Gaming News, Game Reviews, Game Trailers, E3 News

               
Dark theme   
PC   |   PS4   |   XBOX   |   SWITCH   |   3DS   |   VITA   |   JAPANESE   |   FILM   |   TOYS   |   MERCH


 
CblogRecaps blog header photo
CblogRecaps's c-blog
Fronts 13Posts 108Blogs 2640Following 38Followers 381


 
 

LONG BLOG

C Blogs of 08/26/14 + Wrenchisms

   0




I read Lev Grossman's The Magicians this week, and I think you should too. 

The Magicians is about Quentin Coldwater, a bright young man just on the cusp of entering adulthood and exhibiting a scarily accurate portrayal of depression. Despite his impeccable student record and strong collegiate prospects, Quentin is a dour, sullen man who is desperately searching for something, who stays awake at night waiting for the day when he'll start living his “real” life. He's obsessed with the Fillory series of books (a thinly disguised in-universe version of the Narnia series) and is given to escapist fantasies where he's whisked away from the slow steady press of a life of filling out collage applications and watching the girl he loves neck with his best friend, to a world of magic. Then one day, it actually happens. And it sucks.

If you go into this novel thinking your going to be reading another fun fantasy story, it's going to punch you in the gut and laugh. This is a full bore deconstruction of the age old geeky fantasy book. It takes Narnia and Hogwarts and fills them up with real people - the kind of weirdos who would actually have the brains, guts, and various personality disorders to attend and survive a school dedicated to breaking reality over its knee. It makes magic strange and dangerous and decidedly something that probably shouldn't be taught to a bunch of angst filled horny collage kids who drink too much. 

The Magicians examines the practical problems of being a magic-man in a muggle world that most fantasy series gloss over or play for laughs. How exactly do you tell your parents you're blowing off University to go study at an “eccentric trade school” that will teach you how to animate glass figurines and make levitate your desk? What about the process of learning magic? If all it takes is waving around a little stick and speaking some bastardized Latin, why isn't everyone a wizard? So the obvious answer is that magic is actually really hard. More than hard, it's BORING. Imagine if every class you took in collage was calculus mixed with computer science and taught in Greek. How long would it be before you were considering opening your wrists as a favorable alternative to slogging through the required reading? And for that matter, what exactly do you DO when you graduate from magic-school? It's all hush-hush, so you can't just go use your flashy fireball spell to impress that cute coffee barista, you have to pretend to be an ordinary, uninteresting dude. Going off to become middle management at a textile distributor doesn't seem like a challenging career path after you've split the seams of the universe open and gazed upon the infinite mysteries within. It seems the most common post-grad past time for wizards is to experiment with drinking before noon. 

It isn't hateful. The book doesn't delight in ripping apart the fantasy genre or seem overly malicious about it, it's just a bitter spoon of medicine. A fantasy novel not written for children, but for people in their mid-20's and early 30's who might be coming to grips with some harsh realities in their own life. Who realize that maybe THIS really is all there is, that you're getting older and it's getting less and less likely that a friendly owl is going to drop by with your ornate invitation to a better world clutched in its beak.  

I think a lot of us, especially millennials who have inherited a broken economy, are saddled with student debt from courses that landed us primo jobs folding shirts in the mall, and are struggling to actually make it as adults still secretly cling to these fantasies. Maybe not necessarily getting shipped off to Narnia or the Forgotten Realms, but the idea that somehow, even though you don't know how and can't really describe it, one day your life is going to be perfect. You'll get that one chance you always needed and turn it all around. You'll finally find that secret talent buried inside that will change your life. You'll discover an old rusty key that opens up the locked cupboard that's been sealed up in your basement for years and what's inside will change everything. 



I see some criticism online that Quentin doesn't learn anything at the end. That the book does a ruthless job of dismantling the escapism of fantasy, but never provides an uplifting ideal to take its place. I think those people weren't paying attention. If this was just a story about nihilism and giving up and being a miserable twat, I wouldn't be recommending it. What Quentin finds (all too late) is that there isn't a magic way out. That meaning and happiness in your life won't just flutter down from on high and land in your lap, that you have to make it yourself and with the people in your life. That it's hard, tiring, and will never live up to the ideal in your mind, but it can still be achieved. 

Escapism is a theme in games as much as it is in fantasy. In fact you could argue that the entire point of video games is escapism, being someone else for a little while, being capable of doing amazing things, or having the freedom to go nuts. I don't want to paint with too broad a brush, but I think a lot of us are attracted to games, or at least have stayed with games as we get older, because we feel like there is something missing in our lives. They fill some hole in the center of our being that threatens to expand and swallow us unless we do something to stave it off. That's not a bad thing, a little escapism is healthy. But it pays to remember every now and then that it's no substitute for the real thing. 

