Monday, July 10, 2017

Charlie Chaplin and Anti-Comedy

Colin Spacetwinks has been sharing some of their old comedy writing/theory on Twitter recently, and one of the pieces that came up was this post about Too Many Cooks. They relate it specifically to the Space Ghost: Coast to Coast episode "Fire Ant" to talk about the technique of "dragging the joke out," and specifically to position it in the sort of "anti-comedy" popularized by Adult Swim. It's a good post, and its resurfacing is weirdly timely for me.

The Castro Theater just had a double feature of Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times and Fritz Lang's Metropolis. I'd seen the latter a handful of times, though no more recently than a decade ago. The former I hadn't seen. It was, in fact, my first Chaplin movie period, I think. That's despite spending literal full weekends in college scheduling my sleep around what TCM was playing. I had a lot of fun in college.

The programming of that double feature was smart as hell in ways I did not anticipate. Even not having seen Modern Times, I knew the broad strokes made sense together. The short version is: they're both films about labor, featuring broad, iconic images of industrial machinery. The particulars were what I wasn't ready for. I didn't realize that, for instance, the opening shots are nearly identical.
Both films open on the face of the clock. They also both move from this into scenes of undifferentiated laborers moving to work. The main difference is a generic one: in Modern Times, the shift to the laborers is prefaced by a shot of sheep being driven forward. It sets up a parallel with the workers we are about to see. In Metropolis, the laborers move into the space of an elevator rather than directly into a factory. A title card then describes them as going 'deep below.' It's as concise a visual argument for the definition of genres -- comedy and science fiction -- as I've maybe ever seen. There's a whole essay there, but I want to talk a little more about Modern Times' comedy.

I bring up Spacetwinks' essay because one of the most striking aspects of Modern Times, to me, was how close it came to that kind of anti-humor. Plenty of it was the sort of humor I expected of Chaplin through cultural osmosis -- vaudevillian slapstick and mugging, underdog character work, &c. -- but the execution was surprising.

An early joke involves the boss testing out a machine that can feed laborers while they work. It's sold to him as a way to reduce the wasteful lunch break, and so he decides to have Chaplin give it a go. The scene is structured about how you would expect: everything goes well until it doesn't. Once it doesn't, it starts going worse and worse, quickly.

The thing, though, is that it isn't all that quickly. The scene itself lasts for, I'd guess, nearly ten full minutes. It's a funny scene, and it isn't structured like a Tim & Eric bit or anything; instead of languishing, it continuously escalates toward the conclusion. Even still, the scene itself struck me in a way much closer to that sort of anti-comedy than to a lot of the other jokes even within the film itself.

Another tangent that I'll note without diving into: I don't know that I've ever seen comedy theorized in a way that was anything but ahistorical. Comedians themselves are the worst about this, of course. But the rhythms of comedy change over time, and according to knowledge.

There is one other major scene that I read as anti-comedy in Modern Times. It comes near the end. Chaplin has been in and out of prison and work throughout the film. He is finally trying to make good by his ward, who has secured him an audition as a member of the waitstaff at a restaurant of Singing Waiters. Before the obvious joke, though, he has to actually wait on tables; in particular, on a gentleman who is furious that he has had to wait an hour for his roast duck.

About two thirds of the way through the bit, Chaplin is nearly at his table with the meal. The band strikes up, and he is immediately surrounded by dancers. He gets caught in their twirling and seething. The only part of him left visible his upstretched hand holding the plate of food. He does a full rotation of the floor, begins to walk forward, and gets caught up again. This is funny in its flouting of expectations. The scene seems to have played itself out, but it continues. It's when he gets caught again for the third time that it borders on the kind of comedy where "dragging out the joke" is itself the joke.

Unlike the automatic feeder, this sequence doesn't really structure itself by escalation. The thing that ultimately happens could have easily have happened the first time around with no great loss; the escalations are secondary to the act of languishing on the act of watching. At the time of the film's release, both scenes were, presumably, uproarious. They are not played like they are meant in some way as ironic commentary on comedy. But it's nearly a century on, and they feel that way now. To me at least.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Runday Seeding 8 (5/21/17)

This week has marketplaces that diverge and that challenge; a ramp-up in the continuing eSports capture saga; curating a thousand game makers; strikes, VR, and bunnies in Second Life.

Marketplace Movers

Political Economy

 Financial Statements:

Historical Materialism

Runday Seeding is for a materialist snapshot of games in the context of leftist movement building and other culture. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Runday Seeding 7 (5/14/2017)

This week's more broad financial statements than fun theory or criticism or anything. Esports and VR do weasel their ways in, of course.

Political Economy

Historical Materialism

Runday Seeding is for a materialist snapshot of games in the context of leftist movement building and other culture.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Runday Seeding 6 (5/7/2017)

This week's all about ad spends and revenue run rates and VC; some old proposal documents and StarCraft source code and Bash Back!

