Offworld Monday reflection: What's good, Tinder Renaissance zombies?


Our Monday reflection is a regular weekly item here on Offworld, a special satellite transmission designed to highlight our favorite Offworld stories, wonderful trends, and the stories from elsewhere in the galaxy that got us talking. Sign up here to receive this digest each week via email—it's a great way to avoid missing anything.

Latest Features

Anti-millennial sentiment in the media is common, probably led by an older generation's eagerness to distance itself from the socioeconomic challenges it created for the younger ones. Lately this moral panic has centered on the tech young adults use to meet and mate—the condescending and cynical 'parody' Millennial Swipe Sim 2015 envisions a generation as glassy-eyed Tinder zombies incapable of sitting still.

Laura has a heroic go at the misconception that young people are using technology to decimate intimacy, including many examples of the excellent works of design and technology that constituents of the accursed millennial generation are using to express actually quite well-developed and boundary-pushing ideas about sex.


Offworld Games

Do you like the Renaissaince? Come on, everybody likes the Renaissance. That's why we found you Painter's Guild, a charming little sim where you shepherd an art guild of the period, and Masques and Murder, a roleplaying game where you plot revenge while maintaining the appearance of a courtly noblewoman.

Flywrench is the newest gracefully-brutal game from Nidhogg creator Messhof, and we found its punishing repetition oddly meditative. And in a tiny jam game about the lifecycle of the extinct Wooly Mammoth, a team of game developers shared striking thoughts about loss and purpose after their studio's major project was canceled.

We also liked watching two documentaries of sorts: This video on the sinister undercurrent of gamification, and this surprisingly plausible one about the wildlife of Grand Theft Auto V.


Transmissions from Elsewhere

We love Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, a touching and surreal vision of an apocalypse set in a sheltered English country town. In Playboy Ed Smith writes a very personal reflection on growing up in that sort of environment, although in the service of disassembling the game. I think he's right that the writing is the game's weakest element, but that maybe his personal investment makes his critique a bit harsh.

Not Games

People are continually suggesting to me that the public beefs among pop stars are theatre, the way that wrestling is theatre, and the confrontations on Twitter or at MTV awards about worthiness or politics or identity are tactical. I don't know either way, but regardless they seem to be offering an important stage for people to understand, or at least to grow more accustomed to hearing about things like race (via Nicki Minaj) or gender (via Miley Cyrus) in the broadest strokes.

Leaving aside, of course, the fact I don't personally know her and that I might indeed be buying into public theatre, I feel for Nicki Minaj. Every professional slight she receives (she is 'too pop' for serious rappers, she is too black to be in the front of a pop video, and then she is too angry to deserve to be listened to when she wants to talk about it) is a large-scale example of how different the rules are for some versus others.

I know it as a woman in tech and so do lots of my colleagues, especially marginalized women and people of color; no matter what you do, someone will find some reason to discredit you. You shouldn't have said this. You shouldn't have done that. You should have done this thing instead. Your participation is somehow less 'real' than the others. You have to work twice as hard to get half as much, and all of that.

So lately I really like a lot of the artwork people have been doing in response to attempts to discredit the wonderful Nicki Minaj every time she speaks. This Salome-inspired piece, where Nicki bears Miley's head on a tray (her expression demanding Miley, what's good) is my favorite. In this piece, Nicki wears her VMA gown and is rendered as the Justice arcana.

Finally, if you like animation at all, this AV Club piece on the end of Aqua Teen Hunger Force and the era it represented, including the Space Ghost cartoons, Squidbillies and some of the best days of Adult Swim, is a must-read.