January 14th, 2009


Seven Sagas for Seven Brothers

For my video game post this week, I'm going to take a look at:

That's right, The 7th Saga, a game developed by Enix (long before they merged with Square) for the Super Nintendo. I'm not sure what the first six sagas were, but the number seven is significant in this game, as it involves the seven apprentices of King Lemele of Ticondera searching for seven magical runes. And Lemele must have been a supporter of affirmative action, as these apprentices are a warrior, a cleric, a dwarf, an elf, a robot, an alien, and a demon. Each has their own reason for seeking the runes, and you control one of them. You can recruit another apprentice as your partner, as long as your personalities don't clash too heavily, but all of the others will become competitors. And when you fight them, it can be difficult, as they seem to grow stronger at pretty much the same rate you do, and they'll steal all of the runes you've obtained so far if you lose. In fact, the game in general is pretty hard, and I was never able to get much of anywhere in it. It was an interesting concept, though. And I actually DID see the end, thanks to my brother continuing someone else's game on the rental copy from the drugstore. Without spoiling too much (not that I imagine there are too many people chomping at the bit to play this game), I'll say it involves a time loop. It's sort of like the one in the original Final Fantasy, but it makes more sense.
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Messing About in Books

I haven't had quite as much time to read recently (and I've been spending a lot of the time I HAVE had on the computer), but I've still finished some books in this new year.

The graphic novel adaptation of The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic - Although I believe Sir Terry Pratchett isn't too keen on graphic novels (I remember reading a chat transcript where he said Detritus the Troll was probably too intellectual to enjoy them), some of his books have been adapted into the graphic format, and this take on the first two Discworld books wasn't bad, and was quite faithful to the book. There were some cases where good jokes from the text didn't work so well when brought over into the comic format, but they mostly kept in the scenes that would translate while leaving out the ones that wouldn't. The weirdest change was the removal of Trymon from The Light Fantastic, instead making Galder Weatherwax the villain of the piece, but it honestly didn't affect the story that much. And while the drawings weren't quite up to Paul Kidby's level, they were quite accurate, and I liked some of the artist's interpretations of weirder characters (like the iconograph imp).

The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde - The first book in the Thursday Next series, which was recommended to me by rockinlibrarian. She must be particularly fond of stories about transportation between the real world and the worlds of literature, since she also suggested I read Inkheart. While that book's real world is more or less our own, though, Thursday Next's is one with cloning of prehistoric animals, time travel, vampires, and militant defenders of particular authors or literary devices. It's sort of a combination of mystery, science fiction, police procedural, parallel-Earth fiction, and a bit of fantasy. The only other book I can recall reading that combined so many different sorts of plots and genres was Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, by Douglas Adams (which also involves a famous work of literature being changed, in that case Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Kubla Khan, while it's Jane Eyre in Fforde's book). The odd mix sometimes seemed to be overreaching a bit, but it was coherent and engaging, and I'll probably read more of this series.

The Book of Three, by Lloyd Alexander - I'd had the Prydain series recommended to me as far back as elementary school, but I didn't actually read any of them until now. Maybe the fact that I found Disney's adaptation of The Black Cauldron rather unmemorable (about all I remember from it is Gurgi) contributed to my reluctance to read the books. I don't know. Anyway, I think the book was a bit slow-paced for such a short volume, and the characters initially came across more as archetypes than individuals. They did grow on me as the story progressed, though. I liked Eilonwy all the way through, and Fflewdur Fflam was amusing. Taran was kind of annoying, but I guess that's why he has to go through several more books of adventures before becoming High King (at least if the spoilers I've read are accurate {g}).

I also checked out The Annotated Brothers Grimm from the library, but that's not exactly the kind of book that's suited for reading straight through. I might have to add it to my Amazon wishlist, though.

Also, if I may briefly switch to a topic that doesn't involve books (at least as far as I know), check out this new Neko Case song.