Political Economy

Historical Materialism

Runday Seeding is for a materialist snapshot of games in the context of leftist movement building and other culture.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Fight From Inside the Fandom

Back in December, I wrote that a leftist trolling would involve "litter[ing] the user-generated-content hell with strategic propaganda." It's a phrase that's stuck with me.

In the months since I wrote it, I've been digging through the My Brother, My Brother and Me archives. It's a comedy advice podcast. It's been rapidly growing in the last couple years, in large part because of how "good" the three brothers are; how willing they are to admit to mistakes of ignorance, to talk openly about their own growth, and to do their best to build their comedy with a foundation of inclusivity and understanding. Take this response from a TV Insider interview with the brothers, in response to the question "How do you build a brand that revolves around positivity and compassion in comedy?":

Griffin: You f--k up a whole lot when you start doing a podcast, and you hear from people who really, really, really like you, who let you know very politely that you hurt their feelings and ostracized them, and then you stop doing it. And then after enough of those, you kind of stop doing it to everybody, or you try your f--king best to. Literally, that’s it. I think it’s easy to get defensive, but I just always felt so miserable when I heard, “I’m a big fan of yours and you hurt my feelings."
Travis: When someone tells you, “Hey, what you just did hurt me,” you have two options. One is to say like, “You’re wrong, and I didn’t do anything wrong.” Or your other option is to say, “Okay, well if you feel that way, let me take a step back and really look at what I did.” Do that second one every time.
Griffin: I think doing anything that has a big enough audience these days becomes a lesson in empathy. The show and me, Griffin, a person, have gotten so much better since those lessons have come pouring in. I like having that relationship with our audience, and I genuinely think it’s funnier to not say no to s--t, or not slam people instead of getting on board with them. I think that’s the funnier thing 100% of the time.
Justin: It’s harder, but it’s always funnier.

It's a good sentiment, especially in the retrograde world of comedy. Honestly, I think that a lot of what is appealing about their work is shaped by the fact that they aren't Comedians. But that's a subject for another day.

Part of what compelled me to keep listening to back episodes of their show was the promise of the origin story of this development in their work. Because there's definitely an origin story that they reference for, like, a hundred episodes after it happened. I think it's explained fairly well in this piece for Brooklyn Magazine:

Justin told me, “I think we’ve always tried to be [inclusive], it’s just early on we didn’t necessarily have the tools or the understanding of how to be that way. I think mainly that’s because we grew up around people like us. So that was our default. But that expanded. ‘People like us’ has gotten a lot broader since we’ve had a much broader audience.”
The turning point was furries. It was around episode 30, not even in response to a listener’s letter, but to a Yahoo Answers question from a thirteen-year-old furry wondering about coming out to his family. The brothers’ comedy comes from escalation, each taking the previous joke farther and to sillier lengths. In this case, the joke—the “joke”—was about how freaked out and disturbed they were by furries.
The next episode, in the middle of answering another question—from a listener afraid of being made fun of for being in their school play—Justin segued into an apology. “Like, if you look at us. Last week we talked a lot of yay about furries, but to cover up the fact that we are all right now, as we record the show, wearing furry costumes.” Griffin said, “I’m a lynx.” Travis: “I’m a sexy cow.” And Justin? “I’m an apologetic tiger, because I feel bad to our furry friends.” Griffin chimed in, “I feel wicked bad!” He continued, “Let’s put this question on pause, cause we need to address this. I think that hatred comes from fear, and fear comes from misunderstanding.” And the brothers owned up to misunderstanding furries, and thanked the listeners who’d written in to set them straight.
As Justin told me, “Afterwards, we got these tweets from people who were like, ‘Hey, I’m a furry, and I like your show, and that sucked.’ I don’t know who we thought was listening, but we certainly didn’t think furries were, ‘cause we didn’t know any growing up. Once we realized that we hurt these people, we felt like garbage about it. So we were like, let’s make the decision to learn, and talk to these people, and celebrate them and become wildly pro-furry. What we realized is, isn’t it also a lot funnier to be wildly pro-furry. I think it’s funnier to be really into everything, permissive of everything.”
It’s not that they’re pretending to be pro-furry because being pro-furry is silly. The McElroys decided—and the success of MBMBaM proves—that actually being enthusiastic about everything opens the door to better comedy.
To recap: something like half a year after they started the podcast, the brothers went in on furries in a typical "this is funny because we are having an outsized reaction to a thing we don't understand (or want to)" style bit. The difference between them and 99% of other comedy is that, when pressed on the shittiness of that bit, they apologized sincerely and did their best to stop doing that.

Or, at least, that's how it's turned out in the long run. Part of the reason I was so compelled to get back to that incident is because, frankly, there are at least another couple dozen episodes of the show where they clearly haven't actually learned from that error, despite constantly professing to. They're repeatedly shitty to people during that time, except now in a way where they preface it by saying how much they learned from being shitty about furries.

As an origin, it's a pretty fascinating one. Partially because telling the story lead to its enactment; but also, for me, because it seems very much like an example of that kind of strategic propaganda I advocated for.

