Posted by & filed under Board Games, Media Library, Movie Recommendations, Video Games.

This month, the UNT Media Library is celebrating Women’s History Month by showcasing the ways that women shape the landscape of storytelling through film, television, and gaming. Below are just a few of our staff picks for media that showcases amazing stories about and/or created by women. 

 

 

Arrival (2016) DVD 17303, Recommended by Caleb.

Louise Banks (Amy Adams) a Professor

of Linguistics plays the center role in this worldwide upheaval, when 12 spaceships appear suddenly at different points of the globe, causing tension to rise as world leaders grow skeptical of the tourist’s intentions, while trying to break through the communication barrier with an interplanetary intelligence, and establish why the visitors have arrived. With an unforgettable first act that establishes the visitors, incorporating our own sometimes strangely foreign planet to create an atmosphere of suspense until the aliens reveal themselves. The movie slumps a bit in the middle through some soft pacing. This somewhat hurts the third act with its breakthroughs and questions for the audience. But despite that, Louise Bank’s character brings a subtle and intense characterization that plants these sometimes out-there ideas firmly in reality. Arrival sets forth to ask its audience some of the more philosophical questions that sci-fi can approach, and achieves this goal with a vigor that most of Denis Villeneuve’s movies carry in stride.

Journey: collector edition Game 297 PS4. Recommended by Rachel.

Journey is executive produced by Robin Hunicke, the co-founder of Funomena, and a professor of game design at UC Santa Cruz. Prior to Journey, Hunicke worked on MySims as a lead designer and Boom Blox as a producer. Hunicke is known in the space as an advocate for indie development, experimentation, and women’s representation. 

 

Animal Crossing: New Leaf Game 544 3DS, Recommended by Rachel.

Co-directed by Aya Kyogoku, it’s one of the most celebrated and highest Metacritic ranked game in the Animal Crossing series. Kyogoku also served as a writer on The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure. Kyogoku contributed some of the game’s fun, sense of exploration and calmness to the development team’s “peaceful gender diversity.”

 

 

The many games of Marsha J. Falco – Designer, recommended by Jeremy.

Five Crowns – Boardgame 277

Quiddler – Boardgame 251

SET – Boardgame 250

Set Dice – Boardgame 191

 

Century: Spice Road — Boardgame 58, Recommended by Jeremy.

Discover the beauties of the spice trading road and its colorful markets, with the amazing artwork by international renowned artist Fernanda Suárez. Wrap your mind around the simple and pure game mechanics combined with a touch of deck-building, that will lead to endless strategies and decisions.

 

Erin Brockovich – DVD 713, Recommended by Sarah.

An unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city’s water supply. The film is a dramatization of the true story of Erin Brockovich, portrayed by Julia Roberts, who fought against the energy corporation Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). The film was a box office success, and critical reaction was positive.

 

Hidden Figures — DVD 17361, Recommended by Rachel.

The story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program. It is loosely based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly about black female mathematicians who worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during the Space Race.

 

 

The Imitation Game, DVD 16013 – Recommended by Estela

During World War II, the English mathematical genius Alan Turing tries to crack the German Enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians. Turing’s team, including Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley), analyze Enigma messages while he builds a machine to decipher them.

 

Big Eyes DVD 16023 – Recommended by Rachel.

A drama about the awakening of painter Margaret Keane, her phenomenal success in the 1950s, and the subsequent legal difficulties she had with her husband, who claimed credit for her works in the 1960s. The film stars Amy Adams as Margaret Keane and Christoph Waltz as Walter Keane.

 

 

Across the Universe, DVD 8492 – Recommended by Benjamin.

Directed by Julie Taymor, the music of The Beatles and the Vietnam War form the backdrop for the romance between an upper-class American girl and a poor Liverpudlian artist.

 

But I’m A Cheerleader, DVD 298 – Recommended by Steven.

Directed by Jamie Babbit, “But I’m a Cheerleader” is the classic comedy about a naive teenager sent to rehab camp when her straitlaced parents and friends suspect her of being a lesbian.

 

Amelie, DVD 16289 – Recommended by Stuart.

Amélie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love and perhaps the meaning of life in general. She grows up in an original, if slightly dysfunctional family. She learns that she must reach out to others to achieve happiness.

 

Monarch, Boardgame 516 – Recommended by Julia.

