3twins fans, The demo beta of our very first game Of Mages & Pages is live for your enjoyment on lectrajack.com As this is a beta, we would love to have feedback. Please post feedback here or email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you, Of Mages & Pages game team
Today I bring you another new character for our upcoming game for Wii U, Of Mages & Pages, Bruce the Teal Wizard. Bruce is a Gnome and has dominion over “flora” which means plants of all kinds. Bruce watches over the Greckles, who are large rock people.
Bruce is the smallest of the wizards and will be a playable character in our upcoming RPG for Nintendo Wii U, Of Mages & Pages: Remnants of Iniquity and could quite possibly be a future character for our soon to be released puzzle game for Android and Nintendo Wii U, Of Mages & Pages: Teento’s Revenge.
Don’t forget to check out the demo for the puzzle game at lectrajack.com!
By Carol Rzadkiewicz
Reading Christmas stories is the ideal way to spend an evening or two during this special time of year. Granted, there are quite a few wonderful Christmas movies available, and I admit to watching my fair share; however, I also enjoy curling up under an afghan on the sofa in front of the fireplace, with a cup of hot chocolate close by, and reading a good Christmas story. There’s just something about reading that surpasses watching a movie. Perhaps it’s the way literature brings one’s imagination into play, which simply isn’t the case with movies because, with movies, nothing is left to one’s imagination.
Below are some of my favorite Christmas stories, although, admittedly, there are others I also enjoy. However, I read these particular stories to my children when they were growing up, and I continue to read them today, these many years later, because they never cease to fill me with the true spirit of the holiday season.
The Night Before Christmas, by Clement Clarke Moore
Of note, Moore was actually a professor of classics at the General Theological Seminary in New York and wrote a renowned scholarly work on the lexicon of the Hebrew language” (New York Institute, 2010). However, he is best known for the immortal The Night Before Christmas, which was originally a poem he wrote for his children in 1822 and titled “A Visit from Saint Nicholas.” First published in December of 1823, fittingly only two days before Christmas, the story was an instant hit and quickly became a Christmas staple around the world. (New York Institute, 2010).
Perhaps because I have read this charming story so many times through the years, I can quote it almost entirely by heart, as probably many of you can. Yet, if you haven’t managed to memorize it, or simply need a refresher, here is how this classic begins:
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house/Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;/The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,/In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;/The children were nestled all snug in their beds,/While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;/And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,/Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap— (Moore, 1823)
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens wrote his classic tale of Christmas in 1843, and, interestingly, according to the Unitarian Universal Historical Society (2009), “Around this time Christmas Day was again beginning to be celebrated and the holiday transformed. The story and its characters—Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Crachit and Tiny Tim—defined the holiday’s meaning for the English-speaking world as the regenerative spirit of generosity, or what Dickens called his ‘Carol philosophy.’”
This wonderful story relates how three ghosts visit the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Even and, with their help, he undertakes a journey toward repentance, forgiveness, and, ultimately, love. It ends on this inspiring note:
He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle ever afterward; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us, Every One! (Dickens, 1984)
A Christmas Memory, by Truman Capote
According to PBS American Masters (2006), Truman Capote, born in New Orleans in 1924, is considered one of America’s most controversial and colorful authors, and “though he wrote only a handful of books, his prose styling was impeccable, and his insight into the psychology of human desire was extraordinary.”
A Christmas Memory, which tells the story of “Buddy” and his elderly cousin—as well as beloved friend—Miss Sook Faulk, is a frankly autobiographical story of the years after Capote’s mother abandoned him, leaving him in the care of his elderly aunts and cousins in Monroeville, Alabama, where he lived a solitary and lonely existence and turned to writing for solace. (PBS, 2006)
This beautifully written novelette opens with a plea to the reader to use his or her imagination:
Imagine a morning in late November. A coming of winter morning more than twenty years ago. Consider the kitchen of a spreading old house in a country town. A great black stove is its main feature; but there is also a big round table and a fireplace with two rocking chairs placed in front of it. Just today the fireplace commenced its seasonal roar. (Capote, 1956)
In summary, of course there are other Christmas stories, many of them moving and extremely well written, but these three have all become classics, and for good reason. So, why not fix a cup of hot chocolate, curl up under an afghan in front of a cozy fire, and allow Clement Moore, Charles Dickens, and Truman Capote to share the real meaning of Christmas with you and your family this holiday season.
