Star Wars Saturday : Favorite Video Games

After David’s post about the franchise’s video games last weekend, I thought it made for the perfect opportunity for a Favorite Video Games Star Wars Saturday! With the large choice we have, I thought it would be difficult to pinpoint favorites. Against all odds, I came up with mine more easily than I had expected! Of course, the fact I only play RPG types of Star Wars games helped, just as naming series of games rather than individual titles did!

Source: Wookieepedia.

Source: Wookieepedia.

Dark Forces / Jedi Knight Series

These games aren’t young anymore but I still like them a lot. I played them as they were released and had a great time with each new title. Dark Forces was basic in visuals but I spent hours shooting things on it. The live-action cinematics of Jedi Knight were epic and Jan Ors is still a favorite female character of mine. I remember being so excited about the Mysteries of the Sith companion game, which featured Mara Jade. I was happy to have family in the US who could bring it to me as a gift when visiting, as finding it in France wasn’t an option at the time. I recently played Jedi Academy again and the experience was still good. I need to go back to Jedi Outcast because I don’t remember much about it!

Source: technologytell.com

Source: technologytell.com

Knights of the Old Republic Series

KOTOR I and II were my introduction to Bioware games and my love for them has never diminished since then. I love the Bioware Star Wars games as much as the Dragon Age and Mass Effect franchises! KOTOR I was my first ‘big’ RPG game, I think. When I can play a female character, I always do, which means that in my mind, Revan is a woman. So, the canon male Revan isn’t the only one existing in my head. The first time I played KOTOR II, I wasn’t so sold on it compared to the first one. When I played it for the second time last winter (years after my first round), I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

Source: swtor.com

Source: swtor.com

Star Wars: The Old Republic

I never got into any MMORPG before SWTOR, even though I tried WoW. This type of game wasn’t to my taste. Then, I got sucked into SWTOR since the original early access. I have never regretted it. So far, I have finished the original game with all eight classes and enjoyed every story. I am in the process of experiencing the two first expansions on the imperial side (as I finished them with my Jedi Knight). I love the game’s narratives and the character development you can have. There are aspects I am not familiar with (I never did an Operation) or not interested in (Space Battles and Starfighter) but many others I enjoy a lot besides the main game, like PvP Warzones or the amazing new feature the Solo Flashpoints are!

What about you? What are your favorite Star Wars Video Games?

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Star Wars Saturday: Favorite Starships

Star Wars is a huge fictional universe. Picking just one thing to talk about can be a challenge. When talking about writing semi-regular Star Wars contributions for Sourcerer, I wasn’t sure which approach to take. Then, I decided to talk about favorites! To kick start this, let’s talk about starships! Which ones are your favorites? I always have a hard time picking just one or two choices when asked such questions, so if you have five favorites or so, no problem! You will see I often name between three and five names for these features.

Here are mine:

Source: Wookieepedia.

Source: Wookieepedia.

Millennium Falcon

Of course, I had to start with my beloved Falcon! I have loved it since I was first introduced to the Original Trilogy when a kid. A Millennium Falcon toy was even my first Star Wars merchandise piece!

Source: Wookieepedia.

Source: Wookieepedia.

Imperial Star Destroyer

I have always loved their design. I often picture them when I hear the Imperial March. I prefer their sleeker design to their Venator Star Destroyer ancestors’.

Nabooyacht-NEGVV

H-type Nubian yacht

This one is my favorite Prequel Era ship. It suits the Naboo style so well. I find it one of the most elegant starships in the Star Wars universe.

EbonhawkSW

Ebon Hawk

While I enjoy several ships in SW:TOR and other Star Wars video games, the Ebon Hawk from Knights of the Old Republic I and II has won my heart years ago.

Ghost

The Ghost

Star Wars: Rebels hooked me more than I had expected. Beside the characters and the stories, I found the Ghost to be a great smuggling type of aircraft. It goes hand in hand with my liking of the Millennium Falcon and the Ebon Hawk.

