The Cultural Gutter

going through pop culture's trash since 2003

"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

    At Graveyard Shift Sisters, Ashlee Blackwell considers Jonathan Demme’s Beloved as a horror film as part of their Black History & Women In Horror Month series. “Beloved takes us on one journey of the Black American experience of slavery through the body of a Black female protagonist.”

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    Watch Nigerian writer and director Nosa Igbinedion’s Oya: The Coming Of The Orishas here.

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    At Bitch Media, Sara Century wonders why Michonne isn’t in charge and considers which medium is better for the ladies of The Walking Dead: comics or tv. “As I was thinking about the numerous questionable writing choices made with these could-be-so-great female characters, I got to wondering, which medium is better for the ladies of The Walking Dead: the TV show or the comic? In other words, which one is less sexist?

    I wrote up a short list of the main female characters that appear both on the show and in the comic to decipher the differences in how these women are written. These descriptions contain spoilers through season five of the TV show, because it’s impossible to write about The Walking Dead without talking about how people die all the time.”

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    Vixen Varsity shares Olufemi Lee-Johnson’s tribute to Milestone Media and Dwayne McDuffie. “For the first time in my life, I was around comic writers of color telling stories that mirror or surpassed the storylines of America’s favorite heroes. Icon dealt with being the ultimate immigrant and not understanding current black culture. Rocket (Raquel Irvin) was his guide, but also aspired to be more than just a woman in the projects. Static (Virgil Hawkins) was just a normal teenager dealing with fitting into school and then was put into this extraordinary circumstance of being a hero. Hardware (Curtis Metcalf) wanted respect from his mentor, but later learned about the bigger picture when it came to being a hero and the characters from Blood Syndicate…they were just trying to make it day by day and maintain their respect as a gang.”

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    At Soundcheck, John Schaefer talks with Jim Jarmusch about “making music for someone else’s films, and a penchant for walking the tightrope between narrative and abstract art in his own movies. And if you thought his C.V. was looking a little thin, Jarmusch is also working on an upcoming opera about the Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla, with Robert Wilson and composer Phil Kline.” (Thanks, Kate!)

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    Alex Deuben interviews artist Nate Powell about the second volume of The March and working with Rep. John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. “We are taught — and we tend to perpetuate this myth — that the Civil Rights Movement was nine words long: ‘Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, I Have a Dream.’ I think what you’re saying really backs up that notion. In terms of John Lewis’ personal journey, ‘Book Two’ is certainly a deepening of discovery and involvement. Not just a worldview broadening, but becoming much more personally aware of the counter-escalation to any progress that the Movement made.”

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