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.
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?
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.
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?
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?
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?
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?
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