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Latest Topics

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The Cost of Games: Historical vs. Monetary Value

With a myriad titles being re-released on the Nintendo Switch at their original full price, the question is raised if games should still be worth the same amount as time progresses. Are we expected to pay the same for products that are re-released or should there be some reduction? It requires work to port and in some cases remake sections so profit is needed to pay for salaries, however, is the game still worth the same after time has passed. For example, Skyrim on the Switch is worth around £50 (original RRP) despite being 8 years old.

  • I think this could be an interesting topic. In addition to Skyrim releasing the game for different consoles, there are also remasters/retooling, such as Pokemon's Let's Go, or Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin. Looking at the differences between having to port over an entire game to a new system vs making modifications to the game itself vs cost of materials (why are digital games the same price when there are no physical goods?) provides a lot of ways to look at this. How much are fans willing to pay for the same thing again and again? – InvertedMobiusStrip 4 months ago
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  • I think this is an interesting topic. Whenever a game is ported to a new console or platform, the question of price comes up. Remember that most companies are looking to make a profit when they port a game, so there is usually a price range they may be looking to price their game. This is also interesting for Independent games which have pricing model between $40 to $4.99. Does it matter it you are supporting an indie game or a AAA game? Will you pay more to support a smaller studio? – Sean Gadus 4 months ago
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Sexual Objects in Feminist Clothing?

The number of female protagonists in video games has sharply increased in recent years. From Lara Croft to D. Va and Widowmaker in Overwatch or Ellie in Last of Us, there’s no denying the move to cast women characters in the lead in many of today’s gaming franchises. The question I have is whether this is in fact a shift in the direction towards gender equality and a real desire to branch out the target client base to include female consumers. The evidence to the contrary lies in the character design of these string, intelligent, independent women and girls who nevertheless remain depicted in what constitute for CIS male players as erotically charged and sexually arousing body types and outfits. Further proof of this underlying trend can be seen in the fact that all of these “empowering” characters are extremely popular in rape based hentai games and videos. Is the gaming industry (designers and consumers) still in the end just a cesspit of misogynistic desires despite the work of women challenging gamer culture through a history of conflicts as #gamergate?

  • I do not much play many games, but I believe that females characters in games have been and continue to be portrayed sexually. In most games, a female character's outfit reveals more skin than a male character's outfit. In some cases, the strength of a female is lower than a male character's strength. In some sense, this brings up the concept of male domination and female subordination. Although this is not true to all cases, I still believe that it is a reoccurring theme. It also leaves a negative effect on individuals because they might not want to choose a female character because it is weaker than the other male characters. – decalcomania 5 months ago
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The timelessness of Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim was released in 2011 and almost 8 years on still has a thriving community of players and content creators. Why is it that a fairly linear, story-based RPG has so much replay potential? Analyse the reasons why people keep picking up this game!

  • Love this topic! I think a lot of the "replay-ability" comes from all the different side quests (ex. guilds) that you can play alongside the main quest line. In addition, open-world RPGs leave so much potential for the player to create their own narratives. There are also a ton of fun add-ons. The popularity of Elder Scrolls Online also likely has something to contribute to this. – EJSmall 5 months ago
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  • So it's hard to doubt Skyrim's popularity, however, a lot of this has been down to the sheer volume of mods and additions made by the community. Bethesda stopped producing new content for Skyrim a while back (excluding ports to new hardware) and so the community has kept it alive. It would be good for the writer to consider both sides of the argument and look to linear RPGs without modding capability and other games with an accessible mod platform to see if this has had greater impact on the longevity of the game. – CAntonyBaker 4 months ago
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  • Well one reason would be accessibility, for sure. Skyrim is an RPG, but it is a streamlined one complex enough to warrant multiple playthroughs, but not so daunting that it becomes frightening. Another would be production values; Skyrim has aged fairly well due to it's graphical fidelity, sound design, game play elements, etc. And of course, there's the modding community, which can transform the game into something all new all over again. Speaking from personal experience, I'm back to Skyrim again as I type, going through with an all new perks system and gameplay overhaul tham makes playing it fresh again. I have to agree with CAantonyBaker and urge a look into the modding community of games. – majorlariviere 3 months ago
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Casual Violence in the Borderlands Franchise

I, for one, love the irreverent humor of the Borderlands Franchise. But part of that humor comes from revelry in casual violence. While violence is common in many other videogames and other media, it is commonly only funny when that violence is non-lethal. Nevertheless, in Borderlands 2, for example, we might laugh at Brick praising you for killing all his men, and at Tiny Tina torturing and murdering the psycho while having a pretend tea party with him and her stuffed animals. The game attempts to justify and authorize laughing at murder: bandits infinitely spawn and the villains’ cruelty makes us feel better for killing them. The Borderland’s Presequel seemed to introduce nuance to humor in murder by showing the descent of Handsome Jack into evil even as he (mostly) tries to do the right thing, but the story, as many critics have said, was weak by comparison to the others.

I’m wondering if there is more nuance to humorous murder in this game, or if part of the fun of it is that there is no nuance to it. How might the series make us think it’s okay to laugh at murder in other ways? Does the franchise succeed in justifying this laughter in violence? Does it deliberately cause laughter at murder only to show us our own guilty pleasure at laughing at the worst humanity is capable of? What are your thoughts on the franchise’s take on violence?

