Fantasy Friday

Fantasy Friday #7: My Favourite Fantasy Video Games

Fantasy Friday

Fantasy Friday is my own feature, posted every other Friday. It’s pretty self-explanatory: I do a feature on something to do with the genre. Sometimes it will be a book recommendation, sometimes showcasing a book or series I’ve loved and other times it might be a discussion post. You’re more than welcome to join in with this feature, let me know if you make your own Fantasy Friday post! Thank you to Kritika, who participated in the last Fantasy Friday!

Today I want to talk about: my favourite fantasy video games.

Along with reading, gaming is another one of my big hobbies (and a major time suck!). As you can see from my Steam profile, I have way too many unfinished games. But those I actually have finished – well they were definitely worth my time, and probably yours too. So I’d like to share with you today some of the best fantasy themed video games that I’ve played. This also ties in nicely with another video game themed post I have planned for next week, and another one that me and the lovely Paola are writing together. Oh, and just a note: there will be no Final Fantasy on this list. I’ve never gotten along with that particular series… So without further ado:

The Dragon Age series

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Platform: PC & Mac, XBox 360, Playstation 3

I won’t say much about these games, because Paola and I will be discussing them soon. In fact I’ll say nothing. Apart from they’re amazing. And you should play them. Also that’s my Warden above!

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

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Platform: Nintendo Gamecube

I first played this game when I was about 16, as my boyfriend at the time had just gotten a Wii, so gave me his Gamecube. This is probably the game that got me back into adventure-RPGs again – it is absolutely beautiful with its cell-shaded graphics and fantastic soundtrack composed by Koji Kondo. Don’t let the word RPG put you off though – that side of this particular game is very simplified. It’s so fun just to be able to sail around the seas, discover hidden islands and collect ALL THE THINGS!

Tales of Symphonia

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Platform: Nintendo Gamecube

The first big RPG that I ACTUALLY finished, Tales of Symphonia is one of my absolute favourite games ever. An incredibly detailed and at some times complex Japanese RPG, it hosted a whole array of varied characters including my first video game crush: Kratos Aurion.

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I have a thing for redheads, okay?! And his voice is beautiful… But, ahem. Another favourite character is Sheena Fujibayashi, a warrior with a tough exterior, but a sad past. She’s also voiced by Jennifer Hale, the same actress who provides the voice of female Commander Shepard in Mass Effect, which equals awesome. My usual team consisted of Lloyd (the main protagonist), Kratos (where I could use him), Raine and either Sheena or Presea. Sorry to all the other characters but… just no. Regal was the most useless, I found. There is also a sequel for the Wii, which I own but haven’t finished. It just doesn’t compare to the first!

The Elder Scrolls series

Platform: PC, Xbox 360, Playstation 3

If you haven’t heard of the Elder Scrolls series, I would be quite shocked. Sprawling, open-ended RPGs, they are incredibly detailed and allow the player to do exactly as they want, when they want. One aspect I really love about games is if they have a sandbox quality to them, meaning the world is open and completely free for the player to explore: and the Elder Scrolls games definitely are. You can build your character as you want – pick a couple of skills and specialise in them, or work on all the different weapon and armour types, as well as magic. If you wanted, you could even just become a trader, gathering items in the wild and selling them on. For example, in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, I collected garlic. And kept it in a display case in my castle. Because I could. Then it all disappeared – I still blame the servant. The rules are totally up to you, and quests are entirely optional. Skyrim is the only game I play with headphones in, because it’s so immersive. But more on that in next week’s post! Oh, and those are my Skyrim characters above.

Orcs Must Die! 2

orcs must die

Platform: PC, XBox 360

A strategic defense game with a fantasy theme, Orcs Must Die! 2 is a perfect game to play with a friend – co-op mode is just so much fun, and it’s really satisfying to see all your traps working together to take out the evil orcs! It gets pretty challenging though, especially when the ogres and dragons decide to join together…

Lord of the Rings Online

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Platform: PC, Mac

Okay, perhaps this is no longer a favourite game of mine, I kind of tired of it. But it really is a brilliantly crafted version of Tolkien’s Middle-earth, with such an amazing attention to detail. Travel to the Trollshaws and find the stone trolls, climb to the top of Weathertop and find Gandalf’s rune carved into a rock, visit the Green Dragon for a pint – as a Tolkien nerd this game is an absolute delight, and the creators are clearly incredibly passionate about his work too. So many hidden gems! I stopped playing in about July/August 2013, and if anyone is interested I was on the Withywindle server. I had quite a few characters – Isolde (85 Hobbit Hunter), Rinn (85 Human Minstrel), Ailis (56? Human Captain), Lunathien (38 Elf Rune-keeper), Inarra (33 Hobbit Warden) and a low level Hobbit Burglar that I’ve totally forgotten the name of. Plus I had a hobbit house, which was the best thing EVER (you can see it in the screenshot above).

