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Latest Topics

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Video Games and Crowdfunding: A Retrospective

Kickstarter is the crowdfunding platform many video game developers have turned to in order to fund the development of their personal project. Take a look back at the biggest games of the last five years that have been created with the help of Kickstarter (Undertale, Mighty No. 9, Shovel Knight, etc.). What caused some of them to succeed upon release? What made some of these games disappoint backers and players alike when they released?

  • This topic is so good. It is incredibly relevant to the current gaming landscape. With Yooka Laylee out soon and Bloodstained: ritual of the night coming in 2018, the topic is not going away.Shovel Knight is a fantastic game and has thrived really well, with new expansions coming out every year or so. It has a great following. Mighty No. 9 was extremely disappointing for a variety of reasons. – SeanGadus 2 days ago
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  • A lot of people are losing hope in projects that feature in Kickstarter just like how people now naturally assume that Steam greenlight is filled with shovelware. A lot of people ought to know this is a platform that has made success possible for a lot of determined developers. The message seems to be deteriorating as time passes. – TheUbiquitousAnomaly 2 days ago
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Gentrification and the Fighting Game Community

Analyze the path the Fighting Game Community has taken and how its path towards more mainstream "Esports" appeal may be pulling it further from its roots. Look at how the origins of Fighting Games, which until about 2009 were competitively played primarily in arcades, separated them from other competitive fighting games primarily played online. Look at how the economic factors required to play online games in the early 2000s vs the quarters required to play in an arcade created two separate groups. Look at how attempts to court sponsors to major FGC events could be seen as disrespectful to its roots. The racial undertones of Evo’s "No Thuggery" rule.

  • Great concept! You might have this already in mind, but I'd recommend highlighting the tipping point where fast online connections turned regional gaming competitions into world competitions, perhaps where people from foreign cultures finally had access to sponsored gaming competitions in the US. That moment when gaming blows up on a global scale is an exciting moment for the origin of fighting games. – Nate Océan 1 week ago
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The Focus of Pokemon Games

The Pokémon franchise has captivated audiences worldwide from generation to generation. But what is it about Pokémon that has captivated the people for all these years? Is it the characters within the game, the story plot, the setting, or the phrase "gotta catch ’em all"? Each Pokémon game consisted on having a focus ( a representation on what the game is about). Analyze each game of Pokémon and discuss what these games are talking about.

  • Interesting topic! Perhaps it's the desire for young people (or anyone of any age, really) to travel and adventure. I know more than a handful of people with wanderlust. And to top it all off, there's success as a champion at the end. – ChristinaGilbert 3 months ago
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  • I would also consider how Game Freak balances the popular appeal of Pokemon with the international competitive battling community. They need to have cute and cool Pokemon that are fun to use in the story, and they also need to energize and maintain a diverse meta-game. – bshoalz 3 months ago
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The Evolution of the Horror Genre in Video Games

"Horror" has become a rather subjective term nowadays in that people define it differently and recognize certain qualities of a horror game differently. What is it about certain horror games and/or horror franchises that makes them so successful and so appealing? Is it atmosphere? Is it the amount of jump scares? Is it audio? Is it all of these things combined? Analyze the way the horror game has evolved over the past few decades.

The writer may want to consider (but is certainly not limited to, or required to consider) notable franchises and games such as the Silent Hill franchise, the Resident Evil franchise, Doom, Alan Wake, Five Nights at Freddy’s, Amnesia, Until Dawn, Outlast, and/or Dead Space. What is it about these games that makes them so successful in the horror genre? How thin is the line between horror and just plain silly or ridiculous? Lastly, how might publishers prevent recycling and rehashing the same horror tropes when making a new horror game?

