Late to the Party: Baldur's Gate

Baldur's Gate BoxBaldur's Gate is a landmark in computer roleplaying games. With its initial release in November of 1998 and the expansion (Tales of the Sword Coast) in April of 1999, Black Isle/Bioware put their name on the map. With the ability to create your character from scratch, as well as unprecedented freedom in dialogue and game completion, Baldur's Gate and its expansion makes the work of Bioware and Black Isle seem almost genius.

The story starts you off as a young character with a mysterious side, and as you develop this character (using the 2nd edition rules of Dungeons and Dragons), you meet many NPCs throughout your journey that teach you about yourself and your heritage.  You're able to control up to 6 characters at one time, and you're able to control everything about the characters, including their class and the weapons and armor they have equipped. All these NPCs that you encounter have their own background and class, and you can choose either to support their cause or to leave them behind. Another mage doesn't really go with your party?  Well, just leave him for another point and time in the game.

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Our Fantastic Week Ahead: September 12

Dead Iron: The Age of SteamDo you like werewolves?

Do you like steampunk?

Do you like Westerns?

If you do, then Devon Monk's novel Dead Iron: The Age of Steam might just be the novel for you!  We'll have a full review of it for you this week, along with some other exciting things as well!

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Fantastically Fun Fridays: September 9, 2011

Happy Friday!  We hope that those of you who started school this week had a great first week, and that for everyone in education, the semester is off to a great start!

Now, I know we linked to a Woot! shirt last week to celebrate the start of our Doctor Who series, but we're going to do it again this Friday because it fits so well with our "Back to School" theme this week:

Darth Vader Substitute Teacher

The Star Wars theme of the shirt also fits nicely with a lot of the links we have for you today:

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The Keys to the TARDIS: An Unearthly Child

In this installment of "The Keys to the TARDIS," Peter McClean reminisces about the anticipation he felt for the very first Doctor Who episode ever and how this episode is key to charting his trajectory as a lifelong Doctor Who fan.  He also identifies the Daleks as the key to the series as a whole, which he will talk about more in next week's column.


Doctor Who: An Unearthly ChildIf I were to identify one single thing that most signifies Dr. Who for me it would be Daleks. They are the one thing from all the Dr. Who series that has had the biggest effect on me. Dr. Who without the Daleks would never have been what it is today; and that’s speaking as someone who saw the start of the first ever episode when it was first broadcast on BBC on Saturday, 23rd November, 1963.

It took me forty-seven years and two months to watch that episode.

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The Fantastic in the Fine Arts: "Joan"

Fashion designer Alexander McQueen's work was recently the subject of a glorious exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, entitled Savage Beauty. Elements of the fantastic ranging from the sublime to the grotesque can be found throughout his work, and many of his collections were directly inspired by works of the fantastic. It's Only a Game (spring/ summer 2005) was inspired by the wizard chess scene in the film version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and Eshu (autumn/ winter 2000-01) was inspired by the trickster god of the same name. McQueen also showed collections inspired by Dante, and by angels and demons.

This column focuses on a specific dress from McQueen's autumn/ winter 1998-99 collection, Joan, inspired by Joan of Arc. It is the final dress in the collection, a vivid reminder that it was a young French peasant named Jehanne, not Katniss Everdeen, who was the original girl on fire.

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