book bans should exist, and the reasons why they do, and could choose to take a few selections from the banned books list and make an argument as to whether or not the themes presented in the literature truly merit a spot on a banned books list.

      Banned Books list for America: (link)

      • I think for this to be good analysis of cultural differences it should look at time frames as well. 90s America vs 90s China for example. Or a myriad of differing ideologies within the nations and have they remained the same or evolved as times have changed. – Sunni Ago 3 months ago
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      • I think this is a very interesting topic! I think it would be fascinating to research if book bans come from liberals as well. The comparison could be what each side of the spectrum is trying to ban. Also, I think your second paragraph could be an interesting focus. – shoafhannah 3 months ago
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      Taken by mmclaughlin102 (PM) 4 weeks ago.
      3

      What Makes a Good Video Game to Film Adaptation?

      From Tomb Raider (2001, Angelina Jolie) to Sonic the Movie (2020, Jim Carrey), there have been quite a few games likewise adapted into movies, though to varying degrees of failure or success. Tomb Raider was somewhat considered a flop when it first came out, and it currently has a 5.8 on Imdb: (link) a 20% on Rotten Tomatoes from the critics, and a 47% by audiences: (link) and a 33% on Metacritic: (link) though some consider it underrated: (link) By contrast, the Sonic the Hedgehog movie had a 6.5 on Imdb: (link) a 63% critic rating and a 93% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes: (link) and a 47% on Metacritic: (link) The success of the Sonic movie garnered it not one, but two sequels.

      The topic taker should analyze the trends of adapting a video game to a movie, including the history of it, and what makes so many of the adaptations fail. The topic taker should really dive into what made good video adaptations good and see what trends their analysis reveals. The topic taker may also consider the future of video game to film adaptations and whether they think there will be more successes or failures as well.

      To help the topic taker, consider looking into the following films to start forming trends based off their reception via reviews/to start forming the history of video game to film adaptation as they see fit:

      Tomb Raider (2018) in order to compare/contrast it with the 2001 film
      Sonic the Hedgehog 2
      Detective Pikachu
      Prince of Persia: Sands of Time
      Assassin’s Creed
      Doom
      Super Mario Bros. (1993)
      The Super Mario Bros. the Movie (2023) to contrast with the 1993 adaption

      • This is a really interesting topic and one that is very relevant. I've heard from a variety of different articles/sites that video games adaptations are popular in Hollywood right now. – Sean Gadus 3 months ago
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      Shifts in YouTube and the Rise of Short Video Media Like TikTok

      Following the departure of the creator of channels The Game Theorists, Film Theorists, Food Theorists, and Style Theorists, MatPat, from YouTube, there has been discussion about the changes of YouTube’s platform and if viewers of the platform are going to see other long-standing YouTubers leave. In MatPat’s goodbye video, he references other YouTubers who have decided to leave the platform and notes that "the platform is changing". We have also seen the trend of short-style videos in the vein of TikTok rise in popularity. The topic taker should address what changes they see taking place, possibly using the host of recent goodbye videos as a jumping off point, for the web-video platforms and analyze what those trends might mean for others looking to get into the content creation space.

      The topic taker is free to include the psychological impact of content creation, especially with the constant stream of short-form videos, has on a person. In addition, the topic taker can compare and contrast the platforms of YouTube and TikTok on multiple levels, such as monetization strategies and algorithms if they wish in order to predict where the trends might be going and indicate what those trends suggest for viewers and creators alike.

      MatPat’s Farwell: (link)

        Taken by Starlight18 (PM) 2 months ago.
        9

        Why We Play Video Games

        I think it would be interesting to see why we play video games on an intellectual level. What do the mechanics of the gameplay influence in the player’s surroundings and what influence does the setting of the game have on the story that may teach the player through the immersion process games tend to have? Sure, video games are fun, but what more do they have to teach us?

        I recommend looking up Game Theory on Youtube to see what is out there on this topic, though I’m coming at this topic from a more philosophical nature versus a scientific one.

