We are all animals

Throughout history, films have always had an impact on society: In most cases, they act as a platform for social commentary by highlighting issues within society, usually in a very subtle manner.

One film I have only recently seen has highlighted all of the issues that we are now seeing in modern day society. This film won Best Animated Picture at the Academy Awards 2016 and I am still moved by how well this cartoon highlighted the issues that we see in society everyday. Zootoptropolis (or Zootopia as it is sometimes called) highlights very common issues that are very rarely seen in these type of films: ignorance, prejudice, social class and racial stereotypes were all hidden under the pretence of predators vs prey in a society where animals of all shapes and sizes live together harmoniously.

This film doesn’t hold any punches: It is fun enough for children to watch it and still see the message in a lighthearted manner, while adults watching it are hit square in the face with how real the issues are. Watching the film, it struck me how it is essentially the same old story of Us vs Them. In society there always seem to be two sides that are fighting over very old, ignorant and stereotypical issues.

In this film, the main character is the adorable Judy Hops, the first ever bunny cop. She herself is one example of how you as a person can fight stereotypes, as throughout the film she is called ‘cute’ because she’s a bunny, and people assume that she is too sweet and too meek to ever make it as a real police officer in the big scary city of Zootropolis. She highlights the use of language when talking to other animals and how we should all think about our terms of reference before we open our mouths.

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The film also highlights the way in which people can manipulate our prejudices towards people that are different to ourselves. In the film, (spoiler alert!) some prey animals want to infect all predators with a toxic plant that causes them to resort to aggressive and carnivorous behaviours. Throughout the film there is the underlying concern that all prey animals have that the predatory animals could very easily eat them if they wanted to, despite the clear fact that animals have evolved beyond this basic instinct. While it may not be seen as realistic, it helps to show how our own stereotypes of how people have behaved in the past affects how we think they are going to behave again: For example, there is the racial stereotype that all Chinese students are super smart or that all black people are ‘thugs’ or ‘ghetto’. There is little evidence to suggest that any of these are actually true, yet we are all exposed to these stereotypes on a daily basis, usually unknowingly. This is highlighted more in the film when Hops realises that even though she meant well and thought she was being PC, by assuming there is a ‘them’ and an ‘us’ she offends one of her newest friends.

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I don’t want to go on about this film and its underlying components because I know this isn’t normally what I write about. But in recent times, with all the horrid stories we are hearing at the moment about Muslims being terrorists and the sexual harassment women have to deal with on a daily basis, this film made me think a lot about how we are all viewing each other. If a simple animation made for children can highlight how dangerous and how corrupt this type of thinking is, then why can’t a society see this? All in all, this film is wonderful. It’s funny, it’s silly, it’s sweet and it has some wonderful life lessons that people of all ages can learn from. If you haven’t, I highly recommend it…it may even help you see things from another perspective, and that is always a useful skill.

This may appear to be too insightful for a review on an animated Disney film, but I found it to yell loud and clear that while we all may be from very different walks of life and no matter how complicated our history may be, we are all animals and we are all equal. We can only move forward and build a society where all are welcome, all are equal and all we do we do in harmony.

Image result for mean girls bake a cake Mean Girls yet again with the truth…

What films have spoken to you guys? Has there been a film that made you rethink your priorities?

Much Love people 🙂

T xx

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Why I would be a Sith…

*This is a bit of a far fetched article but it’s all in good fun!*

Now stay with me guys…

A few weeks ago I went to see the new Star Wars identities Exhibit at the O2. if you are interested in psychology and don’t mind Star Wars then it is worth a visit. I didn’t expect to take such a journey through my own psyche.

Image result for star wars identities o2 Star Wars Identities Exhibit

The exhibit (no spoilers) basically shows people how Lucas Film made and created the Star Wars universe: Most notably how each character was given their own personal story to tell. The exhibit leads you through the creative process of many different characters, including Luke, Darth Vader and Yoda (of course) and allows you to interact at each stage to create your own personalised Star Wars character.  Once it has helped you explore who your character is, what they stand for and what they are willing to fight for, you are asked one question: Emperor Palpatine has asked you to join the dark side instead of Anakin Skywalker…do you?

