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

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 […]

“Women As Background Decoration: Part 2”


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


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


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 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 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 […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At Bleeding Cool, Cap Blackard writes about the contested homeworld of Howard the Duck. “If you’ve seen the much maligned Howard the Duck film or read any Howard the Duck stories published since 1979, you’re probably familiar with the concept of Duckworld. You know, an alternate Earth where everyone is ducks and everything is duck-themed: Ducktor Strange, Bloomingducks, etc, etc. Sounds like a recipe for a finite barrel of bad jokes, right? It is, and it’s also not Howard’s real point of origin. During his landmark initial run, Howard’s creator Steve Gerber had the down-and-out duck hailing from a world of talking animals, but all that changed when Gerber was kicked off the book and Disney flashed a lawsuit. Now, after decades of backstory fumbling, Mark Waid has reinstated Howard’s point of origin in a one-shot issue of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (Thanks, Mark!)


    At The Village Voice, Jackson Connor writes about the making of The Warriors. Amid the refurbished boardwalk and laughter of children, it’s easy to forget that Coney Island was once a place where tourists did not venture. For much of the latter half of the twentieth century, street gangs dominated this neighborhood. They ran rampant through the area’s neglected housing projects, tearing along Surf and Neptune avenues toward West 8th Street. Those gangs, or gangs like them, and that incarnation of Coney Island would form the backbone of author Sol Yurick’s 1965 debut novel, The Warriors, about the young members of a street gang. More than a decade after the novel’s publication it would be optioned and, eventually, turned into a major motion picture of the same name.” (via @pulpcurry)


    Edith Garrud taught Suffragettes jiu-jitsu and formed Emmeline Pankhurst’s Bodyguard. “The first connection between the suffragettes and jiu-jitsu was made at a WSPU meeting. Garrud and her husband William, who ran a martial arts school in London’s Golden Square together, had been booked to attend. But William was ill, so she went alone. ‘Edith normally did the demonstrating, while William did the speaking,’ says Tony Wolf, writer of Suffrajitsu, a trilogy of graphic novels about this aspect of the suffragette movement. ‘But the story goes that the WSPU’s leader, Emmeline Pankhurst, encouraged Edith to do the talking for once, which she did.'”


    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!)


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