East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Not quite dead yet

As noted in the comments to yesterday’s post, the news of the death of former Bond Girl Tanya Roberts have been greatly exaggerated – and indeed, I am very happy to publish a denial of what I wrote yesterday.
So, in a way, 2021 starts with the resurrection of Sheena, queen of the jungle.
Well played, 2021.
Well played.


Barbara Shelley (1932-2021) & Tanya Roberts (1955-2021)

The new year has decided to go off with a bang, and it took away two beloved actresses in a matter of a few hours.

British actress Barbara Shelley was probably the classiest of the Hammer ladies – she appeared in Dracula, Prince of Darkness, in The Gorgon, and in Rasputin the Mad Monk. Her presence was so iconic, that many believe to this day that one of her earlier films, Blood of the Vampire, was a Hammer, while it wasn’t.

She was also a star in The Village of the Damned and in the classic Quatermass and the Pit. She also did an awful lot of television, including shows like The Avengers.

Tanya Roberts was an American actress very popular with my age group in the 80s, when she was in Charlie’s Angels before becoming a Bond Girl in A View to a Kill, and a Playmate; she later starred as the Queen of the Jungle herself in Sheena. She also appeared in the fantasy B-movie classic Beastmaster.

Roberts was only 65 at the time of her passing.


Raiders of the Lost Franchise: The Beastmaster (1982)

The second of the three “not so bad” sword & sorcery movies of the early ’80s features a tiger dyed black, an eagle that normally refused to fly, two weasels and one of Charlie’s Angels, the latter in a role that had been written for Demi Moore. And Rip Torn was in it, too, in a role that had been written for Klaus Kinski.

We are talking of course of Don Coscarelli’s The Beastmaster.
And it’s not really bad. It’s just not very good.

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Creative Task – Tex Murphy and Me

This week’s Creative Task for the Future of Storytelling course requires me to write about my favorite video game.

Now, I used to play more on video in the past – both on my PC or on my old Playstation 2; these days, I stick to tabletop roleplaying games.

Texmurphy_largeBut in terms of fascination, involvement, sheer fun, I’m still very much a fan of the old Tex Murphy games created by Chris Jones in the ’90s – the trilogy Under a Killing Moon, Pandora Directive and Tex Murphy: Overseer.

The series started as standard point and click games with two early entries called Mean Streets and Martian Memorandum.
Both the games pushed the boudaries of gaming by being multi genre (Mean Streets was part side-scrolling game, part flight simulator, part point-and-click adventure) and by adopting high quality video cut scenes and dialogues.

But it was in the later titles of the series I mentioned that thing really got interesting. Continue reading