Category Archives: Technology

Inside: What Zadie Smith, Roland Barthes, and Vladimir Nabokov Tell Us About Video Games

By Rennie McDougall

Inside, a video game from 2016 by Arnt Jensen and Playdead studios, is entirely free of speech or text. The player controls a young boy, dressed in a red t-shirt, as he runs one long dash from the left side of the screen to the right. A dreary proposition for a story, you might think. A story suggests telling. The earliest movies, however, told their stories through gesture and sound, light and shadow. So do classical story ballets, and certain symphonies. Sometimes a story is less told, more conveyed. Continue reading

Return to Rapture: Celebrating the Legacy of BioShock on its 10-year Anniversary

By Rennie McDougall

In Charles Onyett’s original review for BioShock — which this month is celebrating its 10-year anniversary — he predicted that the video game was “the benchmark against which games for years to come will, and indeed must, be measured.” Celebrated as a literary achievement on its release, BioShock even appeared in the London Review of Books, where John Lanchester called it “visually striking, verging on intermittently beautiful, also violent, dark, sleep-troubling, and perhaps, to some of its intended audience, thought-provoking.” Although Lanchester recognized the game’s achievement amongst gamers, he remarked that among non-gamers, “I have yet to encounter anyone who has ever heard of it.” Continue reading

The Misogyny of FX’s Feud: Bette and Joan

By Melissa Bradshaw

With the long-awaited adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale finally streaming on Hulu, viewers are immersing themselves in the terrors of a dystopian future where religious extremists control what is left of the United States, imprisoning fertile women and forcing them to bear children for their wealthy masters. There is something cathartic about watching Atwood’s unflinchingly feminist nightmare unfold, because even as the parallels to our own current political landscape are discomfortingly strong, we’re not there yet. Watching, we can measure the freedoms we haven’t lost yet, the degree of autonomy we exercise over our bodies and our sexuality. For now. Continue reading