Created by game designer Mary Flanagan & artist Kate Adams, Monarch is a strategic card game in which the princesses of a mythical land must prove their ability to serve as the next queen. Flanagan was inspired by strong, influential women of the past to create a game in which the future of a kingdom rests in the hands of powerful women, writing that “both empresses and queens had more power than the history books have granted them.”

 

RBG, DVD 18283 — Recommended by Erin.

At the age of 85, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a lengthy legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. However, the unique personal journey of her rise to the nation’s highest court has been largely unknown, even to some of her biggest fans–until now. RBG explores Ginsburg’s life and career.

 

 

Dolores, DVD 17775 – Recommended by Erin.

Dolores Huerta is among the most important, yet least known, activists in American history. Her enormous contributions have gone largely unrecognized. Dolores tirelessly led the fight for racial and labor justice alongside Chavez, becoming one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century–and she continues the fight to this day.

 

 

Mad Max: Fury Road, DVD 16556, Recommended by Lindsay.

In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a woman rebels against a tyrannical ruler in search for her homeland with the aid of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshiper, and a drifter named Max.

 

 

Posted by & filed under Media Library, Movie Recommendations, Uncategorized, Video Games.

 

Love — It’s complicated.

 

Whether you celebrate Singles Awareness Month or just regular old Valentine’s Day, the UNT Media Library has you covered. This February, we’re sending a Valentine to all the romantic movies, shows, and games that remind us all that love can be messy, challenging, and sometimes downright bad.

 

Stuart Recommends:

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a medical procedure to have each other erased from their memories. DVD 3385

 

Moonstruck: Loretta Castorini, a bookkeeper from Brooklyn, New York, finds herself in a difficult situation when she falls for the brother of the man she has agreed to marry. DVD 5583

 

Sarah Recommends:

Crossroads: Three childhood best friends, and a guy they just met, take a road trip across the country, finding themselves and their friendship in the process. DVD 12318

 

Ever After: With the death of her father, Danielle is made a servant by her stepmother. Still, Danielle grows up to be a strong-willed young lady, and one day her path crosses that of handsome Prince Henry. DVD 920

 

Julia Recommends:

Twilight: Bella Swan moves to Forks and encounters Edward Cullen, a gorgeous boy with a secret. DVD 9998

 

Benjamin Recommends:

Silver Linings Playbook: After a stint in a mental institution, Pat moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Then, Pat meets Tiffany. DVD 13866

 

Estela Recommends:

She’s the Man: When her brother decides to ditch for a couple weeks, Viola heads over to his elite boarding school, disguised as him, and proceeds to fall for one of his teammates. DVD 16963

 

Erin Recommends:  

Sixteen Candles: A girl’s “sweet” sixteenth birthday becomes anything but special, as she suffers from every embarrassment possible. DVD 2618

 

Jeremy Recommends:

Marrying Mr. Darcy: Marrying Mr. Darcy is a strategy card game for 2-6 players based on Jane Austen’s classic novel “Pride and Prejudice.” Boardgame 574  

 

Council of Verona: In Council of Verona, players take on the role of influential citizens of Verona and use their influence to either add characters to the council or cast them into exile. Boardgame 134

 

Tomi Recommends:

The Time Traveler’s Wife: A Chicago librarian has a gene that causes him to involuntarily time travel, creating complications in his marriage. DVD 11723

 

Josh Recommends:

The Notebook: A poor yet passionate young man falls in love with a rich young woman, giving her a sense of freedom, but they are soon separated because of their social differences. DVD 4375

 

Caleb Recommends:

Her: In a near future, a lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with an operating system designed to meet his every need. DVD 15488

 

Stu Recommends:

Ballad of a Soldier: Young Russian soldier Alyosha earns a medal, but asks to visit his mother instead. His journey recounts various kinds of love during wartime. DVD 4231

 

Lindsay Recommends:

Final Fantasy X: the story of Tidus, who journeys with a summoner on her quest to save the world of Spira. Game 493 PS4

 

Posted by & filed under Media Library, Movie Recommendations, Uncategorized.

It’s a new year, and that means most of us are looking forward as we come up with resolutions for 2019, and goals we want to accomplish. With that in mind, we thought that this month, the Media Library Staff Recommendations would focus on media about THE FUTURE. 

 

DISTRICT 9 (CALL # DVD 10918)

Recommended By Lindsay

IMDb: An extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth suddenly finds a kindred spirit in a government agent who is exposed to their biotechnology.

 

 

EX-MACHINA (CALL # DVD 16852)

Recommended by Jeremy

IMDb: A programmer is selected to participate in a ground-breaking experiment in synthetic intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a humanoid A.I.

