The Cultural Gutter

we've seen things you people wouldn't believe

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

The 25 Best Horror Games of All Time

Gameranx dares name the Top 25 Best Horror Games of All Time! (via Denis at The Horror?!) Like this:Like Loading…

A Tyrannosaurus is in your Guest Center killing your ‘raptors.

Wolf Gnards explores the many ways a tyrannosaurus can get into a theme park guest center–or any building, really.  We vote for “Those tiny arms have evolved over millennia to pick locks.” Like this:Like Loading…

Second Place Ain’t Second Best

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Previously, I wrote a column about Meredith Duran, who got her start in publishing when her first novel, the astonishingly good Duke of Shadows, won the Gather.com First Chapters Romance Writing Competition. I liked the interesting and collaborative nature of the online contest. Entrants posted their first chapters on the Gather.com site for the community […]

Fooling the System

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“Fisher,” they’d cry, “we’re going to find you.” They were looking in the wrong place. I was already somewhere else. And as they approached the last position they saw me, that somewhere else was right behind them. Either a clean bullet to the head or some other form of quick, close, personal death, they slump […]

Kirkbride, Castles of the Midwest.

Kirkbride Buildings are the castles of the American Midwest. They’re also 19th century State Hospitals. Like this:Like Loading…

Shape of–An Unpayable Mortgage with My Face on It!

“What the Wonder Twins Would Take the Form and Shape of  if They were Sent to Correct the Subprime Mortgage Crisis” is a McSweeney’s article that is most likely not providing cover for a heist. Like this:Like Loading…

A Magician in the C.I.A.

“In 1953, [John] Mulholland was hired by the C.I.A. to adapt his craft for its agents. The documents he produced…were discovered in 2007 by two C.I.A. historians, who have recently published The Official C.I.A. Manual of Trickery and Deception. What could a magician teach spies? Much sleight of hand… used for dosing drinks, passing pills […]

Old Becomes New

The Vintage Game Club starts Thief: The Dark Project soon. Like this:Like Loading…

Vive La Difference!

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Britain and France have a long history together. Okay, much of that history consists of having wars with one another. But if you look at the past as a whole, having wars is pretty much what Britain did. First, it fought at home, its various tribes jockeying for position, struggling with invaders, taking over other […]

More Ninjas!

Ninjas throwing swords and flipping in the forest and Ken’ichi Matsuyama from Death Note and Detroit Metal City plays another manga hero in Kamui Gaiden. Like this:Like Loading…

Bond, Jane Bond

Back in the day, HK studios assumed films with male leads couldn’t cut it in the theaters. So during the 1960s spy era, Hong Kong had Jane Bond films featuring masked spies in catsuits way before Maggie Cheung in Irma Vep. TarsTarkas gathers the resources all in one place, all you have to do is […]

SpyCast!

Get the skinny on spying with the International Spy Museum’s SpyCast.  The Background Briefings about East Germany’s “Romeo agents” and “Spies of the Kaiser” are pretty neat, too. Like this:Like Loading…

Sebastian Faulk’s License to Kill

Chandler had his Poodle Springs. Ian Fleming might have his Devil May Care. Sebastian Faulk takes up James Bond on his centenary. Excerpt here. Like this:Like Loading…

Psychedelic Spies and Swanky Podcasts

Like your spies swank, Sixties and psychedelic? Jiangtou from Spiltpopcorn found The Pschedelic Spy, a 5-part BBC radio drama over at Greylodge, where there’s a whole lotta podcast swank going on. Like this:Like Loading…

Mary, Queen Of Hearts

Mary Stewart

Despite being a rapacious reader of just about everything, during my formative years I managed to miss any number of writers who are the bedrock of their particular genres. For instance, I read Terry Brooks long before Tolkien (and yes, I’m aware of the gravity of that mistake). I didn’t discover Diana Wynne Jones until […]

Ask a Ninja!

