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

Reality is broken, let’s play games

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Ask me whether I’d like x or y and the answer is frequently yes. Maybe it’s being a Libra, or growing up around my mother’s talent for creative problem solving, but when faced with a choice between two options one of the first things I ask myself is do I actually want to pick only […]

“Piracy Gave Me A Future”

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At Boing Boing, Daniel Starkey writes about poverty’s intellectual dead zones and how poverty gave him a future. “I don’t pirate games anymore, and I don’t support pirating games if you can afford to buy them. But when I needed it, piracy gave me hope. When I considered dropping out of high school, giving up […]

“Superheroes, Cities and Empty Streets”

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While playing Batman: Arkham Knight, Austin Walker wants to walk the streets of Gotham. “There are lots of different kinds of Batman fantasies–and I’m not looking to invalidate any of them–but throughout this four game series, the developers have largely given me the same one over and over. For once, I want a Batman game […]

Armada and Nostalgia as an Endless Lullaby


At Slate, Laura Hudson writes about Ernest Cline’s new book, Armada; gaming and greater geek culture; and the perils of nostalgia. “Do we want to tell stories that make sense of the things we used to love, that help us remember the reasons we were so drawn to them, and create new works that inspire […]

“Never Alone”


At Bitch, Liza Dadoly writes about Never Alone. “Never Alone’s plot is based around Alaskan indigenous folklore, specifically the story ‘Kunuuksaayuka,’ a tale told by storyteller Robert Nasruk Cleveland of the Inupiaq people. ‘Kunuuksaayuka’ tells of a young boy who goes out into a blizzard to discover its source and, by doing so, save his […]

“We Are Not Colonists”


At Boing Boing, Gita Jackson writes about gaming, art, minority voices, colonialism and Benedict Anderson’s “imagined communities”: “When marginalized voices come to take their seat at the table, there will always be an outcry that they are invaders, colonists, inferior versions of their straight, white male counterparts. But rather than killing artforms, the addition of […]

Haphead Tweetalong


Founding Gutter editor Jim Munroe is having a watchalong for his new cyberpunk, neo-Noir webseries, Haphead, on Feb. 15, 2015 at 4pm ET. There’s a Q&A at 5:20 pm. You can find the series here, hit play with the official Haphead Twitter account says, “Go!” and tweetalong with the hashtag #haphead. Watch the series trailer […]

VCR Games Super Montage!

A video tribute to interactive VCR games including: Nightmare (1991), The Fisherman VCR Bible Game (1989), Rich Little’s Charades (1985), Wayne’s World VCR Game (1992), Star Trek: The Next Generation VCR Game (1995) and Skull and Crossbones (1988). (Thanks, Beth!)

“We Will Force Gaming To Be Free”


At First Person Scholar, Katherine Cross writes about “GamerGate and the licence to inflict suffering”: “GamerGate is neoliberalism’s distorted reflection of leftist terror: the lust for revolution, to be the Rough Rider ‘good guys’ saving the world by force if necessary, but with none of the obligations or thought inherent to political reasoning.”

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 […]

“Level Up: How PlayStation Infiltrated Youth Culture”


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 […]

“Four Continental Black Afrikan Speculative Fiction Artists”


Chronicles of Harriet profiles Black African artists who work in speculative fiction: Loyiso Mkizse; Tobe “Max Spectre” Ezeogu; Setor Fiadzigbey; and the artist of Kiro’o Games.

Katsuya Terada Live-Drawing Demonstration


Video of illustrator and character designer Katsuya Terada drawing and talking about his work. (via @aicnanime)

“Samus Works Alone”


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 […]

“Why I Play Violent Video Games”


Maddy Myers writes about playing violent games, wanting to be powerful and internalized sexism. “Given my lifelong history of playing at war, and my desperate wish to feel strong, big, and powerful, it made sense that I would gravitate towards Counter-Strike and its ilk around the age of 15. But Counter-Strike, with its all-male selection […]

Support Jim Munroe’s Haphead!


Former Video Games Editor and Gutter Founding Editor Jim Munroe has a new project, the webseries Haphead: “Ten years from now, videogames are so immersive that teenagers learn lethal skills just by playing. They’re called hapheads.” Please consider supporting the Haphead Kickstarter.

“Each Metroid Prime Game Begins In Disaster”


Maddy Myers writes about survival and Metroid Prime 3’s Samus. “My ex-boyfriend of five years had moved out. I had been forced to live with the person who I hated the most: myself. I couldn’t escape her. She was everywhere. I knew a couple things for certain: I wanted to kill myself. And Metroid Prime […]

“Inside The Failure Cascade”


At Ten Ton Hammer, the Mittani has a description of the collapse of an alliance in the MMO game, EVE. “Nothing in online gaming quite matches the incandescent drama of a dying alliance. It is only in EVE that player organizations routinely exceed 1000 members. If you think World of Warcraft guilds are a hotbed […]

Play Games at the Internet Archive


Check out the Internet Archive’s Console Living Room Project, which includes their Internet Arcade of over 900 games including Street Fighter II, Pac-Man, Centipede and Donkey Kong. Curator Jason Scott writes about creating the project at his personal blog. (Via Ars Technica)

“Bayonetta Doesn’t Care”


At Paste Magazine, Maddy Myers has some interesting thoughts on  the “male gaze,” the “sub gaze,” Dommes, gender, sexual desire and video game character Bayonetta. “‘[M]ale gaze’ seems like an unkind oversimplification as to who might be doing the ‘gazing’—let alone the identifying—and perhaps evidence that gaming desperately needs a new phrase to describe the […]

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    Stacked has a sweet resource list of young adult books featuring black girls. “All descriptions are from WorldCat, and I’m absolutely eager to hear more titles. All are YA books featuring black girls front and center and they include fiction and some non-fiction. A couple of these titles also fall into that crossover category, so while they may technically be “adult” reads, they have great appeal to teens. Several of these authors have written more than one title featuring a black girl at the center, so it’s worth checking their other titles, too. Many of these are also on-going series titles. I’ve limited to one per author.”


    Michael Aguilar discusses The Giant Claw and making the stop motion wonder of “Godzilla 2014 vs. The Giant Claw, Part I!” (Thanks, Kate!)


    In a 1988 Sight And Sound interview, Patricia Highsmith talks about film adaptations of her novels, from Strangers On A Train (1950) to The American Friend (1977)


    Open Culture has a re-vamped trailer for a film adaptation of  Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius’ comic The Incal. One that never happened. “[Incal‘s] success made it a logical candidate for film adaptation, and so director Pascal Blais brought together artists from Heavy Metal magazine (in which Mœbius first published some of his best known work) to make it happen. It resulted in nothing more than a trailer, but what a trailer; you can watch a recently revamped edition of the one Blais and his collaborators put together in the 1980s at the top of the post.” (Thanks, Felipe!)


    Hyperallergic has a gallery of astronomical and cosmological illustrations from photographer Michael Benson’s books, Cosmographics: Picturing Space Through Time. (Thanks, Stephanie!)


    A homophobic Tumblr post becomes Queer dystopian adventure fiction in two responses. Behold! (Thanks, Adele!)


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