My Favorite Things: Superior Spin-offs, Alternative History, and Word Games

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’re all about a surprisingly excellent spin-off to a beloved TV show, a platformer perfect for fans of puzzles, and one of the most acclaimed books of 2016.  Read on for more.


 

J.L.’s Favorite Thing is… Class!

I was lucky enough this month to catch the first episode of the new season of Doctor Who on the big screen. Before the episode, I was a bit bummed that I’d have to sit through the first episode of the new spin-off show, Class. As much as I loved Torchwood, I didn’t think I’d be very into something targeted toward a “younger” audience.

I was wrong. I fell in love with the characters of this new show immediately, human and alien alike. The show did a fantastic job of introducing a bunch of well-rounded and unique characters in a short time, and the diversity is just icing on the cake. The conflict fit in delightfully with what I’ve come to expect of the Whoniverse, and even though the Doctor shows up, the kids are ultimately who save the day. I’ll definitely be tuning in see what comes next.

 

Kelly’s Favorite Thing is… The Underground Railroad!

This year’s Pulitzer Prize winning book falls into speculative fiction category of alternative history. Whitehead takes the mistake that everyone makes in third grade and turns the Underground Railroad into a literal subterranean network of tunnels and trains. Whitehead also distorts the timeline and makes each state an alternative reality, but many of the book’s most horrifying incidents, such as people having picnics at lynchings, are based in historical fact. Cora is a slave who runs away from a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life seems better in South Carolina until she learns some sinister truths about medical experiments and forced sterilizations. In the North Carolina section, Cora is literally hiding in an attic like Anne Frank and it occurred to me that although we studied the Holocaust for the entire year in eighth grade, I learned very little about the atrocities of slavery and segregation in school. The Underground Railroad is not an enjoyable book — the horrors that Cora experiences are relentless — but it is an important and worthwhile one. The Underground Railroad belongs in the same league as Solomon Northup’s true life account of slavery, Twelve Years a Slave, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred. They are all must-read, essential books about slavery in America.

 

Nicole’s Favorite Thing is… Typoman Revised!

I like to watch folks play games on YouTube, but on occasion I’ll see a game I can afford and want to play myself. This is how I ended up with Typoman Revised, a 2D platformer that was originally released in 2015, but gained and upgrade in 2016, hence the “Revised” addition to the title.

In this game, which is similar to Inside and Limbo in style, you’re a small Hero who is literally made out of the letters H E R O, seeking to help the world around you and fixing the sad state it’s in. The world resembles something from a dystopian world, complete with fires burning in the distance, crumbling buildings, and Doom quite literally falling from the skies. While you do plenty of platforming, the game is at its core a word game. You have to spell and unscramble your way through puzzles, creating words that will do everything from opening doors to keeping Fear monsters at bay. Certain words have power, and more than one word can solve a puzzle.

The game is fun, and though it is short and with an almost lacking ending, what I really fell into doing was crafting all sorts of new words. The game has a Stats area which is essentially a dictionary — filling up that dictionary was highly addictive. I’d be mid-game, bump into a word crafting machine, and then spend at least 20 minutes making words. There are also unique Easter Egg-like words that change your character or surroundings in some way. Spelling “rose” will make a rose spontaneously grow from the ground. Spelling “hat” will give your character a fancy top hat that you can keep throughout the game — unless you die, of course.

It’s a great game if you like puzzles, platformers, and words, and I’m going to keep making new words until I either burn out or find all the surprises — and that may take a while.


Any thoughts on the selections above? Let is know in the comments.

3 Comments

  • Weasel of Doom May 1, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Thank you for the Typoman Revised recommendation! I am going to try and convince the co-parent to buy it 🙂

    Reply
    • Nicole Taft May 3, 2017 at 1:40 am

      Welcome! I hope you have fun with it – it’s a relatively short game, but if you like puzzles and wordplay, it’s perfect! I also keep wondering if finding all the “special” words will earn an achievement of some kind. Well, only one way to find out!

      Reply
      • Weasel of Doom May 3, 2017 at 6:06 pm

        The co-parent did buy it, so hopefully I’ll give it a try soon!

        Reply

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