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Games Created By Women: Candy Land

Some pretty fantastic games have some not so sweet origins. Some games have been created because of some dark reasons. However dark the beginnings of these games though they still bring joy and distraction for the players.

Candy Land is one such game. It was released by Milton Bradley, now Hasbro Games, in 1949. The game was created by school teacher Eleanor Abbott. Abbott contracted polio, which is a disease that can cause paralysis by the infection affecting the spinal cord and brain. While recovering in the hospital Abbott was surrounded by children who couldn’t move, children would be out in a machine to help them breathe called “the iron lung” that totally encased them. Seeing how these children suffered she wanted to find a way to help them pass the time. Immobility was a big problem for these children. They were stuck for most of their time in the hospital, and children back home were confined indoors for fear of the spread of the disease. Mobility would be the main part of the game for Abbott. 

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Candy Land has always been a brightly colored board game. The game is also very easy to play as it doesn’t even require the player to read. It was perfect as a way for children to play who were stuck indoors or if they were having a quick break from their treatments. The player picks a brightly colored token to play and sets them on the star of the path through the board. All candy themed with certain perils that can turn players around or force them to be stuck for a turn. The player moves by picking up a card, with colored squares on it that indicate how far they can move. It is a fun game of chance. 

Candy Land has been a popular game for children since 1949. It was a game that gave children without mobility a way to move. It has been a game to occupy children who are stuck inside. It is a game that multiple ages can play together. It has gone through some aesthetic changes throughout the years but it remains beloved. 

I would highly recommend Candy Land. It was created to help children. It has been able to entertain children for generations. 

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ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Thia the Bard’s Top Ten Favorite Final Girls

It is no secret that I love horror movies. One of my favorite things in a horror movie is a “Final Girl.” A Final Girl is a term coined to refer to the trope of the last female character who is left alive to confront the killer and tell the story. Final Girls come from all walks of life but they all live through torment and torture. As the genre of horror grows and evolves, so does the role of a Final Girl. This is by no means a list of all Final Girls, but it is a rounded list. Some of comedic elements while some are straight up slasher survivors. 

Oh, and obviously there are spoilers below. So proceed with caution. You got your popcorn and your candy handy? You think you’re ready? Okay, then put on shoes you can run in, stay away from the stairs and let’s see who survives.

texas chainsaw 

Sally Hardesty The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. We have to start with this lady as she is arguably the first Final Girl. When Sally, her brother and some friends go to visit their grandfather’s grave the road trip takes a turn. The group ends up with a crazy family of cannibals. After seeing everyone else die and living through torture Sally stumbles her way out of danger. The end of the movie is her unhinged laughing, covered in blood in the back of the getaway truck. While Sally is not very proactive on her own she does live and becomes therefore is the momma of the Final Girls.

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Max Cartwright The Final Girls. Okay so I know this is the first unconventional entry to the list. The Final Girls is a parody and a love letter to the camp slasher genre. Max’s mother starred in a slasher hit and after her untimely death that movie is one of the only ways Max can see her. Unfortunately she and her friends get sucked into the movie. Max faces her fears of watching those around her die and becomes the hero they need to get out of the movie. Or do they?

hellraiser 

Kirsty Cotton Hellraiser; Hellbound: Hellraiser II; Hellraiser: Hellseeker. Kirsty just, well she really goes through it in these movies. After her uncle dies Kirsty and her parents move into the family home. After an accident were blood is shed her uncle is resurrected. She finds her uncle’s puzzle box which leads to the unleashing of the cenobites. The cenobites wants to bring souls back to their sadomasochistic world. Kirsty escapes this dark thriller and comes out even stronger in the sequel where she uses her connection to the cenobites to help her out of a terrifying mental hospital. Kirsty uses the tools at hand to survive and be the Final Girl of this twisted franchise.

