Nicole Williams

Nicole Williams

A college senior from New Jersey in love with writing, art, and thinking about media's roles in society.

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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics

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    Anxiety-Inducing Video Games: Fun, Frightening, or Both?

    During this month’s annual Steam super sale, I, letting my curiosity get the best of me, purchased "Five Nights at Freddy’s." I first tried to play it at night, thinking that that would make the experience better, but I panicked and quit after the first level. The next day, I realized that the game creates so much anxiety for me that I can’t even play it during the day with my TV on and my dog sitting comfortably at my side.

    Long story short, it would be interesting to explore anxiety-inducing video games (particularly those of the survival horror genre) and why/how they are enjoyable to play. I can’t even begin to imagine how some people play "Outlast" wearing noise-cancelling headphones with all of the lights out in the middle of the night. What makes these games enjoyable? Is the anxiety that they create a fun sensation for some? Maybe they’re not enjoyable at all, but there’s something else to them that keeps people playing.

    • It honestly depends on the person. That's why romantic comedies and horrors can both exist; some people like one or the other, some both. Some embrace the adrenaline and the fear and others hate it. Neither are wrong, and neither are right. It's simply based in preference and how a person is wired. – G Anderson Lake 5 years ago
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    • Absolutely! I would just love to know what the appeal is for those who do enjoy playing them. What makes the game worth playing? Is there some kind of science behind why this anxiety is enjoyable for some? – Nicole Williams 5 years ago
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    • I haven't played this game but I think it could probably contribute to the anxiety inducing games you've listed, it's called "Depression Quest." It probably isn't scary but it is literally about living with depression and managing your anxieties? – Slaidey 5 years ago
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    • I think it’s the adrenaline rush. For games with pop-ups, your senses are heightened because you don’t know what’s going to come out. Also, the player is in control of their actions, which makes it even more nerve wracking (but fun for some people!) I feel like the experience is different when played with friends, so maybe there can be a small section in the article explaining the difference between solo and multiplayer. (Ex: Don’t starve is a multiplayer horror game.) – YsabelGo 5 years ago
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    • Ysabel summed it up quite nicely. The adrenaline rush is certainly a big reason.There's also a feeling of triumph when you progress through a spooky area of a game. Playing survival horror type games like Outlast, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, etc, there can be a sensation of victory and relief when you finally conquered and/or escaped a difficult and frightening enemy. Those moments of relief when you finally feel safe can be priceless to a player's overall enjoyment of the game.To put it quite literally, you feel like you have "survived" the horror you experienced, and it's quite a rewarding sentiment. – BradShankar 5 years ago
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    Family Dynamics in Popular Sitcoms

    Many popular sitcoms in recent memory prominently feature families (Modern Family, The Middle, The Goldbergs), and networks like ABC frequently roll out new family sitcoms (Blackish, Fresh Off the Boat). What is it about the family unit and family dynamics that makes the family such a popular subject in sitcoms? What do these shows attempt to say about families? What does this say about families within our culture, in general?

    • The secret behind the success of the family sit-com is largely down to the massive scope of audience members it can pull in. It is literally for the entire family. There is a type of humour for whoever you are, and these types of humour are often represented by the characters of the families (I think The Simpsons is probably the perfect example). Obviously each show needs a quirk and these will distinguish themselves from the other shows that are fundamentally the same. Modern Family has the variety of families down (A. Average/stereotypical family B. The gay couple with adopted child C. Multi-cultural family) as well as the fact it is filmed like a mockumentary. The with something like the Goldbergs which is loosely based off of the show's creator's own home videos. Whoever does write this don't forget about the animated shows like The Simpsons, Family Guy etc. – Jamie White 5 years ago
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    What Gives a Show Rewatch Value?

    Some shows and movies are rerun over and over again on popular TV networks (like ABC Family’s Harry Potter Weekend that is repeated a few times per year and AMC’s "The Walking Dead" marathons), while others are hardly ever replayed. Networks seem to choose shows that viewers want to see multiple times. What gives certain shows and movies rewatch value? What qualities do they have that makes viewers want to see them numerous times?

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      The Evolution of MTV

      MTV has evolved over the years from a channel exclusively devoted to music videos to one that features documentaries and reality TV shows in addition to music and celebrity-related news and programming. Nevertheless, it has remained a beloved pop culture phenomenon. It has also made a point of featuring programs that are centered around conversations about race, class, sex sexuality, unique lifestyles, and the like. Explore the evolution of MTV. How has its programming changed? Why have these changes occurred? What does this say about our culture, how our culture influences TV programming, and conversely, how our culture is influenced by TV?

      • Actually I listened to a keynote speech from the guy that voiced/came up with Ed the Sock. He said a lot of the major changes that occurred in MTV came from the Canadian MTV trying to copy what American MTV was doing years before hand, as opposed to focusing on things that Canadian viewers were asking for at the time. – Sunbro 5 years ago
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      Gaming and the Advent of Virtual Reality

      Explore the coming of age of virtual reality as a technology with the potential to revolutionize video games. What is virtual reality? How will virtual reality affect gaming and the gaming industry? How does the technology work, and how close is it to becoming a household item? What are some of the major companies that are working on virtual reality technologies right now?

