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Batman: Arkham Asylum is one of the few games to create a richer story in order to have longer gameplay.
When it comes to video games, how long is too long?
By Phil Hartup - 28 October 15:07

Should a game provide “value for money” and pad out its story with as many tedious hours of fetching things as possible, or is there merit in a short, sharp ending?

Tim Clare says that the stage is the only place where he's felt normal.
“I can have a panic attack eating a piece of toast”: Standup poet Tim Clare on living with anxiety
By Aoife Moriarty - 28 October 14:25

What should you do when anxiety takes control of your life? Tim Clare’s new show tells us how to be kind to ourselves.

Colin Firth in Tom Ford’s “A Single Man”, one of the best gay movies ever made.
Why does Hollywood make so few good gay movies?
By Sam Moore - 28 October 12:42

In 2014, it shouldn’t be cutting edge to see a Hollywood movie that features a fair representation of gay people.

Ronald Zehrfeld and Nina Hoss in Christian Petzold’s “Phoenix”.
The digital world hasn’t saved us from being hoaxed – if anything, it has made it more likely
By Ryan Gilbey - 27 October 15:10

Meanwhile, the suspension of disbelief is getting harder and harder to pull off.

Hammering: England playing San Marino on 9 October. Photo: Getty
Which is better – watching football in the flesh or on the telly?
By Hunter Davies - 27 October 10:13

Hunter Davies’s weekly column, The Fan. 

More dynamite: Naomi Klein photographed for the New Statesman, October 2014. Photo: Kalpesh Lathigra
Naomi Klein: “I view free-market ideology as a cover story for greed”
By Sophie McBain - 24 October 17:39

The Canadian author and social activist on parenthood, people power and why climate change could be the ultimate opportunity for the left.

Lovecraft peopled his mythical realms with slippery, palpitating cretaures to escape a worse prospect – a human world. Illustration by Sean Phillips
Weird realism: John Gray on the moral universe of H P Lovecraft
By John Gray - 24 October 17:01

The weird realism that runs through Lovecraft’s writings undermines any belief system – religious or humanist – in which the human mind is the centre of the universe.

Chloe Grace Moretz and Keira Knightley in action.
Introducing the Woman-Child: the continuing death of adulthood in American culture
By Lisa Schwarzbaum - 24 October 14:58

The cinema of amusing male arrested development has been a familiar subgenre for some time, but recent releases demonstrate that there’s gold to be found in femme floundering.

Photo: James Cridland/Flickr
The Berries
By Kathleen Jamie - 24 October 11:55

A new poem by Kathleen Jamie. 

Only in dreams: a panel from Charles Burns's dazzling graphic novel Sugar Skull
Fevers and mirrors: the surreal graphic novels of Charles Burns
By Neel Mukherjee - 24 October 11:44

Green, one-eyed men, a chubby, disfigured dwarf, writhing worms with humanoid faces, aborted foetuses and vast, white eggs with red jigsaw patterns on them.

"Lonely House, Fetherd". Photo: Anna & Michal/Flickr
Sweet nothings: Colm Tóibín’s study of domestic grief
By Frances Wilson - 24 October 11:42

Nora Webster is the tale of a woman inside a house. It’s a small house in a small town in Ireland, in the late 1960s and Nora, recently widowed, lives here with her two teenage sons and her daughters who, like the house, are semi-detached.

Into the woods: branches piled up on a hide in Hesse, one of Germany's most heavily forested regions. Photo: Jan Stradtmann
Peace to the forest, a place of ways unknown
By John Burnside - 24 October 11:27

The forest was where a traveller could become lost for ever and lose his rational bearings, as in the Arthurian tale of the Forest of Beguilement, a place, as Spenser puts it, full of “wayes unknowne”.

He's a lumberjack... A man in Ukraine goes to chop wood. Photo: Getty
I used to chop logs like a man. Now I stay in bed and it’s exhausting
By Nicholas Lezard - 24 October 11:16

Nicholas Lezard’s Down and Out column. 

Storm of swords: detail of Rego's unsettling pastel drawing Our Lady of Sorrows (2013). Courtesy Marlborough Fine Art. Photography by Prudence Cumming Associates
Beautiful grotesque: the “dark play” of Paula Rego
By Michael Prodger - 24 October 11:11

Rego’s latest fairy-tale visions give terror a face – but their deepest secrets remain hidden from view.

