Grace Maich

Grace Maich

Undergrad Labour Studies student and lover of analyzing symbolism in video games and how gaming has evolved as a whole.

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Latest Articles

Latest Topics


The Role of Choice in the Mass Effect Universe

Many video games provide a morality system and dialogue options, but Mass Effect goes above and beyond to put the player in total control of the universe. Your choices affect not only your relationships, but also major cinematic moments, character deaths, the difficulty of the third game in the series, etc. Your choices will even be carried over to the next game in the series. If you choose to start with a later game, some events will not have happened in-universe because you have not had the opportunity to make a choice. How does this level of control affect the player’s relationship with the game?

  • I think this is a very interesting question. I would also go a step further and ask how this increased personalization could potentially affect video games journalism, specifically video game reviews. If a video game experience becomes so subjective that everyone plays through it in their own personal way, then how could anyone be qualified to give a objective review. – CalebCox 6 years ago
  • I don't mean to be 'that guy' but an article on this topic is already being processed. It's written by H4zel. I'm not saying don't write it, it's a very interesting topic and the more variations of opinion we have on this, the better, given the controversial nature of the third game. That said, whoever takes this up, I think the title should be changed, the meaning remains the same, and make sure to have a different way of going about it than the other similar topic. – SpectreWriter 6 years ago
  • Yes, the article that H4zel is writing is on this same topic. I think this topic was revived automatically by the system since it's been two months since she claimed it, the same thing happened to a topic for an article I have under review right now. – Grace Maich 6 years ago
  • The thing with games with choice-triggered content is that developers have to create a lot of content that players might not even see. – ChrisKeene 6 years ago

Genre Mixing: What Makes it Work?

Most video games tend to fall somewhere in between genres, rather than belonging to one strict genre. However, sometimes games will combine two starkly contrasting genres, and that can create an experience which can be exciting but may also sometimes feel forced.

One example is the Persona series, which is part dungeon crawling RPG and part dating-sim style socialization, and ended up being wildly popular despite the unusual concept. What process do game creators need to go through to create a successful game that heavily mixes genres?


    Humanity, Philosophy, and Artificial Intelligence

    The concept of artificial intelligence has often been used in film to explore philosophical concepts about humanity and living as humans (examples include the recent Chappie and classic sci fi favourite The Matrix). Why do creators use AI as their method for exploring humanity and what do such films show us about how humans see themselves?

    • This is really interesting because there have been even more recent examples like the movie Ex Machina and the television series Humans that really blur the lines. I think this is a timely topic – DClarke 6 years ago
    • They use AI to define humanity on a knowledge vs emotional capacity basis. Some great movies that blur that line are A.I.:Artificial Intelligence and Bladerunner (and Terminator too I guess, not to any great extent though, the robot at most only feels loyalty). – Slaidey 6 years ago

    The Legend of Zelda and Music

    Music has been thematically important to The Legend of Zelda series since A Link to the Past, and has played an even greater role in future games in the series like Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker. Explain how music is used symbolically and culturally in the Zelda games.

    • Important to note the use of the music for dramatic effect or for epic conclusions. Also worth nothing is the Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses tour – cdenomme96 6 years ago
    • Absolutely, 100% support this topic. I can't help but associate certain moments with certain songs from the series. The Ocarina of Time alone allows the player to manipulate the music by giving you the option to play a tune at most points in the game. There's so much to say about the Legend of Zelda series and the music deserves a lot of attention. I feel that this topic could be broken up into different articles, categorized by the chronology of the various games that make up Link's adventures. – RobertCutrera 6 years ago

    Perceptions of Maturity in Anime

    Anime is often treated by the general population as immature and silly along with its fans. Certainly there are fans who perpetuate this image, but those types of fans exist everywhere. Many anime which carry adult themes are generally watered down (eg. Death Note is widely known to be an anime about a character who kills using a magical notebook, but the humorous aspects of the show such as L’s mannerisms are so overplayed in the community that it is still perceived as somewhat immature despite the very relevant criminological and philosophical themes it explores).

    What has created this image of anime as a whole as being incapable of being maturely written, and is it an accurate assessment of the majority of anime? Has this image negatively affected anime being seen as an art form?