Even more, it suggests a possible addendum to my essay, another tactical opportunity. I more or less completely ignored fandom in it, despite my hovering on the periphery of a million of them forever. What that origin suggests, to me at least, is the possibility of a sort of dedicated left entryism; a program for people who are fans of things to guide them into pressing advantages on new or developing creators.

This could take a number of possible forms. One option would be something like a generally-accessible resource sheet, pointing out certain methods of approaching sympathetic creators. It could be completely straightforward, like "if you want to see responsive, growing creators do better, try this," or even in the style of those viral Tumblr/Twitter posts that treat everyone who doesn't act exactly how you just learned to as an incomprehensible asshole.

Another would be a centralized group who actively searched out burgeoning successes and deployed members to their fandom. An IRC would work for this, but something like a facebook meme page might actually be even more ideal and difficult to detect/subvert. Admins could point to creators who seemed sympathetic through an understood language within the memes themselves, allowing followers to integrate within the fandom and deploy targeted criticism/propaganda.

The goal, to be clear, would be to create a sustainable method by which we could repeat something like what happened with the McElroys. One thing that gets left out in their origin is any question of what happened to those furries; this is the sort of thing that requires some investment (to understand the norms of the space) but not an indefinite amount. Listening to a pre-Pitchfork-level band's album and patiently explaining its exclusivity in normal channels might take a couple hours over a week, and they're certainly going to remember it.

The possibilities here are, admittedly, a little harder to imagine with an economic leftist argument (rather than a cultural one), so I'm not breaching them now. Maybe if I have some ideas later, or if you do. I'd certainly be interested.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Runday Seeding 5 (4/30/17)

This week: Financials prompt a study of the consolidation of the industry. Esports and digital returns. The new right wing, the closing of Tropes vs Women, and some more on prison abolition.

Political Economy

Historical Materialism

Runday Seeding is for a materialist snapshot of games in the context of leftist movement building and other culture.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Runday Seeding 4 (4/23/17)

This week: Marvel's bullshit, ESA Reports (and their bullshit), and college esports; college resistance, server shutdowns, and facebook futurism; Minecraft set design, bad feelings for flow, and prison abolition against games systems. 

Political Economy

Shut the Fuck Up, Marvel
Berkeley: After Workers Fired, Undergrads Shutdown Major Campus Event
The Extremely Convenient Indian
Don't Worry, Driverless Cars Are Learning From Grand Theft Auto
Twitch confirms that $10 and $25 channel subscription tiers are on the way
Chinese gaming giant Tencent is rebranding its digital store as 'WeGame'
Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry
Don't take the ESA's games industry numbers at face value
Unity devs can now sell actual hats (and other merch) in-game via new Shopify SDK
Netmarble Games raises $2.3 billion in South Korea's second-biggest IPO
Rising Stars: All-women's Stephens College breaks ground with varsity esports program
Google settles with Russian regulators to allow competing third-party app preinstallations on Android
Gambling website finds Evil Geniuses is the top-earning team in esports
Gaming video to generate $4.6 billion this year - SuperData
Who Is This "Shitposting" Tech Bro That Gave Trump $100,000 for His Inauguration?

Historical Materialism

Duke Nukem's Dystopian Fantasies
Level With Me: Half-Life 1, complete!
Doom: To Hell and Back
University of Texas, Austin: Frat Vandals Issue Statement 
Mailbag: Teaching Spatial Storytelling
OpenCritic’s Look Into Brash Games (PDF)
Esports will be an official medal event at the 2022 Asian Games
When the developers of Dwarf Fortress die, a museum inherits the game
Sony Closing Servers For Kill Strain And 5 Other Games
Exhibitors will be able to sell merchandise on the E3 show floor this year
Why the Alt-Right Are So Weak And Why They’re Becoming So Dangerous
Facebook is launching augmented reality game platform later this year 

Feeling Critical

Bad Affect as Game Design, Or It Feels Good For Overwatch To Feel Bad
Crime and Punishment in Prison Architect and Democracy 3
Elastic Energy: What makes a parry so satisfying?
Free Fire director used Minecraft to map out set design
Why Video Games Have So Many Endings and So Few Conclusions

Runday Seeding is for a materialist snapshot of games in the context of leftist movement building and other culture.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Runday Seeding 3 (4/16/17)

This week: steps forward on developing the socialist analysis of games; moving money around; big esports news and challenges; what happened in Berkeley, and more.

Red & Black; Games & Podcasts

Political Economy

Historical Materialism

Fighting Fascism

Runday Seeding is for a materialist snapshot of games in the context of leftist movement building and other culture.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

5 Thoughts on "The Xena Scrolls"

I don't know that I'll be doing every recap episode, but man, season 2's clip show picks up and develops the thoughts from before in a neat way. It's nowhere near as good as "Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards," but most things aren't.