Capote, T. (1956) A Christmas Memory; New York: Random House
Dickens, C. (1984) A Christmas Carol (1984) New York: Signet Classics, a Division of Penguin Books
Moore, C. (1823) The Night Before Christmas. (1995) Philadelphia, PA.: Running Press Book Publishers
New York Institute for Special Education (2010) “Clement Clarke Moore,” retrieved from nyise.org
PBS American Masters (2006) “Truman Capote,” retrieved from pbs.org
Unitarian Universal Historical Society (2009) “Charles Dickens,” retrieved from uua.org
By Carol Rzadkiewicz
You may be searching for holiday movies that the entire family can enjoy. If so, then I would like to share some of my personal favorites for your consideration.
Of course, when it comes to quality Christmas movies for family viewing, there are actually quite a lot, far more in fact than I could possibly address in this blog posting. Then again, there are some that are consistently rated more highly than others for their entertainment value, and while a few are classics, others are of more recent vintage; however, whether old or new these movies all share certain characteristics:
- They do not contain violence, profanity, or nudity.
- They are immensely entertaining.
- They contain characters about whom you can care.
- The storyline actually has “meaning.”
- They are guaranteed to fill you with the true spirit of the Christmas season.
Classic Christmas Movies for Family Viewing
Granted, some children might consider older movies passé or even “boring,” but the stories told in the following movies are timeless and remain as heartwarming today as when the films were first released. So, with this in mind, after viewing these movies, children might develop an appreciation for the oldies but goodies.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947): Considered “one of Hollywood’s most delightful fantasies” (Martin & Porter), this movie stars Natalie Wood as a child who has stopped believing in Santa Claus but has her faith restored when she meets a department store Santa, played by Edmund Gwenn, who claims to be the real thing; and whether he is or he isn’t is left for the viewer to decide in this heartwarming classic.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1948): Starring legendary Hollywood actors as James Steward, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Ward Bond, and Henry Travers, this film relates the story of a good man who begins to question whether life has passed him by and to wonder what it would have been like for others had he never been born. Would they be better off for never having known him? Of course, he learns the answer, which is the premise for this “heartbreaking, humorous, and ultimately heartwarming” tale (Martin & Porter).
A Christmas Carol (1951): This version of Charles Dickens’ classic tale is considered by many film critics to be the best adaptation of the story. It stars Alistair Simms as Ebenezer Scrooge, the meanest miser in all of London, and is guaranteed to “bring a tear to your eye and joy to your heart” (Martin & Porter).
More Recent Christmas Movies for Family Viewing
In recent years Hollywood has produced several delightful holiday movies that are appropriate for all ages, including very young children. A few are especially noteworthy, including the following:
Charlie Brown Christmas (1965): Although by some standards an “oldie,” this animated tale remains “young at heart,” perhaps because it stars the entire cast of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts and is considered by some film critics to be “required viewing for anybody concerned with losing the Christmas spirit” (Martin & Porter).
A Christmas Story (1983): Set in the 1940’s, this movie stars Bill Billingsley as a boy who dreams of receiving the ultimate Christmas gift—a Red Ryder air rifle. His parents, however, played by Melinda Dillon and Darren McGavin, don’t think he’s yet old enough to handle a rifle. At times both heartwarming and hilarious, this film is a viewing delight for both young and old.
The Santa Clause (1994): The star of this film is Tim Allen, a father who finds himself obligated to become Santa Claus after frightening the Jolly Elf and causing him to plunge from the roof, thanks to a little thing called “The Santa Clause.” So Allen dons Santa’s suit, and from this moment on, the story becomes magical entertainment.