Naturally, most people automatically say no. The Sith are very obviously the Bad Guys, and who really wants to be that?!

But I seemed to approach it in a different way (and clearly far too seriously): Yes the Sith are bad, but they are undeniable going to be in control of everything by the start of Episode 4. Since you are essentially taking the place of Anakin (who would later become Darth Vader…oopsie, spoiler!) you will become Palpatine’s right hand man. Which is a power of position in its own right.

It was clear to see that all of the things I value (equality and freedom for all, to put it simply) are not things that the Sith really aspire towards. So, if I do not join the Dark Side, I would most likely be the first to die under the Sith reign as everything I stand for is everything they want to get rid of. I can never enact real change if I am dead…so I really have no choice but to join him.
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But aside from that, there is also the fact that being in a power of position does not mean that you are automatically a bad person: To become Palpatine’s right hand man means that you are his first in command, his confidant, his personal assistant…nothing happens in the Sith empire without you knowing about it, and most importantly, without him telling you the plan first. In this position, you could potentially be able to change Palpatine’s mind about things. Also, as you are in such a high position of power, everyone beneath you has to listen to you. You could coonvince Palpatine not to condemn all Jedi rights campaigners or those who oppose the Empire, but rather approach it from a different angle. In this sense, you can become the Snape to Palpatine’s Voldemort (Did I just combine fandoms??!!).

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It is also the simple thing of ‘better the devil you know’. It may also be worth noting that Darth Vader’s plan all along was to overthrow Palpatine. Or at least this is what many people are hypothesizing. While it may be super sneaky and may be proof that you have become the Dark Side, the only way anyone could ever hope to truly overthrow Palpatine is to be on the inside with him: I mean, I wouldn’t have a Jedi son for Palpatine to torture in front of me with lightning bolts, so I have to find another reason to throw him over a balcony…right? I mean someone is going to have to.

So what do you guys think? Would you have come to same conclusion?

T xxx

The real OG

‘You are unique…just like everybody else.’

This simple statement is a pretty common oxymoron. While it is still true that there are no two people who are 100% identically the same, the fact that we are all different is one of the main things humanity has in common. So is there such a thing anymore as originality? No matter what we wear, how we act or what we create, there is a high chance that there is someone else out there in the world who is doing the exact same thing. But that doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom…

Is originality even a thing?

Everyone is shaped by their experiences: Everything that we come into contact with over our lives shapes us into the person and the personality that we become. Due to this, inspiration is everywhere and we may even be influenced by things that we aren’t even aware we have noticed. A newspaper article from 10 years ago could be the reason you want to draw pictures, in the same way that a loud car stereo blasting 80s pop driving past you may make you want to start writing. It could be near impossible to pinpoint the exact reasons why we are all the way we are, but it doesn’t stop the fact that we have all been influenced by something else, which was no doubt influenced by something before it and so on and so forth.

Image result for originality gifsFightclub breaking all the walls

So it possible to still be original? If everything we ever create is nothing more than a step up from something we have seen, can we even say that it is our own work? From a legal standpoint, intellectual property has guides in place to ensure that no work has been intentionally copied: As long as you can prove that you created a piece of work through your own thought processes and own design plans, chances are you’re going to be fine (obviously it’s a bit more succinct than this, but I don’t think I have the time to explain it all!). But on a more philosophical level, is it possible for any of us to claim that our brand new identity or our way of dress is an original one?

Subculture symmetry

Everyone knows the old troupe: In high school you have those who follow the norms of society, and then you have the odd little groups of people who do not.

Image result for mean girls group gifs Mean Girls showcased this perfectly…

From the sociological aspect, all of these little groups within society are known as ‘subcultures’ where everyone within that subculture shares the same norms and values. However, in today’s society these  subcultures can have very blurred cut off points within them. I, for example, would not necessarily fit into one subculture alone: I may be blonde, wear a lot of pink and love pop music, but I also love video games, superheros and reading science fiction novels…I also don’t think I’m a mean enough person to have been one of the Plastics, but I digress. Subcultures by nature always include some form of similarity: members tend to dress the same, talk the same and even believe the same things. Key examples of this are the 1980s Punk, the 2000s Goth and even now the emergence of the Seapunk. They all look the same as each other, but at least they’re not mainstream. In some ways, subcultures go against originality as the entire practice seems to try and place members of society into boxes. Is this why originality is so hard to come across? The use of labels?

