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Latest Topics

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How Many Times Can We Get Them To Buy It?

With recent repacking and re-releases of old titles, what are the most egregious examples of bringing out the same versions of games for that yankee dollar?

  • Final Fantasy X. I own that game four times over. First PS2 disc got scratched, so I bought another (nothing to do with corporate greed, but it explains the four); I bought the remaster on PS3 then a couple of years later got it again for ps4. – AGMacdonald 5 days ago
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Is it important for video games to have well-written plot and dialogue?

Break down how important well-written plot and dialogue are to video games. While obviously pure action games like Smite and Overwatch don’t need much of a plot, and nothing resembling dialogue, what about games with a campaign mode? Does steering away from Hollywood cliches, poorly-constructed storylines and so on significantly improve the quality of a game? Or does gameplay/cinematography/etc. always trump the quality of the writing?

  • I would love to read an article about this. It's like when CG just became popular and every movie wanted to use it as much as possible, sacrificing the writing and characters for it. – NBlumenthal 7 months ago
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  • Narrative can be a powerful tool and if that's missing from contemporary video games, its definitely worth exploring. In film, the standard narrative is the traditional trope, so maybe talking about how narrative works in different mediums would also be helpful. – mazzamura 7 months ago
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  • Absolutely important, especially considering that some of the consumers of video games are children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities, such as autism, who may have difficulty with social interactions. Many of these children spend a significant amount of time playing the video games. While this may not be intended use, video games can help to these children to improve conversational skills and ability to communicate. – Vaishnavi 7 months ago
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  • This article would make for a wonderful read! While game-play, AI, graphics and other technical features are often dissected in detail, few reviews take a genuine in-depth look at the plot of video games. Many are just happy to set up flimsy 'Shoot 'em up' plotlines. – Vishnu Unnithan 6 months ago
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  • I feel that the trends are changing, and people are realizing more and more that games as a medium have a new perspective to offer when it comes to how to tell a story. As for how "important" it is for a game to have good plot + story...well, it's certainly becoming more important that it used to be. Overwatch certainly fulfills a certain need - and therefor story isn't as relevant - but on the other hand, The Last of Us didn't have people singing its praises because of it's *gameplay*. I'd be interested to see a piece written on this topic. – Tina Thai 6 months ago
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  • Absolutely. We already have to fight against the notion that video games have no plot and should only be played by kids. I treat video games like books. If there's no well written story, I lose interest very quickly. – AGMacdonald 3 months ago
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  • Games, like any medium, tell a story. The difference being, the story told in games is far more interactive, and this should definitely be considered. Even in games like Mortal Kombat, there is a bit of a story-- simply look at the way characters interact with each other. And as far as campaign mode is concerned, if the campaign for Mortal Kombat X was poorly written, I certainly would never have been interested beyond the opening level. Good dialogue and good storylines are essential to games that are more than just pure action. – Caspian 6 days ago
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Gaming's controversial move into the world of TV on a professional level.

As esports and professional video gaming become a much bigger part of the wider world, there seem to be many people that show resistance.
A tournament of an online game (can’t remember which game) was televised on ESPN recently and I was shocked by some of the comments. "These people weren’t bullied enough in school," took the cake from the pool of negative comments.
Do you think gaming should make it’s way into the mainstream world via television broadcasts? Should it stick to game-centered shows and websites rather than leak into the professional sporting world?

