Christina Legler

Christina Legler

MFA Fiction Candidate at Fresno State. Wielder of B.A. in English. Writer of the whimsical. Lover of the video games. Eater of the foods.

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Latest Articles

Latest Topics


Viral Videos and Heroic Acts

Sharing viral videos of heroic acts seems to be a double-edged sword. On one side are those who argue that sharing videos of heroic acts encourages others to do the same, and reminds our world that “good deeds” and “good doers” still exist. On the other side are those who argue that publicly sharing heroic acts is not in fact heroic, and that it is done for attention. Some critics even claim that some of these heroic acts are staged.

Analyze our culture’s attitude toward heroic acts. Consider the arguments on both sides, and the truth and facts behind these arguments. Also consider the celebrity-ism behind viral videos. Individual such as Antoine Dodson (“Hide yo kids/hide yo wife”) and Kai, the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker, not only became well-known for their interesting personalities and rather funny news interviews, but because of the “remixes” that their videos inspired. What can be said about our culture turning heroic acts into laughable, light-hearted memes?

Last, consider the way technology affects these heroic acts and the attitudes of people on both sides of the argument. For example, prior to the social media and viral video revolution, heroic acts were often shared through mediums such as newspaper and word-of-mouth. How has our culture’s attitude changed in this regard?


    Yearly-Release Games: How Much Do We Still Care?

    Gaming companies like Ubisoft and EA have essentially built their reputations upon their franchises that promise annual releases. Ubisoft took an unexpected break between Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate (2015) and Assassin’s Creed: Origins (2017) to reexamine the franchise, to "evolve the game mechanics," and to ensure that they were delivering the promised "gameplay experiences that make history everyone’s playground."

    In other rumored news, EA may forego the annual releases of their sports games, like FIFA and Madden NFL, in exchange for an online "subscription" service that requires an annual fee to update rosters and stats ((link)

    The writer should examine if Ubisoft delivered on its promise with AC: Origins by investigating Ubisoft’s reported sales in comparison to its other AC games, critic reviews, and notable bugs or technical issues. Did Ubisoft indeed improve the newest game by taking a short break, or has anything really changed?

    The writer should also assess how, or if, EA’s rumored subscription service will benefit players. Contingent upon price, how would a subscription service be better (or possibly worse) than re-purchasing a slightly updated version of the same game year after year?

    Lastly, the writer should examine the bigger issue at hand: Do we still care about annual release games? What do they offer that non-annual release games do not, and vice-versa? Can the methods employed above by EA and Ubisoft work in their favor and possibly revive their franchises, or are the franchises past the point of revival?

    • Annual release games should definitely be broken down into the genres of games they are referring to. For sporting games, like FIFA and Madden, the premise of an annual release is simply to update the rosters for each respective team. The game of football has not fundamentally changed in that one-year time span, and besides any minor control updates, the game-play mechanics are relatively absolute for each edition. More story-driven franchises are a different case however, as many of those releases not only have improved or altered game mechanics and controls, but another installment into the story for the franchise. The standard of quality for those kinds of games should be higher than that of sporting games, which may influence any arguments regarding the relevance of annual releases. – Gliese436B 4 months ago
    • It might be useful for the writer to consider what triple A companies employ annual releases outside of sports titles, and what those annual releases are. A number of such developers, such as FromSoftware and Sucker Punch, release their flagship series at a much slower rate -- writer should compare these nonannual franchises to annual ones, and compare their respective costs and benefits. – PersistentCrane 4 months ago

    How Much Do We Really Care about Accuracy in Films?

    In the wake of its release, Hugh Jackman’s "The Greatest Showman" has received a handful of negative reviews due to its inaccurate portrayal of P.T. Barnum. Several negative reviews argue that the film leaves out P.T. Barnum’s true nature and behavior, such as his exploitation of his circus “freaks” and the fact that he and/or his circus abused the animals in the show. Moviegoers have given the film poor reviews simply because they dislike P.T. Barnum and the fact that the film did not portray him as the person he apparently was—not because they dislike the movie.

    This then begs the question: How much should we care about accuracy in films? Should we take the film for what it is, a movie intent on promoting whimsy, family fun, great music, amazing dance sequences, and general themes of inclusion and self-love? Or should we care that the film did not show the true, nitty-gritty details of a man who was not as “great” as the film cracks him up to be?

    The writer does not have to focus on "The Greatest Showman," of course. S/he can focus on any films that do not accurately portray the person that they are portraying. In doing so, assess the importance of accuracy, its effect on us and our opinions, and perhaps how the alternative truth(s) might affect us and our opinions. What do we gain and what do we lose by receiving an inaccurate portrayal of a person that our culture idolizes and celebrates?