jennifer's body 

Needy Jennifer’s Body. Needy seems like she is all of us for so much of the movie. She is the voice of reason throughout so much of this cult classic.When Needy and her best friend go to see an indie band play at a local bar everything changes. Boys start being attacked and Needy finds out it is a demon that has taken over her friend in a ritual gone wrong. Now Needy and Jennifer square off in an attempt to stop the killings. Needy then takes it a step farther to get revenge on the band who ruined her life in the first place. Needy goes from a shy and mousy girl to an actual badass whose chart says that she is a K-I-C-K-E-R.

trick r treat 

Rhonda Trick R Treat. Trick R Treat is an anthology of stories that happen on Halloween night. Rhonda isn’t like most of the kids in her town. They take it upon themselves to play a Halloween prank on her that goes wrong. However Rhonda survives. She uses her knowledge and respect for the traditions of the night to make it home alive when the others do not. Rhonda is a Final Girl who proves that being different can be the key to your survival.

evil dead 

Mia Allen Evil Dead. Mia is the hero of this remake, not to be confused with the groovy original. Mia is trying to get clean so she, her brother and their friends go to a remote cabin in the woods. After reading from an ancient book aloud terrible things start to happen. Mia gets possessed and the dead rise with the intent to drag souls to hell. While Mia does spend a good chunk of the movie possessed she does become a Final Girl when she takes matters, and a chainsaw, into her own hands. Mia is a great example that anyone can take control of their situation and become their own hero.

scream 

Sidney Prescott Scream; Scream 2; Scream 3; Scream 4. The scream queen of meta herself. This list would not be complete without Sidney, partially because she is amazing and partially because these are some of my favorite horror movies. The Scream series came out just when I started being allowed to watch horror movies and they helped to cement my love of them. Sidney is still recovering from the murder of her mother when suddenly her classmates begin to be killed in the first movie. With all of her friends as both potential victims and suspects how is Sid supposed to survive? Her quick thinking and will to survive help her make it through all of the movies in this franchise as we get to see Sid grow stronger in each film. So remember the rules, then throw out the rules and learn the new rules of how to survive a horror movie!

a nighmare on elm street 

Nancy Thompson A Nightmare on Elm Street; A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. Nancy helped create a whole new franchise in the horror genre. When Freddy Krueger is killed by a vigilante mob of parents they think their children will be safe. That is until he starts to kill a group of teens in their sleep. Nancy fights sleep and for answers to help her stop Freddy. In the end she is able to use her own dream world against Freddy as she finds her own power within it. She then works to help new teens who are fighting Freddy.

friday the 13th 

Alice Friday the 13th.  Alice really sets the mold for a Final Girl for a long time. She is a kind and mousy girl who ends up being the survivor. Alice comes to Camp Crystal Lake for what is supposed to be it’s grand reopening to be a counselor. She and the rest of the staff ignore the warnings of the “harbinger” character, in this case an old man who tells them that they will all die at the camp. Alice then cheerfully gets to work, and a little play, to set up camp for the incoming campers. However the campers never get to come as staff get murdered one by one. Alice discovers the bodies, the backstory of Jason and fights for her own survival. Horror fans owe her a lot for helping give us so many of the rules to survive a horror movie and for helping put camp based slasher flicks on the map, also her scene in the boat scared my horror fanatic mother beyond belief.

halloween

Laurie Strode Halloween; Halloween II; H20: 20 Years Later; Halloween 2018. We started this list with a woman who helped start the genre and now we will end with a woman who has kept the genre going. Laurie is the first Final Girl that most horror fans will think of, and rightfully so. Her battles with the boogeyman Micheal Myers have been going on since the 1970s. Laurie is also the Final Girl we have gotten to see evolve the most. She survived the first movie and saved the children in her care due to her quick thinking, we saw her struggle with alcoholism and guilt throughout many of the other movies. Then we got to see her have a whole new story in the 2018 movie where the entire story line was erased from movie one on and changed to give us a gritty veteran obsessed with survival. Laurie has endured decades of horror and now stands tall as the epitome of a female in the horror genre, as well as paving the way for many heroines after her.

