video games

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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 1 month 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 1 month 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 1 month ago
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Video Games and Crowdfunding: A Retrospective

Kickstarter is the crowdfunding platform many video game developers have turned to in order to fund the development of their personal project. Take a look back at the biggest games of the last five years that have been created with the help of Kickstarter (Undertale, Mighty No. 9, Shovel Knight, etc.). What caused some of them to succeed upon release? What made some of these games disappoint backers and players alike when they released?

  • This topic is so good. It is incredibly relevant to the current gaming landscape. With Yooka Laylee out soon and Bloodstained: ritual of the night coming in 2018, the topic is not going away.Shovel Knight is a fantastic game and has thrived really well, with new expansions coming out every year or so. It has a great following. Mighty No. 9 was extremely disappointing for a variety of reasons. – SeanGadus 4 months ago
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  • A lot of people are losing hope in projects that feature in Kickstarter just like how people now naturally assume that Steam greenlight is filled with shovelware. A lot of people ought to know this is a platform that has made success possible for a lot of determined developers. The message seems to be deteriorating as time passes. – TheUbiquitousAnomaly 4 months ago
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The Allure of Spending: Mobile Games and Gashapon

"Gashapon" is used to refer to capsule toy vending machines that are popular in Japan. People are able to see which characters are featured in a machine, but won’t know who they’ll get until they put in money. Multiple mobile games from "Pocket Mortys" to "Puzzle & Dragons" use this system, where premium currency will offer a chance to obtain a rare and powerful character at the cost of getting an entirely different character. What is it about this system that gets players to spend their money once or multiple times? How many of top-earning mobile games use this system? Is there a "good way" or "bad way" to implement this system in a mobile game?

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    Morality in Video Games

    Write about how morality plays an important role in the story of a video game

    • Interesting topic. A discussion of morality in video games could cover both aspects of the game that lurk in the moral grey areas or are blatantly immoral and whether players might feel remorse or hesitate in performing an action (i.e. just because you can doesn't mean you should). – S.A. Takacs 2 years ago
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    • Grand Theft Auto would be a suitable reference for this topic. Munjeera – Munjeera 1 year ago
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    • I think this is an interesting topic. I agree with Munjeera about Grand Theft Auto being applicable to this category. In fact I think a whole article could be written about morality in the GTA series. Side note, I think choice based games could be looked at as well because it puts players on the spot for situations that may highlight their morality. – Lexzie 1 year ago
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    • No other medium demands a more intimate relationship with the audience than video games because the player is perpetually required to progress the story forward. In this way the player becomes an active participant in the world as opposed to a passive observer. This is why being the player on your last heart in "The Legend of Zelda" will feel incredibly epic but will look like a bunch of cheesy blips and beeps on a screen to anyone else watching. Creating a game in which it's central mechanics would rely on the players morals would be so effective because of how emotionally invested the player feels already. – mynameisreza 1 year ago
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    • I agree with Lexzie about the importance of choice-based games when it comes to morality. Games developed by Telltales (like The Walking Dead) might be suitable examples. – faezew 1 year ago
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    • If you're gonna write about morality in video games, what better example to use than the Bioshock series? There's still a lot to explore there. – Tanner Ollo 1 year ago
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    • This raises questions about what exactly should be allowed to be shown in certain films to certain audiences. There is much scandal surrounding violence in video games and films especially involving young people. This scandal sparked from the Columbine massacre and has become more and more controversial. Maybe change the aim of this topic to 'the influence of ethics from video games' – Brandon T. Gass 10 months ago
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    • Are you considering working anything like Half-Life 2 or Portal into this? I feel like these games could be a fertile ground for analyzing ethics within a video game medium. – Matt Sautman 9 months ago
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    • It would be interesting to explore the idea that Fable 2 starting with "mortality". I remember it being a huge deal that, instead of dying, the character would just receive facial scars. It took away that "punishment" that gamers either love or hate. – kaseyshaw 9 months ago
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    • Bioware games like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and the Mass Effect games would make great references for this. – hagenb 9 months ago
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    • It's important that games don't label their moral choices as "good" or "bad" each action should come with its own package of pros and cons and the player should make their decision based on which set of pros and cons they feel better about. – JacksonAP 9 months ago
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    • It seems to me that game studios are becoming more "moral" the late 80's and 90's produced really violent games for the sake of being violent, now at least (most) games give a proper context as to why the violence is needed and is less for the sake of creating a hype around violence or sexual content. – LelandMarmon 6 months ago
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    Are Video Games Worth Studying?

    From a literary perspective, are video games worth studying, or should you put down the controller and pick up a book?

