Might and Magic 7 Beta: Comparisons

heroes

Heroes of Might and Magic was a pretty big series for me. Not only did I play it a lot, but I used to write fanfiction on it. Yeah. I went there. The one I remember the most of was a story based on these two heroes, but called Catriona and Rasha. I don’t quite remember the plot, something about two mortal enemies working together, and then Rasha gets revived into a human again. I REALLY loved this game.

~

I got access to the latest beta build through EB Games Australia (@ebgamesAus), and thought this would be a good time to see how the game has changed from the late 90’s (HoMM3 was released 1999, with two expansions in 1999 and 2000). This is the second of a short series of posts on Heroes, my history playing it, the evolution of the game itself (from the perspective of someone who hasn’t played the last 3 adaptations of it), comparisons, and how the game itself plays (in beta). Missed part one? Here it is!

If there are any errors in this post, my bad! It has been a long time since I played, and I haven’t even touched 4, 5, or 6. I did make an effort to research things, but feel free to comment where I went wrong!

Continue reading Might and Magic 7 Beta: Comparisons

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Might and Magic Heroes 7 Beta: Series background

11911838_10206390180747292_1751115302_nI loved strategy games when I was a teen, and one of my favourites was Heroes of Might and Magic. As with almost every other game, my interest waned as The Sims and then World of Warcraft came out (yes, I know, I have SO MANY cool games to catch up on! I’m trying). Most of my time with the HoMM series was in the second and third incarnations.

I got access to the latest beta build through EB Games Australia (@ebgamesAus), and thought this would be a good time to see how the game has changed from the late 90’s (HoMM3 was released 1999, with two expansions in 1999 and 2000). This is the first of a short series of posts on Heroes, my history playing it, the evolution of the game itself (from the perspective of someone who hasn’t played the last 3 adaptations of it), comparisons, and how the game itself plays (in beta).

If there are any errors in this post, my bad! It has been a long time since I played, and I haven’t even touched 4, 5, or 6. I did make an effort to research things, but feel free to comment where I went wrong!

Continue reading Might and Magic Heroes 7 Beta: Series background

Agents, avatars, bodies and evolution, OH MY!

For the current expansion of World of Warcraft, Warlords of Draenor, the dev team decided that the character graphics needed a bit of an upgrade. There had been a lot of innovation and progression in graphics in the past ten years since WoW originally hit the shelves. They took on this incredibly daunting task with one idea in mind, to keep the “spirit” of the original:

With the revamp, we’re completely overhauling every aspect of the player models, but our goal is to do so while retaining the core look and feel that has always made them your character. We’ll feel like we’ve succeeded if you see the updated version of your character and it still feels like you’re looking at the character you’ve been playing for the past however many years—only someone has finally focused a lens. ~ Chris Robinson, Artcraft – A First Look

Now I was hugely invested in this change. I take so long to decide on a look for my avatar, not to mention the time invested in her (them – I’m an altoholic), their transmog, their general attitude and what titles and non-combat pets suit them best (no, I’m not on a roleplay server 😛 yes, I still consider all this anyway). For some classes, even their spec is taken into consideration when deciding on these things. leia

My Frost/Arcane mage in her Leia outfit … not sold on the staff mog or the belt, but when I get time to play I’ll look at getting more matchy ones!

Continue reading Agents, avatars, bodies and evolution, OH MY!

Tom and Nyssa Talk Zombies (with @Cacotopos and @VintageZombie)

<< Nyssa: As one does, I talk about zombies a lot on twitter. My mate Tom & I got into a discussion recently and we thought we’d explore the issue further! Click on the link above for more details as we explore their agency (or not), their biology, their powers and what actually makes a zombie film!  >>

Dark Sylvan Ungulate

When I talk zombies online, I inevitably talk zombies with my Twitter pal Nyssa Harkness, who is writing (and apparently finishing it before she dies) a Masters thesis on zombies in literature and film.

OY!

Oh hey! Today Nyssa joins me to talk about zombies in film and literature! I’ve marked my text in black and hers in indented, bloody red. I hope it’s enough!

Also I’d like to thank Gary Kemble for the banner picture – that’s from Brisbane Zombiewalk 2011, with me and my son there on the right! I think I zombie-kidnapped him.

