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Latest Topics

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Kitana From Princess to Empress of Outworld: Women's clothing in video games

In the past many video games generally targeted at males, like fighting and racing games feature women characters "scantily clad" clothing. However, when Mortal Kombat 11 released last year, most of the female characters had stronger personalities and covered up a lot more of their skin than they had in previous games.

One example is Kitana the former princess of Outworld. In previous games, she often wore blue string-like clothing with high boots. As the new Empress of Outworld, however, Kitana not only has power, but is covered from collar bone to ankles.

  • J.D Jankowski-- I apologize for not elaborating, this is my first post. I thought it would be interesting to find some commonalities in how character design and story arcs have progressed over the past thirty or so years in gaming, or possibly other media. Mortal Kombat is a classic example of a game that has been around for a long time. Also, it is a game that has been majorly revamped since it has been taken over by a new company.Munjeera-- By all means, expand on more than just clothing, I just find the new direction in these sorts of games interesting in comparison to how they used to be.Sean Gadus-- Exactly, I was mostly using it as an example but if anyone wanted to take the topic and use another game alongside it as a comparison that would be interesting too. – ruegrey 3 months ago
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The Silent Protagonist

Analyse what makes a silent protagonist work and what doesn’t: when does a game benefit from having one? When does it not? What are some instances where a silent protagonist could have been better as a speaking one, or vice versa?

Or maybe, what warrants the use of a silent protagonist, particularly in plot-heavy, character-driven series’ like Persona? How are they characterised, if at all, and why?

  • Could look at Link in The Legend of Zelda as well! – Sean Gadus 9 months ago
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  • There's also the case where silent protagonists stop becoming silent in the series, such as Jak in Jak and Daxter. – Emily Deibler 9 months ago
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  • One could consider the role of the silent protagonist’s “silence” as it pertains to immersive purposes. Some silent characters are not only mute—they have no explicit Idiosyncrasies or traits to establish themselves as full characters. Others, like Link in “The Wind Waker,” have more a sense of character through facial expressions and other complex reactive behaviors to story and gameplay elements. Exploring this dichotomy can prove useful in answering the question of the benefit of a silent protagonist. – James Polk 6 months ago
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Does Gaming Have a Place in the Classroom?

The idea of introducing educational games in early education exists and has even been implemented, but do more traditional games deserve a place in schools? Topics such as English and Media exist to teach students about famous literary texts and powerful films, deconstructing these pieces to derive meaning and improve understanding of certain ideas and issues. Should time be dedicated to providing worthy games with the same analysis? Why, or why not?

  • It might also depends on the game relative to the age. – J.D. Jankowski 4 months ago
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  • Great topic! For me, it's not so much about "worthy games" as it is about "worthy topics." If there's a particular set of topics worth exploring in a particular classroom, I'd say, we should explore those topics using whatever texts we believe are useful and engaging for that exploration. Most of my own work on video games has been for conference presentations and journals, but I've also presented in university classrooms on the representations of gender in specific video games. – JamesBKelley 4 months ago
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  • I also think it's necessary to define a "game" here. Do you mean strictly in the sense of what is traditionally considered a video game, or do you also include more analog "games" like board games, word games, even computer software that can be "played" with? If the latter, then really all teaching at all levels relies on games, in the sense that there are rules that we follow and students who "win" by getting the correct answers. It really depends on how we define "play" and how we differentiate it from work. – Eden 4 months ago
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Are All Games Created Equally? What Constitutes a Serious Gamer? And Why Do We Make These Distinctions?

Discuss why some people consider some games more "serious" than others. For example, games such as Animal Crossing and The Sims are often considered lower tier entertainment than more "difficult" games like, say, Call of Duty. Why do you think that is? How do sports games fit into the mix? Is it a problem of quality or is it subjective?

  • Might be an interesting topic, but it needs a bit more fleshing out. Start with writing a title which will point towards a specific angle from which the argument will develop. – Kaya 5 months ago
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  • The "seriousness" of the content in question is something that applies not only to video games, but just about every artistic creation. There are "serious" works of literature versus pulp fiction or "beach reads." With movies, there are gripping "Oscar-worthy" performances in comparison to light blockbuster fare. By sticking to the topic of video games, it would be good to narrow your topic's focus a bit more. In what ways do video games really illustrate people's perception of "serious" works versus those taken less seriously? – aprosaicpintofpisces 5 months ago
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  • This has the potential to generate a really interesting piece. I would recommend looking at how gaming has been portrayed in past decades, how it's portrayed now and how access to games has changed over the years. Were boys really the only players when video games first gained popularity? – Ryan 4 months ago
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  • This is a very interesting topic that will generate very good conversation, however it needs a bit more direction by which the writer can go towards.. what also needs to be considered is the link between the types of games played and those who play them. – abbeyferrer 4 months ago
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Actual-Play Podcasts Diversifying Media Like Nothing Else

This topic is based on a tumblr post (or tweet I can’t remember) that I saw saying “actual play D&D podcasts have done more for POC and the LGBTQ community over the course of a few years than the film industry has done in its entire existence.”

I think it would be interesting to examine what’s so appealing about actual play shows (The Adventure Zone, Critical Role, The Broadswords, Dimension 20,etc) that draws in underrepresented groups.

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    Exploitative Explosion: The Game

    This article would delve into the notion of exploitative game design. For example, game devs will make virtual products that can be bought with real world money (such as gems, crates, keys, etc.), yet these products have no actual value. Basically, the prices of these products are arbitrary, being made up based on the developers’ whims.

    App games are notorious for such practices, trying to incentivize the player with the need to buy these products to get further in the game in terms of buying more time or status/rank. I mean, who wouldn’t want another chance to beat that insanely hard Candy Crush level or get that one super OP weapon/character in an RPG?

    Do you think this is okay ethically? Does there need to be legal action? How can people be made aware, or do they know and just don’t care if they’re being exploited?

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      Power Dynamics in Fantasy Games

      I think it’s worth examining the power dynamics in fantasy games and what makes each particular game feel satisfying. Games like "Monster Hunter" and "Skyrim" both offer the player a degree of power over the world, but the difference lies in degree. "Monster Hunter" empowers the player as an exceptional hunter, but only allows them to practice that power in particular ways. "Skyrim" allows players to kill people with only their words. Yet both these games prove to be immensely satisfying. My question is what common factors lie between them? How do each of these games (and others) feel satisfying despite the difference in how they allow their players to act in their worlds?

      • This is an interesting topic definitely, though a bit too broadly conceived right now -- the games are quite opposite genres, for example. A tighter article could, for example, compare the thematic import of player agency in an open-world game where players have lots of freedom (Skyrim) and players have comparatively little freedom (Monster World, as I understand it). In other words, but fixing the genre (open world) and fictional context (fantasy), a comparison can be made more clearly.Lovely idea. – Derek 6 months ago
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      How can RTS games serve to be educative?

      Analyze the evolution of popular RTS games such as the Age of Empire series alongside others like Medieval and how they serve as education through entertainment by using historical battles and events as the crux of their gameplay material. Also analyze how well-sourced the relevant histories being represented in these genres of RTS games are.

      • A nice idea for a topic, there could be further exploration and balance involved by looking at intentionally educational games (good or bad), games that have the potential to be educative but aren't yet and those that are breaking new ground and providing engaging experiences that are both fun and educational. – CAntonyBaker 7 months ago
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      • That works well too. I guess RTS games may make the article limited in its discussion. Speaking of intentional education games one could also tackle the Learn Japanese visual novel games which are well known to get you familiar with japanese but not necessaroly all out educational tools. – ajaymanuel 7 months ago
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