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        literature
        Write this topic

        From the Page to the Stage: Adapting Writing for Performance

        This summer, Broadway has brought to life two beloved texts for the first time: Mark Haddon’s novel "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" and Alison Bechdel’s tragicomic graphic memoir "Fun Home."

        What goes into adapting a text for the stage? How do playwrights manage to reimagine text-based works into something visual, and what are the results? How is a text selected for stage adaptation?

        • This is such an interesting and relevant topic! This could even be under the "Arts" category if the reader plans to take more of a theatrical perspective rather than a literary one. – Rachel Watson 5 years ago
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        Are Creative Writing Courses Ineffectual?

        Last March, Hanif Kureishi, teacher of creative writing at Kingston University, dismissed creative writing classes as "a waste of time," calling "99.9%" of his students "untalented." Some, like Kureishi, would argue that creative writing is a skill that cannot be taught; however, these courses are more popular now than ever. Does this argument hold up? Or can creative writing indeed be taught to some degree? If it can’t, is there another way in which these courses can be beneficial to those who enroll?

        • I would like to fight Mr. Kureishi. Genuinely, I would like to fight him. I just claimed a topic and I'm working on an article for that one, but I'm very tempted to grab this one, too- I have strong feelings about this. Because, seriously, he's wrong as hell, and people like him are why some parts of the writing and publishing industry are terrible places to hang out.There are plenty of things a person can (and, arguably, MUST) be taught in order to be a good writer. Talent is great- I am lucky enough to have been blessed with it. But I've also attended tens, maybe hundreds of various writing workshops in my 18 short years, and I've gotten something out of every single one of them. I'd not be anything like the writer I am today without taking those courses, and I think it's probably the same for any successful author. Sure, some people wake up one day and sit down and write masterpieces, but that's rare. More often, good writers spend years BECOMING good, and sometimes even then they can't be successful, because it's hard as hell to be a writer. You have to learn somewhere, whether it's from book, from courses, or just from talking to other writers or editors or whoever. There's huge benefit in creative writing courses, and good writing (at least on some level) can absolutely be taught.tl;dr Hanif Kureisi is clearly bitter and full of it, and I will personally fight him and every other person who has ever made comments similar to his. There's LOTS to be gained from creative writing courses, they're REALLY important, and they're VERY useful. – Julia 5 years ago
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        • I also agree that creative writing classes can be beneficial. I've taken a few in college and I feel like I learned a lot. It helped me prioritize what things I should focus on while I write (POV, plot, dialogue, etc.). I also found it beneficial to learn from professors who had been published and from classmates who enjoyed writing as much as I did. The deadlines and discipline associated with taking a course more generally helped me set a writing schedule (as soon as I graduated, I had to reset my schedule and have been struggling with that since). Although, grading creative writing material is subjective and would be difficult to do. – S.A. Takacs 5 years ago
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        • I agree creative writing classes are beneficial. Skills and passions lie dormant if they are not first discovered, and then fostered. What better way than through teaching. Everyone has capacity for creativity, which is a skill that can be brought into any field or job and be an asset. – Steffanie 5 years ago
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        • I think Hanif is correct in his reasoning in why he is there. As a production and fine arts professor, I know that a majority of my intro students don't have what it takes to make it. Some may have their lives enriched but as someone who dedicated themselves to the craft, they are really eating the tone of people who well also dedicate themselves to the same feels of study.With that said the creativity can and should be nurtured. I tend not to fall students trying on new things. I encourage them and their growth. Sometimes trying to find out what is stopping them from being good artists helps me learn how to teach. better.The are many systems that help organize thoughts into manipulatable data points. Teachers like hanif should take a stand everynow and then. What trapped in his class no one knows. But I did have a student who cited himself in his own paper and he was never published before.There is lack pod talent and then their is lack of talent and laziness, that is a horrible combination in the creative industries. – fchery 5 years ago
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        • Clearly he doesn't know what he's talking about. The problem is not that creative writing can't be taught. This teacher is probably under the assumption that he was not taught, therefore 'it' is not taught. This is a wrong way of looking at it. Creative writing can be taught but it needs to be taught differently. The probem with these courses (I took one in University) is that they focus too much on the different kinds of Literature and post required readings. It would be best to explore the students' interests and come up with ideas, less reading more writing. Some argue that reading is essential to be a good writer but students read enough in general English classes. Creative writing can be taught, but the teaching style should be remodeled. It's not a subject we're teaching now but an actual action of writing. This means they learn by doing. – SpectreWriter 5 years ago
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        • I took two creative writing class in my third year of university. One for prose and poetry, and the other for playwriting. Both teacher's had their unique way of teaching and approaching the assignments, as well as grading their students. I found my creative writing class to be mechanical, boring, and strict. My playwriting class the opposite. My professor spends her attention on each of her students, working with them to accomplish what they want and need. There were fewer students in this class than to the creative writing class, which was open admission. To participate in playwriting, students has to apply. I believe it depends on both the teacher and the student. People are capable of learning. And when they study something they feel passionate about, a class can work wonders. Training is essential. I don't think anyone should discourage a human being from practice/training. – yase 5 years ago
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        • So far I have not learned didly squat in the two creative writing classes at what I was told was a good creative writing progam. This is how it works. You basically write one short story, maybe revise it, and that's it, while reading everyone else's story, most of whom have no skill in the art of language and prose and are probably just there for the credits. That sounds very cruel but it's the truth. Then we read realist fiction and I got nothing out of it. We discussed it yes, but none of these stories stimulated my mind except for a few. Their prose was too basic and ordinary. And we almost never talked about plot structure, characters, sentence structure, linguistics, metaphors, story genres, description, editing, etc. We talked not about any of these very important features. I have learned so much more in my literature classes and history classes. It is these classes that have influenced my writing. It is the ideas and the texts I learn in Medieval literature and Ancient Greece for example, or the literature of the ancients and how academics interpret them that inspire me. What a writer needs to learn is how to basically write a sentence. That's taught in grade school. After that it's really artistic choices. Talent and work. If a creative writing class can expose students to a variety of genres and as practice write a story micking that genre, then I will believe a creative writing class works. Until then I am convinced that writing is a self taught thing where it's talent and work that counts. I hope you find this viewpoint useful. – Starvix Draxon 5 years ago
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        Moral Ambiguity in Popular TV Shows

