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Knuckles is Black: Racial coding in video games

Knuckles the Echidna, a prominent character in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, has often been associated with the African American/ Black racial identity due to his distinctive design and personality traits. Not to mention his various theme songs in the games. For this article the writer should delve into the nuanced discussion surrounding Knuckles’ racial representation within the Sonic universe.

They can explore the cultural significance of Knuckles being portrayed as a strong, independent character with traits that some interpret as reflecting aspects of Black identity.

Consider the implications of racial representation in gaming, including themes of diversity, stereotypes, and the importance of authentic representation. Reflect on how Knuckles’ character resonates with audiences and contributes to broader conversations about race and representation in popular culture.


    The Rise of Cozy Games

    Analyze the rise of cozy games and why they are becoming so popular. Jumpstart Magazine defines cozy games as "a type of gameplay that emphasizes relaxation, comfort and self-care." Cozy games tend to have calm music and a slower game pace. Look at why cozy games continue to grow. For example, cozy games are an escape from the fast paced nature of reality. When compared to games like Fortnite, they provide a much more calm experience. This resonates with a certain subsection of gamers. What is the demographic of this subsection? Additionally, the cozy game sphere tends to be more welcoming to marginalized folk such a people of color, those who identify as LGBTQIA or disabled.

    • Great topic! Just for clarity though, maybe provide a couple of examples of cozy games? I think I know what these are but am not 100% sure, so maybe others have that question, too. – Stephanie M. 6 months ago
    Taken by Sunni Rashad (PM) 1 month ago.

    Has Achieving a Platinum Trophy or Equivalent in Games Become too Time Consuming?

    Most games, since the rise of the PS3 and Xbox 360, have introduced some kind of trophy system that marks completion progress. Some trophies or achievements provide some challenge, while, depending on the age of the game and if multiplayer is involved, some trophies are nearly impossible to obtain. In more current generation consoles, particularly if a game is known to be difficult, like Dark Souls, or long, like the Persona franchise, there is usually a tedious nature to obtaining that coveted platinum trophy or other mark of completion. However, especially in older games that received a remaster or port from a time when there were no trophies or achievements to mark progress, a lot of the added in trophies can become a little ridiculous and suck the fun out of the game until you have that one flawless run.

    The topic taker should examine whether or not platinuming or otherwise achieving a maximum achievement score has become too tedious for players, given the example above. Clearly, completing any game to that level is a matter of choice, so that aspect should also be touched on. In addition, the topic taker should consider whether or not achieving such feats adds or detracts from the fun of gaming, if it may add too much bloat to the game, and, as the title suggests, if it forces a causal gamer to feel more like a let’s player or streamer at the end of the day.

    For resources to start with, the topic taker should consider the list of achievements for platinuming or reaching the most achievements with a variety of games, some remasters or ports that did not have trophies or achievements when they were released, such as the Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 releases, as well as more modern games, such as Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla where the trophy/achievement system is innate to the product, for example, focusing particularly on any trophies or achievements that seem to not make much sense in the list, or clearly have a lot of players complaining about the difficulty to achieve the trophy or achievement–likely resulting in a low trophy or achievement percentage–that bars them from 100% completion.

    Using these starting points, the topic taker could then jump into the phenomena of completing a game and what it means at a societal, within gaming communities, and/or psychological level and then from there determine if completing games for the reward is worth the time put into it or not.


      Replayability in games: is it really necessary?

      Replayability is a measurement of how much fun a game is to play over and over again – how much new content there will be on each playthrough, how much you can vary your playstyle, how many different endings or paths the different quests/stories have for you to explore each time. It is something it is generally considered good for a game to have, especially in certain genres. Many players want to be able to play their favourite games again and again, but with enough variation that it is never boring.

      However, replayability is something that cannot be (and isn’t) pursued in every game. Many story focused games are not particularly replayable, as their goal is to focus on telling one very good or in-depth story – and to focus on replayability could take away from that. There is also the fact that to make a game very replayable takes a lot of time and effort to code and design all the different playstyles/endings/quests etc. This is time and effort that may be needed elsewhere or would possibly be better spent polishing the main game. Not everyone plays again and again after all, so is it really so crucial to ensure that every single playthrough is entirely unique?

      This article would delve into the concept of replayability, exploring whether it is truly important for games to be infinitely replayable or more important to create a good experience the first time round.