    • I wholly agree that anime is perceived as immature by people who do not consider themselves fans. I've introduced anime to my partner and who has come to like some shows very much but still does not identify as an anime fan and his reasons (which I agree with) as to why he still hates many animes is chibi and filler. The idea is that it's immature because it "puts things in that don't need to be there." FMA and FMA Brotherhood are a good example of shows that insert chibi-ish animations. The shows' content is generally serious and very dark things happen and yet in the light moments the animators lets the characters chibi-out and be over animated to the point of being annoying. As for filler or arcs unrelated to the main storyline (which Bleach is notorious for!), I'd say it's more of a money-grab, but the point is that they are also a waste of time. They can argue it's for "character development" but randomly throwing a bunch of warriors into a beach day situation really isn't relevant. TL;DR: Animes are perceived as immature because of chibi insertions and filler arcs. Basically "things that don't actually need to be there." For mature audiences they really don't care to have their attention averted from the story by flashy animation and useless adventures. Has it negatively affected anime being seen as an art form? I'd say yes. – Slaidey 6 years ago
    • I think since the anime market is geared wholly towards pre-teens to teenagers that people perceive even the most philosophically challenging anime to be immature and silly. However, as my critical thinking professor once told me, what is true of the whole is not true of the parts. It's unfair to call anime immature and silly just because a majority of it is doing it. Series such as Serial Experiments Lain, Ergo Proxy, Cowboy Bebop, Psycho Pass, and Mushishi among others all play out serious stories without the use of moe or chibis and seek to challenge the audiences' perceptions. Anime, like all other forms of entertainment mediums, can be written and taken seriously. It's only up to the creators to decide where they want to take it. – wmoo 6 years ago
    • Largely agree with wmoo, though as unfair as it is to refer to all anime as immature and childish, when the defining characteristics of the medium are disproportionate characters and parodies of DragonBall, there's probably an issue with the medium itself as well. In my own thoughts, cultural incompatibility plays a disproportionately large role in creating a negative image of anime in the West. Everything is geared towards the gritty, the dark, the "mature" for an 18-25 year old. Even cartoons and kid's movies have easter eggs that point to suspiciously adult things, and things that are "immature" still have universal appeal. These are markedly different than the emotional foundations of the majority of anime, which markets itself, as wmoo said, to pre-teens and teenagers, which means anything unsuitable for that age bracket is less marketable, and creators have stuck to their formula with great success."Don't fix it f it ain't broke" comes to mind. A great recent example that comes to mind is the Toonami Sword Art Online ad. In Japan, the series was marketed as an adventure in a fantasy game land. In the States, it was displayed as a series that encapsulated a desperate attempt to escape a world that many gamers thought would be their ideal. Exact same content, completely different appeals. – Austin 6 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    Grace Maich

    One of the weirder ones I’ve seen was Pokemon Quartz, which was a port of Ruby that had all-original (and generally pretty weird) Pokemon designs and was really poorly translated into English with a lot of unnecessary profanity and sexual comments for no apparent reason. It had a redesigned map and characters and words cannot do it justice.

    Pokémon: The Unique Experience of Fan-Made Games
    Grace Maich

    Great article! It’s really interesting to think about the efforts animators go through to humanize animated animals. A lot of the time efforts to make animals seem human (or like other animals, as with the horse in Tangled) aren’t very subtle at all, but I guess in some cases – like with Daffy – the animators really make an effort to characterize their designs without making it obvious.

    The Use of Animation to Convey Character Traits
    Grace Maich

    Great article! I never really got into cosplay (lack of time/money/skill of any sort) but I attended an anime convention with my sister a few years ago (she wasn’t old enough to stay in a hotel room by herself) and I thought it was so cool to see everyone dressed up! It’s a great way to meet people who have similar interests to you, and there’s a lot of fun in seeing someone dressed up as a character from an obscure show/game you don’t have any friends to talk to about.

    I see cosplay in a similar way to fanfiction: a great creative outlet for young people interested in the arts, but for whatever reason completely disrespected by a good majority of the world despite the dedication and creativity it actually requires.

    An Overview of Cosplay: Exploring the Subculture
    Grace Maich

    Excellent points and I agree 100%! I absolutely love that gaming has reached a point where reaching the ‘end’ of a game is not necessarily difficult, but to fully ‘finish’ it is a lot harder. You’ve got a lot of good examples in there of ways gaming has changed, and I think the existence of walkthroughs has allowed for a lot more creativity for game designers because they have to make things a lot more difficult than “get to point B from point A and you beat the game.”

    At the end of the day it really allows every gamer to make their own experience, and I think that’s really important.

    Video Game Walkthroughs and Gaming Culture
    Grace Maich

    I think fan fiction is a great way to practice writing consistent characters! Writers get a lot of criticisms if their characters act out of character (for lack of a better term), so most authors are careful to ensure everybody acts in a way that would make sense given their behaviour in the original book/TV show/etc. It’s an easy way to practice writing characters in different scenarios.

    Fanficton: A Practice in the Art of Storytelling
    Grace Maich

    I’ve always been fascinated with Pixar’s ability to appeal to adults’ emotions while still remaining lighthearted enough for kids. I know everything flew over my head when I was a kid, and it seemed super weird to me that my mom couldn’t watch more than ten minutes or so into Finding Nemo because it upset her too much.

    10 Mature Moments in a Pixar Film
    Grace Maich

    Exactly my thoughts. I like to use walkthroughs if the game has collectibles you can miss, or on tough timed missions. In my opinion it doesn’t matter whether or not you use a walkthrough, people should do what makes it a fun experience for them!

    Video Game Walkthroughs and Gaming Culture
    Grace Maich

    The community is the worst part of the game (and part of why I stopped playing shortly after I started playing against other players). I’ve seen people get super pissed at amateurs not doing well in not matches, even though losing against bots doesn’t matter.

    That being said, if you can get 2 or 3 people you know irl to play on a team with you regularly, it can be a lot of fun and you can drown out the voices of any randoms (and be a little less likely to deal with trolls). It is a really fun game with a lot of variety in gameplay but if you have a hard time dealing with the community it can be a little intimidating.

    League of Legends' Appeal: The Growing Community