Most of these ships are associated with characters who mean a lot to me, like Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, Hera Syndulla and Padmé Amidala.

What about you? Which Star Wars spaceships are your favorites?

Thursday Thirteen: Fictional Places I’d Like to Visit

I am feeling the need to do a substanial written post, but also to lighten it up a bit around here. Since Diana did an awesome Thursday Thirteen of fictional places she’d like to visit last week, let me just get in on that fun. I’ve read her list, but I’m pretending I didn’t long enough to make one of my own. There will be some overlap.

1. Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Specifically, I would like to tour cities and strongholds of the First Age. Nargothrond. Gondolin. Menegroth. Nogrod and Belegost. These are fictional place names that give me the shivers and make my imagination run entirely amok. And there are more of them.

gallifrey

Gallifrey

2. Gallifrey. Because it’s Gallifrey.

3. The Dreaming, the realm of Morpheus, formally known as Dream of the Endless, from Gaiman’s Sandman series. You knew this had to be here, right? The Library of Dream is a point of particular interest, because it contains every book that was never written (a whole section of novels the authors finished only in their dreams, for instance).

4. Carroll’s Wonderland. I know the story, but haven’t actually read the book. This one is too good to pass up on the strength of adaptations alone, though. If I had 13 wishes and could only use them to visit fictional places, I’d have to use one of them to have a chat with a certain caterpillar.

tasselhof

Kender hero Tasslehoff Burrfoot

5. Krynn, the setting of the Dragonlance series. The halflings of that world, called Kender, are too interesting to not meet.

6. Amber and the Courts of Chaos from Zelazny’s two Chronicles of Amber series. I could be cheating here because that’s two places. Or maybe not. Maybe they are more like sides of a coin, since they are the only two really real worlds, and all other realities are reflections of them.

7. The Emerald City. How could I pass on the Emerald City?

8. Never-Never Land. In the same category as #s 1, 4, and 7. It was impossible to think up a ninth one until I put this one is on the list.

9. Jasper Fforde’s BookWorld. This is a meta-world (for lack of a better term) in which characters and places from books are real, and the putting-together of literature is an industry. There are literary police, of course. And a detective from the “real” world, a bemusing dystopia in which time travel and cloning are well developed, and cheese is so expensive people smuggle it.

ankhmorpork

Ankh-Morpork

10. The Great City of Ankh-Morpork from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.

11. Kashyyyk, also known as Wookie Planet C. And Bespin, the Cloud City from The Empire Strikes Back (still my all-time favorite). I’m cheating again, but I figure if I can tour the cities of Middle Earth, I can take a hyperspace jaunt around the Star Wars galaxy. Oh. Coruscant, too. I’d have to see Coruscant.

12. The planets Vulcan and Romulus with a layover at Deep Space Nine. I love Star Trek and Star Wars  differently, but equally. They each get three places on the list.

13. Arrakis from Dune. This one wins out over both Westeros and Narnia because “He who controls the spice controls the universe,” and we all know what a megalomaniac I am.

The Thursday Thirteen: Horror Films

Gene’O and I have switched off for the day—he’s writing about Tolkien in a special Thursday Thirteen at the Monster, and I’m writing here. As I sat here prepping for my comprehensive exams this weekend (and by prepping, I mean trying not to hyperventilate and eating Halloween Oreos), I thought to myself (prompted by said Oreos) “oh, it’s October, and this little monster hasn’t talked about horror films yet.” So that’s what I’m going to do today.

I’ve mentioned before that I like gory TV shows and all-things-zombie. And, naturally, I have an affinity for all manner of creatures and monsters. I also don’t mind being scared, especially if I can be scared in my own home, and especially if it’s October, which Sam and I have officially designated as a month of horror films. Below, I give you some of my personal favorites for the month.

1. Insidious, 2010.

I love haunted house stories, and I’ve watched this one with more, not less, horror each time I’ve seen it. The film maintains an excellent balance of newer film techniques with tried-and-true horror film staples. Plus, this creature that a friend and I isolated in the trailer still freaks me out, almost 5 years later.

