Topics

Title

Filter Topics by Category

3

Are Microtransactions Ruining Video Games?

Ever since the meteoric rise of mobile gaming, microtransactions have plagued the world of modern video games. Games are being released with DLC content available from day 1, leaving many to consider such games incomplete upon release. DLC used to be used as a way of extending the playability of games after they have been out for a while. However, it is now being used as a cash grab for developers who sell game content separately. Is this trend leading to the downfall of video games? How long will players continue to shell out wads of extra cash to play a game that they already bought?

  • I think that one should be careful to separate microtransactions, DLC, and expansion packs. Like the difference between a Sims stuff pack, Oblivion's Shivering Isles, mobile game shenanigans, and buying a crate in a game like Overwatch. It might be obvious to some, but clearly delinating what's what will likely prevent a lot of confusion. – Scarlety 3 days ago
    2
  • Make sure to define your terms very clearly, microtransactions, DLC, expansion packs, etc. Good, relevant topic, lots of resources to look and draw upon from across the internet/gaming sites. – Sean Gadus 23 hours ago
    1
3

Orientalism in the Media

Orientalism as explained by Edward Said is the emphasising and exaggeration of particular cultures, often portraying them as exotic, uncivilised or even dangerous.
Disney’s Aladdin is one example of this behaviour. Analyse some further examples of Orientalism in the media, and the implications of such behaviour in the 21st Century. Explain how this exemplifies Said’s theory.

    2

    The Female Badass in Movies and TV

    Throughout history in both movies and television there seems to be a recurring trend that the women badass is somewhat always second fiddle to their action or male counterparts. I think of movies like Underworld and Resident Evil, while both lead characters are both extremely badass and women, in one of the movies they have to be told by a man that they are badass because of a specific reason (their blood is stronger now because of being blessed by the last male heir of a line of vampire killers or because they are a clone of a weaker version of yourself, and were created by a man seeking power and control) However, recently there has been an increase in movies that show women as being rightfully badass without needing men to justify that they are this way. Why is that while there is an increase in women simply being badass because they are by their own rights, is still many interpretations of women’s badassery needing to be justified by men?

    • Some great examples would be the recent Wonder Woman film, CW's Supergirl, and many of the female characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, and several in the Black Panther film. These are just some suggestions for you to consider. Great topic! – EmskitheNerd 2 days ago
      1
    1

    Can Writing Fanfiction Have Benefits?

    While writing fanfiction can be time better spent on one’s own original creative endeavours, are there benefits? I’ve read fanfics that have elevated original works in interesting ways, showing a deep understanding for characterisation, narrative structure, and significantly, the pitfalls those original works might have fallen into. So, can writing fanfiction teach us to be critical and inventive in *what* we write, therefore benefiting how we construct our own original works? Or can its normalisation of appropriation do more harm than good? (Then again, what goes in a post-modern society?)

    • I get that you're referring more to "artistic benefits" than "financial benefits," but the author might find this helpful nonetheless: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsTN5ZUnypQ – ProtoCanon 2 days ago
      1
    2

    The conflict between heroism and villainy within My Hero Academia

    The anime has characters such as Endeavor who is known as the number 2 hero despite having villainous qualities such as abusing his wife and children. On the flipside, they have Stain, a villain who ruthlessly kills people yet values true heroism. In a show promoting the idea of becoming the best hero in the world, what does it mean when characters hold opposing traits from their roles in society? Additionally, can characters such as Bakugo, Deku, and Todoroki be considered as true heroes considering their reasons for becoming heroes?

      5

      What do colors have to do with story?

      Movies like American Beauty or The Grand Budapest use bright or dull bland colors to set tone and provide atmosphere. Can the same be said for exposition? Example, Sin-city is a mainly black and white movie where they use colors only to draw attention to details. So, again, I pose the question, Can colors be a main source for exposition in film?

