Culture

Geeks In Love: 8 Questions To Spark Passionate Debates About Video Games and Chick Flicks

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In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

Also check out the previous weeks’ writing prompts and email in your thoughts on any questions that strike your fancy: 5 Questions To Figure Out What Makes Some Adaptations Succeed and Others Fail5 Questions So We Can Figure Out the Cream of the Crop In Popular Music Genres5 Geek Questions To Provoke Debates About the Future of Sci-Fi and Fantasy5 Controversial Questions To Inspire Spirited Debates About Music.

1. What Are the Top 10 Classic Nintendo Games?

2. What Are the Most Overrated Video Game Franchises?

3. Which Generation of Nintendo Game Consoles Gave You the Most Joy?

4. Do Some Violent Video Games Actually Inspire Real World Killing?

5. Which Video Games Should Be Respected As Art?

6. What Are the Best Romantic Comedies Of All Time?

7. What Is the Difference Between a ‘Chick Flick’ and A Romantic Comedy?

8. Who Are Your Favorite Fictional Married Couples?

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image illustration via shutterstock / jugulator

1. What Are the Top 10 Classic Nintendo Games?

Which gems from the 8-Bit era have stood the test of time?

If you were trapped on a desert island and could have only a handful of titles to keep you occupied, what would you choose?

Jeremac: Five Video Games You Loved as a Kid But Will Hate If You’re Dumb Enough to Play As an Adult

Dave Swindle: Why I Stopped Playing Video Games

Jon Bishop: Dr. Mario. Literally.

PJ Lifestyle Humor: Super Mario In Post-It Note Form Running Around the Room

2. What Are the Most Overrated Video Game Franchises?

Did Mario jump the shark? Is Halo worth its reputation? Should the Angry Birds just settle down a bit?

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3. Which Generation of Nintendo Game Consoles Gave You the Most Joy?

1985’s NES vs 1991’s Super NES vs 1996’s N-64, Vs 2001’s GameCube vs 2006’s Wii vs 2012’s Wii-U? Bonus question: which Legend of Zelda is the best?

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvpiTyDeyxg

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_fyOkrteqM

4. Do Some Violent Video Games Actually Inspire Real World Killing?

Were parents and busybodies right to oppose Mortal Kombat, Doom, and Grand Theft Auto? Or are the hobbies of spree killers just irrelevant scapegoats for the real origins of their carnage?

Are video games inherently different from books, films and TV when it comes to shaping behavior?

Fox News in 2013: “Training simulation:’ Mass killers often share obsession with violent video games“:

A decade after Evan Ramsey sneaked a 12-gauge shotgun into his Alaska high school, where he gunned down a fellow student and the principal and wounded two others, he described how playing video games had warped his sense of reality.

“I did not understand that if I…pull out a gun and shoot you, there’s a good chance you’re not getting back up,” Ramsey said in a 2007 interview from Spring Creek Correctional Center, in Seward, Alaska. “You shoot a guy in ‘Doom’ and he gets back up. You have got to shoot the things in ‘Doom’ eight or nine times before it dies.”

Since Ramsey’s 1997 rampage, several other mass killers, including Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, have been linked to violent video games. And some experts worry that as the games get more violent and more realistic, so does their power to blur the line between fantasy and reality in alienated gamers.

Walter Hudson: This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Grand Theft Auto

Walter Hudson: 5 Ways Grand Theft Auto V Makes You Feel Like a Criminal

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICI9di6UXLA

The Guardian in 2012: “Anders Breivik ‘trained’ for shooting attacks by playing Call of Duty“:

Anders Behring Breivik has described how he “trained” for the attacks he carried out in Norway last summer using the computer game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

The 33-year-old said he practised his shot using a “holographic aiming device” on the war simulation game, which he said is used by armies around the world for training.

“You develop target acquisition,” he said. He used a similar device during the shooting attacks that left 69 dead at a political youth camp on the island of Utøya on 22 July.