  • This would be an interesting topic to analyze especially when attempting to understand the use of violence in the Borderlands universe. It seems that violence in borderlands is just a part of everyday life and therefore isn't really thought of as anything out of the ordinary. It will be interesting to see if this normalization of violence adds or detracts from the nuance, if there is any at all. – JakeGreenwood 6 months ago
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Female Streamers in the Gaming Industry

Sexism in the gaming industry is a huge topic that not many people acknowledge. Most people think that female streamers make it big because of their looks, and not actually their skill in the game. I think it’s important to realize that there is a variety of different streamers on platforms like Twitch, and each individual has their own charm. Some could be more entertaining than others, and some could have more in-game knowledge. But I don’t think it’s fair to disregard respect for big female streamers or content creators in this industry.

  • Great and timely topic. I would also hone in on the idea of "fake gamer girls" and the use of the word "thots" to describe women on Twitch who are framed as only using their attractiveness to get attention and revenue, and therefore they are accused of not being "real" fans. Here is a recent article I read on the topic: https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/internet/twitch-women-who-stream-say-their-biggest-obstacle-harassment-n1060016 – Emily Deibler 6 months ago
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  • Until I read your topic suggestion, I had no idea what a 'female streamer' was. Not being a gamer, this is a new world to me. So, I entered the term 'female streamers' into my search engine and the second highest result was titled 'The Hottest Female Streamers on Twitch.' It's from a website titled The Gamer. Here's the first line from the article: 'Not all Twitch streamers are created [e]qual: some are also insanely hot.' I think that proves your opening point very well. – Amyus 6 months ago
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  • Would definitely encourage at least a mention of Gamer Gate and the associated fallout. Women in any male-dominated industry experience a certain kind of social pushback, and using concrete examples will help illustrate the point. I would be very excited to read this! – Eden 6 months ago
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  • Very excited to read an article that explores this. – lilliankasulis 6 months ago
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  • I think it's fair to say that sexism against women in the gaming industries and fandoms are persistent issues, but I feel like the criticisms levelled at women streamers have little to do with "skill at the game." Indeed, the question is whether "skill at the game," has any bearing on the streamer's popularity to begin with. This makes sense for competitive gamers or speedrunners, but in the instance of the large market share of streamers who do "Let's play," style streams and so on and so forth, ultimately their skill level is irrelevant. PewDiePie is perhaps the most successful streamer on the planet, and their "Let's Play" of the Amnesia series that initially elevated them to prominence showed very little skill at all, and a lot of the streamer screaming and swearing in a comedic fashion to emphasise the horror of the game as well as provide a source of comedy. Therefore, the criticisms levelled at women streamers on such grounds can be assumed to be disingenuous. In the instances of streamers who for instance, emphasise cosplay, their aesthetic can indeed be part of their success but this does not make their success any less valid. – benjamindmuir 6 months ago
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What can Undertale teach about pacifism in the real world?

Much has been made of how innovative Undertale is for providing players with the opportunity to resolve fights peacefully, without killing any opponents–and, in fact, even seems to punish players for being too eager to kill. However, winning fights without killing is not necessarily easy, and frequently requires players to take a large amount of damage. Indeed, message boards and blogs are full of stories about how virtually nobody can avoid killing all the characters on the first go. What, if anything, could a game like this teach about how to resolve problems in real life? Can you think of any situations where you might be putting yourself in harm’s way by being peaceful?

  • I wrote an essay on Undertale in my first year of uni, particularly on player agency, and I find that it's a really compelling game to write about.I'd suggest thinking not only about the game's unique take on pacifism over violence, but how it gives you that choice again and again and what this means for real-life interactions with people. Additionally, in terms of how Undertale might teach us how to resolve problems, there is always more to someone than initially meets the eye. Every character in Undertale has a story and has their own background and motivations. There might be an interesting parallel to be made with how we treat others in this day and age. – sofiarbarr 5 months ago
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What is the connection between Horizon Zero Dawn and Indigenous Culture

Analyze the connection between the game Horizon Zero Dawn and what it takes form Indigenous Cultures to create its world. Does it portray tribes in a respectful light? Do you consider any parts of the game or the game its self as appropriative or appropriation of these cultures?

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    The Mercer Effect and How it Affects Expectations for DMs

    The Mercer Effect is known as players and DMs having extremely high expectations for what to expect from a D&D game. Do you think the Mercer Effect has become prevalent in the last 12 months, increasing with Critical Role’s popularity? Or do you think that it has grown with the knowledge of more D&D shows and an expectation that all DMs should be up to this level. Or – does it not exist at all?

    • Maybe it's because I'm not super familiar with Critical Role, but is the name "Mercer Effect" based on the DM? To pursue this topic, I think it might help to explain the cultural significance of Critical Role and its players/DM, and how D&D in Critical Role is played differently than the average game. I really like the idea of analyzing the rise of D&D shows and how that might impact expectations for new players! – Eden 6 months ago
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    • Sounds like a great topic, I would include how to set expectations for your players and foster a fun environment without expecting the polish of an expert I will say that Critical Role and D&D media are increasingly becoming peoples first contact with RPG's rather than playing them witch does change the expectations of a new player. – cjpetersen123 6 months ago
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    • As a long time DM who does not listen to Critical Role, this topic seems worth pursuing. However, you would need to describe (as another poster mentioned) why Critical Role is so popular.My question is: is the Mercer Effect a product of those who get into D&D because of Critical Role, or has it "spread" to longtime players who are beginning to expect something different from standard play? – Derek 6 months ago
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