Okay, okay, I know what I said. I know I told you guys I wouldn’t jump on the next-gen bandwagon so fast. I know how I wrote about my launch issues paranoia and the lack of titles, and I still support everything I said. However, when the opportunity to get one arose (and trust me, it’s pretty hard right now to get one in Europe without having to wait for a month), I grabbed my purse, threw some money at the console and am now the proud owner of a PS4, two controllers and two games. Well, am I really a proud owner? Well…
Americans, you have way too many holidays. To us Europeans, it feels like you just love to take every occassion to celebrate something, which I can really understand. One of your more respectable holidays occured two days ago: Martin Luther King Day. Reserving a day each year in remembrance of this great person is the least you can do, considering what he has contributed to the fight for racial equality. Martin Luther King turned the tide in an ideological battle, and paved the way for a better, less racist future. However, no matter how much this grand person has struggled, he will never take the only kind of racism that’s dear to me away: fictional racism.
Yesterday, I tweeted a link to a damn sweet collection of photo manips done by this talented Tumblrino. It reminded me once more how bad J.K. Rowling is at marketing the Potter franchise. Well, “bad” is a strong word. Let’s replace it with “extremely careful”. Though the typical merchandise and multimedia products are available, the Potterverse has never been the backdrop for something like a spin-off Saturday morning cartoon, a comic book series or something else that expands on the world presented in the books. While that is a good way for Rowling to protect her intellectual property from the mad ideas of other authors and marketeers, it is also a missed chance for a setting so rich like that of the Potter books.
Let’s just take a look at, for example, Star Wars. Over the years, the so-called “Expanded Universe” has deepened and enriched the franchise through comic books, novels and an animated TV show. “Enriched” is both negative and positive in this case: for every great character added to the pantheon of space heroes, a dozen plot holes popped up due to sloppy writing or contradictions with other storylines. This, of course, is the danger of such an expanded setting: once you give the reins to other authors, you don’t know what they will do to your creation. That must be a scary feeling, but one should also not forget that new people bring in new ideas.
I’m not saying the Potter franchise will die anytime soon, but I feel like the world of Hogwarts could use some fresh ideas. I mean, there’s a lot to work with, it just needs some fleshing out! How about a somewhat darker series of stories about Snape’s youth, where we see his lonely moments in Hogwarts, his initiation into the Death-Eaters and his torn psyche? Heck, we already know a lot about Snape, so why not pick something up that has only been mentioned passingly. Murf mentioned over on Twitter how a story about dragon-wrangling in Romania would be damn sweet. What’s a job like that like? How do you hide dragon hunts from mortal eyes? Who would take up such a job? It would be like Deadliest Catch, broadcasted in a pub in Diagon Alley!
As said, I can understand Rowling’s caution with handing over control of her universe to other writers, but I really feel she’s missing chances here. If a set of photo manips by a talented git from the Internet can get fans hyped about the possibilities of an alternate timeline, imagine what would happen when Rowling announces a mini-series about such a “what if”- scenario?
Trust me, even a Silencing Charm couldn’t calm the fandom then.
Ah, daily quests: the brave attempt of many MMO’s to hide an incentive to come back every day underneath a coat of in-game gold and distant rewards. Where some MMO’s (like Neverwinter and Warframe) just reward you for logging in every day, with growing rewards for consecutive days, many other online games find that a bit too simple. Those games beckon with series of daily tasks, waiting for your completion. Every day, the same people need your help with the same tasks, while your repetitive support makes them love you more, which they show by opening their collection of powerful items to you. Where game designers see an interesting scheme to call players back to their games every day, players often find boredom. A sad reality that should, and can be, alleviated.
Jewel over at Healing the Masses posted a great article about immersion in MMO’s, and that post alone is to blame for my sudden need to share my opinion on the topic of immersion. Immersion…the word alone sounds like it is a science in itself. Quite frankly, that is the case. Being capable of having someone utterly consumed by a world that is not real (at least not in most definitions of the word) is both a scientific and artistic feat, and that is probably why so much media fails at it. Still, I feel like the foundation for an immersive experience is not too complicated, and that’s why I want to share with you how any kind of videogame, TV show, movie or book can have me drown in the world it creates.
Netflix is the devil. I bet many of you have already jumped to that conclusion after wasting a weekend watching season after season of your favorite show, but I have come to this realization myself just know. How? By making the mistake to, once again, watch Buffy. After one episode, I was reminded of how much I love this show and before I knew, halfway through the first season.
You don’t even have to know much about the show in order to know that it features some strong female characters. After all, it’s named Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In fact, Buffy is filled with damsels who are not often in distress, and that is surely one of the reasons why it was such a big hit in the nineties and early 2000’s. My favorite of all these strong, independent women who don’t need saving every damn minute? Willow. Why? Because she’s the best example of how to do believable, yet strong female characters.
I have a confession to make: I hate playing through the same game twice. It’s a real shame, though. While my gaming friends can enjoy a single-player epic like Mass Effect several times, my thirst is sated after seeing the end credits once and then never again. It’s no surprise, I’m also one of those persons who doesn’t get people who like reading the same book multiple times or watching the same movie over and over again (well, I have my exceptions when it comes to flicks, but that’s another story). Yeah, that even goes for awesome books and movies like Harry Potter. Come on, how often can you turn to page 394?