So what does this mean?

Today’s society is a massively innovative one with common social norms being challenged everyday from every aspect of itself. Young people are leading the gender revolution, wanting to do away with normal sexuality labels and gender stereotypes and instead move to an inclusive and free state of simply just existing: love who you love, be whatever gender you decide, believe whatever it is you wish to believe…but know that you will be accepted purely on who you are rather than how you have been socialised and labelled. For some people, especially those in a creative setting, this can be a whole new challenge, as trying to be memorable in a world where everything merges together is not an easy task. but perhaps this is where we fail.

Moving forward…

Just because something has done before does not mean that it is not original or innovative. it is common knowledge that anyone can copy something: If i can’t draw, I’ll just trace a picture, if I can’t write songs, I’ll just mash a load together. Originality comes from the little bits of you that you add to it to make it better: Five Night’s at Freddy’s fans are another key example of this as while the games they make are not, by nature, original content, the stories they create, the character interactions they add and the overall game play of said games are enough to make the new games original enough to improve and add to the existing base. Everything may not be original, but if something is added to the original to progress the entire idea forward, then that alone should be enough to be original.

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”

– C.S Lewis

T xx

Where are all the women?

I love video games, but I must admit that even I am fed up of not being able to play as a female character within games…especially the big blockbuster ones. Granted, in recent years video games have developed into more than just a male free-for-all in game play, with games such as Skyrim and Pokemon that allow you to customise the playable character to your own liking, and even games such as Overwatch and For Honour allow you to play as the female characters. But what about the big action games? In a sample of 669 action, shooter, and role-playing games selected in 2012, 45% provided the option of playing as a female, but only 4% had an exclusively female protagonist.

Why men?

For starters, video games historically were more directed at a male based audience: We all have the image of a ‘classic nerd’, with his glasses on, in his pants, playing a video game for hours at a time, stopping only to chug down an energy drink of choice and some form of processed food. Due to this, video games have been very stereotypical seen as a male dominated past time and as such will have the male leads in the game as the strapping, bad-ass hero, with women there more for the eye-candy than for their character development. This stereotype of ‘only boys play video games’ is most definitely not true in today’s society: A study by The Pew Research Center found that 48% of video game players were female, which shows that there is no longer a huge difference in gaming habits between the genders. However, it also found that only 6% of those women who played video games would define themselves as a ‘gamer’, compared to the 15% of men. perhaps this is why most video games are directed at men, because they are the self-professed ‘gamers’ within society whereas women only appear to play them for fun and leisure, rather than as a serious past time.

Damsel in distress

Mario and Zelda are two games that have basically formed their entire game play around this theory: beautiful girl is locked away somewhere, and our brave hero must go and rescue her. Now I understand the appeal…it can be a noble and brave act to rescue someone from a dire situation, and let’s be honest I’m sure most men love the idea of being a virtual Brave Knight…or a younger James Bond. I get it…that can be fun! But in many of these games the females are nothing more than a prize that the males have earned by facing all the challenges that they have done throughout the game i order to rescue her. I hope I am not alone in this feeling, but I would much rather play a game about the females story: She could fight her way back home while the male is still working out how to craft a stronger sword or which drain pipe leads to which platform.

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The Damaged Woman

In many ways, men in video games can go on the adventures they like because they simply WANT to do so, whereas with women it almost needs to be justified. There needs to be a REASON as to why they want to go on an adventure, or why they behave the way they do: Mia in Resident Evil VII was wielding chainsaws because she was possessed by a vengeful young girl (not entirely true, but there will be no spoilers from me!) who in turn, only possessed people because she was desperate for a family setting of her own. Evie (the little girl) was evil because she wanted a family, whereas the Bakers’ son Lucas was evil because…well he just was. Granted, this may have been part of the overall story, as the player is meant to play through the game learning about Evie’s back story and her life leading up to the Bakers’ household.

