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Latest Topics

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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 5 months 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 4 months 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 4 months 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 months ago
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    Making a Case for Remaking Old Games

    While Hollywood remakes are rampant at the moment, we have been inundated with a spate of soulless cash-ins; but do video games have to share the same fate? The mechanics of video games are much more complex, and as such can do with a gamelpay and graphics overhaul every decade or two to keep the game alive.
    It would be interesting for someone to put forward the case that there is actually a need for remakes within the video game market.

    • This is an interesting article. There are a lot of games that get remade or might get remade in the future.For example: the crash bandicoot collection, FF IIV, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker and Twilight PrincessI think you also need to define what a remake is? Is that different than a rerelease or the same? – Sean Gadus 6 months ago
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    • A comparison between the successful Assassins Creed game franchise and the failure to translate it to film would be interesting – bethlauren 6 months ago
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    Ruined by the Fandom - How our interaction with fans affects our view of media.

    Investigate the seemingly modern phenomenon of media being "ruined" by it’s fandom. Works like Steven Universe, Undertale, and Minecraft all have encountered problems with people being reticent to engage with them despite merit of the works themselves due to preconceived notions of what kind of people engage with those works. In some cases, particularly Steven Universe, high profile twitter users have expressed fear of discussing the show for worry of how the fandom may lash out at them. How new is this phenomenon? Is critiquing a work based on it’s fans valid? How can creators avoid this stigma? Should they have to?

    • This is often a huge problem with media (particularly large fandoms), particularly in regards to the 'extreme' fans, who discriminate against 'fake fans' and become overly obsessed in shows, turning off those who are more casual fans. Looking at the fandom before the show is becoming the new first step to becoming interested in something, and it can indeed damage the popularity of a show, even changing the entire target audience (take My Little Ponies, for example, where the growing fandom of 'Bronies' has turned most parents away from introducing the show to their children, lest a middle aged man in a unicorn onesie starts stalking them on the internet - a common idea people associate with the new fanbase). – SophIsticated 6 months ago
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    • Some fandoms can also get really out of control, especially if little kids that can't take others different opinions make up the majority of it. This can become an issue on social platforms where the fandom in question is being discussed etc. – airyfrairy 6 months ago
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    • Agreed, very much. I loved Once Upon a Time when I first started watching it, for example. I still do. But the negativity of the fandom has left me feeling pressured to say, write, or think negative things I don't necessarily agree with. The same is true for other shows I've enjoyed. Once the fandom gets too vocal, I tend to go "into the closet," for fear that being associated with the show will cause backlash. And let's face it: I often closet myself because I'm just sick of hearing fandom blather. – Stephanie M. 6 months ago
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    The Sense of Community: Multiplayer Games

    Video games seem to be one of the stronger emerging forms of media these days and that in turn has caused a sort of cultural and social shift for some. Consider Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas (MOBAS) which have friend and party functions built into their games. MMOs as well have an in-built social function with things like public chatting in Runescape. It would also seem that these social aspects in video games would transcend the in-game functions and disperse into various mutual fandoms. Online communities and more for all these games are growing and becoming more prominent along with the medium. How do you think this has come to be? What does this mean for the culture surrounding video games compared to how it was before?

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      Envisioning VR: A wider look at the uses of Virtual Reality

      Most of what we see to see in the media relating to VR technology seems to all come back to videogames. Certainly it’s one of the most obvious applications for the technology, having been brought up in numerous futeristic sci-fi scenarios, but what about outside of that? What are its other uses, perhaps in museums, cinema, or even the classroom? The ‘Scotland VR’ app might be a good place to start.

      • I know Concordia University's been working on VR and its multiple uses, Google as well. It could be worth a look. – JennyCardinal 7 months ago
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      • I think there's massive uses for VR outside of video games, or even general entertainment purposes. VR has massive potential in the education field, and I have seen some really interesting AR applications that allow people to examine anatomy/physiology in 3D space. I think I also saw something about using VR to explore battlefields during history lessons. Any kind of visual information seems like it could be more efficiently studied in VR/AR, especially as it adds an interactive third-dimension. I wouldn't be surprised if the military started using it for training purposes (if they aren't already). It's definitely a fascinating topic. – Ben Woollard 7 months ago
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      • Not only, I am using VR for presentations in design, to show the space, to immerse people in it and to actually be in the space, not just to see it on paper. – aichabrinley 6 months ago
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      • VR has been used in aerospace industry to visualize simulated airflow around the aircraft. Due to the time-dependent and 3D nature of the airflow, VR is a perfect technology to visualize the it. – yigu8115 6 months ago
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