They might not be raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, but that doesn’t mean that we love them any less. Welcome back to My Favorite Things, a weekly column where we gab about the greatest in geek. This week we have an addictive Star Wars video game, a wonderful book for fans of magical libraries, and a hilarious vampire-focused mockumentary. Read on for more!
Betsy’s Favorite Thing is… LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens!
Christmas came a bit early in my house, in the form of a new gaming system for my husband and me, which means we’re finally getting caught up on recent video game releases, including LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We discovered years ago that our relationship stays much healthier when we game cooperatively together (which is not to say that we don’t play other types of games, just not against one another). We’ve enjoyed doing this in a number of ways over the years, but one of the most consistently entertaining and successful franchises in co-op play, for us at least, has been the LEGO games. This one, like its best predecessors, follows the story arc of the movie quite closely, with cut scenes played out by minifigures instead of real film, and extra bits of humor tossed in for those who are paying attention. The gameplay itself is familiar and consistent with the series, with only a couple of flaws, the largest being that the vehicle controls are just awful. To be fair, I’m always bad at flying spaceships or driving speeders, but this is a whole new level of uselessness for me, and even my husband, who generally carries us through the vehicle stages, has had huge trouble. I don’t know what they did, but it’s hairy. Sometimes — but only sometimes — inverting controls helps. But not always. Despite this, it’s lovely to have another LEGO installment, and we’re enjoying playing through, solving puzzles and working through obstacles together. And the vehicle controls issues has become so bad that it’s funny, so even that doesn’t dampen the fun too much. At any rate, it’s been the perfect way to zone out from the general stress and chaos of the holidays — lighthearted, low stress, fostering communication and puzzle solving, and with satisfying rewards and achievements. Bonus? No need to flip the channel if a toddler comes wandering in needing more water after bedtime.
Tez’s Favorite Thing is… What We Do in the Shadows!
I rarely watch films, and even rarer watch them in my own home. But when planning my weekly TV schedule in early December, the allure of the 2014 film What We Do in the Shadows was too much for a mere human like me to resist.
This New Zealand mockumentary horror-comedy focuses on the challenges of one unusual household in Wellington, home to four vampires of various ages: the dapper and sensible Viago, the moody and broody Vladislav, the sexy-dancing ratbag Deacon, and the…rather ancient Petyr.
Deacon’s familiar, Jackie, organizes guests for the vampires to host for dinner, but all does not go according to plan. And their new addition is struggling with his massive new lifestyle changes — and can’t even eat his favorite food without being violently ill.
But the group’s real challenge comes in the form of an innocent human, and the lengths others in the supernatural community will go to in order to feed on the warm-blooded software analyst.
Household fashion shows, clubbing, fighting, dancing, and Skype-ing… What We Do in the Shadows is a winner. The details help round out the world-building — such as the vampires being invisible in mirrors, so they rely on each other’s sketches to see how they look.
Whether hanging out at home, in clubs, or confronting non-swearing werewolves on the streets of Wellington, the characters marketed as “New Zealand’s sexiest vampires” are jolly good fun.
P.S. For my live-Tweets of the film, see here, which includes some of my favorite quotes.
Janicu’s Favorite Thing is… the Invisible Library series!
My favorite thing this month is a discovery of a series that touches one of my favorite tropes: the magical library. I don’t care how it’s done, I am just delighted by the variations: the library in Paradise in What Dreams May Come, the dangerous Clayr’s Library in Lirael by Garth Nix, or the friendly books in The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. In the new-to-me Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman, there’s a great library that exists between realities and its librarians are like secret agents, entering alternate realities and acquiring unique books that may not exist elsewhere. The series centers on Irene, a relatively young Librarian, and in the first installment, The Invisible Library, she is sent to a chaos-filled world to get a book that has already prompted a gristly murder. There’s steamships, vampires, fae, a Great Detective, and lots of intrigue. I had a lot of fun, but I’m also really curious to learn more about what some characters are hiding, and can’t wait to start the next one.
Any thoughts on the selections above? Let us know in the comments.