Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Man Who Remade Middle-earth

Over at Boing Boing, Ethan Gilsdorf interviews John Howe, artist and illustrator, and the man most responsible for defining the look of Tolkien's worlds:
Thanks to the seemingly infinite production documentaries found in the Rings trilogy's Extended Edition DVDs, Howe has become somewhat of a celebrity—at least among the ranks of those who care about the behind-the-scene scribblers, sword-forgers and model makers who work for the special effects house Weta Workshop and Jackson's fantasy empire down in Wellington, New Zealand. With his colleagues, Howe has brought new levels of fastidiousness to movie production design. Someone had to design every dwarf axe, evil tower, hobbit mug, and orc prosthetic, and Howe had his hand in nearly every decision about Middle-earth's "look and feel."
Full Story: HERE


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Zen and the art of fantasy writing

Over at Boing Boing, Aidan Harte and Brian Staveley discuss, with much insight and honesty, the art of fantasy writing:
Another area where we differ is the invented texts of our respective worlds. The Emperor’s Blades make occasional reference to the sage Hendran, a cross between Sun Tzu and Dirty Harry, but it’s very subtle. I go the whole Meta hog with footnoted chapters of windy gibbonesque prose penned by a pompous historian. The interruption of the main narrative drove some reviewers apoplectic but I’m entirely unrepentant. Do you enjoy this kind of thing in your Fantasy, or is it just post-modern smart arsery?
Full Story: HERE


Saturday, May 17, 2014


Transistor launches May 20th for PS4 and PC

Friday, May 2, 2014

Dark Souls II bits

I'm already bored by Dark Souls II. I'll try and metabolize my experience with it and produce a coherent post, but let's say my dissatisfaction has to do with one of the most subjective ingredients: atmosphere.  In the meantime, Mr. Joe has written up his thoughts on the game (link) and posted them for all to see:
The basic tone and gameplay haven’t changed hugely.  Once again you are a cursed undead dropped into a mysterious, ruined world for reasons unknown, having to harvest the souls of small monsters, middle sized monsters, and flipping enormous monsters in order to improve your stats, assisted by messages from other players and occasionally by those other players themselves as you wrestle your d-pad in a slightly clunky 3rd person action adventure style through assorted dark forests, dark ruins, dark towers, dark caves, dark castles, dark temples, and well-lit toy emporiums.  One of those is a joke.  Can you guess which?
His thoughts on smoothing out the rough edges align with my own. Here's Adam Smith, over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun, with more words on the same subject:
Here’s a bigger criticism – the quick travel detracts from the sense of claustrophobia, and of being lost in a cursed world. That feeling is central to my admiration of the Souls series and the quick travel softens it. You’re never more than a few minutes from a teleporter that will take you to the beginning of the game, which makes the world overlap itself and obliterates the sense that it has been left unfolded, Origami-like, or opened up like a ribcage before surgery. That’s how Lordran felt, spires like cracked ribs in the distance.
The rest of Adam's article is HERE. (It also points to his review of the original Dark Souls (link), and that is worth a read as well.)