Monday, June 16, 2014

Marrying Your Fictional Dreamboat: A Game

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that when all other manner of adaptations have been made involving Pride and Prejudice, a board game must soon follow.  That's where Marrying Mr. Darcy comes in.

That's right, goblins and ghouls, there's now a board game about one of Jane Austen's most beloved novels. Before you sigh and get pessimistic on this post, I have to tell you that it looks kind of fun.  It was also a product made possible through kickstarter donations. 

First, it's a strategy game where players are split into two groups: the suitors and the heroines.  The goal of the game is to marry happy and well.

Secondly, the game is split into two stages: courtship & proposal.   The most exciting stage is, of course, courtship, where you play to gain points to develop your heroine or suitor through event and character cards.

I haven't played it, but it seems pretty fun and a new unique way to interact with Jane Austen's novel. I love strategy games so this looks cool and fun for a night in with friends and food. 

Check out the website or the shop for more information.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Shelf Sightings #2

Since I don't talk about video games much, I thought I would share pictures of my own shelf of video games. I'm kicking it a little old school with my collection here since what I own comes from an earlier generation of consoles than what most people are currently used to (i.e the PS3 AND PS4).

I only have about 3 games for the PS1: Legend of Dragoon, Inuyasha: a Feudal Fairy Tale and Lunar 2: Blue Star Story.  I still play them when I get the chance.  Dragoon and Lunar are RPGs.  Inuyasha, however, is not.  It's just a battling game.  I will say though that in Inuyasha, I am awesome at playing Kagome.  I know all of her special attacks.

I also have PS2 games.  I'm pretty proud of my Shadow Hearts trilogy since they are my favorite games. They're the three at the top.  The next one's are Sonic: Mega Collection, Samurai Champloo, Red Dead Revolver and Kingdom Hearts.  Shadow Hearts & Kingdom Hearts are RPGs, Red Dead Revolver is a 3rd person shooter in the wild wild west, Samurai Champloo is a brawler game (i.e. it has a story but you also have to face a large number of enemies).

I Heart Mr. Darcy

Austenland: Jane Hayes has an addiction.  Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice and Mr. Darcy are taking over her life.  Disenchanted by the state of her current love life, Jane jumps at the chance to travel to a resort in England to experience the world, the manners and the kind of men that populated Jane Austen's books.

Do not go into this movie thinking it will be 100% like Shannon Hale's novel.  Do not do that to yourself or else you will not enjoy it.  Go into it without expectations and with an open mind and you'll be fine (this is my adaptation watching and reading rule of thumb).  It can be done.  Otherwise, if you concentrate on comparing the two throughout the film, you will miss the entire movie.

What we have here is a really fun movie that I think keeps the essential feel and heart of the novel it is based on.  There are amusing jokes and hilarious characters and some sadness.  Some of the dialog in the film is similar and even the same in some scenes. But like the book, it's ultimately the story about Jane Hayes' triumph over the obstacles in her life.  Yes, some things were different like how Jane gets to Austenland and bits of her personality were different, but I do not feel like that took away from the film at all.

Remember, the novel gives us a much more intimate look into Jane's thoughts and feelings since her story is being told through language.  The film is simultaneously trying to visually show us the story and tell us how Jane feels. There's no narrator to do that if there was? It would be a bit intrusive. Also, Shannon Hale (the novelist) helped write the screenplay for the film. She was involved in the project so that right there should allay some people's fears about this film. The actors and the acting were also great.  Keri Russell was a nice surprise.  I haven't seen much of her work before but she did a great job here. Seeing J.J. Feild again was also a treat since I haven't seen him in  Regency wear since Northanger Abbey.

I really enjoyed this adaptation, and I think it's the perfect movie to watch when you need something to lift up your spirits.  I hope everyone will give it a chance.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

La Belle et la BĂȘte

We all have our favorite fairy tales. The one's we own books about or own the Disney movies of.  Mine happens to be Beauty and the Beast.  I've read the early versions by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve (1740) and Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont (1756) and traced it through time.  It was a long year and a long project, but it was so much fun.  I learned that I really didn't know a thing about Beauty and the Beast besides what Disney had sold me when I was a kid in 1992.

What I kind of love about this fairy tale is how people keep taking it, reimagining it and just adding to its history (except for the recent TV series.  I wanted to like it but couldn't. I'm sorry.).  So imagine my surprise when I am on youtube and I find a trailer for a new French-German adaptation of the story.

It's not a Disney adaptation.  I'm going to have to crush your dreams right there.  I believe it borrows a lot of its elements from the old written tales by Villeneuve and Beaumont.  I think it may even be trying to say something with respect to the old 1946 Jean Cocteau French film adaptations as well.

Click play on the video below and prepare to be stunned by the trailer.  Don't be intimidated just because everyone is speaking in French.  The trailer I posted has English subtitles.

It was released back in February in France and Berlin.  I'm hoping it will have a small release in North America soon because I would love to go and see it.

Child of Light

I usually don't talk about video games very much here, not because I don't love them.  I really do.  I game when I have the chance and I have things that I am looking forward to (i.e. Dragon Age: Inquisition).  It's just hard to find something rare and interesting to talk about.  So I was super excited when I stumbled upon Child of Light by Ubisoft Montreal.  Check out the story trailer below.  It's pretty exciting.

In Child of Light, you play as Aurora, a little princess with a big sword on an adventure to save the world of Lemuria, defeat the Queen of the Night and take back the precious things that were stolen.  On her journey, Aurora forms friendships with new characters including a firefly named Igniculus.

There is so much to love about this game from the art to the music to the story to the quests to the battle format.  The game opens up like a wonderfully illustrated story book with a narrator, who weaves a fairytale for the player.  Even the dialog between characters seems to flow in a way that suits the game's theme.  The art is detailed and pretty.  It's like you're playing in an ever expanding watercolour painting.

This game is an RPG (i.e. role-playing game) so you'll be gaining party members like Igniculus who will help you defeat enemies throughout the game.  The battle system is turn based, which is something I am used to since a lot of RPG's use this style.  This means that each individual involved in the fight (including the enemies) gets one turn to make a move.

It looks like a really beautiful and fun game with a female main character, which is something you don't often see in video games.  Period.

This game is available for the WiiU, PC, PS3, PS4, XBOX 360 and XBOX One.  It will also be available for the PS Vita in July 2014.  However, it is an online title so you'll have to purchase it through each console's respective online store (i.e. Playstation Network and XBOX Live).  It costs just $14.99 so check it out if you can.