      • The selection of a color pallete is just as essential to film exposition as the storytelling, cinematography and editing as it helps to establish the 'flavour' of a scene in visual shorthand. I see you mentioned 'Sin City' in particular. In this instance, since the film was based on Miller's graphic novel, it made sense to stay with black and white to help create the same mood and atmosphere found within the graphic novel. I'd also suggest taking a look at the recent British science fiction thriller 'Anon' (written, directed and co-produced by Andrew Niccol), which uses a near washed-out pallete to establish the blandness of a population's existence within a city that is under constant surveillance by the authorities. Good idea for a topic suggestion though and you have my vote. – Amyus 2 days ago
        1
      • Another good example to consider is the usage of red and yellow in The Village. M. Night Shyamalan uses both to peak efficiency in the film, to the point where the sight of the color red alone sparks a response with the viewer. – ValleyChristion 2 days ago
        1
      • Great work, this is an excellent topic. Check out Cinefix's video on the uses of color in film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tILIeNjbH1E&t=461s, it's incredibly informative. A color palette creates atmosphere, environment, and mood easily, and it's interesting to explore how different colors can have differing effects, and take on differing themes. – Matchbox 1 day ago
        0
      • I was struck by the brilliant use of colour (I am spelling this word as the Canadian I am!) in "The Handmaid's Tale." The glaring red of the handmaids' dresses against the generally dark interiors (such as Waterford's study) which evokes various things: their 'fallenness' (think, Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter); the bloodiness of menstruation and childbirth. The red dresses are in contrast (yet in direct complement) to that odd shade of green worn consistently by every wife. Both colours contrast with the lifeless khaki worn by every Aunt. The use of colour in "The Handmaid's Tale" reminds me of Julie Taymor's use of colour in her "Titus". In the Special Features section of the DVD, Taymor talks to students at Columbia University about this topic. – Jos 1 day ago
        0
      2

      What is Hollywood willing to take a chance on?

      Recently, Hollywood has been focused on franchises, adaptations, and remakes that are guaranteed to have an audience (Disney live action remakes, Star Wars continuations, Ready Player One, Jumanji, comic book movies, etc.) What movies have come out recently that the film industry took a big chance on, and have they done well or have they flopped?

      • this is a very interesting topic, considering last year Hollywood made one of their biggest gambles on Darren Aronofsky's Mother! The film, for me, felt like a test production to see if audiences would gravitate to more artistic and experimental projects. It failed, and it is rather rare to see big studios funding new and original projects unless the director has a certain weight (ex. Spielberg). I think this could work, but I think it would be important to discuss the trend, specifically in the 21st century, of big studios supporting riskier projects and when it seems viable to do so. There should be specific films, like Mother!, but the topic should be more weighted towards Hollywood trends and what the general public is more likely to lean towards as far as genres/ideas in films. Specific films don't always work as an indicator, it is better to focus on trend and changes, even sociopolitically, anything that could influence viewership. – Connor 6 days ago
        2
      1

      Did Catherine of Wuthering Heights live on?

      Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë is a singular novel. Especially within a Victorian literary context, the heroine Catherine Earnshaw is a singular woman. Passionate, haughty and violent, even as she succumbs to Victorian strictures governing femininity and relationships and eventually dies, she forever sticks in my mind.

      Though she is decidedly unlike most other Victorian heroines, I wonder if more recent literature has created characters in which she is reflected? Does Catherine live on in other literary figures? Whom most resembles her?

        1

        The Art of Academic Writing

        As an academic writer, I am aware of many "myths" about academic writing, which many people call rules. But what are the rules? Or should we abolish the notion of rules and become writers in our own voice rather than being so "academic"?

        • Part of the discussion needs to be on the contested idea of what academic writing actually is and how it differs between not only disciplines but also countries. – SaraiMW 6 days ago
          1
        2

        Why Do TV Series End By Choice?

        Over the past few years, some of my favourite TV shows (particularly animated ones and those with deep story) have come to an end – by complete choice. Especially animated ones like Regular Show, Gravity Falls, Over the Garden Wall, etc. I’ve been thinking about this for a while but especially as the approaching end of my absolute favourite animated series, Adventure Time, nears ever closer. Whilst this angers dedicated audiences, many others, just as loving of a show, are happy and in support of studios’ choice. This topic has a lot to it and fascinates me. For example; Why do shows end by choice even though their rankings or following is not decreasing at all? How SHOULD a show end? How do producers bring justice to a show before it disappears from our screens? Most of all, I believe audiences who look deeper, like ourselves, as well as the regular every-day audience should understand the multitude of factors that bring a show to an end. There’s a multitude of answers and questions regarding this broader topic and I would love to see people’s opinions and comments on it!

