Abhimanyu Shekhar

Abhimanyu Shekhar

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

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Latest Articles

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83
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Film
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Latest Topics

3

The Evolution of the Antihero

Analyze the progression of the antihero trope. How does it reflect changing social anxieties? Look at examples from classic cinema to modern streaming hits.

The article can be structured as a timeline first. Film Noir laid the groundwork, and TV’s prestige era exploded the antihero trope. Film Noir is a classic antihero breeding ground (cynical detectives, femme fatales, etc.). Another excellent point to cover here would be to highlight TV’s greater creative freedom and depth that allowed for more nuance than cinema often could. Now, I cannot think of all the classic movies, but some ideas do come to mind. Of course, there are many more examples to dissect properly.

40s/50s film noir has “The Private Detective” such as Philip Marlowe (The Big Sleep), Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon) – world-weary, morally compromised, yet with an inner code. Then we had the “Femme Fatale” trope. Think Phyllis Dietrichson (Double Indemnity) – manipulative, uses sexuality for her own goals, challenges traditional female roles.

60s/70s Westerns saw a different breed altogether, I believe. First, you got the spaghetti Western Antihero, still relatable. A good example would be Clint Eastwood’s "Man with No Name" (A Fistful of Dollars, etc.) – self-serving, violent, but audiences root for him against even worse figures. Soon afterward, they were quick to offer more revisionist examples in cinema. There are many examples of this one but the main one is William Munny (Unforgiven) – haunted by past sins, questions the "heroic" myth of the cowboy.

Then let’s come to the 70s/80s. This is the neo-noir and crime thrillers age, kind of like an evolution. Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) is the prime example here. Deeply disturbed but the isolation-amid-urban-decay is a point that almost every city-dweller can relate with, pretty much. Thelma and Louise covers women taking agency, breaking free, and similar concepts, even when it means violence. This is an early example of the female antihero, and worth highlighting.

2000 onward we have the TV/streaming age. Three examples here: 1) Tony Soprano (The Sopranos) – quintessential modern antihero – mobster, yet we see his family struggles and therapy humanize him. 2) Walter White (Breaking Bad) – from mild-mannered to ruthless drug lord, his transformation is both horrifying and strangely compelling. 3) Joe Goldberg (You), Villanelle (Killing Eve) – pushing boundaries, playing with audience sympathy

  • 2000s onwards is about 20 years not to mention the 90s where antiheroes were omnipresent. There's a lot of history for the writer to look into. – Sunni Rashad 3 weeks ago
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  • This is great. Maybe the article could focus on some lesser known anti-hero from film as well. – jstern20 12 hours ago
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Pending

The Graphic Novel Revolution

Comics are quickly becoming the new literary powerhouse, so to speak. Examine the rise of graphic novels as serious literature. Analyze how the art form brings distinct storytelling advantages.

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    Gaming's Uncomfortable Subjects

    The central question to be asked is "When is it Art, When is it Exploitation?". One can analyze games that tackle controversial themes (war, violence). Are they providing insight, or are they using shock value for its own sake?

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      Pending

      Are Choices in Video Games Meaningful?

      Analyze ‘choice-based’ games. Are player decisions truly impactful, or are they an illusion? Tie this to philosophical debates about free will.

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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 2 years ago
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        Pending

        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 2 years ago
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        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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years ago
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        Latest Comments

        Abhimanyu Shekhar

        “what if that intelligence ends up being a reflection of our own biases?” that’s been the #1 question I’ve asked since all this blew up. Fantastic read!

        Ex Machina: Creating AI with Masculine Perspective
        Abhimanyu Shekhar

        This article hits me right in the feels! It’s so true that Sora, Riku, and Kairi go through WAY too much for teenagers, and it’s no wonder they all have some baggage. But hey, that’s what makes them such compelling characters, right? Overcoming all that darkness really shows their strength. I also like how the article talks about the Wayfinder Trio. They’re another group who have faced some serious hardship. I guess Kingdom Hearts is more than just a whacky Disney adventure after all!

        How Kingdom Hearts Handles Trauma and Resilience
        Abhimanyu Shekhar

        Whoa, this article got me thinking about how much time I actually spend gaming. It’s cool that some games are actually telling you to take a break now, because who doesn’t get sucked into a game and lose track of time? Makes sense though, since apparently gaming for too long can really mess with your health. I gotta admit, I probably should set some timers or something. Maybe there’s an app for that? Anyway, thanks for the reality check, this article!

        Time Out Features in Video Games and the Effect Too Much Screen Time Has on Gamers
        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?