The Cultural Gutter

dumpster diving of the brain

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

5 Interactive Media Projects

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Interactive media projects including an interactive map of noise complaints in 1920s Manhattan. Like this:Like Loading…

Map of the Dead

Worried you won’t know where to go–and where not to go–during the Zombie Apocalypse? Map of the Dead is filled with useful information! (And, Canadians, though it doesn’t say “postal code,” it does cover Canada). Like this:Like Loading…

Thinking about Video Games

Off Book goes in depth on video games with interesting discussions of interactivity, story telling, creativity, world-building and how video games help people understand and manipulate complex systems. Like this:Like Loading…

Take This Lollipop

Take This Lollipop is a creepy little Facebook app featuring Bill Oberst, Jr. Like this:Like Loading…

The Ocean’s Secret Paths

An interactive map of fiber-optic cables running beneath the world’s oceans (and seas). (via etsy) Like this:Like Loading…

The Unnameable Future, Part II

This month, Gutter Guest Stars John Crye and Todd Sharp continue their discussion of transmedia entertainment and The Unnameable Future.  Part I is here. Brooke Thompson, “experience designer” and blogger at GiantMice.com, recently posted a follow-up to her article, “Transmedia Will Kill Hollywood Is Killing Transmedia,” which we referenced in last month’s guest spot here […]

The Unnameable Future

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…or, Why We Are Confused About The Defining Terms Angrily Dismissed By Those Trying to Trademark Them Recently on her site GiantMice.com, “experience designer” Brooke Thompson posted an article entitled, “Transmedia Is Killing Hollywood Will Kill Transmedia.” In it, Thompson decries the fact that the new storytelling form known as “transmedia” (previously called “cross-platform storytelling,” […]

Incredibox!

Incredibox:  Play the hipsters!  In English or Francais! Like this:Like Loading…

Der Teufelspakt

Solve the mystery of the cursed Mercy Booth in the clickable picture/text adventure, “Der Teufelspakt.” You don’t need to speak German to play, but it helps. (via The Horror?!) Like this:Like Loading…

Roofed!

Jim Munroe’s been working on a new movie, Ghosts with Shit Jobs. It’s not even out and he has  a spin-off game–“Roofed!” Like this:Like Loading…

Click and Click and Click

National Geographic’s infinite photograph. Click and click and click. Like this:Like Loading…

City of Heroes–On the Tip!

“City of Heroes: Golden Age is about Paragon City in the 80s.” Check out the screen captures and cross your fingers that your 386 has enough power. Like this:Like Loading…

Old Timey Interactive Fiction

The Illuminated Lantern has tentacled interactive fiction with the H.P. Lovecraft Commonplace Book project and whiskered diamond thievery in “1893: A World’s Fair Mystery.” (via 4DK) Like this:Like Loading…

Everybody Dies, Jim Munroe Style

Don’t bother guessing the verb, just click here to play Former Games Editor Jim Munroe’s Everybody Dies which just took 3rd place at the 2008 Interactive Fiction Competition. You can also learn more about the process of writing interactive fiction and see Michael Cho’s sweet illustrations. Like this:Like Loading…

Narrative and Interactivity

The Artful Gamer ponders interactivity, engagement and narrative in videogames: “Instead of beating our collective heads against the wall as we try to design games that let players live out their wildest desires, we should be developing worlds that encourage players to explore them as living, breathing, places.” Like this:Like Loading…

Why Aren’t You Dead Yet?

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Just how many times  do I have to kill this guy? It’s a question I’ve certainly asked myself while playing various games, along with Why aren’t you dead yet? and How many damn heads does it have anyway? Everybody’s version of tedium is different, but endlessly dodging around waiting for some gargantuan horror to blink […]

What’s the Matter with Runescape?

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I recently had a conversation with my ten year-old son that I had been longing to have since before he was born, since before I was even sure I really wanted to have kids.  We were well into the eleventh hour of a game of Risk that had seen the empires of my wife and […]

But Will Your Parents Play?

A crucial turning point for video games.

Based on the reaction to the November launch of the Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii through sales and media attention, it’s clear that gaming as a cultural phenomenon has cemented itself into the collective consciousness. Local news media observed in awe as the faithful lined up outside their local electronics retailer at midnight in order […]

The Time Machines

Appreciating history through games.

I hated studying history in high school. It was as if the curriculum had been designed to leave out everything that impressionable minds could possibly associate with, while making no provisions to seem like it was anything but handed down from an institution. However, in recent years it’s a totally different story. I won’t read […]

Read Only Memories

I’m fairly suspicious of nostalgia, and I hate how advertisers leverage our emotions to sell us the same products twice. So while I’m happy that people are rediscovering videogames from their youth, and that the games and their blocky aesthetic are mushrooming up all over the culture, I wonder about the retro-gaming phenomenon. Are these […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    NPR interviews Hank Willis Thomas on his exhibition showcasing images of white women in advertizing. It’s a follow up to his 2008 exhibition, “Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America.” “I think what happens with ads — when we put text and logos on them, we do all the heavy lifting of making them make sense to us. But when you see the image naked, or unbranded, you start to really ask questions.”

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    Our friends at Pornokitsch share a 1898 Philadelphia Press article on ghosts of the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

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    The Journal of Popular Romance Studies interviewed author Joanna Russ in 2007 about slash fiction: “Her 1985 essay, ‘Pornography By Women For Women, With Love’ helped to set the terms of the discussion for feminist scholars who followed, and it is widely cited in fan studies. Russ argues that fantasy has to be read in more complex ways than simply seeing it as an effort at one-dimensional wish fulfillment. She posits fantasy as something rich and metaphorical. She reads slash as a genre that tells us new things about women’s sexuality and sexual desire, things that—in 1985—weren’t being talked about except in the very divided feminist ‘sex wars,’ where ‘pro-sex’ and ‘anti-porn’ feminists created ever more polarized stances.”

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    At Hyperallergic, Jeremy Polacek writes about the history of Afrofuturism and the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s exhibit, “Space Is The Place: AfroFuturism On Film”:  “Afrofuturism is an empowering rubric, an approach and aesthetic that clarifies and connects history and the hope, creativity, and pain there within. Afrofuturism is wry, wise, and leveling — it believes that a brighter, more equal, funkier future is within the realm of possibility. You can be different; this world can be different — self-invention commingles with worldly reinvention; Africa is both glorious past and technocratic future.

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    Sweet Jane shares a 1967 fashion editorial shoot mixing mod fashion and the work of illustrator Aubrey Beardsley. (via arabellesicardi.com)

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    BBC Radio 4 is presenting an adaptation of Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand Of Darkness. You can listen to the first episode here. There are also other features, including an interview with Le Guin. (via Pornokitsch)

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