Elf (2003): Starring Will Ferrell, this enjoyable holiday film tells the story of a man who was raised by Santa’s elves at the North Pole but then learns of his human origins, which explains why he towers over his elfin kin, and wishes to return to the real world in order to locate his biological father.
The Polar Express (2004): This animated film is based on the children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg and was nominated for an Academy Award, for obvious reasons. The story of a young boy who doubts the existence of Santa Claus but then boards a magical train headed for the North Pole, this extraordinary film stars Eddie Deezen and Tom Hanks (at least their voices) and is a must-see Christmas film for all ages.
In summary, these delightful, entertaining, and wholesome Christmas movies will provide hours of fun for the entire family. Moreover, they are guaranteed to fill everyone, children and adults alike, with the true spirit of the Yule Tide season.
Martin, M. & Porter, M. (1994) Video Movie Guide, New York: Ballantine Books
The demo beta of our very first game Of Mages & Pages is live for your enjoyment on lectrajack.com
As this is a beta, we would love to have feedback. Please post feedback here or email your thoughts to email@example.com.
Of Mages & Pages game team
Today I bring you another new character for our upcoming Nintendo Wii U game: Of Mages & Pages. George the Brown Wizard! George is the wizard of time and is a Centaur. In Midieville Centaurs are not just half-human half-horse creatures, they are half-human half-any-animal.
This is a repost of a previous post from our old blog-
Jason Kuder: Tell me a bit about you, who is Steve Surine, Co-Founder and Senior. Vice President of 3twins.net Incorporated?
Steve Surine: I am a husband and new dad, which has pretty much been the coolest experience ever so far. I’m also the youth pastor at Oakwood Bible Church in Kalamazoo, MI. I love the opportunity to work with people and help them on their journey of faith. I also consider myself a writer and storyteller, which is my favorite part of being involved with 3twins.
J: And would you please describe your role at 3twins?
S: I’m one of the cofounders of 3twins, the third twin – which is a story unto itself. In the early days I was about as involved in everything as Jason and Andy. I wrote a lot of the scripts and helped develop the stories for The Adventures of Hatman & Indigo, Midieville, and Star Fetched, and I also did a lot of the artwork and concept drawings. As time went on and my other responsibilities in life increased, though, I had to take a few steps back. So these days I serve as more of an advisor and confidant, weighing in with ideas and being someone Jason and Andy can use as a sounding board. I like to think of myself as the Chief Motivating Officer. At the heart of 3twins we are storytellers and we want to use creative mediums to tell those stories. All along the way that has meant having to learn as we go. How do you make an online comic book? Or a motion comic? And now, how do you make a video game? It’s fun blazing new trails, but it can also get discouraging when you hit roadblocks. So I try to be the guy that encourages everyone to keep moving forward.
I also do voice work, including Gidju the Dragon who will be a playable character in Of Mages and Pages and I’m part of the level design team.
J: The main storyline of the game is based on a series of short cartoon scripts you wrote. Can you tell us a bit about that?
S: Wow, that was a long time ago! Let’s hope I can remember this correctly! For starters, one thing you have to know about Jason, Andy, and I is that we can never just write a simple story. We always start to fall in love with the characters and want to flesh the story out to the nth degree. You see that start to happen with Midieville if you watch all of the shorts in order on 3twins.net. We came up with the Tale of the Spellbook, and Jason wrote a really great story where that would culminate in an epic wizard duel between Marvin and Naaj. The duel ended with the pages of the spell book getting scattered, and that’s where I stepped in with an idea for a story where the heroes and villains would be locked in a race to try and gather all of the pages – the villains doing so to gain power, and the heroes doing so to thwart the villains.
In addition to being a cool quest for our main characters, the story was also going to be an opportunity for us to finally explore the land of Midieville beyond Marvin’s hut and Anell’s castle. We would get to see the various lands, creatures, and races, plus introduce a lot of characters that we’d had in mind all along but hadn’t had a chance to incorporate into the story.
J: You mentioned that you are the voice of Gidju, what is your inspiration for that character, how do you prepare to voice him?
