mrgawlik

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Latest Articles

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    Can Single Player Video Games Encourage Teamwork?

    Consider video games, such as the Sly Cooper series, that require a single player to take on the role of multiple characters. What implications do games that force players to utilize different gaming styles and strategies have for encouraging teamwork and collaboration, especially in young players? How do in-game biases towards particular characters, such as Sly, who can do far more than Bentley or Murray, affect the way players think about leaders, followers, and capabilities? It might also be interesting to consider the benefits and detriments to having single players learn this alone, rather than in a multiplayer game that requires more than one real people to collaborate for success.

    • The Sly Cooper series is one of my favorite video games from my childhood. I had never thought about that aspect of it before though. You're right that Sly Cooper is the main attraction of the games. He's the cool, suave guy who picks pockets with ease and gets the girl. Bentley and Murray have smaller missions by comparison but are nonetheless important to Sly's success as a thief. They take a backseat to Sly's visibility as a leader and hero, which tends to be an underrated quality. That doesn't make them "followers" just because the spotlight isn't on them. As kids, there's often a huge stress on becoming strong leaders but it's important to evaluate what actually means. As gamers, we're given control over each character in the Sly Cooper series at the precise moment when we need their strengths in that given situation. Sly's good at stealth, Bentley at intelligence and hacking, and Murray is the muscle. They rely on each other's individual strengths to function as a team. That's a different type of teamwork than as you say, multiplayer games, and it also functions differently than the turn-based systems that have been used in games such as the Final Fantasy series. There are certain implications involved in that which are worth exploring. – aprosaicpintofpisces 4 years ago
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    • While I do think single player games can incorporate and introduce teamwork to the player, it's multiplayer games that involve the player in better teamwork scenarios. With single player games, I can learn and build on how I work as a player in said games. But when those games place me into a multiplayer setting with real people beside me, compared to when I'm fighting alongside AI characters, I feel like I'm contributing to the cause instead of doing everything on my own. The sense of teamwork without real conversation isn't there for me. The feeling of making a difference isn't in my heart or mind or eyes. With real people by my side and in my ear, talking with me when I talk, I have a feeling of a team player, as someone who is actually accomplishing something for the good of others. – JRG 4 years ago
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    • YES 1000x With the new and developing world of competitive video games, many games like Battlefield, Call of Duty, Destiny, League to Legends, and many more, these single player games where their is an objective, many people can make these games more enjoyable with the addition of team based things such as Esports, which is competitive sporting by professional gamers, which take mainly single player games and turn them into team based games. – dff5088 3 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    What a well written and thoughtful article. I think the thing that makes The Witch particularly powerful is the way in which it shows the fear that its characters have in their situation. Thomasin is, throughout the movie, genuinely afraid of the idea that she might be a witch without even realizing it. Cast out of the colony and into the countryside, which, as you mention, was particularly feared among Puritans for representing sin and lack of restraint, she could become closer to a witch than she previously was. Witches’ covens took place in the forest, not on the street of a village; away from the watchful eyes of a community, the goat could become Satan. While the film might not be as pee-your-pants frightening as some other films to the audience, that’s only because witchcraft has, since the 19th century, become less fearful and trying an idea for American society. To Thomasin and her family, though, that fear is very much alive, and their changed circumstances make the likelihood of it affecting them greater. The film succeeds, then, as a horror piece because it conveys to the audience the fear that the characters have in their circumstances, even if that’s not a concern viewers themselves share.

    The Witch: Yes, It is a "True" Horror Film

    This article makes a number of important points about how Gone Girl was received by audiences versus what its filmmakers’ intentions were. Chief among these is the description of how the filmmakers do not try to normalize Amy’s behavior–she IS a calculating, manipulative, and deplorable character, but the film itself never seems to suggest that being so is indicative of a greater pattern in women’s behavior.

    It’s interesting to consider how Gone Girl compares against The Girl on the Train, in which [SPOILERS AHEAD] a man is the most violent and deranged person amongst a group of highly unlikable and complex characters. A particularly interesting difference between the two stories is how desexualized Amy is in Gone Girl and how hypersexual Tom is in TGOTT–in fact, it’s Tom’s lust and possessiveness/intense control issues that causes him to act violently. I would be curious to hear your thoughts on how these representations conform to or contradict assumed gender norms, and whether or not you think one depiction is more damaging than the other.

    What The Audience Got Wrong About "Gone Girl"

    I’m not sure that I would say Draco is entirely redeemed at the end of the series–after all, he only exchanges a nod with Harry at Platform 9 3/4. There’s no other mention of the two getting along, or of Draco leading a respectable life. On top of that, Ron tells Rose that she’s to beat Scorpius on every test, indicating that there’s at least some tension still there between old enemies.

    In many ways, Draco’s arc is less about becoming good than it is about being strong enough to shake off his worst traits. In the epilogue, Draco hasn’t become a beacon of tolerance or respectability–he’s likely as arrogant, privileged, and prejudiced a man as he was a boy. But what’s most important is that he’s bad, not evil. Sure, he might still think Muggle-Borns are beneath him and that Harry is a threat to proper wizarding society, but he doesn’t act on that in the way true Death Eaters did. He couldn’t bring himself to kill a man whom he and his family actively demeaned and considered a disgrace to wizards. He couldn’t bring himself to turn over turn boy whom he long hated and envied. What makes Draco an interesting character is that he’s a terrible person, but not in the same way that Voldemort is. He might be filled with terrible qualities, but he manages to stifle them. Draco falls somewhere in the middle of a morality spectrum, and this is what makes the Harry Potter books so powerful; aside from Voldemort and Bellatrix, even the worst characters have redeeming qualities and moments (and even the best characters, like Dumbledore, have foibles). Draco is arguably the best example of this in the series, and his development in the last three books in particular is worth looking at closely when reading them.

    Why Draco Malfoy is one of the Most Underrated Characters in 'Harry Potter'