Liam J. Blackley

Liam J. Blackley

Student, writer, Canadian.

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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics

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    Indie Games and the Shift Back to 8-Bit

    Why the trend in independent games of 8-bit graphics and music? What started it, and why has it continued for so long? Why would game makers and game players want to regress to a time when video games were stripped down and basic? Is it just pure nostalgia? It is a reflection on the decline of clever game design in AAA video games over time? Look at games such as Shovel Knight, Hotline Miami, Gunpoint.

    • It's a good topic but it would be better to also put focus on some the indie games that popularized the shift back to 8-bit to the mainstream such as Braid. It would also be interesting to consider the financial reasons for using 8-bit and how that limit can force them to be more creative when developing the game mechanics. – Matt Hatjoulis 1 year ago
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    • Though 8-bit games are often easier for low-budget indie projects to animate, narratologically, traditionally 8-bit genres like platformers offer an interesting challenge for game developers. The trick is to make a game that is fun to play (like "Crawl") and/or has an interesting story (like "Gods Will be Watching") without relying on cheesy effects and graphics to wow players. In any case, I expect the nostalgia for 80s graphics will cease once the 30-year cycle shifts to a fascination with the 90s. As far as 80s games go, they tend to be a bit more reliant on gameplay than narrative, at least among American releases. So, I hope we'll see more of a 90s ideological optimism in storytelling as in titles like Final Fantasy VII or Chrono Trigger. – Samir M Soni 12 months ago
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    1

    Indie Games and the Shift Back to 8-Bit

    Why the trend in independent games of 8-bit graphics and music? What started it, and why has it continued for so long? Why would game makers and game players want to regress to a time when video games were stripped down and basic? Is it just pure nostalgia? It is a reflection on the decline of clever game design in AAA video games over time?

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      Latest Comments

      Liam J. Blackley

      Reading this got me thinking about text-based adventure games. They supposedly offer a lot of choice, admittedly constrained by a few commands, but those commands can apply to any word the player pairs with them. But really, even something as simple as language prevents real choice in these games. The inability to pair a command with anything more than a basic object. For instance, in real life, you can take an action in a very specific manner with a motivation behind it and in a certain context. The text-based games may let you take that action, but the rest of it is lost because only that verb can be typed into the computer.

      Bioshock and the Illusion of Choice in Gaming
      Liam J. Blackley

      A few points from my own experience:

      Matter 1: Turn to your professor. They may not have expressed their intent perfectly through the assigned question, so ask for specific things they want to see if you do not understand the question. They will also sit down and brainstorm with you, helping rework your idea into a researchable thesis.

      Matter 3: Most staff at post-secondary have jobs beyond reading your drafts. Librarians or coaches do not want to waste their time doing something outside their job when they have other things to get done. Senior students are the best for this, or trading drafts for peer-editing with several classmates lets you see common patterns of what people like and dislike in your draft for use in revision. Some schools also have dedicated writing consultants, paid or volunteers, who will sit down with you.

      Hint 3: I was always told you cannot edit a blank page. Write something, even if it is crap. The writing process will also help reveal your ideas if you are unsure of your argument.

      Hint 4: My strategy is change the font and text size. The words look unfamiliar to your brain and mistakes will stand out more as you read through.

      Crafting the College Essay: Method and Motivation
      Liam J. Blackley

      I loved how this film didn’t try to say that all the world’s problems could be eliminated by getting rid of white imperialists. Wakanda still has its own problems. I especially loved one line where Martin Freeman’s character goes to Wakanda (being the first white man there is a very long time) and is immediately labeled “colonist” by the smartest character in the Marvel’s universe. The movie is stating that racism isn’t an issue that is caused by white people. Killmonger’s plan is very imperialist, planning to conquer all white nations by staging a popular black revolution. Seeing all these familiar themes played out by a black cast really cast new light on them, because they felt fresh but still relatable. The country’s conservative attitude with the isolationism also ties in to this, because it is showing Wakanda as socially outdated but technologically ahead.

      The Moral Horror of Black Panther
      Liam J. Blackley

      I bought the Metroid Prime Trilogy, beat the first game, then moved on to the second. However, despite the first game doing a wonderful job of immersing me in its world, I never felt the same connection with Prime 2. At no point did I step into Samus’ shoes. I was always just a player with a controller. This was partly due to how important the story was: Prime gave a single goal (stop the Prime Metroid) and a simple path to do so (explore the whole world until you reach the Prime Metroid). Moving through the game’s world was the fun part, and any extra story around the world’s inhabitants was tangential. Conversely, Prime 2’s story was more integrated to progression. Advancing in the game meant the plot would advance at the same pace. This became the difference between sensational gameplay versus story-driven gameplay. In Prime I wanted to explore because experiencing the world was fun. In Prime 2 I was told to explore because of the story. This is why the sensation of Prime stuck with me more than that of Prime 2. Most of what you describe in this article hit me harder in Prime because I happened upon it, whereas when the same happened in Prime 2 it felt like the game was prescribing it. Because of that prescription I was reminded I was playing a game, and it took me out of the experience.

      How Metroid Prime 2: Echoes Creates Fear, Anxiety, and Frustration