The Cultural Gutter

geek chic with mad technique

"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

    At Comics Alliance, Chris Sims talk abouts the art of lettering in comics. “Comic book lettering is up there with inking and coloring in the holy trinity of underrated comic book skills, but it’s also one of those things that, once you start paying attention to it, you’ll never be able to not notice it again. I’m not exaggerating even a little bit when I say that it’s one of those things that can absolutely ruin a comic if it’s done wrong, even if everything else is perfect. But to be honest, of those three elements, lettering is still probably the most underrated. The thing is, when it’s good, it can be absolutely gorgeous in its own right. And fortunately for us, there are a lot of people who do it very, very well.”

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    Comics Alliance suggests seven Star Wars comics to read before Disney makes them disappear. (Including a comic by one of Comics Editor Carol’s favorite creative teams–Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman). “Starting in 2015, Disney’s handing the publishing of any and all new Star Wars comics over to Marvel Comics, with an all new, optimized-for-corporate-synergy canon that will spread across all their media platforms. Anything that’s not a movie (especially one of the Original Trilogy movies), or a Clone Wars cartoon, will be unceremoniously Order 66-ed out of existence, giving future filmmakers a clean-ish slate to make movies (and money) on. But what about all those Dark Horse comics? That’s where we come in with 7 Dark Horse Star Wars comics you should track down before they disappear.”

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    At the New York Observer, Ashley Steves writes about Craig Ferguson’s The Late, Late Show. “No one could ever prepare you for watching an episode of Ferguson’s Late Late Show. A friend could not sit you down and explain it (“Well, it’s really meta and deconstructive and there’s a horse”). There was really no good way to recommend it. It was something you discovered and became a part of. You had to stumble upon it on your own, perhaps restless or bored or simply curious while flipping through channels when your eye quickly caught some of the madness. And that’s the best part. It was an unexpected gift. At its worst, it could still send you to bed grinning and comforted. At its best, it was art. It was silly and fun and truly not like any other late night show.”

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    At Comics Alliance, Chris Sims interviews Ed Brubaker about his work on Batman, Gotham Central and Catwoman. “When I look back at [Catwoman], I’m so proud of the first 25 issues of that book, when I felt like everything was firing on all cylinders. I probably should’ve left when Cameron Stewart left instead of sticking around. That’s one of those things I look back at and think “Ah, I had a perfect run up until then!” (Incidentally, Comics Editor Carol’s first piece for the Gutter was about Brubaker’s first 25 issues of Catwoman).

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    At Sequential Art, Greg Carpenter writes a lovely piece about Charles Schulz’ Peanuts. “After only two installments, Schulz had solidified the rules for his comic strip.  Random acts of cruelty would punctuate this irrational world, and Schulz’s trapped little adults would be forced to act out simulations of human behavior, using hollow gestures to try to create meaning in a universe where no other meaning was evident.  If Shakespeare’s Macbeth had been a cartoonist, the results of his daily grind, “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,” might have looked somewhat similar—each character a “poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage” until he or she was heard from no more.”

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    The Smithsonian Magazine has a gallery of US spy satellite launches. “Just as NASA creates specially designed patches for each mission into space, [National Reconnaissance Office] follows that tradition for its spy satellite launches. But while NASA patches tend to feature space ships and American flags, NRO prefers wizards, Vikings, teddy bears and the all-seeing eye. With these outlandish designs, a civilian would be justified in wondering if NRO is trolling.”

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