Welcome, good lords and ladies, to another edition of The Friday Review. This week, we bring you a space shuttle of a masterpiece that will (possibly) make you cry, and a book widely revered as a classic this side of paradise. So grab your ticket for the next bus to Princeton and a box of tissues, because it’s time for…
This Side of Paradise
F. Scott Fitzgerald | Scribner (1920)
F. Scott Fitzgerald is more widely known for his 1925 novel The Great Gatsby, but his debut novel, This Side of Paradise is worth the price of dinner too. If you are a fan of classic literature, you ought to give this one a go. If contemporary fiction is more your fare, or if you find romantic protagonists who can’t seem to grow up annoying (which is understandable), look elsewhere for your next read. This Side of Paradise definitely has its shining moments, but its lack of an actual ending, or at least a decent one, removes it from my “most loved” shelf.
A novel that could use more direction, but a classic. 7 out of 10.
To the Moon
Freebird Games | 2011
Oh, where to begin with this one… Can video games be considered a work of art? With the creation of To the Moon, the answer to that question has become a resounding “YES.”
Never have I played a game so firmly based on its story. And what a story it is. The setting: a future in which doctors can alter the memories of the dying to give them the sensation of having achieved their lifelong wishes. But it gets so much deeper from there. How it’s possible to connect with and care about characters rendered in 16-bit style graphics is beyond me, but it is. I get chills just thinking about the ending.
Some have argued that To the Moon isn’t a game but an interactive movie. I disagree. Besides the fact that it lasts twice as long as the average film, it’s gameplay elements go beyond the mere advancement of the story. Although, it is obvious that the most effort was put into the game’s storytelling. It’s sparse, slightly repetitive gameplay is its only flaw.
However, the gameplay’s shortcomings detract nothing from the plot, which unfolds like a novel. It can be played — nay, experienced is the word — in a matter of 4 hours, but it need be no longer. Its touching story, poignant soundtrack, and multifaceted characters transcend any perceived limits of old-fashioned graphics, coalescing into an unforgettable experience that may find you reaching for that box of tissues.
No longer need video games be ostracized from the world of art. For that is truly what To the Moon succeeds in being. 9 out of 10.