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5 Fictional Characters Who Laugh In the Face of Guinness World Records

On August 27, 1955 the very first edition of The Guinness Book of Records was released. Since then it has become a source of awe and curiosity, and certainly a few cringes. We all remember the annual school book fair in middle school that always had at least a few copies circulating with groups of kids huddled around, everyone pointing and talking over each other. You were out of luck if you hadn’t been given enough money to buy a copy because it was always checked out at the library—which got us thinking about some fictional characters and the Guinness Records they’d probably hold.

Posted by Jamie Canaves

Four Video Game Soundtracks That Are Perfect to Write To

Music gives the less writerly-insane parts of our brains something to do while we're putting words on a screen, and soundtracks are an excellent choice. Personally, I used to write to movie soundtracks (the TRON Legacy soundtrack is proof the universe wants me to be happy), but those can be tricky. John Williams' Star Wars soundtracks are amazing achievements but you're working away and here's the Imperial March and now you have to go march around your house like you're Darth Vader.

So for the past few years, I've switched to game soundtracks. Not the Tetris music (can you imagine? I would lose my mind), but the gorgeous and symphonic soundtracks with atmospheres. See, game music has recognizable themes, but also ambient background music, for those less exciting bits when you're running across a vast landscape or staring blankly at a jumping puzzle. This means you get wonderful ambient mood-music drifting through the background.

Want to try some videogame soundtracks out? Here's some suggestions.

Posted by Peter Damien

Five Bookish iPhone Games You Should Be Playing Right Now

I play a lot of iPhone games. Sometimes, too many.

I’m frequently kept up at night, filled with turmoil and wrestling with what game I should delete to make room on my iPhone for important things and… OMG. There’s a new Final Fantasy game out?! It takes up 1.2GB of space? WHAT DO I DO?!

[Deletes entire album full of photos and treasured, precious memories]

Whew. Okay.

As someone who adores books and video games equally, I love it when I’m able to find a combination of both of those things. Whether it’s with a book that uses video games as a key plot point (Ready Player One), or a game that happens to incorporate the literary (Device 6).

Here are a few iOS games inspired by books, that you should probably start playing now.

Posted by Eric Smith

Six Other Works Of Literature Worthy of a LEGO Video Game

I was pretty excited when the announcement regarding the latest LEGO video game dropped back in December. I mean, I already have the fantastic Lord of the Rings LEGO video game, and I adored all of the Harry Potter LEGO video games… but now there's going to be a Hobbit adaptation?

And the LEGO minifig looks like Martin Freeman? YES! 

Okay, okay, I get it. The game is more of an adaptation of the movie and not the book. It specifically focuses on the first two films, An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug, and chances are the third game will end up being some standalone title or (evil) DLC. But you know what? I'm okay with that.

Because Martin Freeman minifig

But let's talk about others works of literature that might make for amazing LEGO video games. Because I want them, and because several people have already gone ahead and made projects inspired by these literary masterpieces. Let's go! 

Image via Flickr

MOBY DICK: A thrilling adventure on the high seas! LEGO minifigs running around a ship, whaling, floating around on rowboats, and oh yeah, chasing after a massive white LEGO whale?

And can you imagine the beautiful brick waves of water? Yes. Yes you can. Let's do this, video game developers. 

SHERLOCK HOLMES: Remember when I went crazy over the Martin Freeman minifigs? WELL I'M NOT DONE YET.

Someone went ahead and made Sherlock inspired LEGOs. Let's hire this person to be the designer on the Sherlock Holmes LEGO video game. Do some serious sleuthing around a brick world. Also, more plastic block shaped Martin Freeman. 

Image via Eurobricks

THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS: A LEGO video game adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper's classic work of literature? I'd play it. Perhaps, just perhaps, we could get Daniel Day Lewis on board to reprise his role, and provide the voice over for Nathaniel. A boy can dream.

THE ODYSSEY: Someone already went to the (amazing, incredible) trouble of recreating this scene in LEGO, and seriously, the epicness is pretty astounding. Seeing as how Homer's works are frequently getting new films, TV series, and are the inspiration for countless other works, a LEGO video game just feels right, you know? 