 

 

THE HANDMAID’S TALE (CALL # DVD 18031)

Recommended by Laura

Imdb: Offred, one of the few fertile women known as Handmaids in the oppressive Republic of Gilead, struggles to survive as a reproductive surrogate for a powerful Commander and his resentful wife.

 

WESTWORLD (HBO) (CALL # DVD 17764)

Recommended by Benjamin

IMDb: Set at the intersection of the near future and the reimagined past, explore a world in which every human appetite can be indulged without consequence.

 

ARRIVAL (CALL # DVD 17303)

Recommended by Sarah

IMDb: A linguist is recruited by the military to communicate with alien lifeforms after twelve mysterious spacecrafts land around the world.

 

LOOPER (CALL # DVD 13783)

Recommended by Nathan

IMDb: In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits – someone like Joe – who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by sending back Joe’s future self for assassination.

 

FORBIDDEN PLANET (CALL # DVD 6799)

Recommended by Erin

IMDb: A starship crew goes to investigate the silence of a planet’s colony only to find two survivors and a deadly secret that one of them has.

 

AKIRA (CALL # DVD 16311)

Recommmended by Josh

A secret military project endangers Neo-Tokyo when it turns a biker gang member into a rampaging psychic psychopath that only two teenagers and a group of psychics can stop.

 

MOON (CALL # DVD 11082)

Recommended by Stuart

IMDb: Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet’s power problems.

 

BRAZIL (CALL # DVD 16300)

Recommended by Caleb

IMDb: A bureaucrat, in a retro-future world, tries to correct an administrative error and becomes an enemy of the state.

 

INTERSTELLAR (CALL # DVD 16162)

Recommended by Caleb

IMDb: A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in space in an attempt to ensure humanity’s survival.

 

WALL-E (CALL # DVD 9358/DVD 10441 Blu-ray )

Recommended by Kelsey

IMDb: In the distant future, a small waste-collecting robot inadvertently embarks on a space journey that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind.

 

MINORITY REPORT (CALL # DVD 1796)

Recommended by Steven

IMDb: In a future where a special police unit is able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes, an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future murder.

ROBOCOP (CALL # DVD 1176)

Recommend by Bennet

IMDb: In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories. 

 

Is your favorite on the list? If not, what is your favorite film, show, or game about the future? 

Posted by & filed under Media Library.

Attention to all patrons who use the streaming platform Kanopy:

Kanopy is changing! Most movies will need to be requested before they can be viewed.

 

Kanopy gives UNT students, faculty, and staff access to an online catalog of streaming video and it is a popular resource — some people even describe it as “Netflix for libraries.” However, unlike Netflix, which allows a user unlimited access to all content for one small monthly fee, Kanopy charges individually for films whenever they are viewed 4 times for more than 30 seconds. We are licensing some films and seeing high usage, but other licensed films are watched only for a few minutes! As the popularity of Kanopy increases more people are browsing around on the platform previewing movies – this has led to significant spending increases.

 

Kanopy is a great platform with thousands of online movies that support and enhance UNT curriculum, and streaming video is a crucial resource for 21st century university faculty and students. For these reasons, the Libraries want to continue providing access to the entire collection of films on Kanopy – with one notable change: we have decided to shift our involvement with Kanopy from automatic patron driven acquisition (PDA) to a mediated model of PDA.

 

This means that movies that do not already have a current license through Kanopy will be available for viewing only after library approval. If you find a film on Kanopy that you want to watch, an automated pop up will prompt you to send a small amount of information to the Media Library. Media Library staff will process and approve requests as they come in. If you are selecting a film for a specific course, please let us know when you will be teaching the course and whether or not the movie you need will continue to be included in future semesters. Most licenses on Kanopy expire after one year, so future access will be contingent upon extending or renewing licenses.


While this might not be a popular change in the immediate future, we are making it in order to ensure that we can continue to provide access to this valuable resource in a sustainable way.

 

This switch will take place on January 4th as of 5:00 PM.

Posted by & filed under Movie Recommendations, Uncategorized.

We’re at the peak of holiday season, and for most people, that means presents, food, praying for snow, and getting together to enjoy the company of family. This year was a big one for movies that focused on the drama of family life. From funny rom-coms to new horror classics, the ties that bind were a major theme in the media we consumed this year.  Let’s rewind and take a look at some of the biggest movies of the year, and what they had to teach us about family.  

