Talien's Tower
Subscribe to Talien's Tower on Facebook, Twitter, email or via the Site Feed

Friday, May 26

All About Tom Salta

Tom Salta is a friend of a friend, who happens to be pretty famous in the game industry. From his site:
Tom Salta writes and produces emotionally charged electronic and orchestral music for records, movie/TV and video game soundtracks. Combining his expertise in programming and mixing hit records with the highest production values, Tom Salta creates powerful melodies and hooks with a hybrid of lush orchestral strings and edgy, electronic rock music. [MORE]
Check out an interview with him here.

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 5:16 PM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

Sunday, May 21

DVD Review: The 40-Year-Old Virgin

There are very few subjects I get defensive about. I'm secure enough in my own beliefs that I don't fuss over any one stereotype in the media. Except when it comes to geeks.

I really, really dislike the "jock" mentality that so often permeates popular culture, casting geeks as introverted serial killers in the making. Thus, I gave The 40-Year-Old Virgin a wide berth. Eventually, a friend lent us the DVD. Secure in the knowledge that the studio wasn't making any money from my viewing, I sat down and watched the film. I'm glad I did. [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 12:53 PM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

Movie Review: Poseidon

I don't remember the original Poseidon Adventure very well, but it was a very detached experience, much less horror and much more of a character study. Fortunately, director Wolfgang Petersen isn't interested in showing how good an actor can mime hysterics. Instead, he goes for the throat; this is a disaster film and it looks like it: dead bodies float everywhere. When the ship flips, everything flips with it, and we can never forget that our protagonists are upside-down because every sign, door, and table is the wrong way. And then there's the water.

Gurgling, growling, snaking through shafts, suffused with flames; water has never been so terrifying. The survivors must swim through a conflagration, in the dark, through a nettle of wires, past floating dead bodies, and at one point, hold their breath to the breaking point. It is horrible. It is undoubtedly realistic. It is a disaster movie with a capital D. [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 9:32 AM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

Friday, May 19

DVD Review: Serenity

I tried to walk away from this movie, but Serenity wouldn't let me.

My wife rented Serenity after watching it at a science fiction convention, but the DVD skipped at a critical part. She was so frustrated that she got up and left. So she finally rented Serenity from Netflix and, on Mother's Day, brought it over to watch with my parents. I had no intention of watching the movie.

I was about to go upstairs and do something else. But I forgot whatever it was I planned to do. I stood on the stairs, looking over my shoulder as the credits rolled. And I stood there for five minutes, transfixed. A few minutes later, I sat down and watched the whole film.

Serenity's that good. [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 6:04 PM | 1 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

Tuesday, May 16

DVD Review: The Grudge

Although The Grudge is most certainly not a copy of The Ring, there are enough similarities to make comparisons inevitable. Besides the simplistic titles ("The NOUN, a new Japanese horror, coming to a theater near you!"), both films feature crawling girls with long hair covering their faces, a viral curse, and ghosts that defy the traditional boundary of staying in their respective haunted houses. The climax is even similar: both heroines struggle to save the male love interest before he too becomes infected. [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 10:59 PM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

Monday, May 15

The Top 10 Myths about Girl Gamers

Girl gamers. Evidently, they’re difficult to figure out. Lucky for you, Mercurial compiled this nifty little handbook to give you some hints. [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 8:24 AM | 1 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

Wednesday, May 10

Why Manticores Make Bad Mounts

In a wide variety of fantasy games, it's common for just about anything on four legs to be turned into a mount of some sort. Muscle-bound heroes ride dire tigers, dastardly villains ride dire hyenas, and armies fire arrows from elephants. But reality dictates there are certain characteristics that make animals more valuable for domestication than others.

While there are always exceptions to these rules, the qualifications of each creature ultimately dictate if it is worth the time and energy to domesticate. Some monsters are too big, others too ornery, and still others are not worth the trouble. Think having a dragon for a mount is a good idea? Read on and you might change your mind . . . [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 9:42 PM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

Saturday, May 6

Gained a Level!

We passed our bronze test for ballroom dancing. That means we're second level in the Ballroom Dancer class. Go us! [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 9:47 PM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

From the Dungeon to the Dictionary

Just wanted to reference an excellent article about the value of Dungeons & Dragons in building a child's vocabulary:

I remember vividly an encounter with my seventh-grade French teacher, who was astonished that I knew the word 'toxic'; I was (and am still) astonished that she was astonished, as I considered it quite ordinary. I told her at the time that it was a 'D&D word', although in actuality I think that toxic is one of those words that all parents should teach their children as soon as possible! It's true that if you want your child simply to learn words outside of any context, Scrabble is a much better vocabulary-building game, but in my experience, Scrabble is mostly about using existing vocabulary, and that in a decontextualized way. Give me D&D any day, and I'll give you a child who learns to love words. [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 12:48 PM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

Thursday, May 4

Death in Freeport - Part 7: The Bricked-Up House

Vlad led the way down the trapdoor to an old wine cellar. The walls were lined with nine large casks made of oak, each about six-feet tall and nearly eight-feet long.

“No dust,” said Kham, wiping one finger along the top of one of the barrels. He rapped on one of the casks with his knuckles. It sounded hollow. “This is the entrance. Vlad, wanna knock?”

Vlad stepped up to the barrel. “My pleasure.” It took only two hacks before the wood splintered, revealing a stone passage and more stairs leading down.

“Who wants to go down the creepy tunnel inside the cult headquarters first?” asked Kham. [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 8:00 PM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

Tuesday, May 2

Death in Freeport - Part 6: Yellow Shields at Sunset

“You’ve got a nice bounty on your head, Cam,” said the leader. “We’re here to collect. And we’ll take that staff back too.”

“Great,” said Kham. “The Yellow Shield gang.”

“You know these guys?” asked Vlad.

“Yeah, that leader’s Rittoro,” said Kham. He pulled two pistols from his overcoat.

Ilmarė spun on her heel. “We’ve got more company.”

A bald sorcerer with eyebrows dyed bright red stepped into the alley with another mercenary.

“That’d be Belko, the sorcerer,” said Kham. “Now that we’re all acquainted, let me introduce you to the ladies!” [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 8:50 PM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.