Image via Flickr


You know, I'm actually really surprised this doesn't exist yet. Maybe it's because the whole teenagers killing teenagers thing wouldn't gel with the whole "rated E for Everybody" ranking LEGO games get. That's probably it. Whatever, I'd play it.

Bonus, watch this trailer done up in LEGOs. Awesome. 

Long John Silver via Flickr

TREASURE ISLAND: Robert Louis Stevenson's classic would make for a great LEGO video game. And LEGO is almost there! There's already a LEGO Treasure Island… although it isn't quite what we're looking for. And there are plenty of pirate playsets. Come on guys, let's do this. 

Alright guys, I've gone on long enough. What are some pieces of literature YOU'D like to play as a LEGO video game? 

Posted by Eric Smith

10 Life Lessons from Super Mario Bros

1. The princess will always need saving.
No matter how many times Mario saves Princess Peach, she’s captured again in the next installment of Super Mario Bros. Life’s annoying like that too. The moment you finish one thing, something else will appear. Just keep on playing.

2. Dinosaurs really aren’t that scary.
Ever since Jurassic Park, we’ve lived terrified that dinosaurs will somehow resurface on Earth and take over. I understand why people are frightened (dinosaurs are huge!), but Mario teaches us that all we have to do is grab that T-Rex by its tail and swing it around a few times. Dizziness will mess with anyone, no matter how big or reptilian.

3. Traveling to the unknown usually results in rewards.
Half of Mario playing time is spent frantically looking for tunnels where the down button works. And what do we find 9 times out of 10 in those underground spaces? Coins! Free men! Power-up mushrooms! Take a random path and see what happens.

4. Red is cooler than green.
This is so obvious that I can’t believe I wrote it down. I mean, come on.

5. When you can’t solve a problem, jumping around like a maniac will lead to a solution.
We all get frustrated. Instead of sitting at a desk, over-thinking all possibilities, get up and jump around. I promise it will help. Mario’s jumping often leads to hidden vines that carry him above the clouds. A little bit of movement might help to clear your head.

6. You can only hold your breath underwater for so long.
Mario’s not a very good swimmer. Those pie pieces disappear before you can get anything accomplished. Chances are, you know the feeling (or aren't such a hot swimmer yourself). You can only force yourself to do hard things for a limited amount of time, so don’t procrastinate and get them out of the way fast.

7. Ice is dangerous.
Seriously, be careful on that stuff. If you don’t have ice skates or a penguin to carry you to safety, you’re probably better off avoiding it altogether.

8. It’s ok to live in a bubble sometimes.
Floating in a bubble can be a lifesaver, especially when you’re in multi-player mode. Strategic planning turns bubble seclusion into an art. In life, it’s also ok to hide in a bubble. Until two people bubble at the same time and you’re kicked out of the level, anyway.

9. The best way to avoid a bullet is to duck.
This applies to both figurative and literal bullets. Avoidance is key. Watch that bullet soar on by. Now stand up and brush off those unharmed overalls.

10. There’s a fine line between confident and cocky.
You’re running as fast as you can possibly hold down the buttons, doing flips in the air, tackling every Goomba and Koopa in your way. The music starts to fade and the warning bells go off, but you’re determined to get rid of that last fire-jumpy-thing before the star is gone for good. …And now you’re dead.

Maria Vicente is an associate literary agent at P.S. Literary Agency. She likes books, coffee, design, & magic. You can find her on Twitter (@MsMariaVicente) or her blog, ibelieveinstory.com.

Posted by Maria Vicente

Six Cromulent Made-Up Words to Enrich Your Vocabulary

Forget flash cards for a minute–learning words can actually be funSee, the great thing about the English language is just how flexible, fanciful, adaptable, and extendable it is. Individual words evolve with use, kind of like Pokémon. The entirety of vocabulary gets bigger when it needs to, kind of like a Pokémon deck with an expansion pack. And when writers can’t quite capture the correct word in the wild, they concoct one with syllables from other, older words…kind of like how Pokémon scientists built Mewtwo.

Seriously, and video-game metaphors aside, new words (or neologisms, for those without an Orwellian avoidance of all things non Anglo-Saxon) are a whole bunch of fun (kind of like…never mind). Here’s a few choice coinages from literature and beyond to embiggen your vocabulary.

Posted by Blair Thornburgh