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Netflix’s Witcher: A Review

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Well done high fantasy is such a wonderful story to enjoy. The mixing of myth, history and modern forms of storytelling can be difficult to get right. However when it is mixed properly it is truly fantastic.  

Witcher began its story in novel form. Written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski and translated by Danusia Stok the first novel in the series was a hit. Since then the series has grown, much to the delight of fans. The story continued to evolve in the form of video games. This different format brought new fans to The Witcher franchise. With multiple books and games there were many who wanted to see the story evolve even further. In 2019 Netflix released a dramatized version of the series to stream on it’s platform. 

Geralt is a witcher. After being mutated by magic at a young age now he travels to kill monsters for coin. His world is one of magic and uncertainty. Wars between men, elves and other things are waging. As Geralt travels he finds possible comrades. He also ends up on crazy adventures, the effects of which ripple through the kingdoms for years. In the Netflix series viewers also get to see many different stories play out that will connect to Geralt.

These stories give us rich characters. Some are just beginning their journeys while others are at the end of theirs. These characters are interesting all on their own. They not only enrich the story but make it more fun, no matter what side they are on. 

The story is interestingly told in the series. From all the source material to choose from a rich tale is woven for fans. The characters are just as multifaceted. The soundtrack is amazing, yes particularly that one song. The one that is still stuck in our heads. The costumes and prosthetic pieces are magical in and of themselves. The sets are phenomenal. 

So much work went into bringing this story to life.  The writing is a love letter to high fantasy itself. One of the shining accomplishments is how the female characters are treated. They are so richly created. They are so diverse and real. Truly the work put into the characters of this show are what I wish every fantasy show would be bold enough to do. 

Yes I highly recommend Witcher. This lowly bard will sing its praises to all who want to talk about it. If you haven’t seen the show yet do yourself a favor and watch it now. 

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!

Review: Magic Knight Rayearth (anime)

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magic knight rayearth

Sometimes love of an anime can come just from the tropes it uses and how well they are executed. Some of my favorite animes are the ones where there is a perfect storm of a great trope married with a well done story. This anime has multiple great tropes, not to mention a wonderful story!

In 1994 The first episode of Magic Knight Rayearth aired. The show was based on a manga that had become very popular. The show would later air in America during the early 2000s due to an increased interest in anime. That is a time when most American audiences fell in love with three girls who are transported from their world to save a princess.

Magic Knight Rayearth is a story about a kingdom in peril. The princess has been abducted and drastic measures must be taken to save her. Three girls from Earth are chosen and transported to this brand new world. They are given weapons, abilities and technology to help them in their quest. They will become so much more than they ever thought they could be.

The character design is really interesting. While the drawing style is similar to that which was really popular at that time the animators put their own spin on certain facial features such as eyes. The animators also switch between regular animation and sometimes using a Chibi design of the characters which made the show even more fun. The soundtrack is really well done, particularly the opening song. The characters are interesting. You want them to succeed in their mission. The story was also interesting because it blended the “magical girl” trope and also gave them mechanical tools to use and fight. Finally a show were girls got to do both, my friends and I ate it up.

I would highly recommend Magic Knight Rayearth. The show is fun. It has a great story. Interesting characters. Really it is just a solid anime.

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ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Games Created by Women: Uncharted

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UnchartedIn a world were so many of us grew up with the Indiana Jones movies it is no wonder that so many people want to search for hidden treasures. To travel the world to gain that next artifact armed with a certain skill set and a lot of wit. Surely nothing bad would ever happen, especially nothing with lasting consequences.  

The first three games in the Uncharted series were created by Amy Hennig. The first installment was released in time for the holiday season of 2007. Uncharted utilizes a third person style of gameplay. It is an action filled game that fans have been enjoying for years. Uncharted is a key title for PlayStation and has been developed by Naughty Dog.

uncharted 2 Uncharted is also just a fun game to play. The protagonist is a man named Nathan Drake. Nathan is joined by reporter, Elena Fisher and his mentor Victor Sullivan. Together the team is trying to find the possibly mythical treasure of El Dorado. They face many challenges along the way that help to make the gameplay interesting.

Uncharted is a lovely game from a visual perspective. A lot of work went into designing the game and it shows. In some ways the game has a feel that is more like a feature film then a game. The characters are well designed. The voice acting is well done as well. Overall the game is an immersive experience that has left the gaming community continuing to ask for more.

