Grafting in Literature, Film, and Video Games

Grafting to many, including myself until very recently, was a term used for agriculture and surgery, but the term also refers to the introduction of material into mythology or legend. Virgil did it with the Aeneid in his insertion of Aeneas’ epic into the same mythology of Homer and many of the Arthurian authors did it when they chose to add their own stories of the knights of the round table or incorporate older stories, such as Tristan, into the Arthurian Canon. Today, we see Disney do it. A Pixar executive recently said that all of the Pixar movies from the last so many years have taken place in the same ‘universe’ and since the release of Frozen, we’ve seen countless theories that Frozen, Little Mermaid, and Tangled exist together, thus Frozen was grafted into the Disney universe. I have yet to see a good example for gaming beyond maybe the stories Telltale have created based on beloved film and comic properties, but I am sure they exist.

Just a few midday thoughts. Feel free to respond.

 

C.E. Morrison

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The Importance of Writing in Video Games

This week I had the honor and time to play one of the most well written games of the year. Sadly, I also played Watch_Dogs. Don’t get me wrong, I have spent a lot of time with Watch_Dogs this past week but only for its side missions, which are now getting somewhat repetitive. The open world is plagued with a poorly written story and characters who are lifeless in their dialogue. The character models are gorgeous but lack proper voice acting found in Ubisoft’s recent Assassins Creed offering or the wit of Child of Light. In other words, I discovered this week that I found the reason that I was so excited for my PS4 and next generation gaming  to be lackluster and a complete disappointment.

The game I mentioned is the fourth episode of Telltale’s Wolf Among Us. A decently received game critically, I went into the episode with higher hopes than most and walked away happy. *Spoiler* I”Lit a cigarette” in my final choice upon meeting the villain of the series leading to the best cliffhanger I have experienced in a video game since Telltale’s Walking Dead Season 1’s finale. Now, the fifth episode may be a complete disappointment and I will cross that bridge when I get there, but from episode one, I have been hooked due to smart writing, intriguing art work, and a great cast (for the most part) of voice actors.

I am an English Major and maybe that is why I tend to be more critical of writing in media, but with stories such as Metal Gear Solid and Last of Us (both linear and tightly constructed), I fail to see an excuse for a AAA game being poorly written.  I do not expect Dickens or McCarthy (yet), but I do expect a developed character. I also do not expect every game to have an all star cast such as GTA V and ESO, but with AAA titles, I expect a certain level of professionalism. I am enjoying playing in the world of Watch_Dogs and look forward to the sequel but, as Assassins Creed III, I will be walking away from Watch_Dogs disappointed.

C.E. Morrison

Relating to the Past

A few years ago, probably in a literature class but possibly in a discussion with peers, a former friend said that John Milton fell into despair that no one would read or even care about his work. Later, I discovered that he sold his most famous work, Paradise Lost, for ten english pounds. I’ve also heard from former students of Tolkien that he also feared that no one would care about his “mythology for England.” So here we are, in a new Renaissance of sorts, and I am writing our first blog post with the slight fear that no one will care or even follow. However, just as Tolkien and Milton took their leaps of faith, here we take ours, striving to conquer our fears and hoping they are unfounded. We wish to share adventurous thoughts with all who would be kind enough to take a few occasional moments to explore these ideas with us. Ideas ranging from literature, as is my focus, to popular culture, business, and politics. Our writers are not limited to certain subjects and are only asked to write when something has “tickled their fancy” in a meaningful way.

 

So Welcome to and please enjoy Adventurous Thoughts for All,

C. Drake