MattHotaling

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Latest Topics

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    Does being good and being fun have to be mutually inclusive?

    Do all fun games necessarily have to be good ones? Likewise does a good game have to be enjoyable? I think there is a lot of oportunity for discourse on the nature of fun and enjoyment in the space of games. Games like Mount and Blade come to mind when I think of games that are objectively bad, like in no world would I rate the game anything higher than 5/10, but anyone who’s played it will tell you that there is something undeniably fun.

    • It depends on your use of the word "good," and what aspect of the game it pertains to. A game can be "good," in that it is "fun." Or it can be "good," in that it is constructed and designed well. But can something really not be fun even when it's good? Well then that really does depend on which definition you're going by. If it really isn't fun, then what exactly is "good" about it. If it isn't fun, then it probably fails as a game. And "fun" doesn't have to mean rip-roarious glee and excitement. Something can be "fun" simply because it never becomes boring, and you can end up playing it methodically for hours. So all of this would also hinge on what your chosen definition of "fun" is as well. – Jonathan Leiter 5 years ago
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    • Building from what Jonathan Leiter said, "good," and, "fun," are very subjective concepts. Try breaking each down into what exactly it is you mean in using word; operationally define them, if you will. For instance, by saying a game is "good," do you mean that it's visually appealing? Or, do you mean that its plotline and character development are engaging? By saying a game is "fun," are you referencing the nearly endless possibility presented by GTAV? Or, are you more talking about the fast paced and challenging game play of games like Shadows of Mordor? I think this is an intriguing topic but it just needs a little brushing up around the edges. – Michael Richardson 5 years ago
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    • There are differences between good and fun. The main one would be that good can be an objective term (in that good would mean well-made), whereas fun would definitely be subjective. The problem that I have with this topic as it stands is that it is too nebulous, and if written, would likely devolve into an article regarding your own tastes in video games. As such, I would have to reject. – JDJankowski 5 years ago
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    • I would suggest discussing Cards Against Humanity which is almost word for word the difference between good and fun. It is a proclaimed "game for horrible people" and yet it is one of the most fun experiences you can have. – alexpaulsen 5 years ago
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    • I think this bears similarities to questions about books and films. It seems critics love the "good," and audiences love the "fun." – Kristian Wilson 5 years ago
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    Published

    Good vs Evil: Exploring Moral Choice in Video Games and its Effectiveness in Storytelling

    Many games use various moral choice mechanics to allow players to role play and influence the story and outcomes of a game. Unfortunately in most games this usually boils down to the story having a "good" or "bad" ending as the player makes various red or blue choices (Mass Effect, Infamous, etc) and there is rarely any point in trying to do a mix of each as these games don’t have option for playing the middle. (in some cases gameplay abilities and content will be behind ‘you must be this good/evil to ride this ride’ sorts of walls.)

    My thoughts for an article would be in exploring ways that moral choice has been used effectively and innovatively as an aid to storytelling and not become secondary to gameplay mechanics. Games like Iji and Undertale (non obvious moral choice and consequences), Bioshock 2(which has a great example of a developed middlepath), Telltales Walking Dead (no right answer choices).

    If you have any other ideas for games you think handle choice well leave them in the notes.

    • The Fable series does a good job in my opinion with moral choice influencing game play. – DrTestani 5 years ago
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    • Undertale is actually an excellent example of moral choice. I've personally played two of the endings thus far. The first play through I didn't choose well at all, though it turns out that the path I chose was necessary to find the true ending. Throughout the game you are given options to murder, to attack and spare before killing them, or avoid attacking all together. In order to get the true ending, the played has to complete a neutral run. There's a lot of moments that pull at emotions and make the player really question what they should and shouldn't do. The choices you make might not be reflected right away in the game play, but they are evident later on. I could write a 500 word essay about this game and the brilliance behind it's moral implications, but I won't. – HDumars 4 years ago
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    • I think Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2 would be an excellent game to talk about with regards to morality. The character of Kreia is a morally ambiguous character, her true intentions are cloudy. Over the course of the game she points out flaws in both the Light side philosophy and Dark side philosophy. – Daonso 4 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    As someone who has a bit more love for KyoAni works from the last decade rather than the current one I agree completely with your assesment of Clannad. Clannad complete story is nothing short of a masterpiece and would recommend After Story to anyone, if it didn’t mean they had to watch the first season which is much less strong as it’s distracted by the multiple heroines routes.
    Also I’d call Nichijou nothing short of a postmodern masterpiece of absurdism.

    Ten Years of Kyoto Animation: Missed Tricks and Lasting Hits

    I find a lot fan service oddly out of place in some shows, one that struck me recently was in K (project k, or whatever the proper name for it is), I found thematically the show seemed aimed at an audience that enjoys shounen-ai/BL content, but the show is still peppered full of T&A close up of the female characters. To me I feel that the fan service in this show was not only unnecessary but completely misplaced for the show’s audience.

    Fanservice in Anime: Perception Versus Intent

    I think this article for a great job differentiating between a visual novel that has sex in it and those where sex is the point. I think there is definitely more space for discussion about other visual novels that fall in this category like the works of KEY like Clannad and Air.

    How Empathy Makes Katawa Shoujo Worth Playing

    Honestly having played both OOT and MM both as kid and revisting them as an adult I think that MM feels a lot more focused and intentional. There are wide parts of OOT where it feels like the scope of the game got away from the designers and the game is less tight for it.

    Does Ocarina of Time Still Hold Up By Today's Standards?

    I think the major thesis of this article is flawed because the show was never intended for nor marketed at the traditional magical audience. Madoka Magica was not the ground breaking subversive work that everyone makes it up to be. It was airing at 230 in the morning and written by Gen Urobuchi, (a writer who’s most notable previous work is Say a no Uta, look it up); there was no pretense being made that the show was going to be the cute typical magical girl show.
    While I think you make good points about the nature of horror in Madoka, and how it’s elements are executed, it’s unfair to call the show a subversive work, because it laid out plainly what it’s intentions were before show even started airing.

    Madoka Magica: What Happened to the Happy World of Magical Girls?

    I think one of the major reasons that so many people find these comedy news shows so enjoyable and ultimately reliable is because the unlike a regular composed news anchors one would see on network news, Colbert and Stewart (or at least their personas) would be indignant, upset and emotional about the events of the news where a network anchor would present the news flatly.
    Images, sounds, and video engage an audience’s emotions more more effectively than plain text (this is why newspapers decline as tv stands strong), but when these comedian newsmen directly show emotions the news consumer will like have their emotions affected and because of this give more importance to the news that they made an emotional connection with.

    Real or Reel? The Complicated Personas of Political Comedians

    While I think it is very important to highlight progressive works when they appear, I feel that while your article presented Aoi Hana is the context of Japanese society at large it neglected to place the anime in the context of the medium.
    While there are occasional genuine pieces that break through and get produced into anime, the vast majority of yuri and shojou-ai stories that get made into anime are aimed at the male gaze and fetishize the lesbian relationships in them. For every Aoi Hana or Revolutionary Girl Utena there are a dozen pieces like Sakura Trick, Strike Witches, or Yuru Yuri.
    I think there is a lot of potential for dialogue in how can lesbian (and gay) manga and anime show explicit and sexual relationships without objectifing the characters involved.

    Depictions of the Anime Lesbian: Land of the Rising Queer