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

“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. Like this:Like Loading…

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!) Like this:Like Loading…

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.   Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like this:Like Loading…

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.” Like this:Like Loading…

7 Biggest Dick Moves In Online Gaming

From Ultima Online to Eve Online, Cracked covers “The 7 Biggest Dick Moves in Online Gaming.” Like this:Like Loading…

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!) Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like this:Like Loading…

LEGO MMO

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

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.” Like this:Like Loading…

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! Like this:Like Loading…

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

    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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    At The Guardian, Keith Stuart and Steve Boxer look at the history of PlayStation.“Having been part of the late 80s rave and underground-clubbing scene, I recognised how it was influencing the youth market. In the early 90s, club culture started to become more mass market, but the impetus was still coming from the underground, from key individuals and tribes. What it showed me was that you had to identify and build relationships with those opinion-formers – the DJs, the music industry, the fashion industry, the underground media.” (via @timmaughan)

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    Neill Cameron has re-imagined the characters of Parks & Recreation as members of Starfleet. (Via @neillcameron)

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