Saturday, March 23, 2024

Castle in a jungle?

Today one of my students said that when he tried to imagine where I live he pictured "a castle in a jungle" to which another student responded thoughtfully, "I can see that." Then, in a completely separate instance, a different student said, with a big grin on her face, "I like you, Mr. Adler, but you're evil." Naturally riddles had been the topic of that second conversation.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

I have started Prophecy, book two of Elizabeth Haydon's Symphony of Ages

I have started Prophecy, book two of Elizabeth Haydon's Symphony of Ages.
"Three shall come, leaving early, arriving late. The lifestages of all men: Child of Blood, Child of Earth, Child of Sky." So speaks the Prophecy of the Three, but there are three other prophecies all of which speak of trouble. Cryptically, of course. Thus the questions are: Can two soulmates find a Dragon's lair on this side of Time? Can the Assassin-king and Sergeant-Major find the F'dor demon who threatens all? Can Time be successfully edited to save the world from flames? Let the harmony continue.

Monday, March 11, 2024

I just finished Rhapsody, book one of Elizabeth Haydon's Symphony of Ages

I just finished Rhapsody, book one of Elizabeth Haydon's Symphony of Ages.

Three left early and arrived late, according to prophecy, across Time itself up into a world riven by the unfamiliar, and an unfamiliar history, yet threatened by a familiar foe born out of primal flames. Truly in all my vast reading this is one of the most unique – in plot, characters, and world – I have ever come across! For the two who met and loved on the other side of Time have, souls ravaged by it, met again. But who truly is Meridion the Time Editor?

Saturday, March 9, 2024

My father and I just finished Mysteries of Thorn Manor by Margaret Rogerson

My father and I just finished Mysteries of Thorn Manor by Margaret Rogerson.

A novella that is in effect an extended epilogue to Sorcery of Thorns, it is like few things we have ever read. Romance-driven wards that cause cyclones, a great great aunt's homicidal knickers and evil pajamas, dance lessons with a demonic servant, and three impossible tasks that include non-lethal breakfast in bed. Elisabeth, Nathaniel, Silas and now Mercy certainly know how to get themselves in odd situations and this book put the novel in novella beyond all doubt. Twas a delight seeing them all again!

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Golden Sun on Nintendo Switch!

It may not be the remakes of the originals or sequel to Dark Dawn, but this is the next best thing, for now the Game Boy Advance games Golden Sun and Golden Sun: The Lost Age are making their debuts on the Nintendo Switch system, available for everyone with a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack membership.

The Golden Sun series is, in my mind, the pinnacle of handheld RPG games, and not only because it was the first I ever played. Indeed, the game has a very special place in my heart and memories. When I was little I loved watching my older cousin playing video games as a rule, but my earliest recollections of such is of Golden Sun. We were all staying at our maternal grandparents house and he was always the first one up, and often I was the second; so I would tiptoe through that silent house, downstairs, through the dining room and kitchen to the Family Room where he would invariably be sitting with a Gameboy Advance in hand. I was lucky, for I joined him playing through the first dungeon, Sol Sanctum, and when I asked were he was he said "the Temple of the Sun," which is what I called the game for years afterwards. But even then, knowing next to nothing about the game, I was invested in it, for Kraden was my favorite character and him getting kidnapped mightily offended my young mind. I also loved watching him (my cousin) find and use the various Djinn and their Summons.

Eventually I was gifted the games and, with the Prima Official Strategy Guide in hand, I began playing myself. And fell in love. There is no other way to describe it, for the story was so utterly unique, personable, and gripping, all coupled and augmented by a brilliant role-playing-based battle system and puzzles which so inventive, brilliant and complex that even with the strategy guide I stumbled, occasionally having to ask my parents for help. Ask my mother about Air's Rock in Golden Sun: The Lost Age and she will remember how it took all we had not to get lost. Frankly, I could go on and on, for even now, with many and more games under my belt, I still rank Golden Sun as the crown jewel. I laughed and cried with the characters, for it was like a favorite book that just kept getting better and, to this day and despite never having played through it again, I still remember all characters' names and most of the conversations. I will not breathe a word more about the storyline, though, so as not to rob others of the chance to enter into the world of Weyard as I did, free of foreknowledge and ready for an epic adventure.

And yet, after two phenomenal games, no new ones came out until I was in high school - Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, which follows the children of the original heroes and was a solid game in its own right. But no new Golden Sun titles have come out since. Frankly, I still do not understand why nearly a decade passed between the first two games and Dark Dawn, much less why Nintendo has seemingly dropped the ball so completely since, because if we accept as true the aphorism that it is folly to change a winning game then it is doubly so for stopping one. Golden Sun still has a large and devoted fandom, and we want to see our dear friends again (and finally get a chance to fight Alex.)

Hence I take the release of the originals on Nintendo Switch as a sign of hope that, at long last, attention is finally being given to this greatest of games. That if enough new people play and love it then a sequel (and/or remakes) will finally come out.

Monday, March 4, 2024

Quote of the month

"You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope." - Thomas Merton