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

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?!)

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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

    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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