Weekend Reads: Myst’s Legacy, Tsutomu Nihei’s Blame!, James Gunn’s Firing, Patriotism in Sports & more

Also: Life-changing video games, special effects movies, rebooting Buffy, and the upside of email.
The island world of Myst

Myst is one of the most important video games of all time, but there’s some confusion over its impact and legacy. “The ripples of Myst are visible even today, most obviously but far from exclusively within so-called “walking sims” like Firewatch: a focus on atmosphere, on a sense of being there, coupled with a seamless interface. Influence-finding, though, is not my main interest here. What follows is a history of this game’s histories. I want to analyze the dueling narratives that arose to contextualize and explain the single, seismic event that was Myst.” Via The Loop.

The folks at Love Thy Nerd (which just launched this week) compiled a list of 10 video games that were transformative. “Something changed. Video games started speaking to our insides. We were moved. Altered. We saw things differently — and were empowered to engage the world after we put the controllers down. LTN writers and staff reflect on ten video games that transformed our views on gaming, friendship, life, and the world around us.”

Blame Killy End
Killy is a man on a mission

Kinja user Demilung explains why you should read Tsutomu Nihei’s Blame! manga. “[B]y God it has style. Designs of characters, environments, objects, action scenes — everything contributes to creating a feeling of a strange but very interesting world. Actually, as far as silent forms of media go, Blame! is probably the most atmospheric series of pictures and text that I’ve ever witnessed. And it’s all done through the presentation.” Put simply, Blame! is one of my favorite comic series; here’s my (spoiler-filled) deep dive into the series’ style, story, and themes.

The AV Club has compiled a list of the 50 greatest special effects movies of all time. “Consider this, instead, a chronological cataloguing of the movies that still dazzle and amaze and disgust us; whether achieved through purely physical/organic means, through the digital magic available at a mouse click, or through something as simple as a cut, the effects within them hold a monopoly on our imaginations.”

James Gunn
James Gunn(Gage SkidmoreCC BY-SA 2.0)

As I wrote earlier this month, James Gunn was fired after alt-right trolls dug up disgusting jokes from years ago, and here’s how they do it. “They’ve spent years, beginning in earnest before even GamerGate, learning how best to weaponise internet outrage. They’re exceptionally good at banding together under a unified message. They know how fast rumours of pedophilia travel on the internet, and that corporations will act just as swiftly to distance themselves from them. In doing what they do, they’ve successfully co-opted the #MeToo movement, turning the public’s outrage against their enemies.”

There’s a lot of irony in the tactics used by alt-right trolls to shame folks like Gunn. “[T]he right-wing internet mobs are ultimately just as steeped in shock comedy culture as anybody else. But they’ve never understood what that culture intended, what its context was, or why some people found it funny. They only heard the racism and never the irony, and maybe that’s as perfect a parable for how we got to now as anything else.”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Into every generation a slayer is born

In light the recently announced Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot, Anjali Gupta questions the need for reboots and remakes. “I will defend a creator’s right to explore more of these massive worlds they built or develop an existing character if they have a genuine desire to do so. But I also expect them to be able to justify why. Why this story? Why now? What motivated you, beyond the money, to tell it? Why should audiences care?”

You might hate email, but it’s actually better than a lot of our modern communication tools. “[A]s I’ve reassessed this blog, my social media presence, and our centralized digital platforms in general, I’ve come to realize just how much the email system got right, in spite of full inboxes, spam, and security issues. Despite, or perhaps because of, its early inception, email avoided many of the worst aspects of our modern media environment.”

Angry Computer Guy
Is this guy gunning for you online?

What’s it like when a total stranger tries to destroy your life online? “But in September 2015, she was suddenly plunged into an American nightmare. She got a call at 6 a.m. one morning from a colleague at Re/Max telling her something terrible had been posted about her on the Re/Max Facebook page. Glennon thought at first she meant that a client had left her a bad review, but it turned out to be much worse than that.” Let this be a lesson: Lock down your Facebook page and be careful where you comment.

Some veterans are worried that American sports are becoming too militarized. “American flags are the ultimate Good Housekeeping seal. And thanking veterans for their service disconnects the public from what has been nearly two decades of war. The ballpark ceremony obscures the realities of war and, by focusing on soldiers, inoculates the government from antiwar criticism. Astore tells me it’s a form of emotional manipulation.”

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