    • There is certainly something to be said for the level of artistry that games have achieved in recent years. This justifies intellectual criticism of these new developments and, in turn, justifies criticism of previous "less artistic" developments for a better historical understanding and appreciation of the form (e.g. we don't study The Sneeze as a masterpiece of cinema, we study it as landmark event in the history of film; so too will be the case with Pong). However, I think it is high time that Video Games Studies truly becomes a field of its own. Your use of the word "literary" feels inaccurate, which may be a contributing factor as to why many literary scholars are quick to reject Video Games as a form, since they see it as a low-brown infringement on their domain. At the moment, most academic work surrounding Video Games has been contained in Film (as its closest relative with regards to media) and Theatre (as its closest relative with regards to interactivity) Studies, but it strikes us as being too different from either of these to real belong within them. Only with a Department of its own can the form (and its societal appreciation) truly begin to flourish, as was the case when Film Departments began to appear in the 1920s. – ProtoCanon 9 months ago
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    • I think that a interesting way you could pursue this topic is to discuss the Video Games as an art/art form debate. Because if video games are art, then the argument can be made that they deserve to be studied on the same level as art or film.Additionally, I think that thinking about how much of video games are "intentional" could be an interesting angle to pursue. For example, the creators the video game make a conscious decision on art style, what moves a player can do, how the game plays, and what perspective is the game in (3rd or 1st). These are conscious decisions made by the creators, similar to how authors make conscious decisions about how they construct a narrative such as 1st or 3rd person, what information the reader knows about and what is hidden from the reader. – SeanGadus 9 months ago
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    • I agree entirely that Video-Games should be studied as an artistic medium; I personally find them to be a somewhat more interactive medium than conventional art-forms though, which leads to a sort of rift between studying games and, say, film studies. Nonetheless, they should be examined, if not just for the artistic choices made by their creators but the story choices as well. Most games today have a defined storyline or plot in them (though some don't, which is fine). However, the way a developer can portray that story can vary widely across games: some games, such as the Legend of Zelda franchise, give the player a relatively deep pool of lore to sift through just by playing the game. However, other games, such as Cave Story or Superbrothers Swords and Sworcery have a more subtle way of giving the player the story, and may leave parts up to us as players to interpret. There are also games like FEZ and The BInding of Isaac, which have purposefully cryptic storylines which the players must explore for themselves, giving them a greater sense of accomplishment when something finally "clicks" than if they were merely given a predetermined plot point. – bwmaksym 9 months ago
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    • Literary studies cannot remain so rigid. For one, the concept of "literary worth" is rapidly changing as self-publishing options are becoming more and more profitable and accessible. Therefore, what deserves to be published (and therefore read) is subject to change. At the same time, other forms of media have been considered "unworthy of academic study" for generations. At first it was film, then it was pulp and genre fiction, and now it's video games. Video games are not literature, nor are they film and therefore need a specific set of tools to analyse their critical and philosophical significance. Yet, they still provide us with a message, they still use visual and audial aids to immerse us in reality, and they still often follow some sort of narrative structure. To think that video games are undeserving of the title of "art" or too banal for intensive literary study is absurd. – X 9 months ago
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    The Rise of Video Game Adaptations in Cinema

    This year film has seen an increase in the release of movies that draw inspiration from video games. World of Warcraft, Assassins Creed, Angry Birds, and Hardcore Henry (though not based on a video game it’s cinematic style is to tell a narrative in the way video games do) are four such examples of this interest in adapting video games to the big screen. Why such a rise in this style? Does this style have a place in cinema?

