Christina Legler

Christina Legler

Grad student in the MFA Program at CSU, Fresno. I love to write and I love to read. Video games are great. So are animals and the Jazz Age. I need more space to write.

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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics

    14

    The Evolution of the Horror Genre in Video Games

    "Horror" has become a rather subjective term nowadays in that people define it differently and recognize certain qualities of a horror game differently. What is it about certain horror games and/or horror franchises that makes them so successful and so appealing? Is it atmosphere? Is it the amount of jump scares? Is it audio? Is it all of these things combined? Analyze the way the horror game has evolved over the past few decades.

    The writer may want to consider (but is certainly not limited to, or required to consider) notable franchises and games such as the Silent Hill franchise, the Resident Evil franchise, Doom, Alan Wake, Five Nights at Freddy’s, Amnesia, Until Dawn, Outlast, and/or Dead Space. What is it about these games that makes them so successful in the horror genre? How thin is the line between horror and just plain silly or ridiculous? Lastly, how might publishers prevent recycling and rehashing the same horror tropes when making a new horror game?

    • Amnesia: The Dark Descent would be great to talk about here because it's been deemed one of the scariest games ever by many, so much so that SOMA, it's successor, was deemed not as scary. I disagree with that because SOMA is mature, brilliant, tension-fueled sci fi horror. (Maybe the genre crossovers like sci fi horror could be a point to bring up? Dead Space, SOMA, Alien: Isolation, etc.) But Amnesia definitely had an influence on horror games. I also think the way Frictional Games changed from Amnesia to SOMA, from frights to existential dread, is something to talk about because it deals with the way horror has changed and is received by an audience. (The reaction that a game is not "scary" without jumpscares and many chase sequences, much like how movies like The Witch are received...) On a smaller note, there's the third person (Silent Hill) and then the now ubiquitous first person POV. I could go on, haha. – Emily Deibler 2 years ago
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    • I've never actually had the guts to play horror games, so I'm very interested in reading this once someone takes it (if someone takes it!). The closest I've ever gotten to horror is F.E.A.R. and Bioshock, neither of which are that bad. – Christina Legler 2 years ago
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    • About F.E.A.R and BioShock, and also Doom, it's possible their accessibility can be discussed when talking about cross-genre horror games, and how the action shooter element may make the horror less alienating for a player who doesn't enjoy horror games without some genre-crossing. Some may be more open if they, say, like fantasy and sci-fi, and the horror is dark fantasy or sci-fi/cosmic horror rather than "plain" horror. – Emily Deibler 2 years ago
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    • That's a really good point! For me personally, I enjoy things with dark elements and the macabre, and Bioshock felt like that for me...which is what made the jump scares and occasionally creepy/horrific parts less traumatic for me. Lol. F.E.A.R. is interesting because, like you said, it's more of a cross-genre game. Parts of the game focus on the creepy horror elements, whereas other parts seem to be strictly FPS (if I remember correctly...I haven't played that game in years). There is a nice balance in there that makes it bearable. On the other hand, something like P.T. (which I didn't have the nerves to play...I only ended up watching walkthroughs on Youtube) terrifies me because of the atmosphere and the constant sense of inescapable dread, since you don't know what will happen or when it will happen because the AI is so advanced. – Christina Legler 2 years ago
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    • I was pretty freaked out by the first BioShock, despite being a horror fan. The Splicers were pretty scary, and I have this fear of the ocean. And P.T. is terrifying. It definitely feels confined--and many horror games like P.T., Amnesia, SOMA, and Layers of Fear have no shoot/fight option. In some, you can run and hide, but if it's like P.T., it's just a hallway. There's nowhere to go. And the unpredictability of the A.I. definitely enhances the terror. – Emily Deibler 2 years ago
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    • I love horror games. I think the genre is so broad because you have action-horror games that have many jump-scares and monsters, but you also have games that focus more on the atmosphere and narrative to create the horror aspect. It is very interesting. I hope somebody picks up this topic. – Lexzie 2 years ago
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    • Explore the difference between RPGs and Literature as the first-person narrative is you in a much more explicit way than the "you seeing through someone else's eyes" of novels. Horror is such an engaging gaming genre not because of the individual elements but because of the user's experience in dabbling in adrenaline and conjuring real and lasting images in the user's mind. You have the safety of playing from your living room, but it feels instead like you've invited the horror into that living room, rather than stay removed form it.If we want to pick apart the elements, the ever-evolving graphics, acute plot writing, dark visuals, swelling and eerie original compositions are all contributing factors, but it's the reward of the cinematic, particularly the jolt in transitioning from "how do I react/escape from this once I regain control" and are thrust back into the game post-cinematic. Those cutaway scenes have developed in ways that contribute instrumentally to the user experience. – PiperCJ 1 year ago
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    • Great topic! – alexledonne 1 year ago
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    From Princess Peach to Lara Croft: the Spectrum of Femininity in Video Games