A compelling case for the importance of editing in video: compare Ask a Ninja 1: Ninja-Mart Store to the latest, brilliant Ask a Ninja Special Delivery 4: Net Neutrality. Like this:Like Loading…

Teaching the Value of Human Life

Handcuffs or hand grenades?

When you’re put behind the crosshairs of a gun, do you assume you have to shoot to kill? Better still, do you have to shoot to win? For the majority of First Person Shooters, that is certainly the case. What if you were given the choice to avoid unnecessary bloodshed, but still be able to […]

Ninjas vs. Pirates

It’s an idea whose time has come: Ninjas vs. Pirates! Sounds homebrew too: “Almost all scenes in NVP were shot in front of 9 sheets of 30-cent green posterboard in a 12’x13′ apartment living room, lit with $12 Wal-Mart halogen work lights.” Like this:Like Loading…

Indie-meets-industry shindig

Buckets of beer at the GDC.

It might have been the buckets of beer or just the balmy San Francisco night that had me feeling so upbeat after the Game Developers Choice Awards and the Independent Games Festival but even in sober retrospect it was pretty remarkable. On a basic level, it was simply seeing the best videogames of the year […]

Antagonistic Amusement

A biomod or two is OK, but the Omar go too far.

Now that the Matrix franchise has collapsed under its own hype and mystical mumbo-jumbo, it’s refreshing to see a well-executed cyberpunk tale in what is perhaps its ideal medium: the videogame. Because it’s not just about the style — the leather overcoats and the sunglasses — that shit was embarrassing in the ’80s when it […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Dr. Nerdlove takes a brief break from helping the nerd get the girl to address something that’s been bugging him. “Pardon me while I go off on a bit of a media criticism/ rant here. So I’ve been enjoying the *hell* out of The Flash lately except for one thing: Iris Allen. Her character is screen death; every time she’s around, everything comes to a screeching halt.

    The problem is: it’s not her fault, it’s the writers. Rather like Laurel Lance in the first two seasons of Arrow, she has Lois Lane syndrome. Her (like Laurel and Lois) entire character arc is based around being ignorant of events that literally everyone else in her life is aware of.”

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    Get your own copy of the Satanic Temple’s The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities!

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    At The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about Dr. Doom: “Comics are so often seen as the province of white geeky nerds. But, more broadly, comics are  the literature of outcasts, of pariahs, of Jews, of gays, of blacks. It’s really no mistake that we saw ourselves in Doom, Magneto or Rogue.”

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    Actor Ken Takakura has died. Takakura starred in films such as Brutal Tales of Chivalry (1965); Red Peony Gambler (1968); Miyamoto Musashi: Duel at Ichijoji (1955) and Miyamoto Musashi: Duel at Ganryu Island (1956); as well as in co-productions like The Yakuza (1974); The Bullet Train (1975); Black Rain (1989) and Riding Alone For Thousands Of Miles (2005).  The Japan Times, The South China Morning Post and The AV Club have obituaries. Japan Subculture has an interview with Takakura. Here Takakura sings the theme to Abhashiri Prison (1965)

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    Producer, writer and director Glen A. Larson has died. Larson was responsible for creating tv series such as Battlestar Galactica, Magnum P.I, Knight Rider, The Fall Guy, Quincy M.E., The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries and Buck Rogers In The 25Th Century, about which the Gutter’s own Keith wrote here. The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter and The AV Club have obituaries. Watch Larson’s interview from 2010 at “Battlestar Galactica: The Exhibition”.

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    At Re/Action, Maddy Myers writes about how important the Metroid franchise, in both game and manga form, and its protagonist, Samus Aran, were to her. “Samus still represents a breakthrough. She first took off her armor to reveal a woman’s form back in 1986, the year that I was born. Samus and I grew up separately, kindred spirits who did not find one another until 2007. A best friend, a fraternal twin sister, a clone separated at birth. Or so I felt, as I let myself slip behind that visor. I wasn’t Samus myself – not yet. I stood behind her, hanging back. Did I dare? Did I dare pretend, role-play, allow myself to act as Samus? Could I be that cool?”

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