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Entries in culture (5)


His Name Is Philip Coulson

Who is Coulson, anyway, in the context of this drama? He wields enoromous power, he clearly outranks the individual heroes involved, and yet he doesn’t merely defer to them, he loves them, they mean the world to him. Coulson, in short, is the audience. If Fury is the writer/director, Coulson is the audience. But not just any member of the audience, he is the way all comics readers imagine themselves on an adventure with one of their heroes: the coolest sidekick ever. He’s blase, unassuming, patient, unflappable and openly adoring, as we see in a moment, when he gushes at Steve Rogers as they head out to the SHIELD carrier.

If you liked The Avengers and aren't yet reading Todd Alcott's ongoing analysis of it, you really should be.


My Own Personal Key of the Twilight

I’ve worked on a decent number of games since first becoming a translator, but few that many have heard of. The first project I was involved with where I recognized the name was .hack//G.U., the sequel series to the original .hack. While I was happy to work on a series that I thought may actually be played by people I didn’t know (and one I personally thought was interesting enough to buy and play through its Japanese release in order to better localize it) like so many of my other projects it seemed that the games’ English release came and went with little more than a passing mention on Gamespot. While mildly disappointing, it was not really unexpected (by this point I had long since become used to the idea that the games I worked on were far more likely to be passed over than to be the subject of discussion) and I soon moved on to other projects and left the series behind.

Several years later, through the strange and wonderful way that Twitter brings people of divergent backgrounds with common interests together, I found myself following, and being followed by[1], Kris Ligman, best known as the curator for the excellent Critical Distance but also the first real fan of G.U. I’ve met, as well as the author of the piece linked in the title. After years of translating games it was the first time I’d met someone where my work actually had real, tangible meaning for someone other than the people paying me. And while I don’t delude myself into thinking that I was essential to providing that meaning (if it hadn’t been me working on the games it would have been someone else, a point belied by the fact that they got someone else to do the third[2]) the fact that I ended up directly contributing to it is one of the most fulfilling things I could have hoped to happen when I first became a translator.

Needless to say, my offer to help her with her future analysis stands, and if this article is any indication I can’t wait to read it.

  1. The more relevant Twitter has become to our digital lives the more I’ve wished for a word that meant “both following and being followed by”.  ↩

  2. The agency that brought us the project never asked us to localize the third for reasons they never revealed, so my professional involvement was strictly limited to the first two.  ↩


Why we shouldn't dismiss non-gamers when they talk about games

Alan Williamson:

As an self-professed adventurer of digital fictions, it hurts to admit that much is rotten about the state of video games. But the way to improve this cannot be to dismiss games as “not all evil”, which suggests that most games are evil as if Satan himself was distributing the software. Is that why you can’t play a game backwards? Even if Kellaway doesn’t care about their place in the cultural conversation, I do, because they are as much a reflection of culture as anything else. GameCity is important: quite frankly, games deserve a better discourse than what is currently on offer. We need more criticism that is intelligent, personally reflective and nuanced; treating games more like experiences and less like gadgets. We need to critically examine the role of games in culture, because we can only demand more from our media when we understand where they fall short. Sure, video games are fun, but they’re serious fun.


Why We Love Holmes and Love to Hate House

I've always thought it interesting that such an unlikeable character managed to stay popular as long as he did.


The Legacy Of Harry Potter

I think Harry Potter will be around for a while. But I also think there’s a good chance that we literally got the magic of an age, and in a hundred years Harry will be one of those beloved classics that adults will read for pleasure, but the kids will have moved on to something else.

As someone who, while not the biggest Harry Potter fan, discovered the books in my mid teens and enjoyed them greatly right through the end, I don't know if I fully agree with The Ferrett's post here, but he does make some good points.