  • I don't necessarily believe video games should be recognised as a sport, but it's definitely worth looking into why kicking a ball back and forth is somehow more social than playing an MMORPG with friends online. – AGMacdonald 3 weeks ago
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  • AGMacDonald. Great point. I laughed at this. This a wide debate that has been going on for years. I even attended a conference where para-professionals delivered their papers on video games as a sport, how gender controlled the video game world can be, and how gamers perceive the concept of gender. It is an goimg, and interesting quetion, why is ghe gamer world still gender centered even though the LGBTQ is very much present in the gamer world. Back to video games beung considered a sport, honestly, a sport requires the movement of the body. It doesnt require a heavy focus on being socially active during the action of doing a sport, but it does mean that you get out of your seat and do something recreational. Interesting topic though. – breeyabrown 3 weeks ago
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  • When I read the topic I initially thought about the move of games/gaming into action movies. Perhaps a comparison of how films such as Hitman 47 and the new Assassins Creed movie are received as entrants into the wider public sphere with that of more traditional "sports" approach would be interesting. One could even work to tie in the mixed format aspects of current online media such as Twitch (which admittedly I know little about) or Web series such as Video Game High School. – derBruderspielt 1 day ago
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Games as Multimedia Storytelling

Approached from the perspective of being an interactive story, what is unique to games like MMORPGs (esp. sandboxes), metroidvania, war games or survival games, as stories? What are some of the ways that gaming has innovated new ways of telling stories (think non-linear, interactive etc). Games can pull together disparate storytelling techniques like visual, auditory and interactive in a way that books, comics or film alone can’t. Has the gaming industry harnessed this potential?

If you want to narrow it down to a specific category i’d recommend visual novels and RPGs, as they feel a lot closer to the question.

  • It would be very helpful to mention Final Fantasy XV, which one could argue spread itself too thin with the multimedia storytelling. It was a double-edged sword: People could access the series through the anime, the feature length movie or even the retro style gaming experience of A King's Tale.For someone like me, who was heavily invested in the series already, it was wonderful and got me excited for the game in the lead up; but for a casual gamer who just wanted to play the game, or a movie-goer just wanting to watch the film, it would make it difficult for them to grasp the entire story without turning to the internet to fill in the blanks. – AGMacdonald 4 weeks ago
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What the Seeker Has Sought: Femininity and Masculinity in Horizon Zero Dawn

The progressive female representation of Aloy in Horizon Zero Dawn has been praised by reviewers and gamers alike. However, the gender politics of Horizon Zero Dawn begs to be further examined. Is there a dichotomy created between the feminine and masculine through characters such as Aloy, Elizabet, and GAIA in contrast to Ted Faro, Sylens, and HADES? Additionally, how is this dichotomy complicated by these same characters or others that Aloy encounters?

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    Linear vs. open-world games

    Ever since games have gone 3D, there has been an increasing amount of open-world video games. Nowadays, it seems to be a trend of making a game open-world just for the sake of it. Does having a sandbox feel generally improve a gaming experience, or can more restrictive level design benefit a game in certain areas?

    • I would compare open world games and non-open world games to understand the pros and cons to both game types. – BMartin43 1 month ago
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    • It stands to reason that changing something as fundamental as dimensions would have a massive impact on the kind of games being made, and the popularity of open-world games (MMOs particularly) makes them a popular major project. Gaming is a big and competitive industry and AAA games have to follow the money. That said, there are ways to tighten up level design in a sandbox (linearity would be the main one). Whatever angle the article takes, I'd suggest acknowledging off the bat that both open-world and closed-world have their pros and cons, and there are dedicated audiences for both. – Cat 1 month ago
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    • I don't think there's an easy or objective answer to the question you've asked. The gaming experience is subjective and will depend on various factors, including what a player is looking for in their game and their personality.Having a more linear game style, I feel, is a good way to direct players through a story in a more direct way. Open world gaming has given players, or at least, coincided with the trend of, giving players more power to make and guide their own stories. One feels more like a book to read, while the other feels like you've been given a notebook, a pen, and backstory to craft your novel. Obviously, this analogy is a bit of an oversimplification.Possible benefits of linear might be: for developers with limited or low financial resources, having a linear design means they are able to dedicate their time to the finer details of a game (e.g. if they spend all their time working on an open world, the overall design quality might be reduced, the story might be lacking, etc.) but this is obviously less relevant for developers who have the resources and time to effectively design all components of a game including an open world. – Kacey Martin 1 month ago
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    Duality of player choice in modern video gaming

    Analyze video games such as Mass Effect, The Witcher, GTA, or any modern video gaming series that enables players to chose the outcome of the match, with long-lasting consequences in vein to real life, then suggest ways this technology could improve in future titles.

