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WELCOME to SlamDunk! Studios. This is a portfolio of creative and analytical writing I've produced over the years. The articles focus on literature, cinema, gaming, history, and sociology.

You can browse through all of the site content in the blog feed below, or search for specific pieces in the Navigation Bar above. Comments and feedback are very welcome. If you'd like to follow my more recent writing and creative projects, then please check out Valkyrist.wordpress.com. Thank you!

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Nintendo's E3 Press Conference 2011 (VG article)

Posted on June 10, 2011 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

I was little let down by Nintendo offering at this year’s E3. They didn't reveal any new games for the Wii; just another Zelda trailer, which actually managed to look worse than the 2010 trailer. The 3DS lineup looks great, with a new Super Mario and Luigi's Mansion previewed, but I'm not a really handheld gamer. And Nintendo's newly unvealed console, the WiiU, is intriguing, but that won't be out for at least a year, and even then the software lineup will be thin. The system features a...

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White Noise & Pulp Fiction (film/lit essay)

Posted on June 4, 2011 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

The novel White Noise and the film Pulp Fiction are postmodern texts that utilise a “[montage] of tones, styles, and voices” to examine the “terror and wild humour as the essential tone of contemporary America” (Lentricchia). Both texts employ pastiche and intertextuality to explore the consumerist, media-saturated societies in which they inhabit. They also contrast themes of human violence and amorality with a postmodern self-awareness. In ot...

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Gamer Embarrassment (VG article)

Posted on June 3, 2011 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

I found this article about why it’s still not cool to admit you’re a gamer, and I found it quite interesting. I'd actually have to agree with most of its points. I'm not really embarrassed to tell people I play video games (though I don't think I'd refer to myself as a "gamer"), it just doesn't come up all that much. And there's no point talking about video ...

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Akira (film essay)

Posted on May 26, 2011 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

The Japanese anime film Akira reflects a “love-hate attitude toward monsters” that suggests ambivalence about the future of Japan (Napier). This essay will explore this interpretation of the film, drawing on Japan’s rise as an industrial nation in the aftermath of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings. It will examine Japan’s role as a global superpower, contrasting it with cultural feelings of victimisation, antagonism and fear at the hands of the West. These co...

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The Appeal of Modern Warfare (VG article)

Posted on May 16, 2011 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

With the impending release of Battlefield 3, the growing hatred for the Call of Duty series has reached a boiling point. Gamers (including myself) are continually flawed by each gameplay video of this upcoming title, with a host of gaming bloggers and YouTubers declaring Battlefield 3 the “COD killer”. While I feel COD gets a harsh wrap amongst gamers, I can sympathise with their distain. Like Tony Hawk and G...

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Group Polarisation (soc essay)

Posted on May 4, 2011 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (0)

The reasoning and decision-making process of an individual is altered, sometimes dramatically, when played out within the context of a group discussion. Social dynamics, such as firm leadership, minority or dissenting opinion, and the pressures of conformity, all play a role in determining the outcome of people’s choices. “Group polarisation” occurs when a dominant point of view is reinforced through conformity, and opposing views are ignored or suppressed. This ...

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"Anonymous" Responsible for the PSN Outages? (VG articles)

Posted on May 2, 2011 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Apparently Sony posted a message that “an outside party” may be responsible for the PSN outages (which could last another couple of days). And this message was posted by the Anonymous Facebook page:

 

"Take a break from online gaming for a while... it will help your skills, your health, and your emotional levels, which by the way are a bit out of order if they are being shackled by the PSN being down. We have no qualms about our actions, even though it may affect ...

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Resident Evil 5 (VG review)

Posted on April 27, 2011 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Resident Evil 5 is tricky game to critique. On its own, it's a perfectly enjoyable and engaging action horror game. The visuals look superb, and the level of detail in the environments really helps immerse you in the storyline. The enemies are creepy and suitably threatening (as zombies should be), and the soundtrack creates a real sense of nervous tension. However, the game is part of a series, and the fact that it borrows so liberally from the previous installment really hurts the experienc...

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Donkey Kong Country Returns - Thoughts, Frustrations & Triumphs! (VG article)

Posted on April 19, 2011 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

So I started playing this game about a week ago, and I was really enjoying it, but I was kind of disappointed how bananas and lives weren't really as important as they were in the original DKC games. The original game in particular forced you beat about three levels at a time, before you could save your progress, and lives reset to 4 once you turned off the console. In DKCR however, you kept your lives; you could buy more lives; and the game saved automatically. The actual gameplay was fun an...

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Dark Daze (poem)

Posted on April 19, 2011 at 2:05 AM Comments comments (0)

I remember the grey ships colliding

Over the shoulder of jagged ridges

Tongues of flame dripping over mountain tops

Webs of light painting the frantic skies

 

Echoes of life passing long into the abyss

Only a vacuous horizon approaches now

Consuming all of my craft

Sneering with such s...