In the Frame: Hallowe’en Costume Ideas
By Tom Humberstone - 24 October 10:42

Tom Humberstone’s weekly comic.

A woman in China sews protective suits for those handling ebola patients. Photo: Getty
Status update: the World Service’s reports on ebola
By Antonia Quirke - 24 October 10:16

Having listened to the show for three weeks, I am repeatedly struck by its unusually fluctuating tone.

Children play on a Carsten Holler playground installation at Frieze Art Fair, 14 October. Photo: Getty
Primary politics: parenting advice from Toby Young and Michael Rosen
By Melissa Benn - 23 October 16:58

Two publications ostensibly designed to provide reassurance and wisdom to parents of primary-age children and perhaps to tap in to the ever-growing “pushy parenting” market.

Tracy Emin sits in front of her 1998 piece “My Bed” on display at Christie's in June 2014. Photo: Rob Stothard/Getty
Tracey Emin and Steve McQueen: still paid-up members of the awkward art squad
By Mark Lawson - 23 October 15:49

I suspect that if the Turner Prize clash were rerun now, Mad Tracey might beat Hollywood Steve.

Novel Gothic: George Gilbert Scott's St Pancras Station seen in 1905. Photo: Getty
Strawberry Hill forever: Two presenters with a distinctly Gothic side
By Rachel Cooke - 23 October 15:46

Cruickshank seems unable to speak in anything other than an urgent whisper while Graham-Dixon has the kind of face that looks particularly good rounding the top of a stone spiral staircase on a cold March morning.

Stand at easel: Mike Leigh overlays his stylised realism on to costume drama in Mr Turner. Photo: Courtesy of Liveright Publishing Corporation (Lovecraft)
With love and squalor: Mike Leigh’s brand of realism is perfect for Turner
By Ryan Gilbey - 23 October 15:42

An interesting tension exists in the film between that grunginess and passages of intense beauty. It is a compliment commonly paid to well-shot films to say that any one of their frames could be hung in a gallery. This is unmistakably the case here. 

A group of young British children watching television in October 1988. Photo Express/Getty Images
Tracey Thorn: When I got the TV request, I thought: don’t you know who I think I am?
By Tracey Thorn - 23 October 15:06

No thanks – I really don’t want to take part in the “Identity Parade” on Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

Inside a library. Photo: Getty
The joy of dictionaries
By Mark Forsyth - 23 October 14:16

To see how the world has changed, look no further than the dictionary.

Growing old disgracefully: a deconstruction of death
By Henry Marsh - 23 October 11:49

Atul Gawande argues that medicine has skewed our attitude to mortality. The neurosurgeon Henry Marsh reviews.

Grape Britain: red grapes grown in Malton, near York, England's northernmost vineyard. Photo: Getty
Breaking Brent: adventures in the Napa Valley of north London
By Leo Johnson - 23 October 10:00

We’re aiming for 150 bottles, with “NW6” on the label and a bouquet of Bakerloo. But this is about more than wine. Could we rediscover lost skills and reconnect with each other?

Funny business: Jacobson thinks of laughter as a "portal to creativity" that connects us to a world outside ourselves. Photo: Vincent Migeat/Agence Vu
Howard Jacobson: Laughing ourselves to life
By Howard Jacobson - 23 October 10:00

The Navajo celebrate a baby’s first laugh as a rite of passage, a moment in which the baby laughs himself, as it were, out of inchoate babydom and into conscious humanity.

“We can’t all be intelligent” The Apprentice blog: series 10, episode 3
By Anoosh Chakelian - 23 October 8:41

Horror ensues as the candidates attempt to make and sell scented candles.

A tyre washed up on the beach at Prestwick, Scotland. Photo: Getty
Meet the women sailing across oceans to understand what toxins are really doing to our bodies
By Caroline Criado-Perez - 22 October 16:21

The aim of the voyage, and the play inspired by it, is to make “the unseen seen” and enhance understanding of what the chemicals we put into the sea and our own bodies are actually doing.

A still from “Margarita, with a Straw”.
Margarita, with a Straw: an Indian indie film with a lot to say about disability and sexuality
By Eleanor Margolis - 22 October 12:04

Central character Laila is hounded by reminders that she’s different, but refreshingly, never accepts this herself.

Attention, #NaNoWriMo Fans: No One Cares How Your F***ing Novel Is Going
By Hayley Campbell - 21 October 15:03

Watching a person write is one of the most boring things in the world. Please don’t inflict your process on us.

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