  1. Up to this point in the series, it almost feels like the writers are more interested in characterizing by inversion. From Hudson Leick's two-episode stunt as Xena to Lucy Lawless' role as Xena, Dianna & Meg in "Warrior...Princess...Tramp" to Gabrielle's bloodlust in "Ten Little Warlords," there's a lot of it. Including "The Xena Scrolls," it's almost at the point where it feels as common as any of the characters acting like they're "supposed to" act, even though that obviously isn't strictly true. Even Joxer gets it here, to an extent.

  2. Where "Athens City" was a recap episode that largely focused on structure but allowed for some very clear, good moments of character development, "The Xena Scrolls" is very structurally focused on character while allowing for a couple moments of what we'll call worldbuilding. Nearly all the clips in "The Xena Scrolls" give a moment of character rather than re-tell a story, which makes sense given that it would be pretty weird if the centuries-later descendants of Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer did a lot of character work for any of the ancestors. The thing about this, though, is that up until now it's clear that Xena: Warrior Princess is set in a sort of mythological time; Xena herself invents CPR in Ancient Greece -- which would have been anachronistic even in "The Xena Scrolls" -- and hops happily through histories of Grecian, Roman, and Biblical origin as though they were separated by a few miles and weeks. "The Xena Scrolls" not only positions itself during World War II with explicit references to Nazis and Hitler, it ends with a sting saying "Fifty Years Later" with a fantastical version of the show being pitched to Rob Tapert (executive producer on Xena: Warrior Princess) by a thoroughly 90s 'descendant' of Joxer. It's the first episode, in other words, that puts Xena: Warrior Princess definitively in, if not our own timeline, then one that is self-contained.

  3. I'm glad they reused the trope of not just using clips from Xena: Warrior Princess, although the way they did it this time (Joxer tries to take credit for what look like some old Universal Horror pictures & gets called on it) is significantly reduced from "Athens City."

  4. The anti-Nazi stuff, which when I watched a few years back I probably kind of balked at, feels embarrassingly more relevant. I wonder how it felt a year and a half ahead of Saving Private Ryan; probably trendy?

    Even more than that, though, it feels strange coming just two episodes after "Ten Little Warlords," which is Ares, God of War's big coming-out-as-a-character episode. In that he loses his godhood and has to go through the tribulations of being human, until Xena ultimately helps him win his sword, and so powers, back. A (really very bad) Christmas episode later and we're here, where Ares gets out of his tomb and immediately talks about how dope he thinks Hitler is and how much he wants to help him. And, as previously mentioned, one of the big points of "Ten Little Warlords" is that Ares' absence causes folks who aren't used to harnessing anger to completely lose control, which goes completely unaddressed here. I wonder what that looks like in the Xena universe.

  5. For all the shitting on Hitler this episode does, there is a bit of a feel of equivocation on whether biology is destiny. There's an obvious alternative version where Lucy Lawless is a descendant of, say, Gabrielle, Renee O'Connor of Joxer and Ted Raimi of Xena. They didn't go that route, though, even as they largely change the characters of the descendants (Lawless' Mel is meek; O'Connor's Janice is swashbuckling; Raimi's 'Jacques' is ... pretty much Joxer). Around half of the way through the rest of this season is where I stop rewatching and start seeing a show for the first time, so part of me hopes that they went along with the idea here and dug through it: this episode takes place in the 1940s and 1990s; why not have The Xena Scrolls II in the 2040s? Make Lawless Joxer's great-great-great-etc. granddaughter.

    I'm sort of just doing fandom work here (decades late), but the point is that the show opens itself up to the possibility of not conforming in this way. Which isn't to say it's a radical show -- it closes itself off in a million others -- but the constant inversion of characters, the contextualizing work of non-Xena: Warrior Princess properties in the clip show, the myth-time of it, and much more makes Xena: Warrior Princess a peculiar thing that I hope gets explored as much as it could.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Runday Seeding 2 (4/9/17)

This week: how the economics of the direct comic market fuck representation; Conference presentations from Queerness & Games and Theorizing the Web; updates from the emulation and streaming worlds; and everything else from glitterbombing Nazis to the brilliance of hybrid human-computer intelligence in Chess.

Runday Seeding is for a materialist snapshot of games in the context of leftist movement building and other culture.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

5 Thoughts on "Athens City Academy of Performing Bards"

Calling "Athens City of Performing Bards" (Xena: Warrior Princess Season 1, Episode 13) one of the best clip shows of all time would be talking out of my ass -- the only other clip show episode I can think of is "The Prince Who Runs Through the Night" from Revolutionary Girl Utena -- but it's still an impulse I have. And I think it's worth saying, at least, that it's a wildly successful recap episode that manages to successfully develop characters and themes and to produce great moments. The rest of this post will be a quick rundown of some of the cool shit in this episode.

  1. The storytelling advice is kind of garbage, but makes sense for Gabrielle. The points are basically: Your story needs a moral, and it needs to be visual. These are things that I think are self-evidently the kind of craft garbage that can be useful for the inexperienced but is ultimately harmful; and I like that it's coming from Gabrielle here, who is the most autodidact of the bunch. She's a very empathetic character but she's also super gifted in a way that leads to cockiness (see "Hooves & Harlots") in the fiction, and this kind of misguided helpfulness genuinely feels like it develops the character.

