#SUMMERSTUFF: A series of lists by Entropy Editors on books, video games, comics, movies, albums, art shows, places, concerts, etc that they are excited about for summer.
So this summer, I’m mostly playing catch-up. I literally have a stack this high (imagine me gesturing to suggest a very tall stack) of books and games that are either unfinished or totally unstarted, many of them from a year ago or more. If I can get through even one of those this summer, I’ll consider my time well spent. They include:
Girl with Ears and Demon with Limp by Edward J. Rathke
The author was doing a promotion where he gave away a copy of this novella with purchase of his newest novel, Twilight of the Wolves. I get an intense ICO vibe from the cover art and plot synopsis, crossed with Borgesian/Perecian infinitude.
S. by Doug Dorst
Conceived by J.J. Abrams, this is a book that is simultaneously a prop, an artifact of its own telling, as predicted by Borges’ Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius. It is a narrative that plays out among scrawled notes in the margins and keepsakes inserted between the pages of a library book.
The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson
A quasi-historical pseudo-scientific epic following the lives of Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, and a prequel to Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon. Massive.
I’ve not hopped on-board with the newest console generation yet, mainly because of this list of unfinished business from the past few years.
Dark Souls (PS3)
One of the most fully realized digital worlds I’ve come across, including a mythology that cribs from the same sources as Tolkien but goes in a completely different direction. Set in a universe in which everything is unquestionably horrible. I participated in the beta for the recently released sequel, which looks terrifically fantastic. Last I checked, I was repeatedly being burned alive by some kind of fire demon.
Mass Effect 3 (PS3)
If nothing else, I need to experience whether the ending is as hideous as popular opinion suggests, but this series is also one of the high points of video game writing, with a particular focus on characters over plot points (though the plot does exist). I just watched one of my favorite characters happily sing his way to his death.
Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)
From the creators of the much-lauded Xenogears and Xenosaga, known for cramming the maximum philosophy, theology and psychology into a JRPG storyline. This one seems to center on Leibnizian monadology, represented in-game by a focus on intercharacter relationships, both in gameplay and story. I was about to do some reverse swan-dive from a lake located in the head of a colossal creature.
There are a couple of campaign-oriented games I’d like to devote some time to.
Flash Point: Fire Rescue
My most recent board game acquisition, this cooperative game does an amazing job of conveying its theme (apparent from the title) through mechanics as you chop through walls, watch smoke-filled rooms erupt into flame, and drag victims to safety before the building collapses. Accessible to non-gamer but addictive even for people like myself.
Mice and Mystics
A massively story-driven game set in the world of a child’s bedtime story, in which the players are mice with tiny swords and button shields carrying out Redwall-esque adventures on a tiny scale. Amazing presentation, somewhat iffy mechanics; I’ll need to devote myself completely to it to see how the story plays out.
Another cooperative game with a story-driven campaign, although the writing doesn’t hold a candle to M&M’s. A tribute to 80s and 90s pop scifi and action classics. Later this month, there will be a Kickstarter campaign for the first 2 large expansions, which are looking as ridiculously awesome as they will be ridiculously overpriced (at MSRP of $70 a piece).
Oh, hey! I’m also excited for the new Murakami.