I’m not really a zombie expert in terms of having watched every classic zombie movie, but it seems from our discussions that I have at least some contribution to make in this area, specifically by throwing a sabot into the finely tuned semantic engines used to frame a discussion on zombies.

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The Changing Face of the Monster

Over some mocha this morning I was thinking (coffee required for brain function). Everyone blames Twilight for dumbing down the vampire. People right out despise Twilight for changing vampires. They’re supposed to be monsters, people cry out in rage, not lovers! As my focus is also on a monster-turned-romantic-interest, Twilight has some sort of weird interest for me. I don’t particularly like it, I think Bella is weak and the writing not great – but there’s a part of me that knows that if I’d read it as a teenager (probably <15; maybe what would be considered a tween now), I would have loved it.vampires

Vampires had already completely saturated mainstream culture before Twilight. They were domesticated by their commodification. Fred Botting discusses this: the vampire is now a familiar and consumable figure. His references for this go much earlier than Twilight, with Dracula as a superhero in 1962 and the amusing Count Duckula, but especially Anne Rice (he doesn’t specifically mention Twilight in this section, although this book was published three years afterwards, but I haven’t finished reading it all yet!). This has created a new site of identification for the vampire.

“Vampires cease to be threats to individual and social identity and curiously give shape to the unformed mass of desires, cravings and appetites called the consumer” (Botting 41)

So the vampire loses its weirdness.  This sort of goes against a lot of monster theory. The vampire is no longer uncanny – something that was once familiar and has since become repressed (Freudian theory). True Otherness is a return of the repressed. Foucault argued “What makes a human monster a monster is not just its exceptionality relative to the species form … the human monster combines the impossible and the forbidden” (Foucault in Levina and Bui, 5). For Derrida, a monster is something that is unknown, abnormal, it frightens because there is no anticipating it. Once it is known, once the monster is seen as a monster, “one begins to domesticate it” (Derrida in Levina and Bui, 6). In Twilight Edward says vampires could have evolved side-by-side with humans – Darwinian evolution rather than supernatural presence.

“The vampire is warmly embraced, included, naturalised, humanised in an appropriative liberal gesture that is scarcely tenable given the vampire’s historical construction as that which is both most proximate and alien to human identity”(Botting 41)

We know what vampires and zombies are now. We know their weaknesses, we know their  strengths. What is left to explore? As Hildebrand-Burke demonstrates in his post on modern horror, we seem to stick to the past view of monsters rather than looking to the future. Why can’t we create new monsters? Why stick to the 19th century imagery of what a vampire is, or the 1970s-80s version of what a zombie is? Fear comes from change, from what is unknown. Nina Auerbach proposes “every age embraces the vampire it needs” (although embrace might be a bit strong. Every age CREATES the vampire it needs?).

Although Twilight and the books I’m looking at are romances or contain romantic elements (romances = romance is the main plot & must have a happy ending. Romantic elements = romance is supplementary to the story), they change the monster and yet are reviled for it. Most modern vampires laugh at the suggestion that a Christian Cross or garlic can stop them. Is this not making the familiar monster unfamiliar again? They are changing the rules of the game and disturbing the knowledge that makes us safe. Why do we even want to restrict this change?zombies

Recommended Reading

  • Where are all the Monster Books? by Craig Hildebrand-Burke
  • Guide to writing modern horror by Craig Hildebrand-Burke
  • The Limits of Horror by Fred Botting
  • Monster Culture in the 21st Century edited by Marina Levina and Diem My Bui (check the Introduction by the editors, and Domesticating the Monstrous in a Globalizing World chapter by Carolyn Harford)
  • Blood Read: The Vampire as Metaphor in Contemporary Culture edited by Joan Gordon and Veronica Hollinger
  • The Living Dead: A study of the Vampire in Romantic Literature by James B Twitchell
  • The Real Twilight: True stories of Modern Day Vampires by Arlene Russo
  • A Taste of True Blood: The Fangbangers Guide edited by Leah Wilson
  • The Changing Vampire of Film and Television: A critical study of the growth of a genre by Tim Kane

*Images from the Sims 3: Supernatural promotional material