Did Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Invent Vaporwave?

When Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was released in 2002, it became the fastest-selling game in history…within two days. Based on the sales numbers alone, it’s safe to say a lot of millennials grew up on the game’s pastel-tinted, neon-lit, synth-scored virtual streets. (And all around the Internet, thousands of wistful posts to the effect of “I missed so much school playing this game” provide anecdotal backup.) About a decade after Vice City’s heyday, a music micro-genre called vaporwave briefly ...

Voodoo on Film: Fact and Fiction

Hollywood loves a voodoo villain. In popular usage, the word “voodoo” connotes dark magic and the occult. It conjures spooky images of gaunt men in dark clothes and top hats, zombies, and dolls stuck through with pins. Since the early twentieth century, pop culture has turned voodoo into a cultural shorthand for the mysterious, magical, and evil.  But the fear of voodoo in American culture runs much deeper than a generalized fear of black magic. In fact, most cultural representations ...

Politics on Film, Ranked from Optimistic to Deeply Cynical

From the widespread national trust in FDR’s leadership (check out the electoral map of his landslide victory in 1936) to the modern sense of disillusionment with career politicians, American trust in The System ebbs and flows. A lot. With it, the depiction of American politics in film and television has also varied, serving as a semi-accurate barometer of the country’s political climate. Ranging from saccharine optimism to blistering mistrust, the spectrum of politics on film is a fun peek into ...

The Futuristic Vision of Detroit: Become Human

With every technological advancement made in the real world, we’re hurtling toward a video-game future. In Detroit: Become Human, developer Quantic Dream’s innovative vision of the city of Detroit, Michigan provides a possible glimpse into how that future could look. It’s not what you might expect.  In Detroit: Become Human, humanity has developed advanced androids in an effort to make everyday life easier. It hardly resembles a utopia, but that’s what makes the game so exciting—along with the setting where it ...