 

[[Possible spoilers ahead for “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Hereditary,” “Black Panther,” “Three Identical Strangers,” and “First Man.” Tread carefully.]]

 

Romance – Crazy Rich Asians

 

Undoubtedly one of the biggest hits of the year, “Crazy Rich Asians” follows Rachel Chu as she meets her boyfriend Nick’s family for the first time – and is shocked to discover that not only is Nick filthy rich, he’s also part of one of the most well connected and established families in Singapore. What follows is a journey of Rachel’s culture shock wrapped up in the anxiety of trying to impress her boyfriend’s judgmental mother, Eleanor, who isn’t impressed by the simple economics professor who stole her son’s heart. This contentious back and forth is at the center of the film’s lessons on how to deal with family.

 

In the climax of the story, Rachel becomes tired of the battle between Eleanor and herself, and the damage it is causing her relationship. Rachel decides that sometimes the best way to win a game is to refuse to play at all, especially at the cost of her own values. She declares her intent to Eleanor that she will leave Nick, even at the cost of her own happiness. It culminates in one of the best monologues of the year, an excerpt of which is below:

 

“There’s no winning. You made sure of that. ‘Cause if Nick chose me, he would lose his family. And if he chose his family, he might spend the rest of his life resenting you. […] I just love Nick so much, I don’t want him to lose his mom again. So I just wanted you to know: that one day – when he marries another lucky girl who is enough for you, and you’re playing with your grandkids while the Tan Hua’s are blooming, and the birds are chirping – that it was because of me: a poor, raised by a single mother, low class, immigrant nobody.”

This moment completely shifts the dynamic between the two. Eleanor finally sees that Rachel values Nick, and not just his money and lifestyle. A mutual respect is cemented, and a happily ever after seems possible for Rachel and Nick after all.

 

Horror – Hereditary

 

A masterclass in tension, “Hereditary” is not for the faint of heart. The buzz around this film grew to a fever pitch in Horror fan circles long before it actually hit the box office, and it did not disappoint. The tremendous talent that is Toni Collette stars in the film as Annie, the matriarch leading this familial drama. There seems to be a lot of darkness that has always followed Annie and her loved ones, but there are only vague hints as to what is going on inside her household at first. An overbearing grandmother, a daughter who collects dead animals, the strange artistic creations that Annie creates as a miniatures artist… All these things present as omens, suggesting a family on the edge of some unacknowledged but waiting danger.

 

That becomes starkly clear when tragedy strikes in one of the most shocking plot twists and disturbing imagery in modern movie history. Things only get more bizarre as pressure from this tragedy shifts the dynamic in Annie’s household. From bizarre nightmares to dark witchcraft, Hereditary really makes you thankful that most family drama only rises to the occasional angry political debate, and doesn’t end with a demon possessed character crawling up on the ceiling.

 

 

Action – Black Panther

 

The biggest movie of the year was, without any shock, a super-hero movie. That has been a predictable pattern for many years. However, “Black Panther” was different for a number of reasons, not the least of which was its all black cast of actors. Through all the CGI, beautiful costume design, and amazing world-building, “Black Panther” was a family drama at its heart. This tale of kings and royal courts set in a highly modern society at times felt like Shakespeare Does Superheros – there’s even an entire sequence of our protagonist, T’Challa, communing with the spirit of his dead father in a way that hearkens back to scenes straight out of Hamlet.

 

The real tension of the film focuses on T’Challa and his cousin Erik, perhaps the best villain the Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has delivered so far. These two Wakandan sons fight each other not just as would be heirs to the throne, but symbols of competing philosophies. While T’Challa considers letting the rest of the world in on the amazing advancements of Wakanda, Erik desires the crown in order to make Wakanda a threat to the rest of nations that exploited and enslaved his ancestry for their own advancement.

 

As T’Challa and Erik both look to the past in order to justify their goals of the future, only one could survive. Defeated, Erik refused surrender, and left “Black Panther” with one of the best lines of dialogue in the franchise’s history.

T’Challa: We can still heal you…

Erik Killmonger: Why, so you can lock me up? Nah. Just bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, ’cause they knew death was better than bondage.

Kings rising and falling, charismatic villains, and royal intrigue, Black Panther had all the bones of a classic epic tragedy, with really great fight scenes to match.