    Analyze the diverse spectrum of female characters in video games. First, how exactly do we define femininity? What makes these female characters and their femininity unique? How is their femininity addressed or portrayed? How has femininity in video games evolved over time? Can certain characters fall into more than one "type" of femininity (for example, Lara Croft, who has been both sexualized and emasculated on different occasions and through different games in the series)? It might be helpful for the writer to condense his/her list into a "top five" of female characters that best represent this varying spectrum of femininity in gaming.

    • It would also be a good idea to touch on the BioWare games (Mass Effect and Dragon Age) to show how the female NPCs are treated, and talk about the fact that the protagonist can be either male or female, and how that affects each story. – Tarben 1 year ago
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    • A very big problem with a lot of older/classic games is the treatment of female characters in them. More often than not you'll find a character like Princess Peach, whose only defining characteristic is that she is female. I've always found it particularly interesting that Zelda plays a minor role in the Legend of Zelda games despite the entire franchise being named after her -- especially when you consider that one of the key times that she gets to play a major role, she is disguised as a man (Sheik). – tbarker 1 year ago
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    Quality Over Quantity in Video Games

    Some franchises have been severely capitalized on by their publishers because of their popularity (for example, the Assassin’s Creed series). At its current rate, Ubisoft is putting out one to two games a year in this franchise. No matter how many games Ubisoft puts out, fans always seem to buy the next installment, even if they grumble about it while handing over their money.

    On the other hand, other publishers like Naughty Dog have one or two notable franchises which have stretched over a span of years. The first game in the Uncharted series came out in 2007, and the final installment is set to release in 2016. Consumers will hand over the same amount of money for a poorly-produced, glitchy Assassin’s Creed game as they will for a quality copy of the Last of Us.

    Where do you draw the line? Do you purchase games in a franchise you love without a second thought? Does the increased capitalization on certain franchises deter you from purchasing their games? Why do you think people will inevitably buy a game in a franchise that they realize has been milked to death?

    • This would make a doable article, but I think that whoever writes this article won't have a lot of concrete facts to draw from. There's a possibility that this could be a heavily opinion-based post. That's okay, but just keep in mind that most articles on the Artifice are usually written works with firm foundations set upon facts, research, or statistics. Once again, there's nothing wrong with the author voicing his or her opinion, but usually we encourage people not to write using first person. We want to avoid too much "I think this" or "I think that". It's an interesting idea though! I'm looking forward to seeing what it will look like when someone uses this topic. – Dominic Sceski 2 years ago
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    • To me its fairly simple, just look at the game thats coming out next. If that individual game looks good then buy it. The souls series is putting out a game a year but I'm still excited for Dark Souls 3 because that game looks good. In contrast I liked a lot of the Assassins Creed games but disliked how Unity looked so i skipped it. – Cojo 2 years ago
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    When and how should a publisher call it quits on a franchise?

    I’m specifically thinking of companies like Ubisoft and their Assassin’s Creed franchise (although whoever chooses this topic doesn’t have to focus on either of these). Don’t get me wrong: I don’t mind the AC series. But there has come a point where just about everyone rolls their eyes at a new AC release (even if they end up purchasing it anyway).

    Besides the obvious answer (i.e. easy money), why do publishers continue to milk their popular series to death? When should they call it quits, and how? Is there a "right" way to do it? Do they continue to milk these series simply because it is a safe move? If all stories must eventually come to an end, why do some companies stretch out these series until it becomes unbearable?