        • I really like this question that you ask: Why do shows end by choice even though their rankings or following is not decreasing at all? My sense is that if someone is set on telling a truly compelling story, that storyteller would want to be able to determine when and how the story ends, not leave the story's telling time up to something as arbitrary as whether or not the series will be continued or cancelled. – JamesBKelley 4 days ago
          1
        • Absolutely, I agree. I have such high respect for shows that end to complete the story etc rather than dragging it out for profit. Even though AT is my favourite show and I’ll be very sad to see it go, I’m glad they’re bringing it to an end due to story ☺️ I wish more audiences could understand these things – inkski 4 days ago
          0
        3

        Is Fantasy Necessarily Medieval?

        When we think of the fantasy genre, it’s almost always in a swords-and-sorcery way. Knights, enchanters and mythological beings dominate fantasy stories, whether in books (such as a Song of Ice and Fire), TV shows (such as Merlin) and video games (such as the Final Fantasy series). Even fantasy stories set in modern day often betray medieval influences (e.g. Hogwarts castle and the Sword of Gryffindor in Harry Potter). But is this always the case? Are there any high-profile fantasy stories that are not based on/heavily inspired by medieval Europe? Is the fantasy genre branching out into different cultures/time periods, and is this successful?

        • Great topic! I'm wondering if one of the differences between science fiction and fantasy has to do with this question that you're asking. Fantasy seems often (nearly always?) to look back to the Middle Ages whereas science fiction seems often (nearly always?) to looking forward and to the future. – JamesBKelley 4 days ago
          0
        • Urban Fantasy like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the anime Bleach, could be a good reference for alternative fantasy! Both these shows have their roots in traditional (eastern and western) fantastical roots, but they adapt the old stories and concepts to the 21st century which is actually really refreshing. – Dimitri 4 days ago
          0
        • Interesting question. A quick Google search tells me that fantasy genre is primarily defined by magic or supernatural elements. I think that, because the Medieval age has been historically associated with witches, alchemy and whatnot, it's naturally become the basis of most fantasy stories. It seems almost inescapable, that relation between fantasy and medieval. That being said, the TV show Charmed includes morally good witch sisters in a modern setting, the show being a huge success. So maybe fantasy isn't necessarily medieval so much as it borrows medieval concepts, like witches and knights and whatnot. – Starfire 2 days ago
          0
        • I think mostly this comes from our association of magic with the medieval period a la Merlin/King Arthur, etc. But I think more and more we're seeing people with 'super powers' that we would consider magical in science fiction. This probably isn't the best example but Doom is a video game about space marines but involves opening a portal to Hell. I think much of this depends on how you define 'fantasy', but I would say this is definitely leaking into more modern sci-fi books, but perhaps we don't call it 'fantasy.' – tolkiensocietykc 45 mins ago
          0
        1

        Getting Started as a YouTuber in 2018

        With social media being readily accessible in today’s age, it can be hard to stand out and have original ideas. Getting noticed is also getting more difficult, and creating consistent content can prove to be problematic.

        • I think this is a good conversation to have, but I would also suggest drawing in the framework of what has made successful youtube channels. – SaraiMW 6 days ago
          0
        2

        Nostalgia in the Modern Era

        Discuss and analyze how many tv series adapt a sense of nostalgia. Many hit tv shows present an underlying sense of nostalgia. For instance, Hulu’s This is Us intertwines plot events that take place in not only the present but also the past. In Netflix’s Stranger Things, the series takes place in the 1980s. Aside from these examples, there have also been many older shows that have gotten modern day spinoffs: Boy Meets World and Girl Meets World, Full House and Fuller House, and That’s So Raven and Raven’s House. How does nostalgia function in tv and what does it say about our society?

        • A fruitful avenue might be comparing our contemporary nostalgia for the 80's with the swell of nostalgia for the 50's in the late 70's and 80's (e.g., Grease, Back to the Future, Happy Days), maybe asking how and why three decades seem to be the magic number for these intense waves of nostalgia. – Allie Dawson 3 days ago
          2
        1

        Radical Acceptance in Podcasts

        Explore the ways in which interpersonal conflict is presented, explored, and addressed in popular podcasts like Judge John Hodgman (Maximum Fun) and Conversations with People Who Hate Me (Nightvale Presents). These are shows which address emotional, yet relatively minor disputes in a public, drama-free environment. What is it about podcasts like these that breeds frank honesty and polite empathy at the same time?