 

Documentary — Three Identical Strangers

 

A documentary that has to be seen to be believed, “Three Identical Strangers” highlights the incredible true story of triplet brothers, separated at birth, and raised in drastically different ways, and the life they developed together once they reunited. In the first phase of the film, as an audience member, you are forced to tell your brain that you are actually watching said brothers detail a true story, as their account of events are so bizarre, it sounds like fiction. Upon discovering one another, the young men are quickly launched into international stardom, appearing on various TV shows, and making a name for themselves in their local area. That’s when you realize there’s still an hour left in movie, and the real drama hasn’t even yet begun.

 

What starts out as a feel good story about a rather miraculous re-connection delves into a real life conspiracy where people played god in the name of discovery. There is so much more behind the story of the reunited triplets than a simple strange adoption process. Exciting, fascinating, and devastating, “Three Identical Strangers” will make you question the nature of identity itself, and adds more confusion to the age-old debate over nature versus nurture.

 

 

Drama – First Man

 

There are few on Earth who don’t know the story of NASA astronauts landing on the moon in 1969. But, there’s more to the story beyond Neil Armstrong’s iconic first words as he stepped onto the Moon’s surface – that one small step was actually a long, arduous, and deadly experiment to defy the heavens themselves and journey off planet. That in itself would be an excellent story to follow – but “First Man” decides to do something very different, and scale back its worldview to center not just on the dream of the Moon landing. The film takes an intimate look at Neil Armstrong the man, not just the astronaut.

 

The heart of the film is told a majority of the time in intense close ups between husband and wife Neil and Janet Armstrong, played by Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy, reading their expressions on the small scale as they contemplate the larger one. It’s a film not just about the danger and excitement that went into the Apollo 11 mission, but the sacrifice these two very real people made to get there. Neil struggles over the memory of their daughter who died from a brain tumor and staying connected to the living children he leaves behind every time a new risky assignment comes his way. Janet tries to hold together their family knowing her children’s father could be killed with one faulty wire. “First Man” is a reminder that even the grandest of humanity’s accomplishments come down to families making sacrifices for us all to set our sights on greater horizons.

 

So, as the holidays bring us all together for dinners, parties, and gatherings with loved ones, perhaps take a moment to be grateful that PopPop isn’t spending Christmas on the moon, or Auntie Rose isn’t possessed by a demon. Perspective is important.

Posted by & filed under Board Games.

 

This week, humankind took another step towards understanding our universe with the successful landing of InSight on the surface of Mars. We still have a long way to go before the data comes in. While we wait, celebrate with a boardgame of galactic exploration.

Terraforming Mars – Boardgame 534

1-5 Players          120 Minutes      Ages 12+

Mechanisms: Card Drafting, Engine Building, Resource Management

                400 years in the future, mankind begins the process of terraforming Mars. Each player takes on the role of a mega-corporation, all vying to boost economic power and public opinion while collaborating in the process of terraforming mars. Will you focus on creating an atmosphere through plant life, or on filling the riverbeds with water? Each player can take a different route to victory, but which one will reign supreme?

Star Realms – Boardgame 337

2 Players              20 Minutes         Ages 12+

Mechanisms: Deck Building, Head-to-Head play

                The universe isn’t as big as we thought, and there isn’t enough space for all of us. Make allegiances between galactic factions to garner enough trade and military power to eliminate your opponents. But don’t get too bogged down with outdated ships, or disperse your power too widely, or you will find your allies unwilling to collaborate.

Twilight Imperium (4th Edition) – Boardgame 606

3-6 Players          240-480 Minutes             Ages 14+

Mechanisms: Area Control, 4X, Variable Player Powers, Trading, Voting

                After the fall of the Lazax Empire, the remaining galactic races vie for dominance and control over the galaxy. Take control of your favorite race, and build political, military, economic, and technological might. Hold onto your sector while invading others’ in hopes of tipping the scales in your favor.

Star Munchkin Deluxe – Boardgame 10 Star Deluxe

3-6 Players          90 Minutes         Ages 10+

Mechanisms: Take-That, Trading, Dice Rolling

                The galaxy is filled with clichés and oddities pulling from every sci-fi space opera from TV, Film and Literature alike. Compete against the other space heroes to reach max level before they do. But watch out! As you explore, so does your rivals, and at any moment they may spring a trap, or sick an army of fanged fuzzballs on you!

Chaosmos – Boardgame 283

2-4 Players          60-90 Minutes  Ages 12+

Mechanisms: Hand Management, Bluffing/Deduction, Take-That, Variable Player Powers

                The universe is collapsing and there is nothing that can be done to save it. However, legend says that whomever holds the ‘Ovoid’, a mystical cosmic egg that will birth the new universe, when the current one collapses will be able to shape the new universe as they see fit. Can you make sure that your species holds the Ovoid when the time comes? Take control of one of the remaining species in the universe as you participate in the largest game of reverse hot-potato the universe has ever seen!

