The Cultural Gutter

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"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

“An Alternate History of Flappy Bird”

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At Radiator Design Blog, Robert Yang writes about the indie game Flappy Bird and the harassment of its designer, Dong Ngyuen. “I suspect that if Nguyen were a white American, this would’ve been the story of a scrappy indie who managed to best Zynga with his loving homage to Nintendo’s apparent patent on green pixel […]

“We can do better”

At Gamasutra, Game Developer David Gallant writes about how the indie game developer community can do better. “Shaking up the status quo invites anger as you threaten the privilege you share with your privileged peers. But in our fear, we are politely allowing our communities to be less. We are letting them exclude the differences […]

“Enter A Monster”

The Atlantic profiles Spectral Motion, creators of monsters, “effects, and other mechanical grotesqueries that have since become household nightmares, if not names.” Like this:Like Loading…

Anime in 1987

“1987 was a remarkable year for manga adaptations. Not remarkable in volume—manga adaptations were nothing special in themselves—but for the commonalities that emerged. This year, we would find anime reaching for a measure of subtlety.” More at The Golden Ani-Versary of Anime. Like this:Like Loading…

Join The Literary Resistance!

The Gutter’s own Founding Editor, Jim Munroe talks about creating an alternate reality game based on Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 for the Toronto Public Library. Like this:Like Loading…

Deciding Not To Repel Women

“As nice as it must be to be that [18-25 year old male] demographic—when you’ve got everyone banging on your door, trying to court you, it must be very pleasant—what’s it like for someone who isn’t in that demographic? We know they play our games. We can see that they do. OK, there’s support for […]

RIP, Ray Cusick

Production Designer Ray Cusick has died. Cusick is most famous for creating Doctor Who’s nemeses, The Daleks, but he also worked on Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple (1985 & 1987), Cold Comfort Farm (1968) and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1975). The BBC reports on his death and the creation of the Daleks here and here. […]

“‘Girlfriend Mode and Women as Consumers”

“I’m a woman, I’m a consumer and I actually like my first time playing a genre games to include a character option that can destroy my opponents rather than something adorable. I also like to be marketed to. Can this happen? I’m hoping so and I’m looking forward to it.”  More, including many excellent links, […]

“The Unsung Female Game Designers of Japan”

7 Japanese women responsible for “some of the greatest games ever to ever grace the store shelves.” Like this:Like Loading…

The Difference Engine Initiative

Started by found CG Edtitor Jim Munroe and Mare Sheppard, The Difference Engine Initiative aims to diversify what kinds of games are made by offering gamemaking incubators for underrepresented groups in the game industry.  As part of this, the  Hand Eye Society will be running 2 game incubators for women in Toronto and the first […]

Missing Duncan

“Maybe it’s too bad that a game with such a strong visual imagination is entirely about kicking people in the face.  But violence is your compass. You’d be lost without it.” It’s only been a few weeks since Duncan has stopped writing his fine, thoughtful pieces on games, but I miss them. Go read Hit […]

Who Wants to Play Velociraptor Offroad Safari?

Who wants to play Velociraptor Offroad Safari or Minotaur China Shop or Blush, where players are neon attack squids? I do. Gamasutra interviews indie game designers, Flashbang. (via Make It Big) Like this:Like Loading…

Bejeweled Prison of the Mind

Infinite Lives’ Darren Zenko is given to understand that “the crack-like qualities of the Bejeweled experience were no accident, but rather the result of the kind of nefarious mind-control alchemy normally attributed in science-fiction thrillers to shadowy organizations bent on world domination.” Like this:Like Loading…

Bringing Chris Ware Into It

“Chris Ware Can Show Video Games the Path to Manhood.”  There’s extensive quotation but there’s also thoughts, and a link to more thoughts, about games pubescing. Maybe when they’re all grown up, they’ll realize some of them aren’t men. (via Fantagraphics) Like this:Like Loading…

An Ultima Gift

Origin Museum director, Joe Garrity, writes the Artful Gamer about building Richard “Lord British” Garriott an Ultima reagent box:  “The Reagent Box ended up to be a 2-year effort in finding the individual reagents and binding each to a velvet base with brass wire, presenting them with a 19th-century-scientific look.” Like this:Like Loading…

Games Through a Comix Lens

McCloud

The book Understanding Comics, published in 1993, was comic writer and artist Scott McCloud’s attempt to deconstruct, demystify, and lay out the magic of the sequential art form. Written in the form of a comic itself, it was one mechanism by which comics rose from the shadows of culture to become a more accepted art […]

Gojira To Kitty Cats

20 years ago, his job was demolition. Now Godzilla’s a web designer in Portland. This is his story. Or at least the first episode. (Thanks, Flusty!) Like this:Like Loading…

Sauron For the Win

Care to be corrupted by darkness?