  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent would be great to talk about here because it's been deemed one of the scariest games ever by many, so much so that SOMA, it's successor, was deemed not as scary. I disagree with that because SOMA is mature, brilliant, tension-fueled sci fi horror. (Maybe the genre crossovers like sci fi horror could be a point to bring up? Dead Space, SOMA, Alien: Isolation, etc.) But Amnesia definitely had an influence on horror games. I also think the way Frictional Games changed from Amnesia to SOMA, from frights to existential dread, is something to talk about because it deals with the way horror has changed and is received by an audience. (The reaction that a game is not "scary" without jumpscares and many chase sequences, much like how movies like The Witch are received...) On a smaller note, there's the third person (Silent Hill) and then the now ubiquitous first person POV. I could go on, haha. – Emily Deibler 10 months ago
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  • I've never actually had the guts to play horror games, so I'm very interested in reading this once someone takes it (if someone takes it!). The closest I've ever gotten to horror is F.E.A.R. and Bioshock, neither of which are that bad. – Christina Legler 10 months ago
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  • About F.E.A.R and BioShock, and also Doom, it's possible their accessibility can be discussed when talking about cross-genre horror games, and how the action shooter element may make the horror less alienating for a player who doesn't enjoy horror games without some genre-crossing. Some may be more open if they, say, like fantasy and sci-fi, and the horror is dark fantasy or sci-fi/cosmic horror rather than "plain" horror. – Emily Deibler 10 months ago
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  • That's a really good point! For me personally, I enjoy things with dark elements and the macabre, and Bioshock felt like that for me...which is what made the jump scares and occasionally creepy/horrific parts less traumatic for me. Lol. F.E.A.R. is interesting because, like you said, it's more of a cross-genre game. Parts of the game focus on the creepy horror elements, whereas other parts seem to be strictly FPS (if I remember correctly...I haven't played that game in years). There is a nice balance in there that makes it bearable. On the other hand, something like P.T. (which I didn't have the nerves to play...I only ended up watching walkthroughs on Youtube) terrifies me because of the atmosphere and the constant sense of inescapable dread, since you don't know what will happen or when it will happen because the AI is so advanced. – Christina Legler 10 months ago
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  • I was pretty freaked out by the first BioShock, despite being a horror fan. The Splicers were pretty scary, and I have this fear of the ocean. And P.T. is terrifying. It definitely feels confined--and many horror games like P.T., Amnesia, SOMA, and Layers of Fear have no shoot/fight option. In some, you can run and hide, but if it's like P.T., it's just a hallway. There's nowhere to go. And the unpredictability of the A.I. definitely enhances the terror. – Emily Deibler 10 months ago
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  • I love horror games. I think the genre is so broad because you have action-horror games that have many jump-scares and monsters, but you also have games that focus more on the atmosphere and narrative to create the horror aspect. It is very interesting. I hope somebody picks up this topic. – Lexzie 10 months ago
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  • Explore the difference between RPGs and Literature as the first-person narrative is you in a much more explicit way than the "you seeing through someone else's eyes" of novels. Horror is such an engaging gaming genre not because of the individual elements but because of the user's experience in dabbling in adrenaline and conjuring real and lasting images in the user's mind. You have the safety of playing from your living room, but it feels instead like you've invited the horror into that living room, rather than stay removed form it.If we want to pick apart the elements, the ever-evolving graphics, acute plot writing, dark visuals, swelling and eerie original compositions are all contributing factors, but it's the reward of the cinematic, particularly the jolt in transitioning from "how do I react/escape from this once I regain control" and are thrust back into the game post-cinematic. Those cutaway scenes have developed in ways that contribute instrumentally to the user experience. – PiperCJ 10 months ago
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  • Great topic! – alexledonne 6 months ago
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Feminism in Video Games

Are video games getting better or worse at depicting women? What should they do to change it? How can they find a balance?

  • I don't have a lot of knowledge on this subject because of my limited experience with video games, but I think it could make for an interesting article. The first female characters that come to mind are the tough warrior types (female knights in medieval fantasy games) or, on the other hand, the overtly sexual types (such as Cortana in the Halo series). This article would need many examples to form a complete argument. – AlexanderLee 3 months ago
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  • There's also the tropes of the damsel-in-distress (re: plot device) or the naive/innocent girls who are really there to be love interests (or to be killed off to spur the protagonist onward in his journey). I think the topic might be difficult when considering the amount of female representation across many genres of games. It might help to narrow it down to specific genres or even specific series, or high-selling games with notable female characters. You can even discuss the seeming absence of female characters in certain games. – Karen 3 months ago
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  • Could you suggest some thought-provoking video games that could compliment the topic? Some suggestions with a strong female protagonist or sidekick could be helpful. The only one I can think of now is Bioshock Infinite with Elizabeth as the sidekick. Other than that, I think this is a promising topic. – AbeRamirez 3 months ago
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  • I would suggest looking into Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite and the damsel in distress trope and how it confirms and breaks from this trope.Also, you might possibly examine Ellie from the Last of Us. She is a very interesting female character.– SeanGadus 3 months ago
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  • At least people aren't hating on what they did with Mei in overwatch – TBNRronic 4 weeks ago
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  • In my recent experience I have had the choice to be male or female in many games. In some games, it makes more sense to be male but in other if you were anything but female you would lose. Logically, it no longer makes sense to have just one gender and big companies are seeing that. – Angel1014 3 weeks ago
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Best Launch Titles In Video Games

It is always exciting when a console or handheld device launches! But there isn’t always great games to play day 1 when a system comes out. With the Nintendo Switch and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild launching tomorrow (Zelda is receiving rave reviews from a variety of critics), what are some of the best launch games (on any consoles/handheld) in history?

