Category Archives: ramblings
Beta Testing is so important for games. What might make sense to you as a designer could utterly fall apart once it’s in the hands of your gamers. The puzzles are either too vague or overly complex. The super expensive tech you centered your room on is too finicky or breaks entirely. The eight players you thought would be totally a perfect number end up having nothing to do.
What I have yet to see as part of the beta testing process of escape rooms is to test out the actual narrative. Does it make sense? Are players following it or ignoring it? Are they feeling emotions you intended for them to feel?
My experience lies in theatre. Any script that is written is usually workshopped by other writers and actors and combed over so extensively that the poor writer is left in a daze with mountains of feedback to sift through. However, it’s that feedback that allows them to make their story the best that it can be…maybe…if they are good.
So how do we apply narrative workshopping to escape rooms? To be honest, I am just theorizing at this point but hopefully the lessons I have taken from script workshopping can apply to escape rooms. Here we go! Read the rest of this entry
Disclaimer: I am not a professional counselor nor have I studied mental health issues. This blog is based on my own personal experience with anxiety. It is entirely subjective. If you happen to share my experience, that’s great! But please do not take this as objective advice.
Hallo all! Over the last few months I have been kept incredibly busy helping to do the narrative design for an large scale escape room on a train…
A moving train…
An escape room…
On a moving…train…
Needless to say, when the opportunity first came up Errol immediately pushed himself onto the project and I followed suit. We both love the mystery and romance of trains. The idea of being able to design an adventure on one was too good to pass up. Read the rest of this entry
In a very short while, American Gods will premiere.
When I saw the first look trailer, I was giddy. I continue to be giddy. American Gods was a book that changed my life in the best of ways.
Despite the giddiness, I know to temper my expectations. I know this is an adaptation. I know Bryan Fuller will bring his own interpretation of this epic story to the small screen. I know that changes will be made and I will try not to let that affect my own vision of adaptation. I will watch it and I will love it no matter what.
Except in one regard.
A few months ago it was announced that the character of Easter would be played by Kristen Chenoweth.
Kristen Chenoweth is talented. She oozes charisma. She has that southern US charm to win anyone over. In many ways, she is a good choice for Easter.
But she is not Easter. Not to me.
In the books Easter’s first appearance is described by the following:
“She was–not fat, no, far from fat: what she was, a word that Shadow had never had cause to use until now, was curvaceous. Her hair was so fair that it was white, the kind of platinum-blonde tresses that should have belonged to a long-dead movie starlet, her lips were painted crimson, and she looked to be somewhere between twenty-five and fifty.”
And then later on, she describes herself…
“New Orleans was such a mistake–I put on, what, thirty pounds there? I swear. I knew I had to leave when I started to waddle. The tops of my thighs rub together when I walk now, can you believe that?”
Maybe I read too much into it but Easter is a part of what made American Gods so important to me. She was confident and insecure all at the same time. She looked like me. She was a chubbier woman like myself. Unlike myself though, she was completely comfortable in who she was.
In my fantasies I imagined American Gods getting an adaptation dreamed of myself getting cast in the role of Easter. Even before I quit professional acting (which partly had to do with my inability to be a proper weight), I knew this was not a possibility. She had a natural confidence and sexiness that even at the pique of my acting career I had to fight to exude.
When I heard that American Gods would miraculously get the television adaptation so many of its fans desired, I imagined actresses like Christina Hendricks getting offered the role: shapely women who exuded confidence and charm.
Instead we got Kristen Chenoweth…full of the confidence and charm, sure, but very much a skinny woman in a skinny world that would always accept her and would never have trouble finding her place within it. I should not have been surprised. But I was. And I am saddened by it.
I wish it did not bother me so much. I wish I could shake it off and just let it go. But there she is. Skinny Kristen Chenoweth. Accepting a role meant for a shaplier woman while other actresses continue to scrounge for parts relegated to “chubby best friend/co-worker”.
I do not mean this as a sleight to Kristen Chenoweth. I adore her. I understand why she was chosen. Bryan Fuller worked with her before on Pushing Daisies. She is extremely talented. Nor am I mad at Bryan Fuller. It is not his job to appease every fan’s desires. It is his job to bring his own interpretation of Neil Gaiman’s words to the screen.
I am simply sad. As much as we say that every body shape is important and beautiful, there is still not much room for those body shapes to be represented in our media. It is changing, ever so slowly, but the big budget endeavors still play it very much safe when it comes to physical appearance on screen (apart from comedy perhaps).
In my eyes, Easter will always be a chubby (or curvaceous) woman who mattered. She had dimensions and a character arc. She knew who she was and she was never ashamed of that. She went for what she wanted. She made me feel better about who I was.
That is the Easter that I will remember and hold on to. I will of course still watch the miniseries and more than likely adore it. But my Easter remains in the books and she will continue to inspire me when I write. If anything good came from this, it is that small comfort.
I’ve been seeing lots of talk about the Red Bull Mindgamers tournament that happened recently. It’s sparked some interesting discussion but there’s one point in particular that seems to keep coming up that almost warrants its own post.
That point is the competition design did not really feel like an escape room. Either the puzzles were too cerebral or it did not feel immersive enough (To the viewers. According to the players, there was much more story there to follow) or there were too many task based puzzles or a myriad of other complaints. Read the rest of this entry
I have been to Casa Loma in Toronto twice now. Both of those visits were for escape rooms. One of those escape rooms just happened tonight.
This particular escape room, King of the Bootleggers, is set in the 1920’s during prohibition. You play a team of bootleggers looking to cash in on the lucrative business of forbidden alcohol. Being that the mafia is involved, there are of course obstacles in the way like snitches, guns and far too many bruised egos. Read the rest of this entry
Warning, the following contains extreme spoilers. It also is a very raw unedited piece of writing that probably could be better organized. But ah well.
