Just trying to learn more about why we like things, why we do things, and why it all doesn't make sense.

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Latest Articles

Latest Topics


The Illusion(?) of Free Will in Sandbox and Role-Playing Video Games

Using both popular examples (e.g. Grand Theft Auto series, Elder Scrolls Series, Minecraft, Skate, Assassin’s Creed, etc.) and less popular titles, analyze how games give players the freedom to do as many things as possible with a main mission line looming in the back.
Which games limit features that can only be unlocked by progressing far enough in the main story?
Do some games unlock all features before the main mission is even completed?
Games like Skyrim and Spider-Man (2018) can randomly generate enemy encounters for the player. Is this implemented to give the illusion that there is another world outside the main story? That the player can comfortably abandon the main story since the rest of the game’s "world" keeps on going?


    Captain America: Civil War: A Movie That Fueled Partisan Division and Government Disillusionment?

    When people think of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that has reigned supreme in the box office for more than a decade, they either think of Iron Man or Captain America, and Captain America: Civil War, pins the two leaders over… politics, essentially. Politics on a cosmic scale, but politics nonetheless. Steve Rogers, being the uncompromising freedom fighter that he is, stands against the Sokovia Accords backed by Tony Stark. Both have their reasons, and the situation is never exactly resolved since the movie diverts the plot to Bucky’s escape.

    Back to reality today in the United States, where there are small, yet scattered, protests all across the country over state-issued stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been several points of controversy that have sparked the protests: claims that hospitals and institutions are skewing COVID-related death numbers, governments are stripping citizens of their rights and keeping them "detained" in their homes, etc.. Overall, there seems to be a disconnect between some people and institutions such as the World Health Organization, the CDC, the UN, etc.

    Does Captain America: Civil War, embody that conflict? It’s not new at all, but has the film and/or superhero blockbusters in general inspired movements such as these, believing in global government conspiracies that plan for world domination? Does Captain America, specifically, embody/inspire people to not compromise what they feel is right?
    Final note: I decided to focus on the movie rather than the comics because the MCU is an international phenomenon, raking in billions at the box office. As a result, I assume these films have been much more prevalent in the global, cultural "psyche" than the comics.

    • I think that is an interesting way to look at it. It boils down to exactly what you said, "Captain America is a freedom fighter," and that is what is at stake here. Americans freedom to choose where they go and when. Ultimately, it is now up to state governments to handle the issue going forward and it does not seem like Steve Rodgers would approve of their tactics. – sweathers 4 years ago
    • This seems like an odd connection. Is the gist: Do certain Marvel Universe movies have a relationship to how the public responds to COVID-19? – Joseph Cernik 4 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    There could also be something about the political climate the US is currently in and the end of the decade being a time of reflection for many people born in the 90s to early 00s. A time of transition (whether it be into adulthood, adolescence, graduation) where global communication has made us all so saturated to information access we weren’t born into has turned us to ‘simpler’ times of limited internet access (broadband connection) and where brick-and-mortar retail wasn’t as doomed as it appears in this decade.

    IT: The Filmic Kairos of King's Year and a Zeitgeist of Nostalgia

    Great read!
    I do want to say, however, that even though the Bowery King does indirectly allow John to have a say in his fate and a chance to choose for himself, it’s essentially an thinly veiled ultimatum. He knows John feels betrayed, and he knows John will continue to kill to exact vengeance. It may not have been soon if he wasn’t rescued, but he would’ve eventually returned for Winston’s head.
    Ultimately, the Bowery King took a gamble. There was a slight chance John would’ve said to hell with the tangled organizations of the assassin world, but the King knows John needs resources, and John knows it as well. I don’t think it’s radical to assume John wouldn’t have escaped the King alive if he denied his allegiance.

    John Wick and the Empty Identity of the Action Hero

    Agreed, and that entails much more than just staying 100% accurate to details that are ultimately insignificant to the story. It may be an extreme/controversial example, but I think Stephen King’s The Shining and the Kubrick adaptation are a good example of this. The movie does leave out a lot of the lore of the Torrance family and the hotel, but it perfectly captures the sinister, paranormal nature of the hotel. Even though the fate of the hotel is completely off from the book’s telling, the ‘spirit’ of the hotel remains in both, and it shows that it was and will always be beyond just the infrastructure.

    The Art of Adaptation: From Book to Film