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

“Women As Background Decoration: Part 2″

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In  Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, “Women As Background Decoration: Part 2,” Anita Sarkeesian discusses “how sexualized female bodies often occupy a dual role as both sexual playthings and the perpetual victims of male violence.” It is quite graphic in terms of violence and sexual violence.

Thoughts on Trolls

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At PBS Idea Channel, Mike considers and then reconsiders the beneficial effects of trolls. At Kill Screen, Matthew Byrd writes about the integration of trolling into a multiplayer online gaming experience, particularly with DayZ and Demon’s Soul. (Thanks, Edie!)

On the Abandoned Cities of Azeroth

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At The Gameological Society, Samantha Nelson ponders the hidden beauty of World of Warcraft’s abandoned cities.  

Neverwinter Diary: Tales from the Sword Coast

Rock Paper Shotgun‘s John Walker has been playing Neverwinter, and he’s been playing with other people–and he’s formed a RPS guild. “And for the first time in an online game, I don’t feel like the interfering hanger-onner, muddling my way through with the people who know what they’re doing. I mean – that absolutely still […]

“The Extraordinary, Mischievous, Too Short Life of Sean Smith”

Kotaku remembers Sean Smith, an Information Management Officer for the US State Department killed in Benghazi, Libya. He was also Vile Rat, a famous/infamous high level player in Eve Online.

Gender Cues and In-Game Harassment

In a new study, written up at The Mary Sue, researchers look at gender and harassment in multiplayer online games, in this case, Halo 3.  “[T]he use of gendered insults and the tripled rate of negative comments, regardless of skill level or win percentage, indicates that something more than just a proclivity for trash-talk is […]

News from the EVE Frontline

Tor.com reports on one of the largest space battles in the history of EVE Online: “A space battle kicked off entirely by accident. A space battle so big it could not be simulated, it had to be crafted and pushed forward by human ego, so big it cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and yet […]

Thousands Dead In Azeroth

A hacker’s attack left thousands of player characters dead in Azeroth. According to Forbes Magazine, community moderator Naethera responded on behalf of Blizzard, ““This exploit has already been hotfixed, so it should not be repeatable. It’s safe to continue playing and adventuring in major cities and elsewhere in Azeroth.” Good night, and good luck in […]

Difficulty Settings and Cheat Codes

John Scalzi and Dr. NerdLove use gaming to understand being a guy in the real world. In writing about “straight white male” as the lowest difficulty setting in life, Scalzi builds on a  Luke McKinney article in Cracked. Dr. NerdLove is a little less explicitly game-centric in his “Virgins, Victims and Player Haters: Adventures in […]

Fantasy Armor and Lady Bits

An armorer has some suggestions about balancing functionality, character and story in “fantasy armor and lady bits.”

7 Biggest Dick Moves In Online Gaming

From Ultima Online to Eve Online, Cracked covers “The 7 Biggest Dick Moves in Online Gaming.”

Ask the Dungeon Bastard

Have a party of adventurers who get hurt so often that you never get to cast your offensive spells, but spend all your combat rounds healing their wussy asses?  The Dungeon Bastard is here to help with your clerical duties. (Thanks, Fewdio Paul!)

Warriors of the Unknown

Warriors of the Unknown is an animated series featuring gamers whose characters jump from server to server in pursuit of a mysterious hacker while mixing up game genres. You can sample the first episode here.

LEGO MMO

LEGO still clicking with their new “LEGO Universe” MMO game. The trailer’s here. Meanwhile, Unreality tries to understand the appeal.

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.”

The Mainstream Notices Us, Head Explodes

Forbes gets worried – World of Warcraft will create “offline political forces“. Charles Stross’ Halting State has a lot to say about this stuff, including a fun, opposing theory: we’ve never been contacted by aliens because they’re probably too addicted to some advanced MMO game to worry about reality anymore!

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 […]

The Long Road Back to Gaming

Guys night out in Azeroth

For the last nine months, I considered myself a non-gamer. Not a reformed gamer, mind you, but someone who just hasn’t had the time to dedicate to playing games or keeping up with the industry. I had been adapting to the life of a new parent; I had been forever transformed. The days and nights […]

Gaming in a World of Grown-Ups

Gamers with Jobs

Every gamer thinks about gaming at work. Unless they review video games for a living, and then perhaps they dream about sitting in front of excel spreadsheets all day. The ridiculously absorbing MMORPG formula has players planning out their character’s next level or what equipment to buy, surfing the official forums for hours on end […]

Click. Kill. Reward.

The Hero

The mob of deranged and frothy beasts approaches quickly, my tower shield and fearsome-looking warhammer doing nothing to slow their approach. Blood is spilled as I dispatch the group quickly, their remains forming a pile at my feet. I loot the corpses, ignoring the broken weapons that were casualties of the skirmish. I drink a […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    We have been bereft since GWAR lost Oderus Ungerus. But lift up your heads and rejoice, fans of GWAR, there is a new member. She is Vulvatron! (via @saladinahmed)

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    Throne of the Crescent Moon author Saladin Ahmed has posted “a micro-mini Crescent Moon Kingdoms world guide that had previously only been available as part of a UK-exclusive ebook” for people to use in their roleplaying games. But even if you aren’t a gamemaster, it’s pretty sweet.

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    At We Are Respectable Negroes, Chauncey Devega interviews friend of the Gutter Mark D. White about the virtues of Captain America. “In this, the ninth episode, of the second season of WARN’s podcast series, we talk about what comic books and superheroes can tell us about philosophy and politics, work through what makes someone ‘heroic,’ the ways that the general public often misunderstands and misreads the Captain America character, as well as how American exceptionalism, race, and identity relate to superhero and other types of comic books and graphic novels.”

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    Alexander Chee writes about difficulty some have in evaluating comics or even in taking them seriously. “As a frequent juror on prizes, colonies and fellowships, I am, it could be said, so tired of this, that in fact, I will fight you for Roz Chast’s right to be on this list. I will fight you for the right for Bechdel to get that MacArthur. In a ring, covered in grease, MMA style. That is how sick of it I am.”

    And Dylan Meconis has some suggestions on how to improve writing about comics. “This leaves all the critics who are just beginning their journey into comics reading, or who have yet to be entirely won over to the medium but want to keep an open mind (perhaps due to peer pressure: I remember a literati cocktail party where somebody near me anxiously muttered ‘I guess we’re all supposed to read graphic novels now.’) These brave souls are willing to give it a try, but they tend to make a lot of mistakes when they first start out.” (Thanks, Gareth!)

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    At Black Girl Nerds, Jamie Broadnax writes a powerful piece about racism, cosplaying, police violence and the homicide of Darrien Hunt. “The first thing we need to do is NOT let this story scare us nor intimidate us into believing that we should be fearful of cosplaying.  We should still encourage others who may not yet have participated in cosplay to know that there are several communities for people of color to have safe spaces where they can be embrace and be their nerdy selves. If there is little to no news about this incident on other mainstream geek sites that feature cosplayers, then framing this around race is pertinent and they should be called out on their silence.  Even IF this is not an incident where Darrien Hunt was actively cosplaying, the tone has already been set and anyone who is a part of the cosplay community should address this matter.  Many Black cosplayers are concerned about this, and still wonder if they would be viewed as ‘suspicious’ walking down the street.”

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    Nerds of Color announces that their own David Walker will be writing Dynamite’s Shaft comic. Denys Cowan shares the cover for Shaft #1 drawn by Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz. Sanford Greene shares some his cover work here and here. Black Comix posts Ulises Farinas’ cover.  Comics Wow has more and previews covers. (Via Black Comix and World of Hurt)

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