        • I think you could focus upon games where there is emotionally-invested storylines involved, such as The Last of Us or Red Dead Redemption, which make gamers think about their own morality. – Ryan Errington 9 years ago
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        • It's been suggested that essentially, the consistent popularity of video games is due to the artificial sense of accomplishment they offer. That's more of a scientific idea, but it might be interesting to explore how video games invite that sense of accomplishment on a story level. – Mariana 9 years ago
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        • To add to what Mariana said, I also think it ties in to the idea of faux freedom but covertly reliquishing control. Many people play to relax, and it is relaxing because even though you have this open map, you are not having to make the big decisions that real life asks you to - you get limited choices (3 answers to a question, 4 endings to the game, it's all been decided by someone else.) And there is no real consquence to your choices - you can reboot if you need to. It is like being a kid - it's all a game! I don't know if there is a real theory out there for this, but that is my theory. – Francesca Turauskis 9 years ago
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        • Video games can also make the player feel more confident. I know that when I beat a challenging boss or complete a level, I feel good about myself, though I don't know if that confidence translates into the real world. – S.A. Takacs 9 years ago
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        • On the point of morality and emotionally-invested storylines as mentioned above, their also all the Telltale games that not only let you choose your actions but the way in which you converse with the characters as well. Those games make people reconsider their actions on a second play through. – Tyler McPherson 9 years ago
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        • You should read "Reality is Broken" by Jane McGonigal. She may be a good source to draw from as you research and write. – AnnieVos 9 years ago
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        • I will only play for the most part RPG games that A) have a good gameplay system and don't require me having to avoid being seen, and B) RPG games that have a beginning, middle, and end, in essence, a good story. This is probably why I tend to only play Square Enix video games. – Travis Kane 9 years ago
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        • In addition to well-paced risk/reward systems, another compelling issue is player involvement. Video games allow the "audience" to participate in the story (usually) as the main protagonist in a way that passively watching television or movies does not allow. In a world where fan involvement is increasingly an aspect of entertainment, this is a powerful but often overlooked motivator. – Monique 9 years ago
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        • This would be a good topic, that have been many studies conducted asking this very question (usually game developers doing it to see how they can hook players). – bbazemo2 9 years ago
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        • There seem to be two converging questions here: what makes us approach video games (concepts of escapism, etc); and what makes us 'stay' in the game (more towards your question of game setting, learning from games, etc.). These things are related but if you wrote about this I think you could use a different approach for each topic, or at least make clear that there is a difference between between them. – Landon 4 years ago
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        • Video games are defined based on their platform, which include arcade games, console games, and PC games. More recently, the industry has expanded onto mobile gaming through smartphones and tablet computers, virtual and augmented reality systems, and remote cloud gaming. Video games are classified into a wide range of genres based on their type of gameplay and purpose. – uphonic 3 years ago
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        • Great topic! A focus on the positive points of why video games are essential and how it could impact one's life/emotions will be interesting to read. – GabiBellairs 3 years ago
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        Latest Comments

        Siothrún

        Great article! It was a pleasure to edit, as well as a thought provoking read! Looking forward to the next one!

        Blue Gender: Pop Eco-Facism
        Siothrún

        Love seeing this article on the site! It was a pleasure to edit, and I’m looking forward to seeing what you do next! Great thought-provoking article!

        To the Lighthouse and Virginia Woolf's Rebellion against the Traditional Novel
        Siothrún

        Interesting theory! It would be wild to watch it be realized on screen or otherwise confirmed.

        Kingdom Hearts's Xehanort: A Villain Analysis
        Siothrún

        Interesting article, which was a pleasure to edit! Great job and looking forward to what you write next!

        Eugenics in Pop Culture: Madden
        Siothrún

        Yeah, that was a fine line to grapple with while writing this, actually. So much of what Xehanort did is truly inexcusable, and yet, they come from a place that could be understood, but never excused. Which, makes it hard to find satisfaction in Xehanort’s story, but, it’s also meaningful that someone does reconcile with him once he hits his arguable rock bottom–ironically right as his goals are starting to come to fruition. Thanks for the comment and the read!

        Kingdom Hearts's Xehanort: A Villain Analysis
        Siothrún

        I’m really curious what the Master of Masters is up to. I did get the feeling that the Master of Masters kind of let Xehanort draw his own conclusions that seemed to fit the Master of Masters’s needs when he started asking Xehanort questions during their meeting, so, your idea is definitely possible.

        Kingdom Hearts's Xehanort: A Villain Analysis
        Siothrún

        Oh, for sure! After seeing the end of Dark Road, I played through the series again, and there were a lot of things in III that hit different.

        Kingdom Hearts's Xehanort: A Villain Analysis
        Siothrún

        Thank you!

        Kingdom Hearts's Xehanort: A Villain Analysis