Sleeping with Thedas

Dorian Romance

As a company, Canadian-based game developer BioWare has been famous for its attempts at inclusivity of minority characters in its video games. Through the years, most notably in its two most famous properties, the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series, BioWare’s concern with inclusivity has been centered largely around that of minorities on the sexuality and gender spectrums. These attempts at inclusivity have been earned the studio commendations for their progressivity and forward-thinking, as well as appreciation from fans for targeting a somewhat atypical triple-A gaming audience—that is, people who are not heterosexual, cisgender men. Perhaps the most prominent example of BioWare’s efforts at representation is its most recent major publication, Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Of the three major Dragon Age titles published so far, Inquisition, released in November of 2014, is undoubtedly the most inclusive when it comes to gender and sexuality. While Dragon Age: Origins (2009) and Dragon Age II (2011) featured multiple straight and bisexual characters, Inquisition is the first of the three to feature not only gay and lesbian characters, but also a character who falls outside of the traditional male-female binary on the gender spectrum.…

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You’re Gonna Have a Bad Time

Undertale

Warning: This post contains spoilers.

The simulation of morality is nothing new. Much of moral philosophy for instance, relies on thought experiments such as the Heinz Dilemma, the Trolley Problem, and the Ticking Bomb Scenario in order to better explain, discuss, and grapple with various moral and ethical conflicts. We may even think of moral simulation as being as old as religion itself, which often uses parables and the promise of moral judgment upon death to exemplify and promote righteous behavior. In simulations such as these, we can better understand how we have come to understand what constitutes as right or wrong, as well as judge the morality of our own actions and beliefs. More recently, moral simulation has spread beyond the realms of philosophy and religion, addressing the secular mainstream and even finding itself as a type of commodity in the form of video games.

Morality and systems used to simulate and measure it have become important features of many popular role playing game series, including FalloutMass Effect, and Fable.…

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Queerness and Narrative: Todd Haynes’s Carol

carol-image-rooney-mara-cate-blanchett

This is one part in a series of short essays on Todd Haynes’s Carol (2015). This part is on narrative structure and the film’s relationship to an older film, David Lean’s Brief Encounter (1945).

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Seeing and Desire: Todd Haynes’s Carol

CAROL

This is one part in a series of short essays on Todd Haynes’s Carol (2015). This part is on aesthetics and including a close reading of Todd Haynes’s film in a tradition alongside Douglas Sirk and Vincente Minnelli.

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Studio Lighting

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For me, taking and editing photos is a therapeutic experience. After a long day of class, creation and conversation, I take comfort in the thought that at the click of a button I can capture a canvas worth manipulating later. Best of all, the canvas is never blank; it comes ready-made with shapes and forms and structures to work around and within. Especially when editing photos taken at night, when the drama between light and dark is heightened by limited illumination from street and window lights, I enjoy using the composition that already exists as a guideline for where to fade completely to black and where to allow color and light to remain.

With this photo set, I actually aimed to alleviate the tension between seen and unseen elements, either by emphasizing clean lines or showcasing gradual transitions between light and dark. I hope that when a viewer observes these photos, he or she does not feel compelled to strain to see details that are hidden by darkness, but can instead view each image holistically, a testament to editing that successfully naturalized (at times, unnatural-looking) transition zones.…

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