    • This is a really interesting topic. There was also a Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time film with Jake Gyllenhaal that was released in 2010. Additionally, an Uncharted film has been in development since 2009, with a variety of stops and starts. Also, most intriguingly to me, was Gore Verbinski's Bioshock film, which never got out of the planning stage.I also think that it would be interesting to examine how gamers view these adaptions and how film fans view video game adaptions.Great, very relevant topic in today's pop culture landscape. – SeanGadus 9 months ago
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    • If we want to consider older adaptations, too, we could talk about Tomb Raider, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Resident Evil. We might also want to think about machinima (using video games to create one's own animated films). Video games and adventure films certainly have a lot in common. I'm not sure how far back we can find cut scenes in video games, but their presence shows a strong and lasting connection between the two genres. – JamesBKelley 9 months ago
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    • Another thing to consider is how much more creative control the creators of the video games sometimes have with their film adaptations. In the past video game adaptations were made with little to no creative input from the creators, but more recent adaptations such as Warcraft, Ratchet & Clank, and the upcoming Assassin's Creed movie are being co-developed with the people who made the games. Going off of this, it might be interesting to look into how game developers view the movie industry and why they would see the potential into adapting their properties into films. – Seth Childers 9 months ago
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    • I've been thinking a lot about this. It's sad to me that many of these movies are poorly adapted. In some ways, it seems that producers are still figuring out how to do this in the same way that films have been adapted from lengthy novels; the main challenge is capturing the story and the spirit of the game. It seems like a different challenge to choose what to include or cut from a game rather than a novel--which is generally more straightforward and follows a clearer story arc. These game adaptations don't necessarily retell the same story in a new format, but rather they use familiar characters to tell parts of the metanarrative not covered in the games or they mash together the important moments into one hodgepodge film.The Resident Evil movies were relatively good compared to other game adaptations. They also seemed to draw a broader fan-base because the films take time to tell the origins story, which is important for new people to establish a connection to the franchise without experiencing the games first. World of Warcraft tried to explore origins in its first installment, but I think it lacked focus and failed to establish a solid emotional connection with any one character. The movie was lackluster unfortunately, and I hope that they can learn from their mistakes and make a much-improved second installment. – Breezy 9 months ago
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    • Can't forget about the actors and actresses that portray our favorite characters in these movies. Some take the time to do their research and properly portray the character they are playing. Most go off of the adapted script and actually have no clue as to how to bring the character to the big screen. Hopeful that AC is good. – antsteve 9 months ago
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    • I think a large part of why adaptations generally don't do well is because their narratives are formatted for game play rather than character development. The game series format doesn't allow for an overarching story line that can fit nicely into one film, and since most main characters in video games are stripped down to allow the player to assume their role, we often don't start with a true character to get emotionally attached to. Though some of the iconic games like The Legend of Zelda have a strong story line, Link is a blank slate, and therefore would need a contrived personality just for film. We want something completely different from a game than we want from a movie. – wtardieu 9 months ago
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    • A lot of it has to do with two main things. The first is that, for awhile now, Hollywood has been remaking films left and right because they are losing creativity. As I got older, I noticed more and more movies from the 70's and 80's being remade. Now in 2016, there is at least one movie a month that is a 1980's remake, and usually not a good one.The second reason is because of the tremendous growth in the video game industry over the past two decades. The video game industry has surpassed Hollywood, and Hollywood execs are now jumping on the bandwagon. Keep in mind that Generation X and Millenials are now grown up, with families of their own. And like all generations, we have nostalgia for movies and shows when we were kids. The video game and movie industries know this, which is why you have so many sequels to video games and remakes of classic movies. – MikeySheff 9 months ago
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    The Golden Age of Video Games

    According to my brother, we are on the brink of a "golden age of video games." Analyze the progression of video games from Asteroids to Nintendo 64 to PS1,2,3,4, to all the Xboxes, and then into the future of virtual reality games that you can actively participate in by wearing a type of goggle. Do you feel the next few years will be as promising as he does?

    • It would interesting to understand why the game industry has risen so much and look at the influence of 3D cinema, where the experience needs to be 'complete' for the audience, like a game. TVs are now in 3D too. Have a look at stats on the rise of the demand for video games too. – Rachel Elfassy Bitoun 2 years ago
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    • "There's nowhere to go from the bottom but up," also feels like it's appropriate at this point in time. – Austin 2 years ago
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    • It will be interesting to see where gaming will go. Connecting consoles to the internet changed the way we play. We don't have to sit in the same room or even know each other anymore. Of course, the graphics have gotten much better too, though that might not make the games better, but I'd like to see some speculation or insight into what gaming developers are working on. – S.A. Takacs 2 years ago
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    • What would the roster of golden age video games look like? Who would you put on your top 5? – george 2 years ago
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    • Maybe link it loosely to the how comic book's define their respective ages. Surely, there have been other "golden" ages in Video Games. We should try and demarcate them. Separating by console generation would probably be the best place to at least start. Also need to separate between console, handheld/mobile, PC. – JAKK 2 years ago
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    • A "golden" age of gaming, for some, has already passed. I know there are those who consider the first Nintendo games to be part of the "golden" age, because they were the first - the ground-breakers. I think it is important to first define what you mean by a "golden" age to begin with, and then go from there.What makes a particular age of gaming "golden"? – Caliburnus 2 years ago
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    • This might be the golden age but all I can help but wonder is how companies are charging us for DLC's. Games are getting way more expensive and giving an advantage to those who can spare extra change. – CarlosRodriguez 2 years ago
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    • The golden age of video games were between 2002 till 2011 when half life 2,bioshock and red dead redemption were published – SinaHasani 5 months ago
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    The Decline of the Video Game Campaign

