Books Miscellaneous

Vampires of three different flavours

Reading is one of the many things I enjoy, and every time I put down a book I like, I have a multitude of thoughts swirling about my mind regarding everything I had just taken in. As a result, I tend to write my thoughts on such things, and this is one of those such texts.

Everyone deals with the concept of the vampire in a different way, altering and fashioning them as they see they should be. Over the centuries, they have evolved, and today I want to take a look at three books I randomly pulled out from my collection – Salem’s Lot, Interview with the Vampire, and The Awakening. Already I know it is not entirely fair to compare the latter to such classics, but let us see how Stephen King’s more traditional entities of evil and Anne Rice’s romantic fiends from the 1970’s, and Lisa Smith’s modern monsters of the early 1990’s fare anyway, shall we?

Note: There may be a couple of minor spoilers regarding the personalities of the characters or the more specific particulars of their afflictions.
'Salem's Lot (1975), Stephen King

‘Salem’s Lot (1975), Stephen King

Before going back to the likes of Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which is undoubtedly inevitable, let us take a look at some more modern vampires. Let us begin with Stephen King.

The first thing you will notice about Stephen King’s world of bloodsuckers is that they truly seem as though some unearthly evil – animated dead bodies without souls that continue to roam the earth with the sole purpose of making life miserable for those still living. Because they are the ‘Evil’ that walks the earth however, they shy away from that which is ‘Good’ such as sacred items and other apotropaics, as we note when we watch Matt sitting quietly in his home, waiting for anything to happen:

“His mind ran over the old protections for an unmentionable disease: garlic, holy wafer and water, crucifix, rose, running water.”

Perhaps due to their existence as the ‘Evil’ of the world, they also boast a variety of abilities that would be impossible for a simply ‘undead’ human to accomplish – the ability to seemingly float above the ground, to turn into some form of shadow that allows passage through the smallest of cracks, and to temporarily influence a mortal human into doing their bidding.

Role-playing Strategy Video Games

Banner Saga: An epic RPG inspired by Viking legend

The Banner Saga

Today, I’m going to try talking about a game I’ve been playing recently. It doesn’t seem like it warrants a guide section on the site as the character progression is very straightforward, there aren’t any really tough choices to make, and the items you can collect/buy are also very simple…

The game I’m talking about is Banner Saga by Stoic Studio, a trio of indie game developers formerly of BioWare. It’s a Viking-themed strategy role-playing game which focuses on a single-player campaign in which you lead a caravan across the land. You’re in charge of managing your caravans resources including supplies and fighters, playing out the various fights you get yourself into, and deciding how dialogues go between characters.

Role-playing Strategy Video Games

Project Phoenix: The traditional JRPG, rebooted

Project Phoenix

It’s still in pre-production and is not expected to arrive until June 2015, but I would like to introduce you to Project Phoenix – a JRPG with squad based RTS game design for PC (Windows, Mac, and Linux), Playstation 4 and Vita, iOS and Android. I’ll let the game’s creators briefly describe what this game is all about:

Project Phoenix is a sprawling adventure in which you explore a vast, rich land and do battle against formidable enemies. The gameplay eschews micromanagement in favour of a focused Real Time Strategy system enhanced by JRPG elements. You can level your characters and teach them new abilities but at the same time they behave intelligently when you are not controlling them directly.

Project Phoenix

Combat (as shown in the concept image of in-game combat above) uses a point and click system to control the party of heroes, each of which has different abilities they can use in battle that use up either mana or stamina.

There are also three conditions which may be taken advantage of in combat – terrain, fog of war, and threat management. Terrain, for example, includes height advantages, destructible elements to damage or slow down foes, and movement advantages in different types of terrain for certain characters.

It was initially up on Kickstarter and it looks really interesting (and extremely cute). I thought the following was the best value for what you get (but that was probably just because I really wanted a physical copy of the artbook and that ‘detailed’ cloth map!):

Project Phoenix

Artisan Rewards

A digital download copy of the game; Early Bird Alpha and Closed Beta access; downloadable copies of the making-of documentary, soundtrack, and the art book; in-game Shadow Phoenix Hatchling that can be used as a mount upon game completion; physical Collector’s Edition of the game including DVD versions of the game along with a game guide, a making-of DVD, a detailed cloth map, a Soundtrack DVD, and a code to redeem in-game Wings of the Fallen; and a physical copy of the limited edition art book.

Visit the Project Phoenix Official Website to support this game’s development or to find out more information.