Battlestar Galactica – Boardgame 308

3-6 players          120-300 Minutes             Ages 10+

Mechanisms: Cooperative Play, Bluffing/Deduction, Variable Play Powers

                Step onto the legendary ship Battlestar Galactica as you lead the whole of humanity through the stars to find a new home. Along the way, fight off the Cylons and beware betrayal from within. Each player takes the role of one of the major characters from the Battlestar Galactica TV show. Who will be the Cylon sleeper cell? Can you stop them before they betray you?

Eons – Boardgame 342

2-5 players          90 Minutes         Ages 14+

Mechanisms: Resource Management, Hand Management, Take-That

                As the universe expands continuously, and energy disperses across a wider range of space, the universe cools. From the Big Bang to its inevitable cold death, stars are born and die, planets and civilizations rise and fall. In this game, each player is a cosmic architect, attempting to create solar systems to survive the eons. Manage your elements well and time galactic sabotage on the scale of heavenly bodies to write your name in the very matter of the universe.

Race for the Galaxy – Boardgame 209

2-4 Players          30-60 Minutes  Ages 12+

Mechanisms: Engine Building, Hand Management, Simultaneous Action Selection

                Your civilization has developed the technology to join the stars, but quickly you discover that so has a dozen other civilizations. Now the race is on. Claim planets and develop technologies as quickly as you can, but make sure your economy doesn’t stall out. In the end, only one civilization can claim dominance over the galaxy.

Among the Stars – Boardgame 335

2-4 Players          30 Minutes         Ages 12+

Mechanisms: Tile Placement, Simultaneous Action Selection, Drafting

                The galaxy has been ravaged and scarred by war. However, when immenant destruction loomed, the alien races declared peace. Now, in the wake of that threat, each species seeks to build the greatest space station to promote trade and diplomacy as well as to ward off future threats. Will your space station stand the test of time?

Tiny Epic Galaxies – Boardgame 268

1-5 Players          30-60 Minutes  Ages 14+

Mechanisms: Dice Rolling, Area Control, Variable Player Powers

                A compact game of galactic control. Take the role of a galactic empire seeking to expand their dominion. Use your actions well to take control of planets and to expand your reach. Strike out alone on the less desirable planets, or fight for dominion over the more lucrative ones. The more you risk, the more you have to lose!

Posted by & filed under Halloween, Movie Recommendations.

by Rene Gomez

You know, there aren’t that many Halloween movies out there. There’s thousands of horror films, but most of them have nothing to do with the actual Halloween holiday. With Halloween approaching us, what better way to celebrate than to give you 6 Halloween movies you should watch this year! All of these films are available to check-out at the Media Library.

Halloween (1978) – DVD 235/DVD 15702

John Carpenter’s 1978 horror classic opened the door for slasher movies and has inspired the creation of other slasher villains such as Jason Voorhees. After 40 years, the movie still holds up today. The low-budget feel of the movie enhances the creepy atmosphere of the film. Jamie Lee Curtis is iconic in her role as Laurie Strode and is a great character for audiences to latch on to. Donald Pleasence is amazing as Dr. Sam Loomis, Michael Myer’s old psychiatrist. At one point he delivers a short speech about Michael that sends chills down your spine. Do I even need to talk about the soundtrack? Even if you’ve never seen the movie, there is almost no way you don’t recognize that piano riff. 40 years after the original they are releasing a new Halloween film that is said to be a direct sequel to the first film, meaning that Halloween II is not cannon to the series. I’m okay with this but call the 2018 version something different. Now when people talk about Halloween they won’t be sure if it’s the original, the remake, or the sequel to the original. Either way, the original will forever be a classic.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) – DVD 15704

via GIPHY

Let’s make one thing clear: this is NOT a sequel to Halloween and it does not have any characters from the first two films. The reason why it’s called Halloween III is because they attempted to turn the Halloween franchise into an anthology series that obviously did not work. Audiences were upset that the film had no Michael Myers and for that, it did poorly both financially and critically. With that said, it’s not a bad movie like everyone says it is. The plot centers around Doctor Daniel Challis who investigates a business called Silver Shamrock that sells Halloween masks and is trying to turn the holiday back to being filled with rituals and sacrifices. It’s cool to find a film that goes back to the old traditions of Halloween and that’s why I find this movie to be a good watch for the October season. The production design is definitely the film’s strongest aspect. There are some really nice shots throughout the movie and, honestly, this movie feels more Halloweeny than the first two Halloween films, which makes sense since director, Tommy Lee Wallace, was the art director and production designer for the first film that was filmed in the summer, not fall. Season of the Witch may not be as good as Halloween (1978) but it is definitely better than any of the other sequels (not counting the 2018 one since I have not seen it yet).