I suppose it's similar in that way to Ready Player One, a book I've previously recommended in my caps and might be more approachable to video game fans. But where Ready Player One is a largely fun romp through 80's nostalgia, cyberpunk trappings, and video game worship, The Magicians is slower, sadder, and ironically for a book that spends a lot of time in an imaginary land, more real. I'd say check them both out, maybe one after the other for contrast, and see which one resonates with you more.

* - Terry 309 injects his eyeballs with steroids and gets wild with F-Zero.

* - Maybe the payoff wasn't what he hoped for, but Nesscoat did a great job of cracking Hohokums code.

* - Tony Ponce ponders how cool a female Link would be. Sadly, the comments predictably go exactly where you would expect them to go and no reasonable conversation can be heard over the din of "SJW, SJW, SJW, WHAAAA!".

A - Mother 3 is a heck of a game.

D - Always interested in seeing how games get made. Coming from the art designer though, I would have liked to see some more interesting screengrabs.

T - Character roster, mechanics, and quality aside, I mostly expect Pokken Tournament to be super weird.

L - Cute little Metroid reference hidden in DK:TF.

C - Hey it's a podcast that's kinda sorta video game related, but mostly about four people you don't know talking about the Twitter arguments they had earlier in the week. That sounds, well actually that sounds fucking awful.




-Wrenchfarm

FPotD
Login to vote this up!

LOOK WHO CAME:


CblogRecaps   
CelicaCrazed   1
Occams   1
Dreamweaver   1
Ben Davis   1
arkane9   1
nanashi   1
Terry 309   1


 
 

  0 COMMENTS

Please login (or) make a quick account (free)
to view and post comments.



 Login with Twitter

 Login with Dtoid

Three day old threads are only visible to verified humans - this helps our small community management team stay on top of spam

Sorry for the extra step!

 

About CblogRecapsone of us since 11:27 PM on 07.02.2008

About Cblog Recaps

Schedule:
Mondays - Lord Spencer
Tuesdays - Larxinostic
Wednesdays - DeadMoon
Thursdays -OrochiLeona
Fridays - Gamemaniac3434
Saturdays - AmnaUmen
Sundays - Riobux

Reserve Recappers:
Gajknight
LinkSlayer64
ShadeOfLight
Torchman
TheBlondeBass
Hypno Coffin

Current "Bloggers Wanted" assignment
The Adaptation

Some things don't belong in this world and yet they are conjured time and again by humans that wish to pay them tribute. A video game, book, comic or TV show becomes popular and later becomes adapted to another medium entirely or, worse, a mobile phone spin-off.

Sometimes you get Telltale's The Walking Dead and other times you get Super Mario Bros.: The Movie -- one a great tribute to the comics and TV shows and the other had its soul stolen and made a '90s movie executive's slave.

And here comes another classic game series with hopes of becoming a Netflix hit as I brace myself and hope it doesn't turn out to be a miserable pile of secrets.

Castlevania is a beloved series and with Konami it's sort of a surprise they'd do anything with it at all after running out the people that made their games good and running the franchise into the ground soon after. Yet here we are with an anime series debuting this week and I'm kind of excited for it.

History should leave me a bit more cynical, sure. I remember the Street Fighter live-action movie, the Zelda cartoon and much more, but Mortal Kombat was perfect in its camp and The Witcher games are pretty faithful to their source material. We even have games being adapted into other kinds of games by different developers. Borderlands is now a looter-shooter and a point-and-click adeventure and that works really well, actually.

So for this month's "Bloggers wanted," we want you head over to the community blogs and tell us about your favorite adaptations of games to other mediums or even your favorite adaptation of another medium to games. Use "The Adaptation: [Your game/title here]" in the title and place "Bloggers Wanted" in the tags.

Enough talk, have at you!


Current Community Contests

Community Announcements
We have a Twitter account!
@CblogRecaps
Help us spread the word out on these recaps and in turn, everyone's blogs too! (These tweets appear on Dtoid's official accounts as well)
________________________________________

Archives

Legend:

WORDtoid

A- Articles
S- Series
B- Bloggers Wanted
P- Podcasts

CONTEStoid

C- Community Contests
W- Winners/Updates
E- Entries

COMMUNItoid

E- Events
F- Fight Nights
D- Destructoid in the Wild
S- Stories
C- Contemplations
I- Introductions
B- Birthdays
R- RIP
H- Houses, cribs, setups

GAMEtoid

N- News
V- Videos
R- Reviews
P- Previews
T- Thoughts
D- Development
$- Deals

CULTUroid

A- Art
M- Music
F- Film/TV
L- Literature
S- Swag

OTHEroid

L- LOLs
R- Random
V- Videos
C- Could Be Better
?- Defies Description

FAILtoid

S- You Are Slow
F- Maybe Fail?