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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 4 years ago
  • There's also the case where silent protagonists stop becoming silent in the series, such as Jak in Jak and Daxter. – Emily Deibler 4 years ago
  • 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 4 years ago

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?


    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 years ago
    • 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 years ago

    Games That Were Scrapped or Drastically Changed During Development

    Last week it was announced that the development of Metroid Prime 4 for Nintendo Switch would be completely scrapped due to quality concerns and restarted with Metroid Prime Trilogy developer Retro Studios. The game joins a long line of games have that went through multiple versions and studio changes. This includes monumental failures like Duke Nukem Forever (moving game studios and engines multiple times), or the acclaimed Fall Out 3 (move to Bethesday Studios and completely overhauled). This article could examine the successes and failures of these drastic moves and the merits of changing studios/starting over from scratch.

    • Another interesting thing to consider in this is player access to these lost files and whether they decide if they were worthy of being further developed. For example with Bethesda, the Elder Scrolls is notorious for cutting fully developed questlines, options, etc. Players later overhaul these as mods and in some instances, people harass the developer for cutting this content. – Pamela Maria 5 years ago

    Economic analysis of early-access and preordering games

    Analyze the steady push of AAA developers to offer "early-access" to an unfinished game, the economics of pre-release hype and how it can immensely help the numbers of a sub-par game (see: No Man’s Sky), and the disturbing trend of releasing a game whether it’s finished or not–only to release the rest of the game as expensive DLC (Star Wars Battlefront). Are these methods sustainable or will enough disappointment eventually dissuade gamers from preordering?

    • A good way to drive the point home would be to compare games released before pre-release culture with games being released toady. What would have happened if an unfinished game were released on a system that had no internet access? You could also look at how specific game franchises or developers have changed (for better or worse) over the years. – Disastromancer 7 years ago
    • Have you heard about Star Citizen? It started as a crow-fund project and now its like this whole investment monster. Its initial goal was for 2 million dollars and was slated to be released a few years ago. But as of now, the project has been funded 141 million dollars, thus giving the creators opportunities to make the game bigger than its initial concept. Its gotten to the point where donators have been given unique starships, planets and in-game money. The game itself has become an enterprise and it hasn't even been released. I think people, in this case, like to feel part of something as big as this and be compensated for it. Everybody wins. In the case of DLCs and expansions, I feel like regardless of people not wanting to purchase them, they will still feel peer pressured into it. – jcastro4 7 years ago
    • Also, it's worth noting the ways that places like Amazon, through Prime, are incentivizing consumers in the current market to buy physical games. With prime, Tier 2 editions are discounted often to where the MSRP is for a regular Tier 1 "standard" edition, and the same sort of relationship goes for the Tier 3 editions to the Tier 2 editions. Great topic, and worth exploring. – Paul A. Crutcher 7 years ago
    • I feel like preordering is more of a AAA practice, where you see early access done far more often in the indy scene, as paid early access often helps bridge the gap that would normally be bridged by a publisher. – John Wells 7 years ago

    How Valuable Is Gaming To One's Life

    Video games have come a long way and now the technology is very developed, as we can see how hyper-realistic the graphics are and how incredibly intelligent the AIs are. Putting aside people who develop games and who game for a living, I wonder if video games as a sheer form of entertainment actually provide any important values to a heavy gamer’s life–by heavy gamer I mean someone who spend most of their time gaming not for profit or work. Also, in this context, I’m referring to non-educational games, so not the games that is meant to educate kids, but games that is meant to entertain, such as DOTA, Far Cry, Infamous Son, Counter Strike etc. Take Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for example, some kids play it night and day, and all they do is shooting people. One could argue that such time can be spent on reading, an activity that provides not only entertainment, but also important values.

    Just for the sake of bouncing off ideas with people, another argument I could think of is that, even though some games might have educational values, they probably don’t improve things like literacy as much as reading a book does. I also keep thinking that if a person play violin 24/7, they would become a virtuoso, where as if they play games 24/7, no matter how educational the game is, I doubt they would obtain any actual skills.

    Now before you think I’m an anti-gamer, I want to clarify that I’m not. I have played lots of games. I just wanted to occupy one side of argument so that it might be easier for other people to take another (or agree on my side).

    This topic sometimes occurs to my mind when I see people just play games 24/7 (again, excluding professional gamers and game developers); they don’t care about other things other than their games. It sometimes seems to be like an addictive mind drug. Such things don’t really happen to people who enjoy other forms of entertainment (music, movies, sports etc), which is what makes the games a different kinds of entertainment than those, in my opinion.

    Take away video games from one’s life, I would tend to think it wouldn’t do much harm to a person (assuming that they are not addicted already), but if you take away other arts from someone’s life, I think that would actually do some sort of damage to them. So how valuable is gaming to one’s life? Is gaming just pretty much wasting time? If you were a heavy gamer, how would you justify all your time spent on gaming?

    • Do you want to focus on extreme gamers (i.e. the 24/7 gamers you described above) or just gamers in general, even the casual ones? I've been playing video games nearly my whole life and have successfully finished many. While I'm not what you might consider addicted (on average I'll play at most 4 hours of a game in a day, but I'll stop gaming for months if I have a heavy school load), I think I'd definitely lose something if they were taken away. I love gaming for the immersion it gives me into a new world, like a book or a movie - I love the escape of it. If you took away my movies or books, I'd be very angry for the same reasons. If you want to think of games as wasting time, then what about books with bad writing/fluffy or meaningless stories, or movies that are just action-packed with zero plot? Every medium has its flaws/problematic culture and I think by just looking at a violent game like Counter-Strike as an example of video games being a waste of time, you lose the games that are actually educational (there are games geared just for children after all), that operate much like books or movies by showing people a brand new world and offering them an escape, or that are just a really fun way to waste time. Wasting time is not, after all, always a bad thing. – karebear7 7 years ago
    • Is there a way that you could narrow this topic down? It is really interesting. It just seems like a monuments task, and almost like a research project. I would concur with the above comment on focusing on specific gamers like extreme gamers, or it can be a comparison with casual gamers. – AbeRamirez 7 years ago

    Sandbox Games vs Linear Story Telling Games

    As there are many genres of video games, it’s usually difficult to compare two different kinds. You can’t compare a FPS shooter with the Legend of Zelda series for example. However, these two genres are polar opposites of each other and are often brought up in forums when discussing their own genre. Identify what each genre is, the pros and cons of each one, the limitations of each, and what kind of audience each would appeal to.

    • You also have MMOs (massively multiplayer online). These games usually consist of a story plot but also leave the map open to explore. With the online multiplayer option these games give the player the ability to team up with people in their server and work together. Depending on the game what type of character you have in the game can also affect what missions are given. There are several different types of video games that people play today. – amandajarrell 9 years ago