The Cultural Gutter

unashamed geekery

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

“Piracy Gave Me A Future”

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At Boing Boing, Daniel Starkey writes about poverty’s intellectual dead zones and how poverty gave him a future. “I don’t pirate games anymore, and I don’t support pirating games if you can afford to buy them. But when I needed it, piracy gave me hope. When I considered dropping out of high school, giving up […]

“Superheroes, Cities and Empty Streets”

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While playing Batman: Arkham Knight, Austin Walker wants to walk the streets of Gotham. “There are lots of different kinds of Batman fantasies–and I’m not looking to invalidate any of them–but throughout this four game series, the developers have largely given me the same one over and over. For once, I want a Batman game […]

Armada and Nostalgia as an Endless Lullaby


At Slate, Laura Hudson writes about Ernest Cline’s new book, Armada; gaming and greater geek culture; and the perils of nostalgia. “Do we want to tell stories that make sense of the things we used to love, that help us remember the reasons we were so drawn to them, and create new works that inspire […]

“Vin Diesel DM’ing a game of D&D Just for You”


“sometimes, we all get down sometimes, we all need to do something nice for ourselves sometimes, we all need to play dungeons and dragons with action star vin diesel.” Click here for the download. (via @popshifter)

“Never Alone”


At Bitch, Liza Dadoly writes about Never Alone. “Never Alone’s plot is based around Alaskan indigenous folklore, specifically the story ‘Kunuuksaayuka,’ a tale told by storyteller Robert Nasruk Cleveland of the Inupiaq people. ‘Kunuuksaayuka’ tells of a young boy who goes out into a blizzard to discover its source and, by doing so, save his […]

“We Are Not Colonists”


At Boing Boing, Gita Jackson writes about gaming, art, minority voices, colonialism and Benedict Anderson’s “imagined communities”: “When marginalized voices come to take their seat at the table, there will always be an outcry that they are invaders, colonists, inferior versions of their straight, white male counterparts. But rather than killing artforms, the addition of […]

Seijun Suzuki’s Story of Sorrow and Sadness


“Commercial cinema has predictably chosen not to bite the hand that feeds it, so it’s simultaneously inspiring and also kind of embarrassing to see a movie like Seijun Suzuki’s Story of Sorrow and Sadness. Rarely has a mainstream commercial release been as rabid in its attack, and as thoughtful in its critique, of our dystopian […]

Haphead Tweetalong


Founding Gutter editor Jim Munroe is having a watchalong for his new cyberpunk, neo-Noir webseries, Haphead, on Feb. 15, 2015 at 4pm ET. There’s a Q&A at 5:20 pm. You can find the series here, hit play with the official Haphead Twitter account says, “Go!” and tweetalong with the hashtag #haphead. Watch the series trailer […]

VCR Games Super Montage!

A video tribute to interactive VCR games including: Nightmare (1991), The Fisherman VCR Bible Game (1989), Rich Little’s Charades (1985), Wayne’s World VCR Game (1992), Star Trek: The Next Generation VCR Game (1995) and Skull and Crossbones (1988). (Thanks, Beth!)

“We Will Force Gaming To Be Free”


At First Person Scholar, Katherine Cross writes about “GamerGate and the licence to inflict suffering”: “GamerGate is neoliberalism’s distorted reflection of leftist terror: the lust for revolution, to be the Rough Rider ‘good guys’ saving the world by force if necessary, but with none of the obligations or thought inherent to political reasoning.”

Games, Time, Purity and Not Caring What Anyone Thinks Anymore


“But if there’s one thing that I’ve learned this year from the utter bullshit that I’ve witnessed and my own self-examinations of what I play and why, it’s this: I don’t care anymore what people think. I like what I like—often smaller, less sprawling games that focus on character and story—and I don’t particularly have […]

“Level Up: How PlayStation Infiltrated Youth Culture”


At The Guardian, Keith Stuart and Steve Boxer look at the history of PlayStation.“Having been part of the late 80s rave and underground-clubbing scene, I recognised how it was influencing the youth market. In the early 90s, club culture started to become more mass market, but the impetus was still coming from the underground, from […]

“Four Continental Black Afrikan Speculative Fiction Artists”


Chronicles of Harriet profiles Black African artists who work in speculative fiction: Loyiso Mkizse; Tobe “Max Spectre” Ezeogu; Setor Fiadzigbey; and the artist of Kiro’o Games.

