Posts Tagged ‘literature’

Percy Jackson

28 February 2010

Dear J-

We are reading the Percy Jackson series (and by we, I mean that theVet is impatiently waiting for me to catch up so that she doesn’t blurt out important plot spoiler points in normal conversation), which is going mostly well; the pacing is exciting, and the books experiencing the same sort of bloat that Harry Potter did (each book getting successively longer and fatter, filled with fun story nonetheless, but at the expense of page count). In fact, the clearest analog or inspiration could be said to be Harry and his success; you have the same elements of the fantastical mixed in with the mundane modern world. As we so often dream, these books offer an escape from the ordinary and hope that we can all be special regardless of how little the outside world may think of us.

There’s two issues with Percy’s story (in the scant two out of five books that I’ve read, so far). First, there’s no sense of world-building; second, the dialogue keeps grating on my ear. Sure, the fantastical is pretty amazing here, but it’s all grounded in Greek mythology; the point may be to get kids interested in those ancient tales and seek out the source information, but I can see them being happy with the peeks under the tablecloth that they’re given here — the endless torment of Tartarus, the voyage of Odysseus. Unlike Harry, which featured a unique and accessible universe, the enjoyment of Percy is directly tempered by how big of a Greek geek you were/are. There are multiple instances where I find myself wishing I had some reference (Edith Hamilton, where are you?) available that I could bounce back and forth to check story details.

The pacing is good but every so often a character’s line from the book falls flat in a way that tells me it’s a middle-aged guy who wrote it, not a line some adolescent might blurt out. It wouldn’t be a problem if it didn’t yank me out of the story abruptly; dialogue is a tricky thing, and adolescent dialogue is doubly difficult. I find myself reading the words aloud to see if it resembles the spoken vernacular (often it does not, so I tweak them to fit). It’s easy to be a critic, though, instead of reading for enjoyment and this is an easy, fun read. Recommended, with the caveat that you’ll want to bone up on your Greek myths between books.

Mike

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Three of a Kind

7 June 2009

Dear J-

So after a few years on the trailing edge of videogames, I find myself with a few current consoles and a burning urge … to pick up SNES/SFC-era games (Square/Enix appear to be intent on releasing their entire back catalog on the Nintendo handhelds — and like an unwitting sheep, I am complying, although I justify it by saying that I haven’t had the opportunity to get into the Dragon Quest series before this). Between backwards compatibility and retro games, it’s hard to find new, compelling worlds and content — so it’s no surprise that everything old is fair game, so to speak. Which of these three high school literature classics is next up for video game stardom?

Could it be … Romeo and Juliet?

Konami and famed producer Koji “IGA” Igarashi invite you to experience William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a digital reinterpretation of the romance and tragedy of old Verona. Running on an enhanced version of the Tokimeki Memorial platform, you will win Juliet’s heart while avoiding the scorn, ridicule, and ire of both families. Duel your way honorably with dazzling speed using the free-form motion-based controls, or find a darker way into her heart by poisoning your rivals or sabotaging their suits in more devious ways. The choice is yours, coming this fall.

Or maybe it’s … The Inferno.

From Visceral Games, award-winning creators of last year’s critically-acclaimed Dead Space, comes one of 2010’s most highly anticipated 3rd person action adventure games, Dante’s Inferno. Based on part one of Dante Aligheri’s classic poem The Divine Comedy, EA’s Dante’s Inferno takes gamers on an epic adventure through Dante’s nine circles of hell – limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, fraud and treachery. The game features a highly responsive, addictive combat system, which players will need to take Dante through a gauntlet of unimaginable evils as he fights to recapture the soul of his beloved Beatrice.

On the other hand, what about … To Kill a Mockingbird?

Rockstar Games is proud to announce the next step in digital sandbox play, with a rich world based on Harper Lee’s classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Mission-based achievements will have you competing with friends to see who can bust that chiffarobe first, or find out who can lure Boo Radley out of his house first. Special features include Atticus sniper-vision and memorable courtroom reversals using voice-activated commands. It’s a roller-coaster ride like no other, and one that only the creators of Grand Theft Auto and Bully could bring you.

Mike

the answer … seriously?