There were also debates surrounding the latest Tomb Raider game. Lara Croft is probably the most famous female video game hero, who handles guns better than Nathan Drake and can scale mountains and jungle terrain better than Ezio scales Italy. Yet in the latest game, released in 2013, there were issues surrounding her conflated character: She was built up to be against killing, yet in many circumstances she was shooting to kill. While there has been discussion as to the reality of this (you can play through the game with very little combat being encountered, as well as it being a story of survival for Lara) it raise the question as to why the developers didn’t do a Batman on it: In Arkham Asylum, Batman simply knocks the enemies unconscious rather than outright killing them. Perhaps Lara could have only shot people to disarm, rather than to kill? She may not be OK with killing, but seriously maiming is still an option.

Why do they not have clothes on???

All of the above issues aside, one thing I can never understand about females in video games is their very distinct lack of clothing! Women in video games always seem to be wearing very little: Lara Croft seems happy to traverse jungles in nothing but hot pants and a vest, while many of the ladies in Overwatch or Mortal Kombat just seem to wear lycra and some form of floaty cape. If any of you have ever tried to cosplay or fancy dress as your favourite video game character, you will have found that you are either wearing far too much clothing (Hello Mei!) or far, FAR too little (looking at you now Jade…). It seems that video game developers haven’t been able to bridge this gap between too much and too little: Women appear to be designed solely on their initial appearance and this is what we are to find attractive about them. Mei is adorable, in her super fluffy suit and quirky little glasses, whereas Jade is nothing but legs and boobs in a Princess Leia bikini who also happens to be a blood thirsty killer who can rip your head from your shoulders while you are impaled upon her metal staff. Am I the only one who would like to see a woman kicking butt in jeans and a hoodie?

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Jade from the Mortal Kombat Series (sans any actual clothing)

Final Thoughts

In the current society, it feels as though video game developers are too slow on the uptake: Yes there have been some seriously bad-ass women (Michonne in The Walking Dead, Ellie in The Last of Us) but for most of the big blockbuster films the women are nothing more than prized eye-candy or in need or rescuing from whatever evil ails them. Maybe once it would be nice to see the woman save the boy, or…dare I say it…save herself.

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Mei from Overwatch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jump Scares as a selling feature

A jump scare is a technique often used in horror films and video games, intended to scare the audience by surprising them with an abrupt change in image or event, usually co-occurring with a loud, frightening sound.

When it comes to horror, there is nothing scarier than a surprise. Films have been using these for decades and in recent years horror games have become centred around this. But does that necessarily make them scary?

The hugely anticipated Resident Evil 7 game was finally released in mid-January and the overall consensus states that it is amazing. The game is true to the original style of Resident Evil games while still creating a story that not only fits into the overall Resident Evil universe but also capable of being a stand alone adventure. Rife with gruesome and horrific images, this first person action horror game is littered with well timed jump scares. In this game, the jump-scares help to add to the overall mood of the game by being logical in their usage: The main villains of the game appear suddenly, for either a brief flicker or to provide useful information to aid in story progression, and help to create the mood in which the player is almost always on edge while playing. But Resident Evil has always used this tactic to make their games feel scary…with one well timed jump-scare the player is kept on edge throughout the rest of the game, which in turn continues the feeling of anticipated horror and unease within the player. 

Another game franchise that has utilised the jump-scare is the Five Nights At Freddy’s series. In this, you play as a defenceless night watchmen who has to watch CCTV monitors to keep an eye on the murderous animations that are trying to reach your office and kill you. These jump-scares are more a signal of death, as they usually only appear when the animatronic in question has gotten close enough to you to attack. This game is fun…it is a fun game to play purely to see people’s reactions while they play the game. However I wouldn’t say that this game is ‘scary’ but rather ‘jumpy’…which is exactly what the game is supposed to make you do.

Due to this, jump scares need to be used sparingly in order to be considered  ‘horror’ technique, as too many of them makes the game predictable and, eventually, funny. When used in a sparing nature, the jump scare can be used to cement an ambience of the game: In the promo game released for a new (but now cancelled) Silent Hill game, PT, the main threat was a randomly generated half dead woman who could jump out and kill your character at any time. Throughout the game you see small sights of her but nothing that can actually harm you. By allowing her to only attack you once during game play, the player is put into a sense of unease throughout game play and, as a result, are constantly on edge. This was part of the thrill of PT and why it was such a sought after game to play.