Well gang, we did it. Ten ladies who have made the horror genre. They have scared us, made us laugh and feel through the years. They have given their actual blood, sweat and tears to entertain fans. So now we salute them. It is time for this article to come to an end as I have eaten enough popcorn and candy to be feeling very sick. So take care of yourselves gentle readers and go watch some movies, you might learn something. 

Oh and I didn’t include some of my favorites from foreign films in this list because, well, we already covered them here.

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files: An Anime Review

yu2Death is a difficult thing to deal with. Particularly if it is the premature death of a young person. Beyond the grief of the family and friends left behind is the question of  what is to happens next? Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files gives us one version of what could happen. 

In 1990, the manga version of Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files was released. The creator and artist behind the manga is Yoshihiro Togashi. The story took off and became gained popularity. Fans continued to show support as the manga was adapted into an anime in 1992. The show was successful enough to run till 1995. 

Sometimes all it takes is one selfless act to change the course of a life. Or to end it. When juvenile delinquent Yusuke saves a child’s life it costs him his own. Once in the underworld Yusuke’s actions are judged. His one selfless act puts his afterlife on a trajectory no one could have guessed. Now he must navigate the dangers of the afterlife. Along the way he meets new allies and some old friends. 

Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files was one of those great animes that I was able to watch as it had reruns America. My younger brother and I loved it. We watched every episode we could when they would air after school. It helped cement a bond between us and a lifelong love of anime that either of us have yet to quit.

The designs for the characters are interesting. They may seem a little dated to fans of more current animes. To be honest the style is very typical of characters from the 1990s. However the choice of hair and outfits does give the audience clues about the characters and their goals. The music is similar but fun. The scenery is well drawn and very different depending on where the characters are. 

The concept of the story is fascinating and evolves well. It is also just fun. The characters are relatable. Most of them are young and bold which makes for interesting decisions. They not only push the story but give the audience someone to root for. 

I would highly recommend Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files.
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ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Games Created by Women: Conquests of Camelot

conquest for camelotCamelot. Merely saying the name brings fond memories and images of magic for many people. Camelot has been the standard for all things that are good in the world. 

In 1990, a new game hit the not-so-ye-olde streets. Conquests of Camelot is a historical role-playing adventure. Christy Marx gave her talents as both the writer and the director of the game. Conquests of Camelot is an adventure that can be played on the players PC system. It is an interesting game that transports the players back to the famed land of Camelot.

 

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Christy Marx

 

Camelot is a complex series of stories that is made up of myths. During the Anglo-Saxon time, the land that would become England is in turmoil. A wizard, a young warrior and his band of knights are trying to bring order to a lawless place. The player is able to help them perform tasks to do so. Slightly darker than the children’s version of the legends of Camelot, this game is able to present players with an interesting take as they game. 

Conquest of Camelot is a suggestion for fans of role playing games. The graphics may seem a little dated to players who are used to newer games. It is a game that has helped the gaming industry to get to the point that it is today. Players who particularly love modern RPGs might enjoy giving Conquest of Camelot a try. The story was written by a great writer and, honestly, if you like role playing games, does it ever get better then Camelot?

Conquest of Camelot was a trailblazing game. It is an interesting PC game for it’s time. It successfully weaves mythology with modern storytelling through gaming. 

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Digimon: Digital Monsters: An Anime Review

dmonWho hasn’t imagined having a really cool animal companion? Why stop there, though? What if you had an animal companion that was not only your friend but could also help you fight epic battles?  Oh, and they have a fantastical design because they are actually morphing creatures. I know that I would want in. 

Digimon: Digital Monsters was an anime that ran from 1999 to 2003. The creator of the series is Akiyoshi Hongo. The series first aired in Japan to much acclaim. When Digimon came to the United States, it was released by the 1990s powerhouse, Saban Entertainment. It was popular enough to have spin offs and games based on the series. 