Describing the game, he said: “It consists of many hundreds of different tasks and some of these tasks can be compared with an attack, for real. That’s why it’s used by many armies throughout the world. It’s very good for acquiring experience related to sights systems.”

He added: “If you are familiar with a holographic sight, it’s built up in such a way that you could have given it to your grandmother and she would have been a super marksman. It’s designed to be used by anyone. In reality it requires very little training to use it in an optimal way. But of course it does help if you’ve practised using a simulator.”

5. Which Video Games Should Be Respected As Art?

Do any of today’s brand of high-tech blockbuster games qualify? Or are there titles from the 8-bit era worthy of elevating up to Beethoven’s level?

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK-HYNXdIJI

Jon Bishop: When We Start Playing Oscar-Winning Movies

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6. What Are the Best Romantic Comedies Of All Time?

Which titles in the genre can succeed for both men and women?

Last Week’s Pop Culture Debates focused on video games, so it seems only reasonable that this week should go in the opposite direction: so how about a week of discussing the best/worst/over/underrated in romantic movies and books?

Do the 5 movies embedded in this post crack your top 10 list?

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUT64PctyNw

7. What Is the Difference Between a ‘Chick Flick’ and A Romantic Comedy?

Are the terms synonymous? One persuasive commenter claimed yesterday that there was a 90% overlap. Do you agree with his take?

A comment from Reformed Trombonist on yesterday’s prompt asking for the greatest romantic comedies of all time:

Great romantic comedies? Is that a trick question?

Nine out of ten romantic comedies are straight-ahead, unapologetic chick flicks. Chick flicks, as a species, follow a general pattern:

1. Girl pines for her soul mate, while all around her, her girl buddies have guys. She can’t be too beautiful. This is important. You can be too beautiful to make it in chick flicks. I used to call it the “Meg Ryan” Rule: no actress more beautiful than Meg Ryan can make a living in chick flicks. Meg Ryan appears to be gone now, but the mantle keeps bouncing around. Sandra Bullock, perhaps? She might be the exception that proves the rule. Reese Witherspoon? Drew Barrymore? Renee Zellweger? A chick flick actress must be what I call “girl pretty” — that is, girls think she’s pretty, but guys are mostly unmoved.

2. Handsome man appears. Seems almost perfect. Helps if he’s rich or a European prince. He doesn’t need to have much of a character development. Mostly, he’s a prop.

3. Misunderstanding and soul-searching. Maybe she thinks he loves another woman. Maybe she’s trying to succeed in her career and is afraid that falling in love at this time of her life will keep her from achieving her goals. Maybe she doesn’t think he respects her goals. This leaves her free to behave bitchily. That’s allowed. She’s allowed to abuse him, and he’s permitted to take the abuse like a man and still have undying love for her.

4. Reconciliation. On her terms. Why, he may be a Danish prince with more money than Warren Buffett and more charisma than Jesus, but he just can’t be happy until his darling says yes.

The moral of the story is that an occasionally bitchy woman who is less than beautiful (since that describes 99.9% of women movie-watchers, that’s quite a market) she can still bag Prince Charming.

That said…

“My Big Fat Greek Wedding” wins the prize for sheer wittiness.

Apostic called My Man Godfrey a romantic comedy. Funny, he’s right, but I never thought of it that way. I don’t see anything remotely romantic about William Powell’s Godfrey, and he so clearly dominates the picture, I never thought of it as more than a William Powell tour de force. It helped, though, that Carole Lombard was in that movie, the perfect foil to Godfrey’s rare moments of befuddlement.

8. Who Are Your Favorite Fictional Married Couples?

Which imaginary husband and wives inspire you? Who are the most entertaining?

Carl and Ellie?

Carl and Harriette? 

Bill and Alice?

Mickey and Mallory?

Robert and Cora?

Are Marge and Norm the best married couple of 1990s cinema?