    • This can also comment on the alternative side of this issue. What about franchises that could have kept going strong and, clearly, have fan support but stopped? I.e. Chrono Trigger, Suikoden, etc. – Jemarc Axinto 2 years ago
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    • I do agree franchise fatigue is a concerning issue in the gaming industry, but ultimately the cause of such is none other than money in my opinion. I don't think any gaming company like the idea of ruining their established franchises especially the ones that turn out to be extremely lucrative, but as long as the sales statistics prove profitable on the consumer market, they will just keep pumping out game after game, and as you said, many people end up buying them anyways. As the gaming market grows larger and larger, so is its production cost. It's understandable that many publishers are not willing to risk investing in new IPs, that just mean more money in the pocket. Plus the fact we as consumers are basically condoning their actions by buying their games time after time, so we are partly to blame too. Same exactly situation exist in Hollywood blockbuster movie franchises as well. The upside is the gaining popularity of campaigns like Kickstarters where many indie developers can turn to and addresses ideas directly to consumer demands. In regards to the "franchise milking", there is no signs of stopping and I think it sadly will continue to persist for a long time. – Tofuboy 2 years ago
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    • To answer the title question, explicitly excluding monetary considerations, and only addressing artistic merit, the general rule to me would be that it is best for a franchise to stop at one game, as if there is more than one created in a franchise, there is a risk for a creativity drain. – JDJankowski 2 years ago
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    • A good angle would be the crossover. At what point does a creative idea with strong fan support become a corporate cash cow? And how many ways can you dress a franchise up before it becomes completely predictable eliciting a yawn response? There is as much to be said for the ending of such a run as there is for the beginning. – Celticmist 2 years ago
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    Video Games and the Mainstream

    Years ago, gaming was considered a much smaller, niche hobby, mostly for introverts and "nerds." Now, the gaming industry is on a rise, both financially and socially. Analyze the factors influencing why video games have become part of the "mainstream." How do different video game styles (i.e. MMOs, point-and-click, etc.) help catapult the gaming industry into the mainstream? How do they encompass diverse social groups and bring them into the industry? Does the movie-like quality of games nowadays play a part in the mainstream, too?

    • gaming is life at times of depresion – GanjaKing0420 2 years ago
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    • Very interesting topic!!! I think that one of the reasons games are more mainstream is because of the sheer multitude of diversity in gaming now. Back in the day you had fewer companies and fewer programmers and fewer games. Now we can make specific games that appeal to specific people which entices more and more people to play. I think you have to at least mention *shudder* facebook games. These low commitment games give the opportunity for normally not interested people to pick up a game. It doesn't take much time, thought, etc. If you leave it for a week, you aren't tragically behind everyone else. And as for the movie-like quality. Hands down agree. I had my mother walk in on me playing a game during a cutscene and she actually stopped to watch thinking it was a show haha. Not that she'll ever pick up a controller, but at the very least it intrigued someone who usually wouldn't bat an eye. – Tatijana 2 years ago
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    What is our obsession with reality television?

    Analyze why our society is infatuated with reality television. Is it strictly an American thing? Is one group of people or one region more likely to be interested in reality television than another, based on social, political, financial, etc. traits? Is reality television really that appealing? What does reality television have to offer its viewers?

    • I like this topic, it's short but simple and down to the point of where you want it to go. I often think about this, there's people all the time that ask if I watch reality television and honestly I haven't watched it since Laguna Beach haha, but there's just something about reality television that people love. I would love to see how this articles comes about. – scoleman 2 years ago
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    • I appreciate your enthusiasm on tackling this topic. However, I do believe that you might want to re-think it because reality TV has such a vast and broad range. For example, you have anywhere between Keeping Up with the Kardashians to Million Dollar Listings to Pimp My Ride. All of these are extremely scripted, but if you look at them more closely, they all appeal to different types of audiences. Other than that I think it is a good topic that raises questions, interests and concerns about our society and the views of reality TV. – ryanreeve 2 years ago
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    • I believe that reality TV intrigues the audience. People like to imagine what there life could potentially be like if they had money or lived a certain way. This creates hope – semelejansen 2 years ago
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    • I think this is an interesting topic since some reality Tv shows have more seasons than a sitcom.It is interesting that for example a reality show like " The Real Housewives" has countless spinoffs as a result of the success from the original. – amini 2 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    Christina Legler

    After watching this film, I went and looked at the reviews. The majority of people who saw it and disliked it claimed that it was “boring” and “slow.” U think these people just didn’t get it.