In short, jump scares are never fun. No matter what happens, you’re going to get a shock. However when used effectively they can be a valuable tool in creating a gaming experience.

Cosplay or copycat?

We have seen from some of the previous blogs that copyright law steps in when there has been blatant copying of one game in creating another game, but what about taking the characters themselves out of the game and into the real world?

Cosplay is the practice of dressing up as a character from a film, book, or video game, and is usually focused on those characters from the Japanese genres of manga or anime. it is a common practice at many comicons that the vast majority of those attending take the opportunity to dress up as their favorite characters, with many conventions now holding competitions for the best look-a-likes.

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A couple cosplaying as Wonder Woman and Batman. Other examples can be seen here

But if you were to dress up as your favorite character, this is not necessarily a cheap feat. If you are really going to do the character justice you need a lot of supplies: clothing, make-up, wigs, weapons, accessories, footwear, extra padding, armour details…the list can go on and on especially if you are trying to recreate a character from comics or video games. Now in the wonderful digital age in which we live, the internet has made all of the above easily accessible. The main question however will be whether or not you can afford to buy it all: If we decided to stick it out with our Dark Knight above, this could set a person back around £250. You’ll look awesome, but probably won’t be able to afford any other clothing for the foreseeable future.

So why not make your own?

I’ll admit it right now: I love a bit of dressing up. Any chance to wear fancy dress and quite frankly I’m sold. However, I am also really, really, really tight-fisted when it comes to my money and so could never justify to myself spending a lot of money on an outfit I’ll most likely only wear once (twice if i’m really lucky!). Creating your own costume is easier and usually cheaper than buying one ready made, especially if you are dressing up for a bit of fun at a convention or as a party troupe. However some of these cosplay competitions are a big deal for those who compete: While cash prizes are rare, the opportunity to win trophies, photography sessions and even meet-and-greet passes with the convention guests, are all big prizes to those fans who compete. In order to win once in a lifetime opportunities such as those awarded at these competitions, your costume must be on point: My Wonder Woman t-shirt, blue skirt and silver bangles will not be enough.

But does making your own count as copyright infringement? In short, no. If you are creating a costume purely for your own enjoyment then it would most likely not be covered by copyright infringement, as you are not causing any financial risk to the original owners. I could take this time to try and explain the implications of design rights within the fashion industry but that would be an entirely new blog post!

What if you made one for a friend?

Now this is where things could potentially be a problem. If you enjoy making the costumes, you may have a friend who asks you to create a costume for them of a particular character as the entire feat is too complicated for them. Based on the financial risk to the original owners, whether this could be copyright infringement rests heavily on whether or not they pay you for the work, and, almost more weighty, is whether this becomes a business for you. If your friend offers to pay you for the materials and time to make the costume, then it could be seen that you are taking money away from the original owner of the character and the costume. While this is extreme, it could become a more pressing issue if you were to do this for lots of friends…so much so that you would say that it is your work and it clearly had a commercial gain to it all.

Final verdict?

When it is clear that your hobby has now become a commercial enterprise, it is probably best to seek a license to use the image from the original owner (such as DC, Marvel or Square Enix for example) in order to protect yourself from a very nasty infringement claim being brought against you. While this may seem like a bit of an effort, it is best to cover your back rather than risk bankrupting yourself over something as minor as a winged cape.

Other than that, craft to your heart’s content my fellow geeks! I shall see you at a convention near you.

T xx

 

Freddy Fazbear and his F**Kboys

One indie game of high popularity in recent years has been Five Nights at Freddy’s. This is a rather simple point and click horror game, where the player controls a night watchman with the aim of surviving numerous nights of increasing difficulty by not being killed by the animatronic machines that come ‘alive’ at night. With its use of jump scares and simple controls, this game has a very active and loyal fan following and as such there have been some fan made versions of the game.

