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Reload the Canons!

This series of articles is an attempt to play through The Canon of videogames: your Metroids, your Marios, your Zeldas, your Pokemons, that kind of thing.

Except I'm not playing the original games. Instead, I'm playing only remakes, remixes, and weird fan projects. This is the canon of games as seen through the eyes of fans, and I'm going to treat fan games as what they are: legitimate works of art in their own right that deserve our analysis and respect.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Galaxy Brained: Annihilation and Queer Cosmic Horror

Annihilation: The Ending Explained!!!

content warning: body horror, spoilers for Annihilation, cosmic horror, mad ravings, closetedness and detransitioning, homophobia, slurs

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Webworks: The Magnus Archives and the Powerful Failure of Diverse Horror

The Magnus Archives made a name for itself as inclusive horror. But when even a schlocky tale of giant spiders takes on resonances with transgender oppression and sexual exploitation, can the show's listeners evade the webs of trauma?

content warning: spoilers for The Magnus Archives, spiders as metaphor, spiders as monster, coercive dynamics (interpersonal, professional, sexual), transmisogyny, uncomfortable bargains with power, content warnings. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

I Don't Ever Wanna Talk That Way Again: Transfemme Singers and the Dissonant Body

Shouting and howling. Pitching up and clipping out. Smothering in soundscapes of sighs. From 100 Gecs to Against Me! to Ada Rook, trans women push vocal technology to the breaking point--and in the process expose how we think of gender.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

In The End We All Do What We Must: Universal Paperclips, Clicker Games, AI, and Agency

Remember Universal Paperclips, that clicker game? Remember turning the human race into paperclips? Ok, so, what if you just... didn't? What would that choice tell us about game design, agency, artificial intelligence, and people?

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Nasty, Brutish, and Short: The Promised Neverland and Human Nature

The nightmarish final boss of hit manga The Promised Neverland is... philosopher Thomas Hobbes??

Content warning for major late manga spoilers for The Promised Neverland, cannibalism, gore, monarchy, body horror.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Room For You Inside: Pink Floyd In Quarantine

You barricade yourself in your hotel room; it becomes a fascist rally. You write a concept album about your alienation; it becomes the Thatcherite Revolution. You live in modern luxury; it becomes a mad haunted house. This is a story about Pink Floyd's The Wall and the culmination of half a century of No Alternative.

Content warnings for discussion of quarantine, isolation, apartment horror, drug abuse, mental breakdowns, neoliberalism and its brother, fascism.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

2x2 Girls: Queer Mirroring in She-Ra

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power ended on a high and very gay note, but the show's queerness goes much deeper than the flashy finale. To understand how the show is constructed around its central lesbian relationship, though, we have to be open to learning the techniques it uses to tell their story.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Shade World: A Player's Guide (Preview 1)

Storming the Ivory Tower presents Shade World: A Player's Guide, a parafictional choose your own adventure experience, by Sam Keeper and Juniper Theory.

Thursday, October 17, 2019


When Andrew Hussie canonized a transgender character in response to a fan finding a Toblerone he hid in a cave, it was more than just a weird stunt. It was a piece of revolutionary performance art, and an affirmation of a new model for fandom.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Happily Ever After Never Ends: Steven Universe the Movie and Serial Narrative

Where does a story go after the end? It's a strange question for serial narratives grapple with, and a major one for Steven Universe The Movie. Caught between the status quo and a grim cycle of trauma, the film finds a new kind of happily ever after.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Batmen vs Supermen: Expanded Universes Beyond The "Event"

So you've decided your story needs a dramatic cataclysm to electrify the fans. You've marshaled the qualities of the Expanded Universe to bring it about, and will sacrifice anything for the drama. But is that really such a good idea? Is there another way?

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Batmen vs Supermen: Expanded Universes and the Ultimate Warrior

Superman. Batman. Titans of their fictional universe. Who would win in a fight? To truly master this question we can't just smash the two together like dumb action figures. We need to dive deep into the qualities of the Expanded Universe genre.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Save Spidey! Into the Spider-Verse's Failure and Promise

Can Spider-Man matter outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Sony, Disney, #SaveSpidey, and Into the Spider-Verse.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

To Make An Apple Pie From Scratch: Expanded Universes 101

In movies, comics, games, tv, and books, Expanded Universes are everywhere. But these huge multi-author, multi-story projects are controlled by huge corporate monopoly holders. Isn't it time we built some universes of our own?

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