When a writer puts a story down on paper, one version of all possible outcomes becomes the final version. The ending is part of a carefully constructed framework of theme and comment and all that good literary stuff, and it’s never going to change. For example, the evil lord Sauron is never going to win […]

Keep Playing, It Might Get Better

Why am I still playing this?

There comes a point in every game where the player asks themselves why they’re wasting time on a terrible game. It’s a scenario no gamer wants to be presented with – and it’s a developer’s worst nightmare. Depending on how the storyline is integrated with the game, a game’s quality can be easily determined within […]

The Name Game

Ubisoft

While I wait in the lobby of one of the largest game studios in the world, I watch someone go through to the inner sanctum. The shiny barrier, with transparent doors that whir apart at the wave of a card-pass, looks familiar — I think I’ve seen the devices being used as turnstiles in a […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Author Philip Pullman talks about the work of William Blake at The Guardian: “My mind and my body reacted to certain lines from the Songs of Innocence and of Experience, from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, from ‘Auguries of Innocence,’ from Europe, from America with the joyful immediacy of a flame leaping to meet a gas jet. What these things meant I didn’t quite know then, and I’m not sure I fully know now. There was no sober period of reflection, consideration, comparison, analysis: I didn’t have to work anything out. I knew they were true in the way I knew that I was alive. I had stumbled into a country in which I was not a stranger, whose language I spoke by instinct, whose habits and customs fitted me like my own skin.” (via Kate Laity)

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    At Sequential Art, Ryan Carey deconstructs and reconstructs Jack Kirby’s OMAC . “In order to better understand OMAC, then, we’ll be taking things one piece at a time here — we’ll look at where the ideas came from, how they related to other views of the future popular at the time, where Kirby was, creatively and professionally, in 1974, and ultimately try to decipher precisely why all of this ended up in the shape it ultimately did.  After that, we’ll concern ourselves with the real nitty-gritty of examining each and every one of the series’ eight issues, before taking a look at how, and in what form, the legacy of both the character and the book continue, and evolve, to this day.”

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    Video of illustrator and character designer Katsuya Terada drawing and talking about his work. (via @aicnanime)

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    A 1,300-year-old Egyptian book of spells has been translated. “Among other things, the ‘Handbook of Ritual Power,’ as researchers call the book, tells readers how to cast love spells, exorcise evil spirits and treat “black jaundice,” a bacterial infection that is still around today and can be fatal.”

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    Zack and Steve go through and review Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Module S-1: The Tomb Of Horrors at WTF, D&D?!…so you don’t have to.

    “Steve: Most of the opening paragraph is a warning about difficulty. ‘You’ll never find the demi-lich’s secret chamber’ and the tomb is fraught with “terrible traps, poison gases, and magical protections.” It’s telling you not to play the adventure.

    Zack: Not just in that part. In the DM’s notes section at the start, Gygax explicitly warns Dungeon Masters that if your players enjoy killing monsters they will be unhappy with the adventure.

    Steve: ‘This module is only for parties that enjoy dying immediately and repeatedly.’ Oh, man, we’re not going to play though this thing are we?”

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    Dr. Nerdlove takes a brief break from helping the nerd get the girl to address something that’s been bugging him. “Pardon me while I go off on a bit of a media criticism/ rant here. So I’ve been enjoying the *hell* out of The Flash lately except for one thing: Iris Allen. Her character is screen death; every time she’s around, everything comes to a screeching halt.

    The problem is: it’s not her fault, it’s the writers. Rather like Laurel Lance in the first two seasons of Arrow, she has Lois Lane syndrome. Her (like Laurel and Lois) entire character arc is based around being ignorant of events that literally everyone else in her life is aware of.”

    ~

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