Monster House (2006) – DVD 6142

There are many movies about the horror buff that thinks his neighbor his a serial killer, a vampire, or any other bad thing, but I think this is the only film that concentrates on a house rather than the actual person living in it. Monster House stars Disney Channel actor, Mitchel Musso, as DJ Walters, a 12-year-old who finds out his neighbor’s house is alive and must try to stop it with his two other friends before kids go trick or treating on Halloween night. Pretty clever idea with a great execution. It has beautiful cinematography and good direction by Gil Kenan. It’s a very entertaining film. It’s very easy to relate to any of the three main characters. The only negative I can think of is the animation. There are some scenes where it doesn’t hold up too well to today’s standards but it’s not horrible. The story and characters are interesting enough to make you look passed that. My favorite aspect of the movie is the dynamic between DJ and his best friend, Chowder. They both have some funny banter. However, they also have issues. DJ feels like they’re too old to go trick or treating but Chowder disagrees. If you’re looking for a very funny, entertaining, spooky movie, then I am sure Monster House will not disappoint.

Trick r’ Treat (2007) – DVD 10576

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If you’re a fan of Halloween and horror movies, Trick r’ Treat is an absolute must watch. I’m not going to go too in depth in case you’ve never seen it but I will say that the less you know, the better. It’s an anthology film with five stories that happen on Halloween night. It’s filled with many practical effects which is always awesome to see, especially since the advent of CGI, most effects nowadays are computer generated. Out of all the movies on this list, this one has the best set design, hands down. There are so many jack-o-lanterns and Halloween decorations. And just like Season of the Witch, this is one of the few horror movies that talk about the ancient traditions of Halloween.  Trick r’ Treat will surprise you and will make you wonder why you haven’t seen the movie earlier.

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949) – DVD 535

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“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is one of the most classic Halloween stories ever made and the 1949 Walter Disney short film is the closest adaptation to the original story released in 1820. This film consists of two short films. The first film is an animation based on the 1908 novel, The Wind in the Willows, and the second film is the sleepy hollow adaptation. Personally, I always skip the first half of the movie and go straight into The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It’s animated extremely well and has some amazing visuals. It’s just another reminder of how underrated hand-drawn animation has gotten. Everything is so fluid. Each frame will be different than the last, unlike most animated cartoons today. Even though the film is nearly 70 years old, it still holds up extremely well. It’s just a reminder that great classic stories like these never die … especially if you adapt it into a live-action film with Johnny Depp.

Hocus Pocus (1993) – DVD 17119

 

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If you grew up watching Disney channel, then chances are you’ve probably seen Hocus Pocus already and if you haven’t, you’ve probably heard your friends talk about it and if you still haven’t seen it … then I don’t know. Either way, Hocus Pocus is about a kid named Max Dennison, who accidentally releases 300-year-old witches on Halloween while trying to impress his crush. The movie is filled with costumes, spooky house decorations, and Halloween music which makes this the perfect film to watch at any Halloween event. The witches, played by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker, are more hilarious than they are threatening which make for some great comedic scenes. I don’t have too much to say for the film. It speaks for itself. I can guarantee you will at least have a fun time watching it and it’s a sure way to get you into that October mood.

Posted by & filed under Board Games.

Scene opens on a beach.

Enter Hamlet.

Enter Juliet?

Hamlet – I am sick when I do look on thee!

Juliet – You speak an infinite deal of nothing…

…Wait a second… I think someone mixed up the pages from the Complete Work of Shakespeare. Or maybe we are playing Steal the Show Act 2, the theatrical party game by Hungry for More Games!

Have you ever wanted to insult someone as well as Shakespeare did? Maybe get away with it in polite company? Check out this game of competing insults.