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The Killer (film essay)

Posted on April 17, 2011 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

In The Killer, the tendency for violence to coincide with episodes of heightened emotion reflects wider social tensions in Hong Kong between 1984 and 1997. This essay will discuss how the film responds to Hong Kong’s political climate at the time of its release; examining religious themes as well as the depiction of Chinese masculinity and male bonding.


The Killer is a classic tale of loyal...

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Mother Courage and Her Children (lit essay)

Posted on April 10, 2011 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

The early decades of the twentieth century were marked by significant challenges to, and anxiety about, traditional definitions of gender, which were reflected in the literature and art of the time. This essay will discuss the treatment of gender in Mother Courage and Her Children (Brecht 1939). It will focus of the portrayal of femininity in the play; examining character development and attitudes towards gender within the setting of play and when it was composed.


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Modern Times (film essay)

Posted on April 4, 2011 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Discussion Questions


Almost a decade after the introduction of “talkies”, Modern Times was released as largely a silent film. The only audible dialogue (apart from the singing waiters at the end) comes from machines, like radios and television screens. Why do you think Chaplin chose to keep most of the film silent? And how does it relate to the themes of the film?

This first question focuses on the context of the film. It is...

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Seven Samurai (film essay)

Posted on March 28, 2011 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

This report will outline what is meant by the terms “high culture” and “popular culture”, comparing and contrasting their relevance to Asian cinema. In defining these terms, it will also refer to the film Seven Samurai.


High culture refers to a set of artistic products held in the highest esteem by an elite culture; usually aristocracy or intelligentsia. It is contrasted with popular or low culture, which supposedly appeals to the l...

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Shooter Showdown: Modern Warfare 2 v Black Ops (VG article)

Posted on March 18, 2011 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

I beat Black Ops last year and I actually just bought Modern Warfare 2 a few weeks ago, and I have to say, I much prefer MW2. The visuals are crisper and cleaner; the levels are better designed and more detailed; and the weapons and gadgets are much cooler. The campaign in BO is probably more interesting and certainly longer, but I felt it was too linear, with too many quick-time events, like the dev's were funneling you along this prescribed path and you were just going through motions. The ...

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What's the Point of "GOTY" Editions? (VG article)

Posted on February 12, 2011 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

I can’t seem to figure out the appeal of these re-released game packs. The ones I've seen just include a bunch of new maps/costumes that can be downloaded online, anyway. Am I missing something? I'm assuming you're a huge fan of the series because you're planning on getting the DLC before even playing it, but that also means you're going to have to restrain yourself from buying/playing the next installment in that franchise, possibly for 12 months. It's like a strange kind of torture. S...

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Using Headphones for Gaming (VG article)

Posted on January 3, 2011 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Recently I've noticed how little I actually use the TV speakers while playing games. I always use headphones, even for movies. I find that it creates a much nicer atmosphere; it's more immersive, you can detect all of the subtle sound queues that would be lost in speakers, and it blocks out unwanted noise. It also helps you focus a lot more on what is going on on-screen, since the audio isn't being filtered. I suppose if I had a surround sound system it would be even more immersive, but those...

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Component Cables in Department Stores (VG article)

Posted on December 14, 2010 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Has anyone noticed that department stores like K-Mart and Target refuse to hook up their video game displays using anything higher than composite cables. The Wii and 360 don't seem to suffer too badly, but if you blow up video from a PS3 onto a widescreen LCD, using composite cables, then things are going to look nasty. I was playing an Infamous demo the other day, and the graphics seriously looked like they were pulled straight out of Grand Theft Auto 3. It looked like Vaseline had been smea...

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Shooter Showdown: GoldenEye 007 v Metroid Prime (VG article)

Posted on October 15, 2010 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

That's a tricky one. Obviously GoldenEye 007 is the more influential game, as it created many of the conventions of modern day first-person shooters, and practically revolutionised the genre, but being a 12 year old game, it holds up nowhere near as well as Metroid Prime does. GoldenEye has a brilliant multiplayer and an engaging, challenging single-payer experience (certainly longer than contemporary incarnations like Modern Warfare). Unfortunately, as FPS's are the dominant genre these days...

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The Celebration (film essay)

Posted on October 15, 2010 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

The Celebration is the first entry in the Danish film movement, Dogma 95. Film-makers Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg crafted the Dogme Manifesto (or “Vow of Chastity”) in an effort to “cleanse cinema of an obsessive concern for technique” and “rehabilitate a cinema which foregrounded the story [and] the inner life of its characters” (Hjort). They rejected the “superficiality and ‘trickery’” of mainstream film...

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