Animal Crossing: New Horizons – The reviews are in!

After a long wait, this week sees the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons for Nintendo Switch.

Reviewers are shoering the game with praise and the Spanish press hasn’t forgotten to laud the localization, which is always a challenge on such large projects. I’ve spent many months leading a talented and dedicated team of writers who have given their best to make your stay on the island as much fun as possible.

I hope you enjoy it, yes, yes!

…the excellent localization. And we don’t mean just translation, but localization. In Spain, this video game talks to you in Castillian Spanish. Set phrases, jokes, dialects, accents… “Muyayo” is just the tip of the iceberg in a warmer, more familiar vocabulary than we dared imagine. New Horizons casts serious doubts on which is the best localized video game in the last few years, not just for Nintendo, but anywhere. It’s amazing. (Meristation)

A lot of care has been into into the game, that’s obvious. It’s Spanish localization es just one example of the attention to detail and its brilliant execution. (3Djuegos)

The game’s translation deserves particular mention as one of its most notable elements. The animals don’t “speak” but utter am odd gurgling or purring that materiales as really funny lines and, every time you catch a fish, with rhymes so bad they are actually good. Nintendo’s localization work is generally outstanding, but Animal Crossing in particular allows them to show off. (HobbyConsolas)

Finally, we’d like to applaud the impeccable translation work, main culprit for the many guffaws we let out upon reading our neighbours’ remarks. (Vandal)

Frank McCourt

Frank McCourt
Frank McCourt

Frank McCourt wrote three novels before dying last year at the age of 78.

The first one, Angela’s Ashes, narrates his miserable Irish childhood in the slums of Limmerick, the opression of his Catholic upbringing and his fight to achieve the dream of sailing to America. It won the Pulitzer Prize and it makes a thoroughly enjoyable reading (not long ago I related how I got hold of my copy).

The second one, ‘Tis, picks up at his arrival upon the new continent and tells of his search for employment, for flats, for a place in the world, for love, for a respectable career. It tries to repeat the formula but it lacks the spark and falls in nowhere land.

The third one, Teacher Man, digs in his experiences as a secondary scholl teacher of English and, for the last few years, creative writing. Both the novel and the character lack a purpose, but both seem to find it towards the last third of the book, which contains the most intense passages of the last two books and is the reason we bring it here. Both McCourt’s work and his advice are perfect matches of Brenda Ueland’s philosophy in If You Want To Write, and perfect contrast with megalomaniac storylines as we discussed them only last week.

We’re going to devote the whole of next week, Monday to Friday, to comment upon several fragments of his work and discuss, through them, the use of real experience and autobiographical elements in fiction.

At the mountains of madness

Guillermo del Toro abandoned “The Hobbit” and we now know why: next year he’ll be shooting “At the mountains of madness”. James Cameron himself will be assisting on the 3D. Big fan of Lovecraft, del Toro wasn’t able to find funds for his dream project because, according to his own words that I quote from memory, “the insignificance of the human being in the universe is not a theme that would sell much popcorn”.

But maybe it will.

An early, undated version of the script surfaced online, and even though sites like ScriptShadow were forced to remove not only the link but even the (rather positive) review, the PDF should still be around. I could finally read it last weekend.

Co-written with Matthew Robbins (Don’t  Be Afraid of the Dark, Mimic), the text contains an adventure movie which is at the same time classical and modern: classical in its love for the mistery of the unknown, and modern in the unbreakable pace that keeps the reader (future spectator) glued to the seat. The script sweats love not only for Lovecraft but also for Poe and all the horror and sci-fi literature of a century ago.

On the negative side, the script lacks any memorable characters, which is maybe its bigger flaw, as ScriptShadow pointed out. And certain attempts to humanize them (like Dyers briefly glimpsed wife or Gedney’s worries about his brother Pip) are clichéd and not relevant to the plot. Probably in an effort to cut down on the number of pages (i.e. cut down costs, i.e. convince investors), some informations and themes are forced onto the mouths of the characters, thus verbalizing the topics for the dumbest memeber in the audience. The reading reminded me of the viewing of Hellboy 2:  rich imagination, poor storytelling.

We can take for granted that the movie will be a visual show. The script’s descriptions are brief (lesson taken!) but del Toro and Cameron will distill much wealth from the original story. We can only hope that the flaws in this version of the script have been solved in later revisions. Defective or not, I just can’t wait.

As a farewell, a soundtrack suggestion, both for del Toro and for readers of the script: the Antarctic beauty of the music of Max Richter


(Español) Criticar por criticar

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(Español) Scene & Structure

(Español) Plot

Sorry, this entry is only available in European Spanish.

Un prólogo a lo nuevo de Allende

La Isla Bajo el MarA través de Bloguzz recibo un adelanto de la nueva novela de Isabel Allende, “La Isla Bajo el Mar”, que cuenta (según rezan los textos promocionales) “la azarosa historia de una esclava en el Santo Domingo del siglo XVIII”. No siendo fan de la autora (no habiendo leído, de hecho, más que fragmentos sueltos), y no teniendo particular interés ni en las esclavas ni en Santo Domingo ni en el siglo XVIII, me encuentro un tanto escéptico cuando me siento en el sofá a leer el libreto que contiene, al parecer, lo que serán el prólogo y los tres primeros capítulos de la novela.

Conforme avanzo, todas mis expectativas se cumplen. Allende tiene oficio, pero también vicios. Casi 30 años de best-sellers le dan libertades que otros autores no pueden tomarse. La historia comienza despacio, y en ninguno de los tres capítulos se menciona siquiera a la que se supone protagonista de la novela (aunque esto podría ser un fallo de promoción, y no de la autora). Su prosa es precisa aunque un tanto edulcorada, con excesiva tendencia a las oraciones de al menos tres líneas. Entre tanto amago de poesía, tan pronto se le escapa un tópico como una imagen realmente singular, de las que gusta paladear y brillan como gemas entre la arena del resto de la página. Así, con luces y sombras, la historia crece lentamente personaje a personaje y se atisban ya los primeros conflictos (el militar y el terrateniente encaprichados de la misma cortesana), generando unas expectativas que Allende, sin duda, sabrá satisfacer.

En definitiva, “La Isla Bajo el Mar” ofrece lo que se puede esperar de un best-seller contemporáneo escrito por una mujer: ambientación de época, mujeres fuertes, hombres enamorados, clases altas y bajas, un título pomposo y un estilo siempre un punto por debajo de lo cursi. El público de Allende no va a crecer con esta novela, pero tampoco va a disminuir.