And the honorable mention goes to…

Bastion

Bastion

Platform: PC, Mac, XBox 360

I haven’t played that much of this one which is why it’s an honorable mention at the moment. But what I have played, I’ve really enjoyed – not to mention it’s an absolutely gorgeous game with hand-painted graphics.

Do you play video games? What are some of your favourite fantasy themed ones?

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Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month: I Have To See These Films!

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Today I want to share with you some recent science fiction film releases that I really want to see – generally films that have come out in the past year or so, or are coming out within the next year. I’d love to hear what you’re looking forward to, or missed in the cinema and want to catch up on! Don’t forget to check out the schedule for the rest of today’s posts. You can also Tweet about the event using the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.
 

“A veteran assigned to extract Earth’s remaining resources begins to question what he knows about his mission and himself.”

Oblivion – Okay so I barely know anything about this film, but I know that it is about an Earth that is almost empty of resources, so empty in fact that it can no longer support human life. There are still some people left on Earth, whose job it is to find the remaining resources – and Mr. Tom Cruise is one of those people. I really enjoy the science fiction stories that cover isolation and how it affects us, and which delve into more cerebral aspects of the genre. Plus the music to this film is brilliant – thank you very much to Sarah J. Maas who recommended it to me when I met her in October!

Oblivion was released 14th April 2013.

 

“A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space.”

 Gravity – I read Empire magazine (movie magazine) every month, yet somehow I completely missed out on this one until it actually came out. Perhaps Empire didn’t cover it whilst it was in production, or perhaps I just wasn’t paying attention, but now that it’s out it is big. The cast members come to a grand total of two: George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. It’s had brilliant reviews, a great critical reception and sounds just my sort of thing. As much as I would hate to be in that sort of situation – space in general actually simultaneously fascinates and terrifies me – films like this really appeal to me.

Gravity was released 4th October 2013.

“The International Military seek out a leader who can save the human race from an alien attack. Ender Wiggin, a brilliant young mind, is recruited and trained to lead his fellow soldiers into a battle that will determine the future of Earth.”

 Ender’s Game – I loooooooved the book by Orson Scott Card so I was really excited when I heard that there was going to be a film of it. Although I can’t really see them making the whole series into books (the weird chronology/time skips may cause issues), it’s exciting that there’s at least one film based on the series. It’s a shame that the author has some rather extremist and disturbing views, but that doesn’t lessen my enjoyment of the books.

Ender’s Game was released 1st November 2013.

 
 

 “Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.”

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – this second installment in the Hunger Games series of films will see Katniss and Peeta going back into the arena, and it will be deadlier than ever. Although generally considered the weakest book of the three, I still enjoyed this one and CANNOT WAIT for the film. It looks amazing, as well as visually stunning – just from the trailer alone it seems as though they’ve worked so much on developing how the Capitol and technology is presented.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will be released on 22nd November 2013.

 
 
“As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse.”
 
Pacific Rim – I first saw the trailer for this one ages ago, and knew at that moment that I really wanted to watch it. Sadly, when it finally came out, I couldn’t find anyone else who was really interested in it (apart from my dad who doesn’t have much time to go to the cinema). I need more friends who love sci-fi living nearby! Giant mechas? Fighting monster-dinosaur things? Awesome technology? A soundtrack by Ramin Djawadi who did the amazing Game of Thrones music? Count me in!

Pacific Rim was released on 12th July 2013.

 

“The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class in an epic battle that must change the past – to save our future.”
 