So….let’s talk about that last episode of Doctor Who.
I have an issue.
Almost a year a go I decided to sign up for a Boot Camp. It was a desperate act, one spurred by my sister’s upcoming wedding in which I would be a bridesmaid. There were other reasons too such as wanting to kickstart a fitness regimen that would allow me to begin my quest to fit into that awesome dress from that very brief period in my life I was a size 10…glorious times indeed… Read the rest of this entry
The sporting world has always been a mysterious and somewhat terrifying world for me. I would love to say it’s because I was always a bookworm or a video game geek or a theatre geek…but then I don’t really live in a 1990’s sitcom. In reality I have many video game geek, theatre geek and bookworm friends who love to go to a huge stadium to scream in excitement and rage at whatever local team happens to be popular at the time.
For myself, this excitement has evaded me. This is despite having a family full of sports lovers. Six hour long trips to our cottage were largely filled with my mom fiddling with the radio trying to get the ball game admist mounds of static. Read the rest of this entry
So I looked at my last post and I realized it was way back in March. That is a long time indeed. I would love to say that it was because I was gallavanting across the world in search of ancient treasures but in reality I’ve simply been adjusting to the new job (which is wonderful, by the by) and have been taking a slight (very slight) break from writing.
Okay, that’s not entirely true. I’ve been writing reviews for Errol’s escape room blog and have also been helping him out writing our event that’s coming up! All of that is exciting! But I realized the other day that I’ve felt very little motivation to do much else in the last few months and I’ve actually been quite happy with that.
But the other day…well, the other day I was watching Harry Potter again…okay, I was watching the Cinema Sins for Harry Potter. And I realized that there was something about it that had always bothered me as the series wore on.
When I read the Harry Potter books, I much like many other girls immediately related to the know it all Hermione. It wasn’t just her intelligence or resourcefulness that attracted me to her though. It was her hair.
Described as “bushy” in the first book, it’s brought up constantly through the series as one of her physically defining characteristics. From my recollection, she even gets teased about it on occasion. The thick mop of hair sticks with her throughout the books series. Oh sure, there are one or two instances in which she pulls an Eliza Doolittle and shocks the world with a sleek feminine style but after that it’s right back to her frizzy style.
And as a fellow sufferer of The Frizz, I loved it. Here was a character I could relate to. Someone who spent most of her time with books. Someone who was made fun of for that obsession. And someone who had never really learned to maintain her hair not because she was self conscious or unfashionable but simply because she didn’t want to.
At the end of the day, the last thing on Hermione Granger’s mind was how to make her hair the prettiest it could be. It was not where her priorities lay. Like myself, she had never bothered to obsess over the finer points of fashion and style (not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just what women seem to be constantly judged on). And like myself, occasionally she might want to feel more pretty and put all of the effort needed into glamouring up for an evening only to realize that while it’s fun for a moment, putting that much time and effort into your looks is far too tedious.
It made me feel better about my own frizztacular Muppet hair. It made me feel comforted that while I might not be all that stylish, I could still very much be confident in all of the other things I was. Keep in mind, this was me at 19 years old too, also known as the year that I learned I needed to stop caring. That hair represented so much for me. It made Hermione the character that much more impressive.
Which is why it’s a shame the movies gradually abandoned that image.
The first Harry Potter movie, much like the first season of Game of Thrones, followed the book to a T. And much like Game of Thrones, that came with some shortcomings. But the pitch perfect representation of Hermione was not one of them.
Then along came Chamber of Secrets. The same length of hair was certainly there, but it had a decidedly more coiffed feel to it…
Then Prisoner of Azkaban which began to abandon the frizz entirely save for a few scenes in which she stumbles around the woods. And even then it’s hard to see the tangles…
Of course there is Goblet of Fire, the infamous Eliza Doolittle transformation from attractive teen with somewhat messy hair…
To an attractive teen with prom hair. In the book the difference is supposed to be stark. Here it’s mostly…Ron didn’t realize his attractive female friend was attractive. Which works in some ways. In others, you wonder why no other guy asked her out. Well, I guess she was considered obnoxious. But still. Not a whole lot of contrast between the two.
She must have kept that Time Turner for Order of the Phoenix, since she had not one hair out of place.
And in the Half Blood Prince, she had to be appear more attractive so that Ron could finally fall in love with her. Because why would he otherwise? Amiright?
Only in the Deathly Hallows is she finally restored to her frizzy, bushy self thanks to being forced to flee into the wilderness for which there is no hair product, magic or otherwise.
But even then, the marketing department couldn’t quite let it go. They had to make all publicity stills to take focus off Hermione’s battle hair.
I am being a bit unfair. Hermione’s hair was never perfectly coiffed as Hollywood producers probably wanted it. Emma Watson’s portrayl of Hermione was spot on and the actress deserves immense praise for being able to take on such a loved and respected character. But the perfectly tossled waves and curls makes me long for the Hermione of old, the one who would let the frizz fly around with no care what anyone else thought.
The series was never perfect. The movie adaptations always left elements out that I missed such as most of the backstory in Prisoner of Azkaban. But the element I lamented the most was the disappearance of the Hermione Hair. Perhaps someday we will live in a world where a movie character’s hair will not need to be expertly styled to be worthy of screen time. Until that time though, I will have to rely on the Harry Potter books.
(creeps in…glances around….dusts off poor neglected blog)
Why hello everyone! Or at least, the handful of people who might still read this blog….it’s been a while, hasn’t it?
It wasn’t my intention to ignore my blog. But the past three months I have been focused on other things. There’s Geekpr0n who I officially write for. I also got involved in some Shakespeare which was a lot of fun. But the majority of my focus went into job hunting. Read the rest of this entry