Benjamin Potts

Benjamin Potts

An undergraduate at GMU seeking a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, I grew up in the Northern Virginia area and am a lifelong addict to fiction. I also enjoy gaming.

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Latest Topics

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Is it important for video games to have well-written plot and dialogue?

Break down how important well-written plot and dialogue are to video games. While obviously pure action games like Smite and Overwatch don’t need much of a plot, and nothing resembling dialogue, what about games with a campaign mode? Does steering away from Hollywood cliches, poorly-constructed storylines and so on significantly improve the quality of a game? Or does gameplay/cinematography/etc. always trump the quality of the writing?

  • I would love to read an article about this. It's like when CG just became popular and every movie wanted to use it as much as possible, sacrificing the writing and characters for it. – NBlumenthal 4 years ago
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  • Narrative can be a powerful tool and if that's missing from contemporary video games, its definitely worth exploring. In film, the standard narrative is the traditional trope, so maybe talking about how narrative works in different mediums would also be helpful. – mazzamura 4 years ago
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  • Absolutely important, especially considering that some of the consumers of video games are children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities, such as autism, who may have difficulty with social interactions. Many of these children spend a significant amount of time playing the video games. While this may not be intended use, video games can help to these children to improve conversational skills and ability to communicate. – Vaishnavi 4 years ago
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  • This article would make for a wonderful read! While game-play, AI, graphics and other technical features are often dissected in detail, few reviews take a genuine in-depth look at the plot of video games. Many are just happy to set up flimsy 'Shoot 'em up' plotlines. – Vishnu Unnithan 4 years ago
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  • I feel that the trends are changing, and people are realizing more and more that games as a medium have a new perspective to offer when it comes to how to tell a story. As for how "important" it is for a game to have good plot + story...well, it's certainly becoming more important that it used to be. Overwatch certainly fulfills a certain need - and therefor story isn't as relevant - but on the other hand, The Last of Us didn't have people singing its praises because of it's *gameplay*. I'd be interested to see a piece written on this topic. – Tina Thai 4 years ago
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  • Absolutely. We already have to fight against the notion that video games have no plot and should only be played by kids. I treat video games like books. If there's no well written story, I lose interest very quickly. – AGMacdonald 3 years ago
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  • Games, like any medium, tell a story. The difference being, the story told in games is far more interactive, and this should definitely be considered. Even in games like Mortal Kombat, there is a bit of a story-- simply look at the way characters interact with each other. And as far as campaign mode is concerned, if the campaign for Mortal Kombat X was poorly written, I certainly would never have been interested beyond the opening level. Good dialogue and good storylines are essential to games that are more than just pure action. – Caspian 3 years ago
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  • This is a really interesting topic. The idea of necessity should be the focus here: video games are as broad a medium as film and books, that is, a huge spectrum is produced. We have dialogue-heavy, atmospheric games that are less reliant on graphics or flashy elements, such as Life is Strange, Until Dawn and Heavy Rain. All games should emphasize immersion (the measure of its success is how absorbed the consumer is), but these particular games are praised for their story more than anything else. It would be nice to juxtapose these with games with obviously paper-thin plots, like PVP games such as Mortal Kombat, etc. – Matchbox 3 years ago
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Latest Comments

Benjamin Potts

I am a chronic re-reader of books that I love, but low-quality books I often read once and then never again–or I get halfway through, am dismayed that I have wasted my life in such a manner, and switch to something else. The Lord of the Rings, for example, I had to reread a few times just to get through it–I was bogged down halfway through the first book, then again halfway through the second, then finally managed to tough it out through book three. Tolkien’s writing is very high-level stuff, and I took something different out of the book each time. High-level writing is like that–the reread becomes more about you than about the book, about the different places that you the reader are coming from. You catch things that you missed the first time around and realize how much you have learned in the intervening time. For me, this is one of the most important purposes of rereading: how have I grown such that my experience of this book is different than the first time?

Why Reread Books? The Pros and Cons of Rereading
Benjamin Potts

This has always been my favorite classic Star Trek episode, with the possible exception of Galileo Seven. My father introduced me to these shows before I was ten years old, and rewatching them at twenty-one I see them with more sophistication each time. I think the fiftieth anniversary of some of these episodes is a wonderful time to look back over them, to see how far Roddenberry was able to look into the future. With the recent casting of a new actor to play Lenard’s old character of Sarek, I may be coming back to this episode soon–going back into it armed with the research and knowledge from this essay will make the experience all the more enjoyable.

"Balance of Terror": Star Trek, History, and National Security
Benjamin Potts

After seeing that Lin Manuel-Miranda wrote music for Moana, is engaged to produce “The Kingkiller Chronicle” television series, and having heard pieces of his writing on Last Week Tonight and The West Wing Weekly, I am even more interested in seeing his (perhaps) magnum opus, Hamilton.

Hamilton and the Construction of Post-Obama Americanism
Benjamin Potts

I find it really interesting that this musical became so popular at, as you put it, the “twilight of the Obama administration and the dawn of the Trump Era.” It has some interesting intersectionality with current events–not only in the form of its content, but I’m sure we all remember when Mike Pence went to see a performance of Hamilton and was directly addressed from the stage (there were some boos from the audience, but I thought the address itself was quite well-mannered and tempered). Lin Manuel-Miranda has proven himself to be quite the musical talent with this piece, but until reading this piece I had no idea the extent to which he had captured the authentic American spirit in it. Listening to the album, it seems, will not be enough–I must find some way to see Hamilton before it ends.

Hamilton and the Construction of Post-Obama Americanism