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^^ Freddy Fazbear ^^

One game in particular, Five Nights at F**kboys, may not be suited to the original game’s current audience. This version of Freddy’s involves Freddy trying to have a wild night of debauchery and partying, with many of the characters wearing inappropriate clothing and one character performing inappropriate acts whenever you see him on the surveillance cameras. It is also recommended to do a shot of alcohol before each level, so that as each level gets harder, the player also gets more intoxicated, and this supposedly makes for a far more enjoyable and entertaining experience. The crude and adult themes throughout this version are obviously not suitable for the relatively younger audiences that were drawn to the original Freddy’s game and yet they can still easily access it under the impression that it is made by the same developers.

So what can developers do?

By issuing proceedings against this type of copyright infringement, it allows developers to have control over how their work is used, especially when it comes to the audiences they are trying to protect. In this sense, control is therefore maintained by the developers and their game is protected from negative infringement. In more tactful situations however, negative imaging is exactly what the copier wished to do in the hope of tainting the reputation of the original game to such an extent as to render it unappealing to consumers.

The problems?

It stands to reason that developers can not always issue proceedings against people who infringe their work: the cost alone can be substantial, and for companies and developers just starting out in the industry this cost can be crippling. However it could be argued that the main reason why the developers wouldn’t want to issue proceedings is because of the impact it would have on their overall image. If a developer does nothing but condemn those who copy their work, they are in some way dampening the appeal of their game: FNAF has bee so successful because of the massive fan base that has built around it, and this is mostly due to the ability of fans to create their own interpretations of the games which help to add story and experience to the FNAF world rather than just as one lonely game.

Most games involve some form of player communication in the form of either online multiplayer modes of gaming, or simply through the online forums that fans create in order to discuss the game, their tactics and share their own experiences of the game. These online forums create pathways through which people can gossip about the game developers and in a world as digitised as ours, news spreads very quickly: The second word gets out that there is a new upgrade, a new map or a new way of beating the game these forums are flooded with information and distributed to hundreds upon thousands of people. This clearly raises the issue of what litigation can do to a company’s public image. The main concern of any solicitor when advising a client on this issue should be ‘What would the fans make of this situation?’, since while they do not make the final decision as a legal judge would, commercially speaking the voice of the fans is the only voice that should really matter to a video game designer: If the entire fan following (or to some extent even a small majority of them) feel that the designer is ‘attacking fans’ with legal proceedings, then the entire community basis on which the game rests becomes unstable and, for the most part, will begin to falter before completely dying away. In some respects, video game fame is fleeting, since technology and software is changing so dramatically that it can almost be impossible to keep up with. As a result, it is probably better for a game developer’s brand to be left on a high rather than risking becoming labelled as ‘the company that sues its fans’.

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^^ One of the faster characters, Foxy ^^

What can be done?

It is clear from simply reading the comments on gaming forums that gaming fans are a loyal and fierce breed of fans. It could also be argued that people on the internet appear to have feel more confident online and as such seem more likely to speak their mind, and most certainly will not hold back on comments or remarks if they feel justified. This in a way acts as a secondary level of enforcement without the need for expensive court procedures or solicitor fees, as the fans do the hard work for the developer when it comes to protecting a game’s image and reputation. If the fans come across work that is infringed, some may flag this with the streaming service itself for breaching without consent of the author, while others may even bully the infringer until the material is taken down. From looking at fan made games as well, it would appear that most fans are happy to state that their game is a copy (even if only to a small extent) of a game already in existence. It is perhaps this admittance of copying that makes it acceptable within the eyes of the entire fan base as it shows others that they are not infringing to make a profit or for any other malicious reason, but rather to add to the experience that the original already created in order to make it a better experience for the fan base as a whole. In this sense, copyright infringement when it comes to games could be seen as an altruistic act that is done more out of love and admiration for a developer’s work than out of mere thievery and deceit. This in turn therefore means that when a person does infringe the work but tries to claim that this is all their own original creation and that people should pay them for it, the fan base may take that as a personal assault on their own gaming subculture, and as stated at the beginning of this paragraph, decide to oust the immoral infringer themselves in order to protect their own interests in the game as a fan.

The conclusion?