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Amy Henning and the rest of the team from Naughty Dog made sure that a great world was provided for players. They have been able to continue to build off of that world. Different characters have been able to take on larger roles and the games have been able to evolve. Really though so long as audiences want to search for lost treasures the Uncharted games will continue to deliver a world for gamers to play in. So happy treasure hunting and gaming!

You can follow Amy on her personal Twitter here.

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ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Town of Salem

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Blank Media Games
PC/Mac

I’ve had Town of Salem for awhile now. I bought it based on a suggestion from Noah of +2 Comedy, as we were talking about my love of Werewolf the board game. Both are similar to Mafia. If you don’t understand anything I just said, that’s fine. I’ll explain.


Town of Salem is a 15 player game. You and 14 other people form a town and you each have a role to play. Depending on what version of the game you play, you could be anything, but let’s talk about classic mode. 


In classic mode, you have the following good guys:
Sheriff (interrogating others to find out what they are)
Doctor (healing people)
Investigator (investigate for clues on a person’s role)
Jailor (interrogate and possibly kill a person)
Medium (can speak with the dead)
Escort (can block a person from doing their job)
Lookout (stalks people to figure out what they are)
Veteran/Vigilante (can kill people, hopefully for good)
Random Townie (can be anything)

Your bad guys are: 
Godfather (in charge of the mafia, orders the killing)
Framer (can plant evidence on other townies)
Executioner (whole job is to get one particular person lynched)
Mafioso (does the killing for the Godfather)
Serial Killer (kinda self explanatory)
Jester (tries very hard to get him/herself lynched)

I know that is a lot to take in, but that isn’t even half the roles in the game.

So, you 15 are in this town and have one of the above roles. You either have to kill all the good guys or kill all the bad guys, depending on which side of justice you’re on. During the day, you have to convince the other townspeople of your innocence and another’s guilt or lie through your teeth to get someone else killed. During the day the town votes on a person to lynch and at night murder and mayhem happen.

 

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In the game, you are given tools. You have a Will that you can use to keep track of what you’re doing. If you are a jailor or an investigator, you can use this tool to record what it is you see or hear. By doing this not only do you keep a track of what’s happening but also, if you die, this is made public to everyone. Your second tool, if you’re a bad guy, is a death note. This can be useful, even if you’re evil. If you are the mafia and find someone is immune to killing attacks at night, they are most likely the Serial Killer. You can put that in your note, hoping that the town pays attention when you kill your next innocent and hangs your rival.


Besides classic mode, there are several other play modes. My current favorite is Chaos Any mode. You have no idea what the roles are and anyone could be anything.

I think the graphics are adorable. You have little avatars and houses that you come out of each morning. With coins, or cash, you can change your avatar, house, pet, method of death (I get struck by lightning) and even the playing arena.

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I love playing this game. I bought it on Steam for $5 and it was some of the best money I ever spent. Despite my love for this game, however, I can’t stand most of the people who play. Unless I am playing with a group of friends, I get annoyed very quickly. It boils down to the maturity of the people playing, really, and most of the time it’s low. A great deal of the time, people will leave if they don’t like their role or if they die they will abandon the game, which pisses off the medium.


Fortunately, they seemed to put a cap on my biggest issue: the entire game would be filled with racist and sexist jokes. Thankfully, they put a filter on so it says something cute, like “tarnation,” when people are being douches. I’ve seen people get around it by adding spaces, but it is a step in the right direction. Of course, we are still left with people being idiots in game, so it makes it increasingly difficult to make proper deductions. This feels like one of the unfortunate things you will just have to deal with because, as we all know, playing online subjects you to all sorts of people.

If you don’t have this game, you should. You can play it for free at BlankMediaGames.com or you can purchase it on Steam. Feel free to add me to your friends list!

Banished Game Review

I recently purchased the game Banished from a Steam Sale and I was super excited because I love building/resource management games, even though they infuriate the hell outta me.

I’ve been playing on the easier levels and, even at easier levels, I had to restart at least 20 times before I had a working town that would survive more than the first few years.

Banished has no real story. As far as I can tell this game is about a group of people who’ve been banished to this land and have to rebuild/start over. You have trees to harvest, iron and stone to mine, herbs to gather for medicine and food to collect.
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Unfinished Business

m_diablo3_01I was having an interesting conversation with my husband the other night. I was looking at the games on sale for the Xbox One and asking him if he was interested in any of them. I noted that “Lego Marvel” was on sale for $5 – but he would rather spend that on the next episode of “Tales of the Borderlands” or “Game of Thrones” (which are two very impressive episode games, much like “The Walking Dead”). I also saw that “Diablo III” was on sale for $30, the collector’s edition.

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