  2. The show to this point is surprisingly interested in systemic problems; two of the dozen prior episodes feature scenarios in which war is on the horizon, and the culprit is quickly rooted out as the financially interested party (an arms dealer and a ('neutral') warlord. So when this episode stages its central conflict -- Gabrielle's not being properly registered -- as a story of organized power of students/workers against an administrative/owner class, it works pretty well. It's also tied into the Spartacus usage, which brings us to the next point.

  3. It's a recap episode that's actually pretty necessary, and done in a way that provides not just wrap-up but context. The others who are trying to get into the Academy tell stories that pull from old Hercules movies and the Kubrick film Spartacus, situating Xena in the context of a history of period pieces. It also pulls from the episodes of Hercules: The Legendary Journey in which Xena the character was created, providing backstory that the show itself has largely only gestured toward to this point. On top of that, it has Gabrielle tell these stories from the position of being someone insistent on a moral and visual focus, so it reinforces that the conflicts to this point are not just the development of Xena's character but an attempt at an education of a sort.

  4. The last time I watched this episode was around three years ago, and I think we had decided that we were going to make an EP about this first season (you can find that here). When we were making that, I was writing a short essay (as a sort of liner notes) putting Xena: Warrior Princess into the frame Malcolm Harris developed for his essay "Upping the Antihero" -- what he called a "consultant procedural." The argument wasn't that it fit perfectly, but that it was surprisingly apt for a show that significantly predated the shows he was discussing, especially given that he was arguing for a specific reading of it as a collusion of genre and material developments. The stories that Gabrielle tells in "Athens Academy of Performing Bards" reinforce just how much Xena's deeds (to this point in the series) rely on governmental stability -- whether that's a town council, a druidic cult, or a king -- that gives episodic stability to her adventures while simultaneously allowing her to act outside of the law. Each set of clips more or less boils down to: a thing happened; we consulted a pseudo-governmental body which reacted in X or Y fashion; Xena won the day through cunning and prowess. I still think there's something to that connection, anyway.

  5. Two little pieces of character development also make this a pretty great episode. The first, at the very beginning, is for Xena: when Gabrielle wants to go to the Academy, she first makes sure that Gabrielle at least thinks she's doing it for the right reasons, and then unconditionally supports her. The second is in Gabrielle's relationship with Orion/Homer: he's maybe the half-dozenth love interest she's had, and the first that signals that she's aware of this happening. Rather than go full bore on the romantic elements, she takes a role more typical of Xena to this point, except with her skills. She reads the situation and supports him through his troubles with his dad, and ends with him as something between a potential lover and a friend. It's a nice way to acknowledge that the show has relied on certain structural pillars and that it feels confident enough to shake them a bit, while at the same time giving Gabrielle precedent for not having to rely on them to make sense as a character.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sunday Reading Archive; Starting Runday Seeding

I've been a(n inconstant) Sunday Reader since November of 2015. In the last couple months or so, I feel like I've kind of hit a groove with it, so I'm putting all the stuff I've put into it here and then I'll (hopefully) keep doing it in this space for a little while, at least.

The gist of it is that I'm centering around trying to take little snapshots of the political economy of videogames. So there will be articles about politics in games, about the economy in games, and completely other shit -- often including broad Marxist discussions or antifa actions that don't talk about games at all. Part of that's because I want to, part because I think it's useful to have these things configured even in minor ways, and part is because I see this more as a thing to return to in the future than one that will matter in the present, for me at least, and so I want to have touchstones. Anyway, enjoy.


Liberal Feminism Is Not a Winning Strategy in Gaming
Tom Clancy's Inherent Silliness: Why Ghost Recon Wildlands Couldn't Escape Its Fate
"Take ecstasy with me": a manifesto for Gay VR
How 'Resident Evil' Finally Lived Up to Its Title
A taste for Adventure
YouTube's restricted mode is hurting video game channels and LGBT content creators
Tencent cleared $10 billion game revenue in 2016
NHL sizing up eSports opportunity
“Consumers at home are only part of the picture for VR”
Playtonic removes controversial YouTuber JonTron from Yooka-Laylee GameStop blames sales dip on "weak" game category
Why Blizzard welcomes some mods and sues others bags $1 million for PC store that sells 1 game at a time
10,000 game projects have been funded through Kickstarter
Chasing the First Arcade Easter Egg
IMPALING MARIO, REVERSING SONIC: Inside Pedro Paiva’s Bootleg Games
David Kanaga’s Dog Opera, ‘Oikospiel’, Is Delirious Protest Art
Support staff are the secret industry that anchors League of Legends