Yeah, that thing. Night. Mare.

Yeah, that thing. Night. Mare.

2. 28 Days Later, 2002.

Danny Boyle’s post-apocalyptic world of contagion is fantastic. It does what the best horror movies do in that it provides us with a scapegoat to be afraid of (the virus, and those fast zombies) and then reminds us that what we should really be afraid of is humanity.

3. The Exorcist, 1973.

I was in college when I watched this for the first time, and I was absolutely frightened by it. The feeling lingered for a while, a few hours after the film was over. The re-watches don’t scare me as much, but it’s still a chilling film—superbly scripted and acted, with that spider-walk on the stairs still being one of the creepiest things I’ve seen on film.

4. Let the Right One In, 2008.

I’ve seen both this original, Swedish version and the American remake, Let Me In. And it was honestly a little difficult to decide which version to choose for the list. Each version is an adaptation of a vampire novel, and each has its own merits. The Swedish version ultimately topped out for me because of its careful timing and fantastic use of long, slow shorts and sparse dialogue to create tension.

5. The Cabin in the Woods, 2012.

This film surprised me, it really did. But then again, with Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard at its helm and Kristen Connolly as its heroine, I suppose it shouldn’t have been surprised at the heady mix of cheekiness and gore. Not content just to subvert our expectations of the genre—it twists and rearranges them.

6. The Shining, 1980.

Jack Torrence is one of the scariest characters I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch on-screen, but at least 7/10’s of that is due to the performances put in by Jack Nicholson and Shelley Long. I’ve been watching this film since I was probably-too-young-to-watch-it, and I’m pretty sure that those twins in the hallway are the origin of my fear of kids-in-horror-movies.

Thosetwins

Those twins. Those. Twins. *shudder*

7. Zombieland, 2009.

A zombie film with Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, and Jesse Eisenberg? And they run into Bill Murray, you say? Sign me up. The film manages to be, at its heart, a zombie film, and while the characters are fun in a way that they rarely are during the zombie apocalypse, there are moments of tension, fear, and pop culture critique.

8. The Conjuring, 2013.

Another recent film, The Conjuring tells the story of the Warrens, American paranormal investigators, as they conduct an investigation and exorcism at the Perron family home. Using old-school scare tactics and striking cinematography, the new film manages a refreshing, cerebral take on the horror tropes of the investigator and the haunted house.

9. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, 1962.

Fantastically creepy, the aging sisters of Baby Jane are a stark reminder of the jealousy and animosity that can sit beside us, of the things we hide from ourselves and those closest to us. Bette Davis and Joan Crawford are fantastic mirrors for one another.

10. Halloween, 1978.

Difficult to make a horror film list, especially in October, without mentioning this one. Mike Meyers has haunted our dreams for 36 years now, and he shows no signs of stopping. From the moment he stabs his sister to the film’s final act, Meyers is terrifying and mesmerizing.

meyers

Yikes!

11. Frailty, 2001.

Matthew McConaughey walks into a police station and claims to know who the God’s Hand Killer is, a terrifying serial killer who is revealed, through flashbacks, to be McConaughey’s father (Bill Paxton, in his directorial debut), an ultra-religious man who wakes up his two sons one night to instruct them on how to dispatch demons. The film is twisty-turny, and it’s a woefully underrated piece of suspense horror.

12. Psycho, 1960.

The king of horror films, Psycho still manages to be scary, over 50 years after its release. Norman Bates is a character of horrifying beauty.

13. Alyce Kills, 2011.

This is a new one for me, as I watched it for the first time last week. It has a bit of a sagging middle, but the opening act and the final act are fantastic. It’s plenty gory, though most of the gore is contained in the last 20 minutes of the film, and it’s also darkly funny and painful to watch Alyce, whose friends have missed all signs that she’s a budding psychopath, come completely unglued because of her guilt over a friend’s accidental death.

Alyce

Let me know what would make your list, and hop over to Part Time Monster and see Gene’O’s Thursday Thirteen over there!