        Many of today’s most popular TV shows prominently feature morally ambiguous characters and situations. Characters like Breaking Bad’s Walter White and The Walking Dead’s Rick Grimes are cast as the shows’ main protagonists ("good guys"), but do they always do "the right thing?"

        Explore the idea of moral ambiguity in popular TV shows. Does this mark a departure from what has been popular on TV in the past? What is moral ambiguity’s function on TV?

        • Another good show/character to focus on would be Under the Dome/Big Jim. – BethanyS 5 years ago
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        • Who are the good guys? Who are the bad guys? What defines good and bad? Who defines good or bad, and what gives them that right? The topic of moral ambiguity is relevant to contemporary society because we are a society growing out of the good guy-bad guy mentality. The globalization of communication has connected people from all different backgrounds all across the world. People are realizing that there are no good people or bad people, just one kind of person, humans. What these shows are trying to portray are the situations that cause people to behave in ways contrary to their morality, themes of redemption, upheaval of traditional ideals and values, and how human morality changes as the world around changes (Walter's illness and finances change drastically when he diagnosed, the world that Rick Grimes lives in is like nothing that we know now). – Visenya 5 years ago
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        • One of the best examples of this subject would be Tony Soprano. He was very influential on future television dramas. – Joseph Manduke IV 5 years ago
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        • Not to mention, Rumple, Zelena, and Regina in OUAT. And Snow's method of saving Rumple's life. – EllenFleischer 5 years ago
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        Latest Comments

        Nicole Williams

        Such a compelling take on a season that, in my opinion, was rather lackluster. Thanks for this! If I were to go back and rewatch this season of the show after having read this article, I would likely enjoy it more, knowing more of the historical background of freak shows and how they’re hidden in plain sight today.

        The Modern Freak Show
        Nicole Williams

        I like how you explored the possible implications of Deanna as the leader, Rick as the leader, and both as leaders together. I wrote a paper last year about shifts in survivor group morality with the progression of The Walking Dead, and it was interesting to explore how different ethical methodologies stand up in the post-apocalyptic world.

        The Walking Dead: Rick vs Deanna
        Nicole Williams

        That’s your opinion. It’s impossible to definitively say.

        The Art of Francesca Woodman: Haunting, Evocative, Personal
        Nicole Williams

        That’s like comparing the plays of Shakespeare to “50 Shades of Grey.” Stieglitz is one of the greatest photographers in history and arguably the greatest American photographer to ever live. He is considered as such by pretty much everybody who knows anything about art.

        You can’t make a comment like that without backing it up and expect to be taken seriously.

        Alfred Stieglitz: Meet the Artist Who Popularized Photography in America
        Alfred Stieglitz: Meet the Artist Who Popularized Photography in America
        Nicole Williams

        Thank you for that! I’ve never heard that story before, but I’m so so glad that I do now.

        Alfred Stieglitz: Meet the Artist Who Popularized Photography in America
        Nicole Williams

        There have been so many different takes on the “zombie apocalypse” theme in movies, books, games, etc. Many of them are ambiguous when it comes to explaining how the epidemic started, so it’s refreshing to read about one that’s grounded in some sort of reality.

        Great article!

        The Last Of Us: Inspiration Behind the Infected
        Nicole Williams

        A lot of people have made that observation. Her mother has insisted that she wasn’t looking to disappear, but it’s really difficult to say for sure.

        She certainly is fascinating!

        The Art of Francesca Woodman: Haunting, Evocative, Personal