    This isn’t a film that’s intending to glorify grief or to show the 12-step program for making it through grief and finding your way out on the other side. It’s a very real portrait of grief. It’s honest and genuine, and that’s what I loved so much about this movie.

    At first, I felt a little cheated that he didn’t find some “silver lining” by the end of the film to help him get through things, but then I realized that’s not always how it works. Some people just get stuck and that’s sad. Towards the end, he says he just “can’t beat it.” That’s real and honest. I hate how real and honest it is because I want him to be okay but that’s not how it works. This is what I think negative critics to this movie failed to understand.

    This is a good article! You pointed out a lot of things I thought about it, too.

    How Manchester by the Sea Turns Social Realism into Social Feelism
    Christina Legler

    I get so confused when my characters can’t double-jump! In an amused way, of course. It almost feels natural, especially on platformers. I’m replaying Uncharted right now, though, and if Nathan Drake could double-jump…well, that would be ridiculous. I think it depends on the type of games.

    Good article. I’ve never seen something quite like this!

    Double Jumping: Mid-Air Leaping's Chatterbox
    Christina Legler

    This is a really good and thorough overview of vampirism in literature. I think that given the popularity of the vampire trope lately, these are things that need to be said, and facts that need to be set out. I, too, think the Blade series would be worth considering as well, especially if you ever did a “Part II” or something focusing on vampirism in cinema or television.

    Vampires in Literature: Opera Cloaks, Sparkles, and Prevailing Themes
    Christina Legler

    I definitely noticed all the animal symbolism during my first play-through. I also thought it was really interesting how, at the end of Episode 5 (I think when Max is walking through the dark halls replaying her moments with Chloe), she is wearing a red shirt with a ram or goat head on it. Maybe I’m going way out on a limb here, but I thought it was kind of a Satanic symbol, which would be appropriate since she was essentially going through hell.

    Animal Symbolism In Life Is Strange
    Christina Legler

    Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person on the planet who has seen YGO:TAS. I laugh so hard every time I watch and rewatch it. I think it was probably the first abridged series I ever watched, and that was years ago.

    “Wake me when someone summons a god card.”

    Abridged Series: A Short History
    Christina Legler

    I know I’m a year late to this party but I just recently saw the Shining for the first time (I was always a big wuss when it came to horror films), and the one thing that stuck out to me most was the nationalism throughout the film, like the flag on Ullman’s desk, Danny’s sweater, etc. Your analysis goes deeply into this in ways I wouldn’t have considered before. This is a very well-written article.

    I’m sure, being a Shining fan, you’ve watched the documentary, Room 237. In that film they also discuss nationalism and the way Kubrick integrates subtle images and nuances about Native American history–like the canned food in the pantry, which you mentioned in another comment.

    Anyways, good job! I enjoyed reading this.

    Stanley Kubrick’s 'The Shining': American Deterioration Through Americana
    Christina Legler

    I vaguely remember that. I also remember a cheat where you could make her explode into several pieces.

    The Metamorphoses of Lara Croft
    Christina Legler

    Great article. I’ve been a fan of Tomb Raider since it came out in 1996 and the metamorphosis of the series has made me happy, sad, and angry at different times. Lara has almost become more of an “ideal” than a character in some ways, in that as long as there is still a semblance of her original character, it still works. They softened her up quite a bit in the Legend series, then gave her an origins story in the new series, so she has certainly gone through some transformative personalities over the decades.

    On a side note, I will never let go of the fact of the unfortunate train wreck that is AoD. It was poorly produced and unfinished, but I still loved it. I always wanted more Kurtis. *sniffle*

    The Metamorphoses of Lara Croft