The Roots Of Cowboy Music
Making political videogames may not work. But we have to try
Pokemon Go is a mass demon summoning that's destroying our reality
An Insider Look into the World of Competitive Bullet Hells
Theorizing local games cultures in a post-TIGSource era
Washington, D.C. becomes one of the first cities to sponsor an esports team
Kinda Funny's Colin Moriarty resigns following controversial tweet
What it’s like making games in Pakistan
Inside The Unregulated And Scam-Filled World Of Video Game Betting
How Episode became the world's biggest interactive fiction platform
Wii emulator can now buy games from the official Wii Shop Channel


Face It, Meatsack: Pro Gamer Will Be the Only Job Left
Telemundo Actors Vote To Join SAG-AFTRA
The melancholy of screen space in "Universal History of Light" by Stephen Lavelle
“We want games to be as important to us as film and TV” - BAFTA
The Good and Bad of a Decentralized Game Industry
UK [Games] Industry braces for Brexit impact, with 40% considering relocation
These Designers Want to Keep Protest Alive via Games
Framing Dystopia
"I worked on a VR project in 1993, for instance, where we were expecting that a grandmother, and her children, and their children, would be going to the venue together. The game was designed to appeal to all of them."


A Video Game Immerses You in an Opera Composed by Dogs
What We Talk About, When We Don’t Talk About Natives
This anarchist and ‘anti-fascist’ activist is using facts to go after the far-right fringe
Torment: Tides of Numenera Is Like Playing Through a Novel
Seaman designer Yoot Saito implores game devs to ‘swim against the stream’
Night in the Woods’ Scariest Monster is the War Between Boomers and Millennials
Black Skin Is Still A Radical Concept in Video Games
Response to Fascist Entryism Into Libertarian Circles
How things end
Falling Upwards: Gravity Rush as guide for the complex intersections of women’s lives


The Video Game Industry Is Afraid of Unions
How Technocratic Hyper-Rationalism Has Birthed Right-Wing Extremism
Road to the IGF: David Kanaga’s Oikospiel, Book I
Here’s Why There’s Anime Fan Art Of President Trump All Over Your Facebook
We Killed Milo: What The Media Misses and Ignores
The Little Town Down the Road: How Silent Hill Homecoming Hid a Gem in a Trainwreck
Striking on International Women’s Day Is Not a Privilege


Why won’t the games industry share its digital data?
Students of Many Forms
How Was the March 8 International Women’s Strike Woven Together?
Lawsuit alleges Magic Leap workplace is ‘misogynistic,’ ‘dysfunctional’
US games industry adds $11.7 billion to GDP – ESA
Prison Action News 10.1 Released
Antifa Worldwide: A Brief History of International Antifascism
The implications of Overwatch League
YouTube, Disney Distance Themselves From PewDiePie Following Anti-Semitic Videos
Everybody Hates the Berkeley College Republicans


MTV News is Organizing
Young M.A Still Isn’t Compromising
Global Nonviolence Action Database (Browse Methods)
Back in Black
Redneck Revolt Respond’s To Milo’s Berkeley Video
“Press Forwards” and the pleasing death of agency
We Are Chicago review
How the Heroes of Kingdom Hearts Find Strength In Transformation
‘Pokémon Sun and Moon’ is a Tourist’s Version of Hawaii
Milwaukee County requires parks permit for Pokémon
YouTuber behind FIFA gambling site avoids jail time
Facebook is closing hundreds of its Oculus VR pop-ups in Best Buys after some stores went days without a single demo
Political chaos threatens the whole games business
SAG-AFTRA Draws More Than 500 to Video Game Strike Rally
FBI reveals 173-page Gamergate file
New GameStop Program Leads Employees To Lie To Customers
eSports: The missed billion-dollar opportunity for publishers and platforms
green light
On Homesickened
I am become Bonk, the destroyer of worlds
VHS, Resident Evil, and the Found Footage Tradition
Korean Literature for Beginners –Part One, Part Two
Making the Best of Mass Arrests
Oakland crews, police clear out ‘Promise Land’ homeless camp
Beyond Lean-In: For a Feminism of the 99% and a Militant International Strike onMarch 8
Ecology and Japanese History: Reactionary Environmentalism’s Troubled Relationship with the Past
Terminal Showdown


< Video Game Voice Actor Strike Now Second-Longest In SAG History
Telemundo Performers to Vote on Joining SAG-AFTRA in Historic Unionization Ballot
Discussing the SAG-AFTRA Strikes with Geralt of Rivia
Insane Clown Posse is organising a ‘Juggalo March On Washington’
Why doesn’t MacArthur Park gentrify?
Game Developers Speak Up in the Face of Obamacare Repeal
More Stories of How Obamacare Has Affected Game Developers
Cutting Arts Funding Will Imperil Video Game Projects
Exploring real-life protests in Riot: Civil Unrest
A Deeper Conversation About Class and Inequality in ‘Gravity Rush 2’
‘You Sold Out’ to ‘You Deserve it’: How WWE Turned Indie Wrestling Corporate
Ladykiller in a Bind shows that we’re not ready to handle messy queer stories: When content warnings aren’t enough
Rez’s Trance Vibrator Changed the Conversation About Women’s Sexuality in Games
Queer Game Studies, “On FeministWhorePurna and the Ludo-material Politics of Gendered Damage
Power-ups in Open-World RPG Video Games”
Two speed market drove over $30 billion in games deals in 2016
content world
Don’t Die: Interview with Saru Jayaraman