          4

          Television and the Resonance Factor

          Those of you who have seen my profile and work on The Artifice know I’m a Oncer. Of course, Once Upon a Time ends next week, and of course, the fangirl in me is bummed about it. But I recently came across some interesting cast interviews, where Lana Parilla, Ginnifer Goodwin, and others talked about the "resonance" of OUAT. According to the cast, OUAT was a hit and ran for seven seasons primarily because it resonated with its audience. This got me thinking – what exactly is "resonance" in the television world? What other shows have achieved it, and are there different ways to do so? How do you know when a show has achieved the type of resonance that will ensure a multi-season run, a broad and loyal fan base, and overall endurance? Discuss.

          • This sounds like a very interesting topic, especially when comparing the producer's intentional and unintentional factors. – inkski 5 days ago
            1
          • Oof, resonance. I agree with inkski in that producers play a role in, I suppose, sustaining that resonance. I think good TV shows recognise their influence and will strive to prolong their on-screen stay. The biggest example of resonance I know of is from Doctor Who, whose influence can be derived from one of the greatest ideas in television history: the constant return of its titular character via 'regeneration'. I think Doctor Who's stories of life, death and how you spend the adventures in between, are what resonates with its loyal audiences. Though in sustaining resonance, I'd say there needs to be constant growth in the story. I haven't watched OUAT in ages but I'm sure it still resonates because it expanded beyond Storybrooke, in the same way it expanded on characters. Doctor Who constantly expands on the nature of the Doctor. I'm interested in how you tackle this topic, not only in how 'resonance' can be identified, but captured and sustained. – Starfire 4 days ago
            1
          3

          What it takes to compete as a freelance writer

          Help college students and new writers to navigate in this competitive market.

          • As as career advisor, I see this all of the time with my students. I'd like to lend helpful suggestions to the writer on this topic. – charisewilson 1 week ago
            0
          • I would also love to read and write more about this topic! I'm currently studying in a professional writing program, and all of my classmates have so much talent but are struggling to navigate the world of freelancing, especially at the entry level. – MeganAlms 7 days ago
            1
          • I would also like to know how to get started freelancing. I am an academic writer and I don't get paid or receive royalties. I would like to reverse that situation. – jdumay 6 days ago
            1
          • I've recently graduated from college and am currently enrolled in a professional program so this topic resonates with me! It sounds like the topic is pretty broad and general right now. So make sure you narrow it down on specifics! You can address any controversies/stereotypes that new writers have to overcome or focus on what it takes to spout out original work. I know that many other writers my age are constantly working hard to find their voice and personal style - another issue that you can address with this topic. All in all, good idea but needs to be more specific. – jay 5 days ago
            2
          • I just graduated from college and this is a question that I've been asking myself for a while. – larrymlease 5 days ago
            1
          • Writer's Market (most recent year available) Implement Google Search for contests and more. – denaelerian 4 days ago
            0
          2

          Miss Congeniality

          Analyse the concepts of gender and sexism in Gracie Hart’s supposed journey ugly duckling to beauty pageant swan, weighing the various kinds of positive and negative depictions of women, particularly beauty pageant contestants.
          How are common tropes of the though guy/girl, the ditsy blonde, etc. presented? Are the viewers expectations challenged? If so, is that the intention of such a film? How does the film hold up?

          • I think the film did a pretty great job at representing real-life women with Sandra Bullock's character. I think the idea behind the stereotypical females in the pageant was purposeful but they used Sandra to counteract that. But I do see your point about whether or not that challenges us. – hannahshort 6 days ago
            2
          • I don't think it's worth distinguishing between 'positive' and 'negative' portrayals of women unless you define both definitions. What's a 'positive' depiction of a woman? One who is confident in themselves and how they present their gender? Are these definitions defined on the basis of how the characters see themselves, or how WE see them (as either validating or opposing our ideals of how women should be depicted?) You could talk about men and how they might be the ones constructing these positive/negative depictions of women... But, I would much rather say that these depictions are intentionally stereotypical to serve the wider narrative, which in my opinion, is about women competing for self-empowerment. That's what the Miss America pageant is all about, right? Why antagonist Kathy Morningside wants to crap on everyone's parade, and why Gracie struggles to get her boss (and stylist) to see her side of things. Gender certainly plays a role in these situations, and the movie shouldn't be excused for bordering on sexual harassment at some stages. But I personally think the film sends a good message. I think, on a basic level, the film subverts (or experiments) with what we'd typically associate with a 'strong, confident woman'. A strong, confident woman can be a badass like Gracie, or an attention-seeking maniac like Kathy, or fire-baton twirler Cheryl. The film first uses these stereotypical depictions to distinguish between Gracie and the rest of the contestants, but by the end, it tells us that hey, it's okay to have the best of both worlds. One thing to note is that Gracie didn't achieve self-empowerment by becoming a 'beauty pageant swan', nor did she ever lose that confidence entering the pageant as an 'ugly duckling'. She became empowered through her newfound female friends, the only thing she, a strong confident woman, was lacking. That, I think, is the significance behind 'Miss Congeniality'. Besides world peace. Yeah. – Starfire 4 days ago
            0
          2