    For better or for worse, some game developers are leaving out single player campaigns in favor of multiplayer-only games. This comes from a trend of campaigns seeing less play-time, and multiplayer being the bulk of the play-time as well as the largest part of DLC. Examine the cause and effect in games such as Titanfall, Star Wars: Battlefront, and Rainbow Six: Siege, which were criticized by some for not having a campaign. Discuss whether or not this is a wise decision for developers who see that disinterest, and address game consumers that still desire a single-player campaign. Also, look at the rise of games with a competitive focus such as CS:GO and League of Legends and their role in boosting the multiplayer community in video games, including aspects of player interaction and maintenance of an online persona/character.

    • I don't play games with anyone. I personally dislike engaging in multiplayer games. Or at least, I don't go out of my way to engage in them. I don't even have many friends around who could play along with me even if I wanted to. I'm a Skyrim, Shadows of Mordor, Half-Life 2 kind of guy, and none of those games, to me, would be better if I was playing along with other people. I like forging my own path, and not waiting around for others to catch up. Not that I don't understand the benefits and enjoyment of playing a game in a group. But it's definitely not a first or even second choice for me. Depending on the environment and the situation, I would be more inclined to do it. So with all of this stuff about single-player campaigns dropping from new games, it worries me that I'll have less options as new games come around each new year. Bloodbourne thankfully is still a single-player focus game, and I've been looking forward to that for ages. And there are still indie games like SOMA that are single-player only. So I guess I'm not too worried about it. But it is concerning. – Jonathan Leiter 2 years ago
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    • With videogames becoming more popular among a wide variety of people, is it possible this new competition based lens for videogames is trending towards it becoming seen as a competitive sport? Starcraft is a national sport in S. Korea, and ESPN already aired a "Heroes of the Storm" tournament. Couple that coverage with the emergence of twitch, and it would appear very obvious competitive gaming is quickly becoming a huge economic force. With the influx of what seems to be a very neo-liberal idea in competitive gaming (both in the nature of competition and the economic implications), I worry that we might see the end of artistic "AAA" games. I really like this topic idea, and I think one more direction it could go in is whether or not this now puts the onus on indie developers to keep the 'heart' of gaming, if you will, beating. – Ftelroy 2 years ago
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    • It's a fairly dismal outcome of the past several years, with more games eschewing story for favor of a vast multiplayer experience. While I assume this serves to cut down on costs and build a bigger community faster by devoting more resources to a comprehensive multiplayer network, this approach seems to have backfired on the developers as much as it's slighted the consumers. Quite a few people I know bought games such as Titanfall and others of its non-campaign ilk, and although they reveled in the the multiplayer for a short time, they came to tell me that it felt weak and baseless because they had no idea who they were, what they were fighting for, or why they even existed in the first place. What many developers seem to be ignoring is that campaigns help give players a foothold in the story world of the game, something an online database or quick summation in the Users Manual cannot do, at least not to the extent of an eight-hour single player story mode. Without that foundation, players flounder because, again, they have no idea why they're even doing what they're doing. Now, some games can survive on this lack of campaign, such as Battlefront--which is buoyed by its ties to the Star Wars Franchise--and MOBAs such as League of Legends or Counter Strike which have garnered reputations for their online experiences. So, obviously, the sans campaign system works, and quite well, it appears--for PC Gamers, where it's easy to install a mod or download new third-party content, affix it within the game files, and find yourself playing an entirely different game. Console games such as Titanfall are incapable of the more sophisticated modding communities PC Gamers are privy to thanks to the design of the consoles themselves. This hindrance prevents any kind of new community-driven development from taking place in most console games, and is therefore why console developers should not be so swift in their shirking of campaigns. – JKKN 2 years ago
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    The Illusion of Choice in Gaming

    Analyze ‘choice’ in video-games ranging from games that present choice (e.g. Mass Effect, Telltale Games) to games that are more open (e.g. Fallout, GTA) and discuss how both types of games are in-fact linear experiences.

    • Choice in video games is undoubtedly a linear experience because regardless of the "choices" you're given, you are still limited in what you can choose. You can choose A or B (sometimes C, or D, or even beyond) but that's as far as you can go. Ultimately, you are heading in a direction with only one or two possible endings, thus you are still being guided to the ending in a linear fashion. Choice is certainly an illusion, and games like Bioshock and Bioshock: Infinite almost satirize choice by arguing that it is, in fact, an illusion, and therefore nonexistent. – Christina 2 years ago
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    • Some games have legitimate deviating paths but they are few and far between. – ChrisKeene 2 years ago
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