Opinion: Now is the time to unionize the game industry
Voicing A ‘Final Fantasy XV’ Character Is A Strange Journey
Parsing Nolan North’s Vague Comments About The Voice Actor Strike
SAG-AFTRA Strike Negotiations and the December 1st Deadline
Nolan North has strong words for striking voice actors
An Oral History of Azeroth’s Most Influential Guild
The Highs and Lows of Moderating a Porn MMO
What ‘Watch Dogs 2’ Gets So Right, and So Wrong, About Race
Our Backyard: Disasters Waiting to Happen


SAG-AFTRA’s video game strike could spark unrest in other Hollywood labor unions
SAG-AFTRA Video Game Strike Could Last Months
Overwatch Actor Weighs In on Voice Actors’ Strike and Blizzard’s Role in It
The Industry, the Union, and the Strike
Games: We Are One Community. [A Letter to Game Developers from concerned SAG-AFTRA Performers]
Why Performance Matters: A Consumer’s Take on the SAG-AFTRA Video Game Strike
The Videogame Industry’s Invisible Workforce: Part 3 [Part 2, Part 1]
How ‘Dark Souls II’ Reflects Our Historical and Political Anxieties
‘Dear Esther’ Offers A Different, Romantic Sort of Apocalypse
Video Games Are Boring
The Rhetorical Effects of System Design, And Toilets
For better or worse
Inside Nintendo’s Plan To Save Video Games From Congress


The Desert and the Valley: Games as Refuge
It’s Not Easy Putting a Gay Sex Game on Steam
30 Minutes on: “They Live”
Saying Goodbye to Games is Getting Harder Than Ever
The Jungle Book
The Incredible Leaning Flip of West Oakland
MIDI Sans Frontières: An Open Invitation to Collaborate


Prince Had A Videogame, Here’s How You Can Run It
The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

Fixing the Bugs
FFS get Gamergate out of my mentions
Notes on Cho-Am: The Myth of Closure
Notes on Military-Industrial Complex: Finger on the Button
Metagames: Playing at Good and Evil
Istanbul, Texas


1979 Revolution and the Politics of Choice
1979 Revolution: an Interview with Navid Khonsari, Part 1
Part 2
You’re Crunching. So Now What?
Ghost in the Shell and anime’s troubled history with representation
Meet the Woman Who Invented Cosplay
4 Ways You Are Being ‘Aged Out’ By the Gaming Industry
Videogames and Legitimacy
In Defence of De-Persons
Gun Modelling for FPP Games
Meet the Smash Sisters


A Deep Dive into the FBI’s Bizarre Anti-Extremism Browser Game
Demystifying WWE’s Business
Liars Cheaters and Thieves: Why You Should Break Every Game You Get Your Hands On
A Personal Remembrance of Hayabusa
The Zombie Apocalypse, 10 Years On
Freed From the Shackles of Work?
Get Mad and Get Even
Talking, Selling, and Wrestling: A Conversation with Jim Ross
We’re Already Violating Virtual Reality’s First Code of Ethics
Marginalia: The Problem of Other Minds
Don’t Die with Liz Ryerson


Fire Emblem: Fates is a fantasy chess game where you can make the chess pieces kiss.”
The Weeknd in the Wasteland
Style Savvy and Taste in Games
The Forgotten Amerasians
The Half A Press Sensation
Why Are JRPGs Dead?
With Those We Love Alive (Review)
Taming the Inexplicable
Birth of the Flight Simulator: Genius and Scandal


An Interview with Alexander Chee
The Grace of Keanu Reeves
The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe – The Roots of the Crisis
Part 2
The Top 10 Saddest Statues in The Witness
Good Bad Guys: What Marvel’s Villain Problem Reveals About the MCU
Now That I Beat The Witness, I See What’s Wrong With It


Long Seventies Conspiracy Cinema: An Introduction
Dropsy is a game about a clown who, despite appearances, wants nothing more than to do good.”
That Dragon, Cancer and how the digital age talks about death
Serfing the Net
The Power of the Isolated Vocal Track
Nipplegate Revisited: Why America Owes Janet Jackson a Huge Apology
I’m concerned about your academic career if you talk about this publicly
At World’s End
Cinematic Realism: John Brindle on the Metal Gear Solid Series
It’s Okay to Feel a Little Guilty About Your Guilty Pleasures


Jeff On: Emulators, Speedruns, and That Video Where the Guy Only Presses A 0.5 Times
The Modest Fantasy of the PICO-8
The Beginner’s Guide and Videogame Criticism’s Awkward Baby Steps
Radical Feminist Self-Care, MLA Style (Towards a Manifesto)
The Algorithms of Value
Apparatuses of Capture: Producing a New Regime of Accumulation Through a New Community of Men
Democracy, Disposability, and the Flint Water Crisis
Is this the first Instagram masterpiece?
Soldier’s Heart: The Campaign to Understand My WWII Veteran Father—A Daughter’s Memoir (review)
Cyberqueen (review)