X-Men: Days of Future Past – X-Men: First Class is my favourite of the X-Men films. As awesome as Sirs Patrick and Ian are, I just love the prequel. But no worries, because the cast from BOTH film series will be in this new prequel! Plus Peter Dinklage, perhaps most famous for his role as the brilliant Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones, will be playing the villain. I also kind of have a thing for Michael Fassbender. Ahem.

X-Men: Days of Future Past will be released on 23rd May 2014.

 

“Beatrice Prior, a teenager with a special mind, finds her life threatened when an authoritarian leader seeks to exterminate her kind in her effort to seize control of their divided society.”
 
Divergent – the book was a massive hit, and although it wasn’t one of my favourites of last year I still really enjoyed it. From the trailer, the film seems pretty loyal to the book so far. I thought it was coming out this year for some reason but apparently not… If you haven’t heard of this book, you may have heard of Allegiant (the third book in the series), of which there has been a lot of fuss over lately – someone leaked ending spoilers before the book was released in October.

Divergent will be released on 21st March 2014.

 

What science fiction releases are you looking forward to, or what recent films did you miss in the cinema? Feel free to join in with your own post!

 

Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month: Sci-Fi Sounds

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In the past I’ve posted a couple of themed playlists on the blog, and shared my reading soundtrack. I thought it would be fun to do a similar thing for Sci-Fi Month, and share my favourite science fiction sounds.

The playlist is available to follow on Spotify, and the tracks are listed below.

Don’t forget to check out the schedule for the rest of today’s posts. You can also Tweet about the event using the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

  • Life by Harry Gregson-Williams, from Prometheus– this is the song that plays when Shaw realises what she and the team have found, something every space explorer dreams of – extra-terrestrial life.
  • Pulstar by Vangelis – a lot of his music has a sci-fi vibe but I really love this one.
  • Icarus by Michael McCann, from Deus Ex: Human Revolution – a haunting theme song from a game based around a rather eerie prospect
  • I Am The Doctor by Murray Gold, from Doctor Who: Series 5 – apart from the main theme, this song really rounds up the series for me. It reminds me of all those moments where the Doctor and his companions seem truly stuck – and then the Doctor does something brilliant and saves the day.
  • Suicide Mission by Jack Wall, from Mass Effect 2 – with some definite sci-fi elements, this song brings back memories from a very emotional and tense part of the game.
  • Das Malefitz by Faunts, from Mass Effect 3 – the ending credits song for Mass Effect 3, this song encaptures the final moments of my favourite game series ever.
  • StarWaves by M83, from Oblivion – I have Sarah J. Maas to thank for this! When I met her I told her that my reading playlist is basically the same as her writing playlist (soundtracks), and she recommended this one.
  • End Theme by Vangelis, from Blade Runner – sadly this one is a cover, because the original isn’t on Spotify.
  • Prologue by John Williams, from War of the Worlds– wonderfully creepy and foreboding, and complete with Morgan Freeman reading that amazing quotation from the original H.G. Wells novel (albeit slightly updated for the modern age).
  • Across the Stars (Love Theme) by John Williams, from Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones – even though it’s from my least favourite Star Wars movie, the love theme of Anakin and Amidala/Padme is just wonderful.
  • Duel of the Fates by John Williams, from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace – because that is one EPIC duel.
  • The Bioluminescence of the Night by James Horner, from Avatar – because I wish I lived on Pandora.
  • Derezzed by Daft Punk, from Tron: Legacy – I don’t care what people say, I kind of loved Tron: Legacy. But you know what I loved more than the film? Daft Punk’s soundtrack for it.
  • Main Title by James Horner, from Aliens – you know what’s coming… I scream at the people in that film when they decide to leave the spaceship. NO!
  • I Am Legend – Epilogue by James Newton Howard, from I Am Legend – a post-traumatic events song that gives you hope.
  • Adagio in D Minor by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, from Sunshine – this is from a rather underrated sci-fi film, and the soundtrack has just the right mix of creepy and beautiful.
  • Sector 6 by Steve Jablonsky, from The Island – if you haven’t seen The Island, then watch it. It’s about cloning, and stars Sean Bean, Ewan McGregor and Scarlet Johanssen.
  • Science is Fun by Mike Morasky, from Portal 2 – this whole soundtrack is insane, just like the game, but this song definitely has a frantic feel to it.

What do you think of my playlist? I tried to avoid main themes – what would you put in your own Sci-Fi Sounds playlist?