The Cultural Gutter

the cult in your pop culture

"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.

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).

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.

Take This Lollipop

Take This Lollipop is a creepy little Facebook app featuring Bill Oberst, Jr.

The Ocean’s Secret Paths

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

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!

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?!)

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!”

Click and Click and Click

National Geographic’s infinite photograph. Click and click and click.

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.

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)

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.

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.”

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 Teleport City, the Gutter’s own Carol writes about 12 books that vary in reputability and their harrowing nature. They include books by Shirley Jackson, Raymond Chandler, Patricia Highsmith and Herman Melville.

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    Anne Billson has posted a 1985 interview she did with director George Miller (the Mad Max films). Miller talks about many things including Aunty Entity’s probable past as a hero and Max as, in Mel Gibson’s words, “a closet human being.” (Thanks, Matt!)

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    At New York Magazine, David Wallace-Wells writes about bees, colony collapse disorder and beekeeper Dave Hackenberg. “It’s been a long decade for bees. We’ve been panicking about them nonstop since 2006, when beekeeper Dave Hackenberg inspected 2,400 hives wintering in Florida and found 400 of them abandoned — totally empty. American beekeepers had experienced dramatic die-offs before, as recently as the previous winter in California and in regular bouts with a deadly bug called the varroa mite since the 1980s. But those die-offs would at least produce bodies pathologists could study. Here, the bees had just disappeared. In the U.K., they called it Mary Celeste syndrome, after the merchant ship discovered off the Azores in 1872 with not a single passenger aboard. The bees hadn’t even scrawled CROATOAN in honey on the door on their way out of the hive.”

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    Andrew Nette has a pair of interesting pieces on pulp you might be interested in. First, he writes about “the New Pulp” and a bit about Fifty Shades of Gray in “Fifty Shades of Pulp.” Then he writes about pulp and literacy and furthering social advancement in “Pulp and Circumstance.”  “Most people view pulp as either exploitative lowbrow culture or highly collectable retro artefact. Yet pulp has a secret history which Rabinowitz’s book uncovers. Her central thesis is that cheap, mass-produced pulp novels not only provided entertainment and cheap titillating thrills, but also brought modernism to the American people, democratising reading and, in the process, furthering culture and social enlightenment.”

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    The Projection Booth interviews actor Ed Asner.

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    Transcript from BAFTA’s tribute to director Johnnie To, “Johnnie To: A Life In Pictures.” It’s a great interview with To about his films and process. “Like when I made The Mission I didn’t have a script. It was 1999 and I didn’t have any money so we went to Taiwan and they gave us very little money to hurry up and make a film, so without any script we just started making it. And after 19 days we made the film.” (Thanks to the Heroic Sisterhood!)

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