Katsuya Terada Live-Drawing Demonstration


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

The Hateful Tomb of Horrors


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.” […]

“Samus Works Alone”


At Re/Action, Maddy Myers writes about how important the Metroid franchise, in both game and manga form, and its protagonist, Samus Aran, were to her. “Samus still represents a breakthrough. She first took off her armor to reveal a woman’s form back in 1986, the year that I was born. Samus and I grew up […]

“Why I Play Violent Video Games”


Maddy Myers writes about playing violent games, wanting to be powerful and internalized sexism. “Given my lifelong history of playing at war, and my desperate wish to feel strong, big, and powerful, it made sense that I would gravitate towards Counter-Strike and its ilk around the age of 15. But Counter-Strike, with its all-male selection […]

Support Jim Munroe’s Haphead!


Former Video Games Editor and Gutter Founding Editor Jim Munroe has a new project, the webseries Haphead: “Ten years from now, videogames are so immersive that teenagers learn lethal skills just by playing. They’re called hapheads.” Please consider supporting the Haphead Kickstarter.

“Each Metroid Prime Game Begins In Disaster”


Maddy Myers writes about survival and Metroid Prime 3’s Samus. “My ex-boyfriend of five years had moved out. I had been forced to live with the person who I hated the most: myself. I couldn’t escape her. She was everywhere. I knew a couple things for certain: I wanted to kill myself. And Metroid Prime […]

“Inside The Failure Cascade”


At Ten Ton Hammer, the Mittani has a description of the collapse of an alliance in the MMO game, EVE. “Nothing in online gaming quite matches the incandescent drama of a dying alliance. It is only in EVE that player organizations routinely exceed 1000 members. If you think World of Warcraft guilds are a hotbed […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At Playboy, Jake Rossen writes about the story behind the filming and the restoration of Manos: The Hands of Fate. “For a long time no one wanted to see it unless it was accompanied by MST3K’s taunts. Then, in 2011, a collector of film prints uncovered the original negative of Manos and embarked on an inexplicable project to restore the film with all the white-glove attention archivists give to Hollywood classics. His efforts would incur the wrath of a mysterious man with a fake New Zealand accent named Rupert, as well as Joe Warren, Hal Warren’s embittered son, who intends to preserve the Manos legacy at all costs.” (Thanks, Ed!)


    At Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill!, Todd reviews the two part Ghanian director Ninja’s film, 2016. “2016 is a movie that I am obligated to review by virtue of my having long ago joined the internet chorus of people trumpeting on about its insane trailer—and this despite the fact that all of you with any interest in seeing it have most likely tracked it down already. In that case, you already know that it is essentially a no-budget remake of Independence Day set in the suburbs of Ghana. And if that sounds like a massive over-reach to you, you obviously know very little about Ghanaian action cinema, and even less about the films of maverick multi-hyphenate Ninja.”

    Read about part one, here, and part two, here.


    Look, it’s the trailer for “The Abominable Snowman” a new episode of classic Thunderbirds. Huffington Post UK has more: “It’s exactly half a century since we heard the ominous tones of voice actor Peter Dyneley bringing us the Thunderbirds intro ‘5 -4 – 3 – 2 -1 Thunderbirds are go’, and to celebrate, the team are producing three brand new original episodes, based on audio-only recordings made in 1966, which means fans will get to enjoy the original voices, with some 21st century gadgetry thrown in on screen.” (Thanks, Todd!)


    At the Guardian, Elizabeth Day talks with Geena Davis about feminism, sexism in the film industry and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. “I mean, it’s freaky when you start examining it. For decades it’s been the same ratio – we’ve all grown up on that ratio. Could it be that women’s presence stalls at about the rate of female participation in the fiction that we watch? Could it be you get to that level and you feel done? That that looks normal? It’s just a completely unconscious image that we have in our heads that women only need to take up a certain amount of space and then we’ve done right by them.”


    At fbomb, Sabrina N. interviews Ashley Armitage. “21-year-old Seattle-based photographer and filmmaker Ashley Armitage’s work is largely a tribute to female friendships and femininity. Her dreamy, nuanced photography lets viewers into the intimate, magical moments of girlhood. They depict beauty routines and sleepovers. They unabashedly celebrate and normalize body hair, tampons and bras. The collection is a celebration of girlhood by one of its own products.” (via @GeekGirlCon)


    You can read every issue of No Magazine. “Be warned before you download and open these issues—they aren’t exactly safe for workplace viewing. If Larry Flynt and the Vienna Aktionists got together and published a punk zine in the late ‘70s, it would have looked a lot like NO MAG. NO MAG‘s publisher Bruce Kalberg, and the sordid turns of his life, were recently covered in LA Weekly‘s piece ‘Beautiful Loser, Tortured Killer.’”  (Thanks, Stephanie).


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