          Harley Quinn & Joker: A problematic lovestory

          What is so alluring about the love story between the insane and the manipulated. Why must these two characters continue to be televised as madly in love despite the comic books very clearly outlining how Joker manipulated, tortured, and conditioned Harley Quinn into becoming the villain we know and love. Why has Harley’s break from the Joker and bisexuality been ignored throughout the development of her character and why the hell havent we seen any development of her relationships with Catwoman and Poison Ivy?

          • Oh my gosh thank you for this topic!!! I am a HUGE Harley Quinn fan and I absolutely hate the romanticized version of the love story between Joker and Harley. I have always found this relationship breaks my heart more than makes it full. And I hate when girls say they want a relationship like Joker and Harley when they've only seen the romanticized version of this story.. – ChaosMistress5817 3 days ago
            0
          • One thing you could focus on is why it took so long for the DC comics to finally make Harley Quinn break away from Joker,and maybe try to identify why the relationship was tolerated throughout the years – tmtonji 3 days ago
            0
          • I'd compare different depictions of this twisted romances. Ironically, the 1992 animated series (wherein she debuted) seems to provide both the tamest and most mature take on their relationship, not reveling in torture porn while having a narrative awareness this is a deeply dysfunctional and abusive relationship, while Suicide Squad ups the ante on the abuse and simultaneously romanticizes their relationship in an objectively unhealthy way. How is it that the cartoon recognizes this is pure abuse and manipulation, while Suicide Squad tries to imply "he really does care"? How is it the film intended for adults is more naive and less realistic than the kids cartoon? Not just these two, of course, but, considering their public profile, I'd consider them first. – Allie Dawson 3 days ago
            0
          1

          Spongebob Squarepants: What's the secret ingredient that keeps people coming back and laughing 20 years after they first watched it?

          I get that there’s a secret ingredient in the Krabby Patties, but for some reason, this show has remained a consistent, entertaining favourite to a majority of adults who watched it even as children. It would be interesting to take a look at some of the long-standing, rustproof, and robust comedic techniques used in the show that make it appeal to people of all ages.

          • Maybe expound on this a little bit. What is it about those techniques that we love? Compare it to other cartoons of the day; did those other shows achieve the same effect? Also discuss how those tactics are being employed by cartoons and other shows today. – EmskitheNerd 1 week ago
            1
          2

          Can an audience still enjoy a film that stars actors who are truly horrible people?

          O.J. Simpson in the Naked Gun movies, Joe Son in Austin Powers, Jeffrey Jones in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Hollywood films are rife with actors who have found their way on the wrong side of the law. Some are for petty reasons or misdomeanors, though some have been convicted (or at least tried) for truly heinous acts. Though does knowing this take away from the enjoyment of the films themselves? Can an audience enjoy and empathise with a character without seeing the criminal (if not evil) actor beneath? Where do we draw the line in our supposed ‘suspension of disbelief’? Are there some films or actors that people just simply cannot bring themselves to look at? Do we boycott or condemn the film, and is that fair towards the other innocent individuals that worked on it?

          • These are all very interesting questions to ponder, since I have thought about them myself. Maybe choose a specific film and actor to talk about, and try to answer those questions. – Gabby 7 days ago
            2
          • It might be interesting to take a look at this topic from a political/historical perspective, as well as 'homages' to them (i.e. Leni Riefenstahl (propaganda filmmaker during Third Reich) and George Lucas (almost exactly copying one of Riefenstahls frames in Star Wars)). – Charly 7 days ago
            2
          • Depends on the crime, people's individual values/morals, but it's a shame as you say that other innocent actors can feel repercussions, – per221 4 days ago
            0
          • One question you can ask is do we boycott everything about said actor or only stuff that comes out after they became problematic. He’s not an actor but let’s say Kanye West, a lot of people who I know decided to no longer support him because of all his controversy but they still listen to his old music. While as others have decided to completely “unstan” him and anything associated to him from past to present. I think the question of time could be something interesting to target. – tmtonji 3 days ago
            0