Video Game: The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana

Promo Card: The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana (front)

Promo Card: The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana (front)

If you like puzzle games with a strong eerie vibe, then you will probably enjoy the recently released The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana. To make your way through the lonely, imposing mansion, you have to unlock puzzles (many, many puzzles) along the way.

Promo Card: The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana (back)

Promo Card: The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana (back)

I have long enjoyed the music of Nox Arcana and this game is made by the same artists (Joseph Vargo  and Christine Filipak); it is infused with a wonderfully unsettling vibe. The house’s settings, paintings and decor are beautiful and very detailed, and the traditional Nox Arcana atmospheric music is ever-present. I have only had time to play through about half (maybe?) of the game, so this is not a complete review. But I have been waiting for this game since early this year and happy to get the chance to play it. It seems well worth the wait.

In-game painting from "The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana": Draconis

In-game painting from “The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana”: Draconis

As for puzzle-solving, it is not generally one of my favorite things to do in games, so playing an entire games of puzzles is a new experience for me. But they are not (so far) too difficult for me. You have to stay aware of patterns and anything within the puzzle that changes as you work on solving it. Also, be sure to check your journal for clues that you have picked up already — these clues are needed for many of the puzzles. And look at paintings, statues, etc., as there are often either clues or items involved.

The game is available for Windows or Mac and can be bought from Steam, or it can be bought as a set (the game on DVD, the music CD and a metal token like the one used in the game); this set is available directly from the game’s maker I opted to buy the full set, as I like to have hard copies of media.

I will note that I had some problems installing the game on Windows 8.1. The antivirus gave me several messages that there might be a threat from the software and ran short scans, but all the scans gave an “everything’s ok” result. Then Windows would not install it. The game disk included a file that refers to problems that one might encounter due to the fact that the makers did not register the game with Microsoft. This document itself consisted of code mixed with text, so the recommended solution was not clear to me. What I did to solve the problem was right click on the DVD from Windows Explorer and then clicked the troubleshoot problems selection. Going through the dialogue boxes, it fixed something (but what?) and then it installed perfectly in just a few seconds. And just as an aside, I would have preferred to play the game on Linux, which is what I usually use, but I do keep an older Windows drive just for the occasional game like this.

There was obviously a lot of effort and love that went into this game, and it would be great to see more projects like this in the future from these talented folks.


Best Doll Ever?


Edgar & Annabel

I’m not generally into collecting dolls, but when I saw this Edgar Allan Poe and Annabel Lee set (part of the Living Dead Dolls Collection) several years ago I had to get them immediately. The dolls come in their own coffin. I love the motto on the back of the coffin: “We’ve passed away, now it’s time to play!”

Edit Oct 6, 2018: I posted this last October but made it private because I wanted to use my own photo, not a stock photo from the original store site. It has taken me this long to take a photo…

Cthulhu Cutout

This photo is from Jerom’s Blog and there is a link there to the cutout that you can print, cut and paste to make this ‘Cutethulhu’. His blog also has some other good Lovecraftian stuff, so if you’re interested in Lovecraft, then please pay it a visit. Oh, it’s mostly in French, but if you can’t make out the words, then the pictures are good in themselves.

Review of Possessed (2009)

Possessed (2009)Possessed is a South Korean TV drama from 2009, combing elements of crime drama, mystery, psychological thriller and the supernatural into one of the best films that I’ve seen in a long time.

The story centers around Hana (hah-NAH), a high school student who once experienced a tragic event when she was little and now is troubled by visions of things that only she can see. Soon, she finds herself the unwitting vehicle of vengeful ghosts and a famous criminal profiler, who experienced his own trauma as a youth.

That’s the basic background, but there is so much more to this show. Integral to the drama is the issue of the modern criminal justice system, especially its failures and corruption. It’s a story of good versus evil, but, as the story progresses, this simple opposition of forces becomes more muddied and brings up questions of just how far justice against cruelty can go before the avenger has become corrupted into cruelty.

This presentation is pretty amazing, as are the actors. Lim Ju-Eun is a lovely young actress who does a fantastic job as Hana, as does Lee Seo-Jin as the profiler. I especially liked the role of Lee Jin as the girlfriend of profiler Shin Ryu: she does a beautiful job of portraying a caring woman coming to terms with being confronted by unremorseful cruelty against her idealistic support of the reformation of criminals. It’s clear that South Korea’s criminal justice system mirrors in many ways that in the U.S. There are issues here that are important that a society consider and re-evaluate.

Possessed does not seem to be available on DVD yet, but you can see it on Hulu in ten parts of an hour each. It is in Korean with English subtitles. Don’t be put off by the opening theme song, which I found rather annoying (sounding a bit like it’s sung by a cloyingly cute animated character). Some loose ends never seem to be entirely tied up and I found that the ending was a little unfulfilling, but it works well enough with the progression of the storyline. There is, however, much sweet, sweet revenge along the way. Perhaps you will find it worth your time.

[Edit October 14, 2018: Hulu has changed since the time I originally wrote this, so the old link no longer works and I doubt that the series is available (at least for free) on Hulu now. I did find a DVD version on Amazon; I won’t put a link here but the title at Amazon is listed as “Soul Aka Possessed – 2009 Korean TV Series – English Subtitle.” It has a current price of $49.95 and only available from third-party sellers. There are at least some parts of the series viewable on YouTube, but you may have to search around to find the complete show.]