A writer interested mostly in video games and fantasy novels.
The rise and fall of the turn based rpg
Turn based rpgs were at one point the height of video games. Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy are some of the most well known, as their success lead to huge franchises that continue today, but there were also many more inspired by them or experimenting on their format.
The effect of streaming and let's plays on the video game industry
The gaming community, from twitch streamers to youtube let’s players, is synonymous with video games at large.
Modernizing Old Stories
In the new Death on the Nile (adapted from Agatha Christie’s book), they made a number of changes to ensure the work was better appreciated by a modern audience. This included changing certain motives and secrets for characters (having a former kleptomaniac instead have a secret lover, for example) and adding a romantic subplot for the main character.
The dog dies: use of animal death as an emotional pull in film
A number of movies, tv shows, and other pieces of fiction use animal death for one main reason. Generally, it’s to show a particular character is evil, and to pull on the viewer’s heartstrings by showing the death of an innocent creature (most often, a dog).
This technique is often very effective, and many viewers feel very emotional at the death of animals on screen, to the point that sites such as ‘Does the Dog Die’ exist simply to warn viewers who find animal death (among other things) to be too much. But due to being effective, some find it over-used, a bit of a cliche.
So, why is it used so often? Is it just so effective that it’s worth the cries of unoriginality? Is it just such a simple way to portray a character’s cruelty? And why is it so effective, anyway? Why is the death of an animal more effective than that of say, a child?
I remember seeing one analysis that posited that a lot of the best horror games are short for that reason – the longer it is, the more likely the horrors will lose their impact. Varying things up (in later stages of the game or in sequels) can definitely help prevent this as you’ve said.
Analog horror is definitely an interesting topic, and I’m glad to see an article on it. Good stuff!
I think another thing worth noting about the old-style cameras used for found footage and analog horror is that because the visuals are less ‘crisp’ and distinct, viewers can’t always see things clearly and this adds to the horror. With analog horror, it can be hard to tell if that indistinct shape on the camera was a horrifying monster, a person, or simply a visual glitch – adding to the tension felt by the viewer. If you use a crisp, modern camera, it can be harder to get this indistinct blurriness. Similar goes for ‘weird noises’ in analog horror works using older recording devices, which once again are very uncertain – is that spooky noise an audio glitch, or a monster? It definitely sets analog horror apart from other styles of horror media made today, where they use clean and crisp visuals and sounds and as such need to work harder to make them especially horrifying.
As someone who likes a bit of analog horror, I’m definitely interested in seeing how this genre evolves in the future, and to what the analog horror based off of the technology of today will look like.
I definitely think the demographic part is an important point to raise. After all, a lot of what becomes popular (here in the West, but in Japan as well) is shonen and seinen, and they tend to be watched by a lot of women rather than just men. As a female viewer myself, I tend to watch more shonen/seinen than shojo because a lot of the shojo that gets brought here and becomes popular is romance (a genre I’m not super into). While these labels can be helpful in some circumstances, the sheer variety in what is considered ‘shonen’ or ‘shojo’, and the fact that some pieces are hard to put in these categories, means that at the very least more classification is needed.
There’s an old saying that the past is another country, and I think it really holds true for modernizations of older works. A lot won’t necessarily be understood by modern audiences, both language and cultural references. Shakespeare often comes with a guide in classrooms for a reason, after all. In some ways, and for certain types of retellings, I feel like you can see the modernization process like one of translation – translating an old piece for a modern audience.
Not all retellings are an attempt to do that, of course. Some are just playing in the space that a classic or fairytale provides. But many seem more an attempt of translation, to make a piece understandable to a modern audience without extensive study of the original time period.
While I understand your point, I’m not sure if the ones about mental illness do receive more accolades and attention than other topics. The most popular games of the last year or so that I’ve seen the most focus on haven’t really been about mental illness at all.
That, however, is very much my personal experience and opinion.
Personally, I wouldn’t say she has schizophrenia. While obviously you can definitely take that as your interpretation, I think that in the story of the game, Badeline is not a normal hallucination, but a magical one. Madeline says that she has depression in the game itself, and while misdiagnosis (or multiple issues at once) can occur, I’d never considered that she could have anything other than depression.
I think that could be an interesting topic, though. Schizophrenia is a mental illness rarely portrayed in media, and portrayed sympathetically even more rarely.
I watched the ’93 Addams family movie as a kid, and I quite enjoyed her in that – I found her over-the-top dark humor appealing. I hadn’t realized that she’d started out so young in her original appearance, and in some ways I think I prefer the slightly older version.
As a teen, however, I’m not so sure.
Many of the films, studies, and art pieces you mention in this article sounds fascinating. The Clock in particular sounds like good fun; I half feel surprised that every second on a clock is represented in film, even though it makes sense given how many movies have been made.