      • Very nice! As a longtime player, may I particularly suggest Hogwarts Mystery for examination? The developers added a replay option within the last year or so, so that players could change their houses or relive certain moments if they wanted. The downside though, is that replay kicks you all the way back to first year, and you lose access to anything you've won or purchased. It's a conundrum for sure. – Stephanie M. 5 months ago
      • A very interesting topic! Although I don’t think every game has to be replayable, replayability is certainly a feature unique to the game as a storytelling media. If there is only one possible storyline, novels, anime, or film allows the producers to polish the story even better because those media have a better control on the pace of the stories than games. However, Baldur’s Gate and Elden Ring cannot be easily transformed into other media, because they have various possible ending. That is something only possible with games. – AlisaN 5 months ago
      • Cool point, I've found that replayability has a bit of a personal edge for me. Replaying games at different stages of life is way more of an experience than any new game plus content or add-on. – jsmilo 4 months ago

      Time-out features in video games

      Video games can often be addicting, and it can be very tempting to play for long periods of time without stopping. To stop this, some games (mostly those designed with kids and families in mind) will implement features designed to stop players from going overboard and playing for too long. This can be a pop-up message noting that you’ve played for quite a while and should take a break (such as those seen in Wii games like Wii Sports) or a feature integrated into the game itself (such as the iconic phone call from your dad in Earthbound).
      These types of features serve a useful purpose, especially when it comes to games for kids whose parents might want to regulate their screen time but also for anyone. But of course, they also break immersion and can feel frustrating. This article would discuss the time-out features of video games, and their positives and negatives.


        The draw of idle games

        On flash game websites (such as Kongregate), there is an abundance of idle games, and every time I look there seem to be more. They seem to be very popular, despite the lack of gameplay (hence the ‘idle’). So what is the draw behind idle games, and why are they so prolific? Examples to consider could be cookie clicker, anti-idle, crush crush, etc.

        • I like the idea of investigating this further, however, I think maybe there needs to be more suggested for the discussion. A lot of these games have a psychological impact on the player of achieving and collecting so exploring these player motivation models would be a good foundation. Then building it out into a wider context with similar systems in other games. So using something like City Skylines or other sim/management games as these have a capacity of idle gameplay to support further, more active gameplay later on. – CAntonyBaker 4 years ago
        • Expand, please? I'm not familiar with this term. You might compare/contrast with whatever the opposite of an idle game is, and define what the opposites are as well. – Stephanie M. 7 months ago

        Why Do We Just Want to Be Pixelated Billionaires

        In modern games, the connection between capitalism and virtual realms reveals intriguing dynamics. An engaging aspect lies within the intricate economies crafted within these digital landscapes. Many of us feel broke in the face of the allure of accumulating virtual wealth, even in the game world. How inherently capitalistic is this?

        Consider the Smooth Love Potion (SLP) within the realm of Axie Infinity or the coveted PLEX of Eve Online. These alternative currencies serve as beacons of virtual prosperity, beckoning players to pursue the coveted status of rich players.

        In the vast majority, if not all, modern games, players willingly invest their hard-earned dollars to acquire these alternative currencies, which can be far more valuable than traditional forms of wealth within the game. The acquisition of extravagant skins, weapons, and treasures becomes a symbol of status and achievement, driving players to strive for in-game riches.

        Amidst this pursuit, it is essential to understand the motivations that fuel such dedication. What really lies beneath the surface of this quest for virtual wealth? This article will delve into the intricate ties between the virtual and the real, the motivations that propel players, and the profound implications these virtual economies have on the broader scope of the gaming industry and its connectedness with the realm of capitalism.

        • I think with the collapse of Crypto/NFTs this is a ripe area to explore as a post-mortem. But if one wants to make it more comprehensive I'd look at how money was previously used in games prior to the ability to spend real life money in game. The ways players are incentivized towards capitalism in gaming even in the past. – Sunni Ago 2 months ago

        The Minecraft loophole: a library of banned journalism

        In 2020, Minecraft transcended the gaming sphere and became a medium through which to read banned journalism. A project started by Reporters Without Borders, the library holds work by censored journalists all across the world, with some of their most dangerous writings embedded and available to read right there in the game.

        In a world that grows more and more fond of censorship and bookburning, how are video games (minecraft in particular as a recent example), and other media being used to subvert the attempted erasure of political commentary? What opportunities do video games open up which circumvent censorship in ways that didn’t exist before? What does this subversion look like in a digital landscape? Feel free to take some of these questions and run with them!