Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 09:35 on 27-03-2013, Wardog
Oh God, the Tides of Namanana kickstarter raised enough money to buy Patrick Rothfuss when I was really hoping it wouldn't. GET OUT NOW.
at 01:00 on 27-03-2013, Danielle
Basically everything Chez Apocalypse touches is gold. I say that having not bothered to watch any of the 50 Shades of Green stuff yet, but I have faith.
at 00:45 on 27-03-2013, Michal
In light of all the activity over in the Fifty Shades of Grey comments, I feel the need to share the Fifty Shades of Green Project with y'all. It's set to include the line "In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu lies dreaming...of her."
at 17:08 on 26-03-2013, Cammalot
The women are clingy and sad, romance ruins everything, and the hero's journey does not have enough of a turning point to be satisfying or even that noticeable. IMO he's not "bad" enough in the beginning (he's flirtatious to receptive women, and he's a professional sleight-of-hand artist. LET US BURN HIM AT STAKE. He's not even doing card-sharpery or pulling the bean-under-a-cup trick -- he's doing a stage show. I don't believe audiences were that naive in 1905) and not "great" enough by the end. I will say I did like the trickster elements, but considering what really saves the day... why was he needed in the first place? Also too many unsatisfying callbacks to the MGM film that don't live up to their source material (partly because the film needed to avoid copyright infringement, having not gotten all the permissions they desired) -- a solution to which would have been to go directly to the books, which they didn't do.

there's an Oz/Glinda romance (WHAT) and the wicked witch goes bad because she is spurned by a guy (WHAT)
. Just... why? What does this add? I think if all of the romance subplot crap was excised the film might actually be serviceable. But I am wholly unconvinced by the witches' need for a "Great Man" at all (Not a spoiler, that's in all the trailers).
Glinda has plenty of magical power -- she's just waiting around for a Great Man because her father told her to???
(WHAT.) And the mildly interesting bits about
the Wicked Witch actually struggling against her ostensible inner nature and choosing to be good are heinously underexplored
in favor of waaaaaah he don't love me why.

There was the basis of something interesting in there -- I really did like the bits where the charlatan-ness that marked him kind of pathetic in the MGM film were really his strengths here, but it did not come to the fore.

I also don't see why he didn't go glue up some more people. He needed Aslan to scold him or something.

I refuse to blame the actors, though (a common thing I'm seeing).
at 14:05 on 26-03-2013, Daniel F
And I was looking forward to Oz so much as well. *sigh* What exactly went wrong?
at 12:43 on 26-03-2013, Jules V.O.
That is a shame. The question of how a complete charlatan managed to accomplish what the Wizard had accomplished deserves an interesting and entertaining answer.
at 00:34 on 26-03-2013, Cammalot
The more time passes, the more obnoxious I find it, and the sorrier I feel for the actors. I don't care how good you are or how many people acclaim your work, some plotlines and dialogue are just not rescuable.
at 21:54 on 25-03-2013, Melissa G.
Oz was really bad. Like, there is very little positive I can say about it. Just bad.
at 00:30 on 25-03-2013, Robinson L
In other news, the Robinson L clan (minus my Dad) went to see "Oz, the Great and Powerful" the other day. I have not seen such a thoroughly abominable televisual clusterf*** since "Let's Kill Hitler." And at least that had a mostly likable protagonist.
at 16:03 on 21-03-2013, Andy G
Regarding gamebooks, I think most only ever have one "successful" outcome but multiple ways of getting there (main honourable exception I can think of is Heart of Ice, which has four different successful endings). The format does seem very inappropriate for the Aeneid in particular: isn't the entire point that Aeneas' fate is laid down and none of the choices he makes (or for that matter any of Juno's interventions) make any difference? Unambiguously, he just has to follow down what fate decrees for him.
at 23:33 on 20-03-2013, Jamie Johnston
Anyone read Adam Roberts' New model army? I feel like I may have missed something because I wasn't that taken with it but people seem to like it a lot.
at 21:13 on 18-03-2013, Axiomatic
Wasn't there a kickstarter for a CYOA of Hamlet that would let you try different strategies, and also let you play as Ophelia?