FNAF is an example of a game that is more or less defined by its fan base. The idea that fans can add to the FNAF experience means that the literal copyright infringement can be overlooked if the work in question still maintains its integrity. In this sense, perhaps copyright infringement is simply a fall back position: It is not a concrete law that must always be adhered to, as it is essentially up to the original author whether or not they see the infringement as damaging to their own brand. In the case of Freddy, and his many many renderings, impersonation really is the sincerest form of flattery.

 T xx

What’s so great about the Jedi anyway?

Star Wars is fantastic…there is no way anyone can deny that the influence Star Wars has had on society is vast and all consuming, and in some ways a star wars fan is the main definition of a ‘nerd’. Aside from Star Trek, there is no other science fiction story that has created such a passionate and loyal following: In the 2001 General Census, 390,127 people stated that their religion was Jedi. But are the Jedi really that great?

Misogyny

Throughout the entire series, you see very few women and almost all of the main Jedi are male. This may not be anything to thoroughly concern ourselves with (It was the 1970s when the original trilogy came out) and for the most part the few women that are focused on, Padme and Leia, are pretty badass women and not just arm candy for the male characters. However, why the focus on men? In the films, the entire cast is mostly male: Anakin, Obi-Wan, Emperor Palpatine, Yoda, etc etc. The few female Jedi that you see have no speaking lines and none of them appear to be in positions of power, such as sitting as part of the jedi council. There could be many reasons for this, as it is telling the tale of Anakin Skywalker and his family strife and so would make sense that it focuses on men. But still…why are there no female Jedi and why were they not as prominent as the men?

Jedi were the original Bros

According to Jedi teachings, Jedi are forbidden to form attachments with other people. They can not fall in love and can not marry, a fact that is one of the main drivers of Anakin’s transformation into Darth Vader (spoiler alert!). But there is nothing to say that they can’t have sex: As long as they do not form an attachment with the people they are having sex with, Jedi are allowed to..shall we say…hit it and quit it…as often as they like for however long they like with whomever they like.

Now that may be all well and good, but it is somewhat simplistic: If Jedi are not allowed to form attachments then why are they all so close? Obi-Wan tells Anakin that he loved him, that he was his brother, bu is that not a form of attachment that should go against the Jedi teachings? One of the main ways Obi-Wan manages to track down Anakin in Episode 3 is because he searches his feelings for Anakin to find out where he is. If attachments are not allowed, how is this still possible? Furthermore, while they may be taught to be ‘mindful of [their] thoughts’ it appears throughout the films that the phrase only applies to feelings of uncertainty, but for anything related to fear or hate then they are to be suppressed…just like a true patriarch.

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The light and the dark

Throughout the Star Wars series, it is stated that there is the light side, the Jedi, and the dark side, the sith. In Episode 1 we are introduced to the concept as to how a Jedi can turn to the dark side, as Master Yoda explains the (somewhat overly simple) steps: Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering and thus the steps to the dark side have begun. But why are the Jedi not even taught about how the Dark Side works? One of the reasons Anakin begins his descent into Darth Vader is because of his fear of losing those he loves (first with his mother and then with Padme) and since these feelings are some he is forbidden to have by the Jedi council, he has to turn to the Sith Lord Palpatine (again, spoilers!) in order to cope with them. But you wonder if things would have been different had the Jedi taught their padawans about the way the Dark Side worked: Surely it is not as simple as having a bad day, feeling a bit mad about it and whoops, now you’re a sith?

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End thoughts?

Loops holes, loopholes, loopholes. Now I fully appreciate that there is far more backstory to the Star Wars universe than these films actually let on, but for the most part, the films make Jedi look useless: Order 66 happened in a matter of seconds and no matter how strong and powerful the Jedi Masters appear to be, they still went down pretty easy against a few clones. The Jedi are meant to be seen as the light side of the force, who use their power and their knowledge for the good of society and for the good of democracy, and yet everything they teach (at least according to the films anyway) makes them appear like frat boys, arguing over who has the highest midichlorian count and who loves democracy more.

I would definitely be a Sith. At least the Sith get powers of electricity literally at their fingertips…and usually have better one liners.

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T xx