  • Note, after playing Breath of the wild for a day, I think it should be high on this list... – SeanGadus 4 weeks ago
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Economic analysis of early-access and preordering games

Analyze the steady push of AAA developers to offer "early-access" to an unfinished game, the economics of pre-release hype and how it can immensely help the numbers of a sub-par game (see: No Man’s Sky), and the disturbing trend of releasing a game whether it’s finished or not–only to release the rest of the game as expensive DLC (Star Wars Battlefront). Are these methods sustainable or will enough disappointment eventually dissuade gamers from preordering?

  • A good way to drive the point home would be to compare games released before pre-release culture with games being released toady. What would have happened if an unfinished game were released on a system that had no internet access? You could also look at how specific game franchises or developers have changed (for better or worse) over the years. – Disastromancer 4 weeks ago
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  • Have you heard about Star Citizen?It started as a crow-fund project and now its like this whole investment monster. Its initial goal was for 2 million dollars and was slated to be released a few years ago. But as of now, the project has been funded 141 million dollars, thus giving the creators opportunities to make the game bigger than its initial concept. Its gotten to the point where donators have been given unique starships, planets and in-game money.The game itself has become an enterprise and it hasn't even been released.I think people, in this case, like to feel part of something as big as this and be compensated for it. Everybody wins.In the case of DLCs and expansions, I feel like regardless of people not wanting to purchase them, they will still feel peer pressured into it. – jcastro4 4 weeks ago
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  • Also, it's worth noting the ways that places like Amazon, through Prime, are incentivizing consumers in the current market to buy physical games. With prime, Tier 2 editions are discounted often to where the MSRP is for a regular Tier 1 "standard" edition, and the same sort of relationship goes for the Tier 3 editions to the Tier 2 editions. Great topic, and worth exploring. – Paul A. Crutcher 4 weeks ago
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  • I feel like preordering is more of a AAA practice, where you see early access done far more often in the indy scene, as paid early access often helps bridge the gap that would normally be bridged by a publisher. – John Wells 3 weeks ago
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Games and Rising Costs

I’d like to see a discussion on the rising costs of games and the resulting considerations that are being made re: industry trends, such as where the resources are going, and what that means for creativity, innovation, etc.

Also what this means for the on-going discourse re: content vs costs. How much content justifies the cost of the Day One pricetag? Developers are pushing a notion that many hours in an open world will equal more bang for your buck, and so we’ve seen on-going debate about quality vs. quantity while more and more games are being made in accordance with the "more hours = worth it" mentality. What of those of us who don’t have the hours in a week to sink into a game? Do we get left behind?

  • I work at an electronics store that sells video games- I am also not a huge gamer- and have therefore always been baffled at the exorbitant price tag attached to most games upon their release. I would like to see someone discuss this topic in the way you have proposed. From what I understand, Open-Word maps (such as those available on Skyrim, Grand Theft Auto, Fallout, etc.) are becoming the norm and may be taking away from some of the deeper, more involved narrative interactions (ex. L.A. Noir.)My one suggestion would be to introduce the competition that modern day piracy provides. PC gamers can often pirate games for free and play unlimited time for free on their computer, along with downloading mods, making this platform a more customizable and cost effective choice for gamers. This creates a sales deficit for platform games that a huge price tag helps make up for. Other than the addition of that point I'd narrow the thesis and keep rolling with it. – AndyJanz 1 month ago
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  • This, is a topic I would love to see being put forward! Thank you for sharing! – shehrozeameen 1 month ago
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  • This is a really good topic. I think there has always been a debate about the value of a game versus the number of hours you spend with it. I don't think you can equate value to number of hours a game takes because you should also factor in the quality of experience, nature of the game and its genre and other factors.The indie video game community is an interesting example of this. Indie games can range in price and range of experience. Online distribution of games through Xbox Store, Steam, Playstation Plus, and The Nintendo E-shop has allowed some companies to sell games for a cheaper price then $60 and challenge some notions of what a game should cost.You can also think about DLC and the sometimes hidden cost it can entain and how companies roll out this extra content, which will be charged for. – SeanGadus 1 month ago
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  • It's also important to note how many games are getting price cuts so soon after release. For example, Titanfall 2 and Battlefield 1 can often be found for $30-$40 despite it only being out for a few months. Also, Amazon Prime and Best Buy Gamers Club offer 20% discounts for preorders and games until 2 weeks after release. Lots of analysis could be put into the economics of preorders, the culture of AAA producers pushing pre-orders and how pre-release hype can immensely help a game's bottom line regardless of quality (see: No Man's Sky). – Sofie 1 month ago
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  • There are also issues of rising sales goals for video games. When the Tomb Raider reboot came out and sold 3.4 million copies Square Enix later came out and said that it had "failed to meet sales expectations." When games are so expensive that selling a million copies can be seen as a failure, how does that affect the design space? – John Wells 3 weeks ago
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