A group of young teens are transported to a digital world. There, they are paired up with powerful morphing creatures. Together, they have to protect not only the digital world but also Earth from a growing evil. Through the series, the characters and the Digimons grow and become stronger. They find ways to be better through the bonds of their friendship. 

The character design is really interesting. All of the characters have very different outfit designs that match their personalities. The Digimon themselves also have very interesting designs. They are based on different animals or plants. The animators did a wonderful job on giving every character a different look that works well with the story line. The music also adds to the story. It has an overall happy feeling, as this show was geared more toward younger audiences, but also gave depth to different scenes. 

Digimon: Digital Monsters is an anime that I loved to watch as a kid. I would highly recommend it. The story lines were well written. The characters were multidimensional and multifaceted. It is a great anime for kids. I hope you will give it a try.

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Games Created by Women: Mystery House

mystery house Some of the best inspiration for games can come from outside sources. Sometimes it is murder mysteries. Imagine a game where you are simply trying to get out of a house with some jewels but instead you start finding bodies instead.

Well that is the very basic plot for the game Mystery House.  This is an early video game whose concept was created by none other then Roberta Williams. Together she and her husband created what is now known as Sierra Online. Roberta decided to work on creating her own graphic adventure game. That game became the first ever graphic adventure game. It had six parts in total that were released from 1980-1982. roberta williams

The first game in the series is called Mystery House. When the player ends up trapped in an abandoned Victorian mansion is when the fun really starts. The player then starts to explore the mansion in a quest to find some jewels. What they find instead are other people who are staff there. Then people start dying. By using typing commands the player advances in this murder mystery game. Kind of like Clue but with earlier computer graphics. 

In comparison to today’s games the graphics are not much to write home about. However I think this game needs to be looked at with the knowledge of its time period. It was revolutionary for when it was made and we won’t have the game we have today without it. Because of that I think we can give it a pass from the judgement of music and graphics. The concept itself is great. There is a story behind the game with your objectives which makes it fun. 

Mystery House is an extraordinary game just in the fact that it was made. Not only by a woman mind you, but by an early indie company. This was a company that a married couple started together. Together they created a space for the kind of continent that they wanted to make. By doing so a space for Roberta and other female creators has been carved into the world of gaming. 

So thank you to Mystery House for being the first of its kind. Thankfully now we have many kinds of games and creators because of the work put into this game. 

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Review: Little Witch Academia (2017)

little witch

Sometimes you need an anime that is a little bit more innocent. One might even say that it has a more childlike vibe. Where the music, animation and the story is just a little bit lighter. 

Yoh Yoshinari created a manga called Little Witch Academia that became a fan favorite in 2013. This, like with so many other animes, was able to help the story be told through a different medium. Little Witch Academia has been able to evolve into an anime. The show made its debut in January of 2017. Megumi Han and Erica Mendez are the voice actresses that help bring the protagonist to life.  

When she was a little girl, Akko Kagari saw a witch named Shiny Chariot perform at a magical show. Chariot inspired her to become a witch herself so that she could do magic and bring others joy. Akko is accepted into a prestigious girls magic school called Luna Nova Academy. It won’t be easy, though. Akko is the only girl who doesn’t come from a magical family. Also, it turns out that magic is, well, difficult. However, with her new friends, her can do attitude, and inspiration from her role model, Akko is sure she can become a witch. 

The animation is really interesting for Little Witch Academia. It is a mix of a few styles that give the anime its own look. The character designs are well done, particularly how the animators have tweaked the uniforms for each student. The music is fun and helps to set the mood for different scenes. The sets, particularly for the Academy, are really beautifully animated. The overall look of the anime is really well done. It easily gives the viewers a peek into a world where magic lives in the midst of the “real world.”

I enjoyed Little Witch Academia. I think it has a fun and fanciful feel. It also shows the power of sticking to your dreams. This anime also tells a story about how one action inspires one child to become something more, and how it gives them the courage to continue through adversary. I would recommend it to everyone. 

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