S: Gidju was a tough character to come up with a voice for. On one had he’s a massive, fire-breathing dragon. On the other hand he’s just a big, lovable dunce. So I went through a lot of trial and error trying to find a voice that worked for both. At one point I remember sitting in Jason’s recording studio literally with a mouth full of cotton and speaking with a bad cockney accent.
But ultimately I found my inspiration in Pinky of Pinky and the Brain – another lovable dopey character, and one with a big enough personality to fit the size of Gidju. Hopefully my Gidju voice isn’t a direct copy of Pinky, but if you listen to it with him in mind I think you’ll be able to tell that he’s where the inspiration came from.
J: In addition to voicing Gidju, you co-created the first 4 characters for the web-shorts (Marvin, Gidju, Anell, and Black Knight). Can you go into some detail what that creative collaboration was like?
S: As Andy shared in his interview, he initially created the concept for Midieville, and I think he and Jason came up with the initial origin stories for the main characters. I think Andy had even written a pilot script before I got involved. But I did do the artwork that you’ll see in the Midieville shorts on 3twins.net. It’s really interesting how actually seeing a character finally brings them to life. It definitely influences the storytelling, and even helps the actors hone in on a voice.
Midieville was our first attempt at full animation and so there was a steep learning curve. Rather than just drawing characters in static poses, I had to draw the characters in separate, moveable parts so that Andy could animate their movements. For every character I had to draw multiple arms, legs, and even faces. To give a character the ability to turn and walk across the room meant drawing a completely new torso and head. It was difficult to do it in such a way that all of the parts would always line up to make a complete looking character. There were a lot of glitches in the early shorts, but we got better along the way.
J: So, I have teased several new characters for the upcoming game. Are you going to be voicing any of those, if so, what ones?
S: Officially, no. But hopefully, yes! Of Mages and Pages is going to drastically expand the Midieville Universe and introduce numerous new characters, many of whom have only just been created as the game has been developing. So there’s actually going to be a tryout among the 3twins crew and a few other friends to cast voice actors for these characters. I have ideas for at least two of them, George the Brown Wizard and Peter the White Wizard, and so I plan on throwing my hat into the ring. We’ll see if I land any new parts!
J: I’m going to shift gears here a bit and discuss the lost Hatman story: Beakman. Would you like to discuss that story and what happened to it? Will we see it again? Will it ever be completed?
S: The Beakman saga was actually one of the first Hatman stories I ever wrote. But getting it into print has been a very difficult process. To make a long story short, two different artists took up the mantle of drawing it, and both left 3twins before finishing it. The first two parts of the story were on 3twins.net at one point, but we removed them when it became uncertain when the comic would ever be finished. I’m not content to let the story die, though, even if it means one day drawing the rest of it myself, especially since there are a few more scripts in our archive for future Beakman stories. They include some really funny and exciting moments that we can’t wait to publish.
J: That’s exciting! One of the mantra’s of 3twins is “never, never, never give up” would you like to expound on a brief highlight of this “never say die” attitude and your direct role in it over the years?
S: At our heart we’re storytellers. Over the years we’ve gone from two brothers and a friend who liked making goofy videos, to pursuing making a full length movie, writing a novel, making a comic book, ultimately creating 3twins.net, and now making a video game. Obviously some of those things I mentioned never came to fruition, others didn’t quite work out the way we originally intended, and others that are still on the back burner. It’s been a long process and it’s been very difficult at times. Not only have we lost partners along the way, but I think it would be fair to say that at various points Jason, Andy, and myself have all felt like quitting. But that’s probably the blessing of being in this together. With three people at the core of this, there’s always someone to pick the others up and encourage things to keep moving. There’s a fairly well known verse in the Bible, Ecclesiastes 4:12, and at the end it says, “A three-fold cord is not quickly broken.” That about sums up 3twins – we’ve been down before but we’ve never been broken.
J: That’s an excellent verse, and I think a great place to stop the interview. We all look forward to hearing you as Gidju again very soon.
Today I’m bringing you a design of what Marvin the Blue Wizard will look like in our upcoming Nintendo Wii U game, Of Mages & Pages!