In Steal the Show, each player takes on the role of one of Shakespeare’s most well-known characters, and then compete in a war of words amidst some of the greatest sets of all time. Each turn all players draw up to a full hand. Then, the active player selects an opponent and challenges them to a war of Wits or Strength or Wits. From there the hilarity begins. Each player takes a turn playing insults, either using their value to boost their strength or wit, or to use the power of the card, changing the battle in some way. Don’t think you can win? Think that you can out play your opponent? Play a card face down and call out a number. If they don’t challenge you, the card will be worth your claim. If they do, flip it over. If they catch you in a lie, you gain a tragedy mask. If you are telling the truth, they gain a tragedy mask! Watch out though. Gain too many tragedy masks and you are out of the game. Be the first player to gain 5 comedy masks and you win!

In our play through of the game, Falstaff opened up the show in the tavern by challenging Macbeth to a battle of wits! Macbeth was equipped with some great insults, racking up quite a few points. Falstaff fought him off, but his action cards get a minus when played. Falstaff is quite skilled in wit, while Macbeth is not. In the end, Macbeth was able to overcome his deficit and win the battle, earning him a comedy mask. Through the game Juliet, Romeo, Macbeth, and Puck all fell in time to their own challenges. We traveled from the tavern to the rainforest to the Senate. In the end, Lady Macbeth won the game, snatching the final comedy mask from Brutus on the steps of his own Senate.

Over all, we enjoyed this game of “take that” action and laughed regularly at the vivid insults flung in each battle.

We would like to thank Hungry for More Games for this great donation.

If you would like to play Steal the Show, it is available for check out here, at the UNT Media Library.

Posted by & filed under Board Games.

Was it stolen from the museum? Or did the spy leave it on the luggage rack of the west bound train? The black market is full of them! Get the money and call the “Garbage Collector!”

Looney Labs is at it again with their new game, Get the MacGuffin.

After spending all morning searching for our copy of Get the MacGuffin—which could have been a film all in and of itself—we played this fast passed, take-that game of plot device stealing fun!

Like the majority of Looney Labs games, Get the MacGuffin is a quick card game for 2-11 players where play pivots at every moment. The ultimate goal is to be the last person standing, and obtaining and keeping the MacGuffin is the surest way to do so. Look out though, because spies, tomb robbers, and assassins are everywhere, and they will use every tool at their disposal to eliminate you.

Each turn, a player performs one action by playing a card from their hand, or activating a card on the field. Most of your cards will affect the game state by removing, stealing, or trading cards in some form or fashion. On your turn, if you have no actions to take, you are out! The MacGuffin gives you unlimited actions, but only for as long as you can hold onto it.

During our game, it quickly became a competition between the holder of the MacGuffin and the wearer of the Crown. On the first turn the Crown was revealed, only to be assassinated shortly after. The Garbage Collector went searching for it, but was thwarted when the MacGuffin hit the table. The game then became a grab for power as the Thief, Merchant, and holder of the Money each stole the MacGuffin out from under the previous owner.

Over all, the game is a solid experience as a both a filler game and a party game, and plays well both at 4 players and 11.

We would like to thank Looney Labs for this great donation.

If you would like to play Get the MacGuffin or any other game from Looney Labs, they are available for check out here, at the UNT Media Library.

Posted by & filed under Movie Recommendations, Television Recommendations.

For many children and young adults in the early 2000’s Japanese Animation, or Anime for short, is not a well-known concept.  However, when examined under a metaphorical microscope, it becomes obvious that many of the “cartoons” that were watched as kids were actually anime, including shows such as Yu-Gi-Oh, Duel Monsters, Pokemon (Pokemon the first Movie – DVD 17738), InuYasha, and Digimon being prime examples.

Enter the year 2002 and many fondly remembered shows were released such as Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Panic, Samurai Champloo, Hellsing (DVD 10687 v. 1-4), Elfen Lied, and Bleach.

Upon seeing that there was a market for anime in the west, Japan capitalized on this new audience combined with new technologies and advancements in computer animation. A torrential flood of anime was release post 2005 with many of the great modern series such as Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Code Geass, Eureka Seven, Clannad, Clannad After-stories, Guren Lagann, Afro Samurai (DVD 7294), the Mongatari Series, and the beginning of Ufotables Fate/Stay franchise. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here at the media library we have a few great anime series in stock such as:

Dragonball DVD 16582-6586

Cowboy Bebop – DVD 12520 v. 1-6, DVD 3234

Neon Genesis Evangelion – DVD 12564 v. 1-7

Ghost in the Shell – DVD 507

The Gokusen – DVD 10758 v. 1-3

Wolf’s Rain – DVD 12497 v. 1-7

For a full list of Anime in the Media Library Collection, check our catalog here.

 

Post by Student Supervisor Joshua Dorsey.