The Cultural Gutter

dangerous because it has a philosophy

"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

    Brain Pickings looks at the life and work of Tove Jansson and the wisdom of her character, Too-ticky. “Too-ticky, the sage of Moominvalley who solves even the most existential of problems with equal parts practicality and wisdom, was inspired by the love of Jansson’s life — the great Finnish sculptor and graphic arts pioneer Tuulikki “Tooti” Pietilä, Jansson’s spouse. The two women met in art school during their twenties and remained together until Jansson’s death more than six decades later, collaborating on a lifetime of creative projects — all at a time when queer couples were straddling the impossible line between anguishing invisibility and dangerous visibility.” (via Kate Laity)

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    Photographer Kevin Weir uses vintage photographs to create haunting animation in “The Flux Machine.” The Guardian has an interview with Weir and more on his work.

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    At the New Yorker, Jill Lepore considers the intertwining histories of women’s suffrage, feminism, Amazons and Wonder Woman. “It isn’t only that Wonder Woman’s backstory is taken from feminist utopian fiction. It’s that, in creating Wonder Woman, William Moulton Marston was profoundly influenced by early-twentieth-century suffragists, feminists, and birth-control advocates and that, shockingly, Wonder Woman was inspired by Margaret Sanger, who, hidden from the world, was a member of Marston’s family.”

     

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    Tim Reis shares ten things he learned from producing his first independent feature The Demon’s Rook. “Making an independent feature film is hard. Making an independent feature film with no money is especially hard. Making an independent feature film with no money, no actors, and a first-time director and crew is almost impossible. It is also the greatest, most liberating thing and you can and should totally do it.” (Thanks, Colin!)

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    The Princeton University Digital Library has digitized three Seventeenth Century Japanese illustrated scrolls and you can view them here. Meanwhile, 100,000 images from Getty Research Institute are now available at the Digital Library of America. (via @BibliOdyssey)

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    The Awl’s Rich Bellis writes about Koh Masaki and the importance of Masaki’s visibility as an out gay man working in the Japanese porn industry. “By the time he died from peritonitis after an appendix operation, at just 29, Masaki had established a celebrity persona in a business where such a thing hadn’t existed before. Japanese censorship laws require blurring genitalia, but social stigma leads many performers (regardless of gender) to obscure their faces, too. Dark sunglasses, hats and blacked-out swimming goggles are common accessories in an industry whose overall value has been estimated at around $20 billion.” (Thanks, Earl)

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