When Authors Demand Payment for Every Copy, They Advocate Communism
Gods of Egypt: A Three-Act Tragedy
Sunless Sea, 80 Days and the rise of modular storytelling
The Humbling and Inspiring Tale of the Game That Proved Hitler’s Name Is Still Worth at Least A Million Dollars
Gender, Sex, and Sexuality in SF: A Conversation
Toward a New Fantastic: Stop Calling it Science Fiction


Jim Cornette’s Islamophobic views should have no place in wrestling
Battle for Boyle Heights’ Last Japanese Retirement Home
Why Can’t We Talk About Class and Art in Canada?
Donald Trump, Unlikely WWE Babyface and Cultural Mega-Heel
Here are these two middle-aged lesbian artists hanging out on an island, and then here come the Nazis. And these two women, …they decide they’ll go after the Germans themselves.”
Brazil’s Students Occupy Their Schools to Save Them
Is There a Community Outside This Text?
The Silent Hill Wiki circumcision meltdown of 2015


It seems small — the Japanese tag on Bandcamp — but that’s territory that could benefit actual Japanese artists who don’t have many areas to share their work, basically blocking them out.”
Dragon Quarter: The Powerless Fantasy
Woke Up Dead
many of the best and most interesting games to be released over the past few years or decades, from
Theresa Duncan’s CD-ROMs to Jack King-Spooner’s “Beeswing” and many more, have been marked by a specific attempt to move from a static formal framework and representational hierarchy to more supple and elastic system of affinities
Bioshock to the System
Community and consent: property rights in online roleplay
Making Sense of the Static
No, Crisis


Aevee Reviews The Destiny Flavor Text (following up A Thing Or Two About Destiny)
A review of Over the Garden Wall, and the criticism it inspired
Homecoming, in games and life
Continuing HRT After Arriving in the UK, a guide
Spoiler Alerts: Three Books on Trash
Video Game Programmer Culture Must Change


Elliott Johnson: the young Tory destroyed by the party he loved
Altgame Profiles: Kitty Horrorshow
Intel at IndieCade: The Cost of Diversity in Games
Diversity of Existence
Forget all the comparisons to cinema–games are more like operas
Conversations with Pippin Barr: Time and Performance
Climate Change and Apocalypticism: A Hope Indistinguishable from Nihilism


Kill the Player: “Oppressive politics such as white supremacy and heterocissexism enter creation through the ghost of the player-construct while enculturation to a capitalist and imperialistic culture is etched into products that define the player-construct’s existence.”
Videogames Without Players
A review of Kitty Horrorshow’s Dust City
On Furniture Design in Videogames
The Death and Life of Simulated Cities
It’s challenging to accept that there are situations where you can’t do anything useful, but once you have accepted that fact, you’re off the hook … there’s another kind of player agency … the situation where you have limited but not zero power.”
Thoughts on Liz Ryerson’s Problem Attic, following on the previous
More on the PRACTICE conference
Education is for Everyone Unless You Are Special
For the better part of two years, two of the biggest video game publishers in the world have done their damnedest to make it as difficult as possible for Kotaku to cover their games.”


Claris Cyarron’s Discourse on The Spatiality and Themes of Fallout New Vegas
The New Intimacy Economy
Weak and Wounded: “Session 9”, Work, and Insurgent Femininity
there are so many different kinds of invasion lit in sf/f; even exploration literatures are just invasion literatures written backwards.”
on “The Ressurection of Jake the Snake” and reality in professional wrestling


Watching Pasolini’s Salò in Kuala Lampur
A Review of Peter Jackson’s King Kong[: The Official Game of the Movie]
The Meaning of Marx
César Vallejo on Art and the Social Sphere, Charlie Chaplin…
Three essays on JMW Turner (the Lana Turner journal's pretty good, y’know)
How NBCU and WWE are Working Together to Woo Advertisers
If you work for Elsevier you are basically doing harm to your community” (& guess who got Libgen shut down this week)
The Indie Comics Animation Gold Rush
How to address the lost history of girls’ games
Consentacle: Tangles with Romance
The social reproduction approach, on the other hand, posits a capitalist totality” (&, like, all of the new Viewpoint issue)
The Third Annual Queerness and Games Conference


Austin and Speech Acts: An Attempt
“It Follows”: Contemporary Horror and the Feminization of Labor
Working time among video game developers: Trends over 2004-14
Ethnic studies courses to be offered at all OUSD high schools
Three Fauvists
About Schmidt: How a White Nationalist Seduced Anarchists Around the World (Chapter 5)
Guitar Hero TV and the Rebirth of Music Television
‘being yellow’ by binghao wong
Why you should be checking out this year’s interactive fiction competition
Conversations with Lana Polansky: Bodies and Living Art

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