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Posts tagged: videogames

At The Gutter: Retrospective: Vive Le Gutter!


Ten years ago this week, Jim Munroe posted a manifesto on gutter culture and The Cultural Gutter’s been expanding on it ever since.

A few years back I started getting really interested in video games–playing them, making them, talking about them. And I noticed that there were marked similarities in people’s cultural perception of video games and science fiction.

I would talk with my friends about my experiences with video games in the same way that I’d talk about a movie or another piece of art: “In most games, you smash open a crate, you get either weapons or supplies that you can pick up, or it’ll be empty. But in Half-Life, even the empty crates have something–you get this randomized pile of computer parts motherboards or whatever, it’s a great touch.”

My appreciation for a game’s detailing, tone, and visceral engagement would usually get a laugh despite my sincerity. The disparity between applying high art analysis to low art, or even talking sincerely about something so frivolous, was a clear violation of mainstream cultural norms.

And I like violating those norms.


Inspired by Anita Sarkeesian’s Video Game Tropes vs Women, I wanted to pitch a Zelda game where Zelda herself was the hero, rescuing a Prince Link. 

Clockwork Empire is set 2,000 years after Twilight Princess, and is not a reboot, but simply another iteration in the Zelda franchise. It just so happens that in this case, Zelda is the protagonist. I’m a very big Zelda fan, and worked hard to draw from key elements in the continuity and mythos.

This concept work is meant to show that Zelda as a game protagonist can be both compelling and true to the franchise, while bringing new and dynamic game elements that go farther than being a simple gender swap.

Hope you like it!

At The Gutter: The LEGO Mindset: What Would You Do If You Knew You Wouldn’t Fail?

Every April we mix things up at The Gutter. This week Screen Editor alex writes about video games and failure:

When I was a kid, my parents got me a later model Radio Shack Trash 80 (TRS-80)  computer, but what I really wanted was an Atari. All my friends had them, so I spent hours in other people’s basements, pushing that one red button and twisting the joystick as we navigated pixellated characters through two-dimensional landscapes. I didn’t realize it at the time, but in addition to having fun I was also learning something about handling success and failure. In some ways, sitting down with my friends now and playing the Lego universe games (Lego Star Wars, Bat Man, Indiana Jones) takes me back to those days.

At the Gutter: The Dark Tower, Videogame Soundtrack Edition

Science Fiction Editor James battles the plague and starts to see connections between Bastion and The Dark Tower:

Now, it’s true that a lot of things are Stephen-King-esque (as Grady Hendrix says over at “Stephen King is such a part of the American cultural consciousness that there’s no point in debating his importance anymore”), but Bastion specifically reminds me of King’s The Dark Tower, which is a bit of a different beast than his more horror-focused works. I talked about The Dark Tower on the Gutter a while ago here.

At the Gutter: Rambles

Malefactors stole Romance Editor Chris’ computer, so SF/F James gallantly took her place this week, taking “a rambling walk through some recent semi-connected pop culture items, starting with a videogame reboot that’s actually worth playing, moving on to nostalgia for a nostalgia-based movie, and ending with a look at child actors, in reality and in novel form.”

(“Couple Walking In The Forest,” by Vincent Van Gogh)

At the Gutter:  Guest Star Darryl Shaw pursues the high score dragon as he plays 2D shooters.

At the Gutter:  Guest Star Darryl Shaw pursues the high score dragon as he plays 2D shooters.

Dealing with the R-Type Personality

This week at the Gutter, Guest Star Darryl Shaw warns you about R-Type:

R-Type gets around more than it lets on, and sometimes with people you’d prefer not to imagine. I recently found out that one of my friends decided to get a hold of R-Type precisely because of my warnings. If this was true, and my friend was really scoring with R-Type, I’d just have to try harder.