Marc is a PhD candidate in Concordia University's department of communication studies in Montreal, Canada. Marc’s research focuses on toxicity in online games. He is driven to understand toxic phenomena in order to help create more positive conditions within games with the ultimate hope that we can produce more equitable and joyful play experiences for more people. He has published on the Steam marketplace and DOTA 2, and is a co-author of the upcoming Microstreaming on Twitch (under contract with MIT Press).
Lost Ark and the Impression of Korean Games from the Western Perspective On February 11th, 2022 after three days of early access, Lost Ark officially released in the west to over one million players. Produced by Smilegate, a Korean developer, and distributed in the west by Amazon Game Studios, the release of Lost Ark is an opportunity to consider the impression that Korean games have made among western audiences. Despite several successful Korean games launching in the West over the last 20 years, the idea of a ‘Korean game’ hasn’t really taken hold in the public consciousness of western players in the same way Japanese games have dominated the gaming landscape. Through a combination of Lost Ark’s management, the engagement of high-profile content creators, and the role of the Korean Lost Ark community in helping the game succeed among the western playerbase, Lost Ark is in a unique position to configure western player expectations about what a Korean game can be.
Writing about The Oregon Trail has become its own genre at this point. So much has been published on MECC’s classic game that all the clever references to dysentery, one of the many afflictions the player characters will experience on their journeys, have already been used. This is a testament to the game’s legacy and its lasting presence that bridges gaming culture and mainstream American popular culture.
The AAA space continues to be one where art, industry, and culture coalesce. What games research attunes us to most is that each of these elements, while moving forward, seems to be stuck in stasis where the problems of the past remain unresolved. In the pleasure of the next big release, the anticipation of the next hype cycle, and the excitement of the next awards ceremony, it’s clear that AAA development is no-doubt heading full-bore into a future of even greater artistic heights, but these heights come with even more troubling extremes. Despite interventions on the part of games journalists and academics, and mobilization attempts from game workers, long-standing and pervasive issues with the legitimacy of games, and the exploitation of workers and players alike, persist. Academic work on the AAA space shines a spotlight on the issues that continue to go unresolved while major gaming studios propel forward in the perpetual quest for artistic recognition, prestige, and the almighty dollar.