    • Don't forget to mention that some games can also carry consequences into their sequels (like Dragon Age). I think it would be interesting if we could use this system to create a game like Dungeons and Dragons, which offers the closest to actual freedom than any game (board of video) has previously offered. – AGMacdonald 2 months ago
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    • We have already published three articles on this topic: https://the-artifice.com/bioshock-and-the-illusion-of-choice-in-gaming/ -- and -- https://the-artifice.com/life-is-strange-the-illusion-of-choice-part-ii/ -- and -- https://the-artifice.com/video-games-morality-choice/ – Misagh 2 months ago
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    • This would be interesting to research. A basic understanding of how games are coded and structured would probably help, I know that how player choice runs is different from game to game, and different companies often develop a kind of trademark use of the feature. Bioware and 2k would both make good case studies. – Cat 2 months ago
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    Open World Games: Immersive Adventures or Lacking Structure?

    Finally got around to playing Dishonored 2 recently and it reminded me how brilliant level design can impact enjoyment. People love Bethesda titles such as Skyrim and (arguably) Fallout 4 for the unrestricted world they give the player to explore but can they ever be as good as games in which levels, environments, enemies etc. are designed specifically for the player to encounter in a way that the designer had in mind? You could have examples of titles that display the positives of each design philosophy and a few titles that show off the negatives (lack of structure, lack of freedom etc.) and give your own opinion of a possible ideal middle ground?

    • I'm hoping to present on a related topic at this year's Popular Culture Association conference for the Midwest. The push to make throwback platformers or open world games -- almost exclusively -- seems absurd. Happy to write on this topic if it gets the support and notes and upvotes. – Paul A. Crutcher 2 months ago
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    • Lack of structure is exactly why I am not a fan of most open world games. Even the presence of infinite quests is bound to be repetitive in such titles. I look forward to reading this. – TheUbiquitousAnomaly 2 months ago
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    • Open world games can often lose momentum or interest if they are repetitive and don't have a defined path, games such as Assassin's Creed and Far Cry are fun to play but often contain a lot of missions that are re-skins of previous missions. Games such as Uncharted and the Last of Us can often feel like they are offering more complete experiences since there often feels like these linear-types of games provide greater opportunities for interactive storytelling as well as detail put into characters, environments and enemies. – varunuchil21 2 months ago
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    • Right off the bat, I think of franchises like Metal Gear Solid and Uncharted as successful "linear" playing experiences; boss fights in MGS are iconic because they're timeless - the majority of the series is a decade or so old, but you can always revisit them and recall the atmosphere of each encounter.Then there are games like Assassin's Creed and Grand Theft Auto - there IS a plot there, for sure; but the open world aspects that these games claim to have is hampered by the fact they just feel so inconsequential. They're definitely fun for a little while, but at the end of the game's life cycle, collecting all 100 feathers in ACII or completing the Epsilon program in GTA V just can't compare to fighting Talbot in Uncharted 3.If anyone pursues this topic - I'd love to hear what you think about this idea of progression. I think games like InFamous really did well in this sense. The idea of karmic alignment based on the decisions you made as a hero or as infamous guided the progression of your powers and the upgrades necessary for them. It might not be heavily plot dependent, but maybe that can lead to the bigger question of whether open world is truly possible when programming and random occurrences can only do so much to make events in the game world seem organic. – Lmquilantang 2 months ago
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    • This is one of my big problems with MMOs. I usually fall in love with the world and character designs, but that can only sustain me for so long. Personally, I crave narrative structure. In saying that, there is a happy medium. Games like FFVII allowed you to roam the world freely, but there was always an immediate goal when you were ready to delve back into the story. – AGMacdonald 2 months ago
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