Yes, there was. And it got half a million dollars. There'll also be a little prequel where you can play as Yorrick.
at 20:55 on 18-03-2013, Jamie Johnston
How is it a choose-your-own-adventure when half of your choices make you lose?

Yeah, one of the things I found most annoying about it was that the only way to win is to exactly replicate the plot of the Aeneid regardless of how sensible it is to do that. The most egregious example being where you can do something that causes your rival Turnus to get killed, which is exactly what you want, but if you do it you lose because that isn't how it happens in the poem.
at 04:50 on 18-03-2013, Bookwyrm
The "have fun" part was not part of the page response. I just forgot to erase it before I posted.
at 04:49 on 18-03-2013, Bookwyrm
Same here. The one I remember most was a Trick-or-Treat choose your own adventure. I distinctly remember one really amusing choice from that one. You're confronted by a monster in an empty swimming pool (I think) and you have two choices:
A)use the yellow flower you picked up earlier or
B)use a rope to escape.
If you choose the rope the page basically says this:
"Nice try. You know darn well you didn't pick up a rope earlier. The monster attacks you and you die. Maybe that will teach you not to cheat."Have fun!
at 02:10 on 18-03-2013, James D
It sure was! I can't remember which one, though. Never owned any myself, always borrowed them from the library or just read them in the store.
at 21:28 on 17-03-2013, Bookwyrm
Oh, the ones I remember reading as a kid had branching outcomes with some death endings. Except in those cases you died after making a few choices instead of dying after choosing one of two options every single time. By the way, did that example you give happen to come from a Goosebumps choose your own adventure book?
at 20:24 on 17-03-2013, James D
In most of the choose-your-adventures I read as a kid, almost all of the choices resulted in instant death. There were maybe 2 or 3 outcomes that actually resulted in survival, and some of them were usually still pretty bad. I remember in one, my fictional friend and I got turned into dogs, and my mother found us and took us home, not knowing who we were. So we just lived out the rest of our lives as pets. Maybe this one isn't very good, but its structure at least doesn't seem at all unusual for the oldschool type of choose-your-adventures.
at 20:04 on 17-03-2013, Bookwyrm
Choose-your-own-adventure? How is it a choose-your-own-adventure when half of your choices make you lose? Also, why does marrying Dido automatically end in a loss? Couldn't you use your new found power to create a town for your displaced people? Or work with the Carthaginians to take Troy back? Isn't the point of a choose-your-own-adventure game supposed to be that your choices create wildly different scenarios, instead of one story line with a bunch of dead-ends?
at 19:13 on 17-03-2013, Jamie Johnston
No knowledge of Latin is required to appreciate how astonishingly bad the Iris project's Aeneid choose-your-own-adventure game is. Those who do know Latin will also appreciate how bad the Latin in the game is, which means as a fun way of helping children practice their vocabulary it fails on every level.
at 01:17 on 16-03-2013, Jamie Johnston
Shakespeare changed my plural "you" to "thou". :( He also changed "what will" to "what wilt".

Yeah, Shakey's grammar has gone downhill in the last few centuries.

But the point of that was?

I think it's probably meant to be a way of demonstrating how Googledocs works to people who haven't used it before.
at 23:17 on 15-03-2013, Fishing in the Mud
I'm getting tired absolutely fatigued of Poe's weak adverbs.
at 23:13 on 15-03-2013, Ibmiller
Dickens and Dickinson did get into a more extended edit war when I type "Dickens."

But the point of that was? I already use Google for a ton, but I don't understand how that's supposed to make me want to use it more?
at 22:32 on 15-03-2013, Melanie
Shakespeare changed my plural "you" to "thou". :( He also changed "what will" to "what wilt".

...Then I typed in "Shakespeare" and Shakespeare edited it into "the handsome and lovely Shakespeare". And then Nietzsche edited it to "the dreadful and lonely Shakespeare". Sadly, that seems to be the end of the edit war.