    • It is apparent that the general public is either not willing to accept, or just simply does not consider, that an adaptation of a narrative or story from one art form to another, will never be a carbon-copy of the original, and will have its own distinctions based on the two art forms. However, more subjectively, there should be an onus on movie studios, or whatever business is adapting an original work, to emphasize that their interpretation of the narrative is different from the original, either through their own artistic vision, or lack of depth of the medium (e.g. novels as movies). An example of this would be how King Arthur (2004) blatantly acknowledged that its story diverged from the traditional Arthurian legend into a Roman empire-inspired piece. Regarding the review of such adapted movies, there will of course be parallels drawn to the source material, especially if the adaptation is marketed as having drawn inspiration from such. However, it is also important to critique films for their own characteristics, such as cinematography and acting, as they can have a significant impact on how the narrative is told. An example of these two lenses would be how Chris Nolan's The Dark Knight was critiqued in accordance to its source material, DC's A Killing Joke. – Gliese436B 5 months ago
    • What I see as central to this topic is the ethical responsibility of art. If we say artists (in this case, filmmakers) have an ethical responsibility, then they should care about accuracy and not sugar coating someone's character for the sake of a warm and fuzzy resolution or better entertainment. However, if creative license is truly creative license, then we cannot critique artists for bending reality. This could even go into the idea of whitewashing--"should we care," or I think, more analytically, do filmmakers have an ethical responsibility to hire actors that accurately represent the ethnicity of the characters portrayed (whether fictional or not)? So when we talk about "accuracy" this is a large term, especially in the context presented here, because it isn't just about making a few small changes (like in a Harry Potter type film), but really about the ethical responsibility to the accuracy of a story and whether or not that choice is erasing difference that is not often represented on screen. – shoberry 4 months ago
    • I'd say those high standards would be warranted for a documentary claiming to be non-fiction, but not a movie telling a story with the purpose of celebrating the good things a person did, or at least the interesting things. The Social Network, Hamilton, and Saving Mr. Banks all may have stretched the truth, but they certainly made the points they were trying to make. On that note, The Social Network was partially about pulling down a celebrated icon. Is this topic applicable to the inverse concept? – noahspud 4 months ago

    Teaching video game "form & theory" at the university level

    We cannot deny the impact that video games have made and continue to make on our popular culture. Consider the evolution of the gaming industry. How, in fact, has it evolved? How has it become more mainstream? What do video games offer us emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically? What can we learn from video games that we can apply to every day life, as well as in our intellectual and educational pursuits? After analyzing these factors, consider how (and perhaps, if) video games should be taught, possibly someday at a university level. What universities might already do this, and how do these courses operate? How are they taught? What do they offer?

    • While I (a professor) haven't taught a full class dedicated to video games, I have included them in my lessons. I would love to see a full pedagogical article dedicated to this topic. It would be strongest if the author has, in fact, taught the topic or is a teacher at a college level than if the article were written in hypotheticals. – Christen Mandracchia 5 months ago
    • My university (University of Waterloo) actually has a course called game studies at a bachelor and masters level. We have tons of digit media rated course and have even sponsored a critical media that deals with gamification, video game studies, and digital theories, etc. The critic media lab actually has a virtual reality lab that even look at gamification in a sense of training (for instance VR training for surgeons, firefighters, etc.) Curiously, bachelor's, masters, and Ph.D options for the digital media stream are all under the English Language and Literature umbrella. – Mela 1 month ago
    • @Mela I sure wish my university had a course like that! – Christina Legler 1 month ago

    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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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 2 years ago
    • Great topic! – alexledonne 2 years ago

    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 2 years ago
    • 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 2 years ago

    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 3 years ago
    • 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 3 years ago

    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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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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    Latest Comments

    Christina Legler

    And now we have Spyro coming out this year! My childhood, MY CHILDHOOD!!

    It’s funny how playing these revivals puts into perspective all the things that were wrong with the game that we overlook due to nostalgia. I was recently replaying Kingdom Hearts on the PS4 and got so frustrated, I stopped playing in Tarzan’s freaking world. That’s pretty early on in the game. I remember that game being tough, but I didn’t remember it being THAT tough. I guess my love for the game won out over my frustration–even though the story makes absolutely no sense.

    Oh, how age changes perspective.

    Crash Bandicoot Teaches A Thing Or Two About Revivals
    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