Friday, March 14, 2008

Total War Redefines Epic Battles

by Haakon Sullivan
Photo/Production Coordinato

The middle ages were filled with suffering and drudgery, but one cannot ignore the massive influence that this age has on our society today. From the hundred years war to the Crusades, certain events molded Europe and in Medieval 2: Total War, you wipe those historical events clean and begin Europe’s nearly ancient age from its beginning. Gathering your forces behind a banner of any nation of the time, it is your goal to wage total war and dominate Europe for the good of the nation.
This game is basically a turn based strategy and a real time strategy game hybrid. The turn based aspect of the game involves managing your troop training and building construction in your regions on a gigantic map of Europe. You will also end up choosing targets for your armies, diplomats and assassins. The real time aspect of the game puts you in direct command of your forces as you besiege a castle or sally forth out of your own to bring the fight to the enemy. These battles are usually epic as the number of troops can reach the one-thousand mark.
Overall, the game is not that difficult to understand, but very difficult to master. Commanding your empire is basic. Make sure your budget is balanced, your people are happy, and your troops are plentiful so you are in the proper position to wage war. This position is good enough on the easy modes, but if you want more of a challenge you must master juggling diplomacy, religion, technology and more in order to get an edge on your opponents. This can create a game that is much more complex than at first sight.
The graphics in the game are stunning, putting the battlefield and the troops to a level of detail that puts the game to a level that engrosses the player in the epic battle. The music also contributes to the epic experience as it plays gothic style music…sort of like the “Duel of the Fates” music in Star Wars.
This is a game that you can play a few hundred times and never have the same game twice. One game you could be playing Scotland and conquer both England and France. In another, you can be playing the Moors and conquer the Spanish and the Egyptians. Hell, you can even be the English and be crushed by the Mongol horde.
In general, this is a game that that has an infinite number of possibilities with no two play-throughs being the same. This game has only a small shred of history embedded into it making the game very open ended letting you do whatever you want with Europe. If you’re not into the campaign mode, you can play specific historical battles if you want to jump right into the real time strategy.

Fun: 1.7/2
Difficulty: 1.5/2
Presentation: 2/2
Story: 1.0/2
Replay Value: 2/2
Total: 8.2/10

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The North is Vancouver's Nerve-Ending

by Tyler Clarke
Photo and Production Coordinator

Prince George is getting its art on full force this semester, by means of both visual and literary dimensions. This is all in hopes of promoting the new UNBC/Emily Carr Institute partnership with regards to a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree.
The most recent event was a UNBC/Emily Carr poetry reading and arts presentation, held at the Two Rivers Art Gallery, located by the Civic Centre downtown, Saturday March 1.
A small crowd of under 30 was present for the event in the main entrance of the Two Rivers Gallery, consisting mainly of current UNBC students.
The event had UNBC/Emily Carr professor Sheila Hall give a presentation on various artistic projects she’s been a part of across the globe, in addition to UNBC English professor Robert Budde’s poetry reading. The event was free of charge, and included appetizers as well as free access to the full Two Rivers gallery.
“The North has wanted this for so so long… Prince George and Northerners can stay in their own latitude and explore their artistic statements,” UNBC English masters student and co-organizer of the event Jeremy Stewart said during the event’s introduction.
Budde followed with praise for the program, as well as selections from his latest book, Finding Fort George. He also presented a few poems from a work in progress series with a working title of Poem’s Poem, consisting of poetry from the point of view of the poem.
“They’re about he or she would react to the world,” Budde said, followed by a poem about a poem going to the dentist.
Budde was well received and liked by the audience.
Hall opened her time with a short discussion of the importance of the Fine Arts program at UNBC/Emily Carr Institute.
“Vancouver is too isolating... [The North] is the nerve endings that send messages to the centre [Vancouver],” Hall said. “There are some excellent artists from Prince George and UNBC.”
Then, rather than discuss the Fine Arts program as this reporter expected, she decided to lecture about various artistic projects she’s been a part of during the past few years. These included various open-air exhibits in the Lower Main Land, as well as projects she did with students in Africa. Some of this work is with the School For Life. For those interested, the website is
This was Hall’s last week in Prince George, as she goes back to the Emily Carr Institute following her teaching of intensive courses at UNBC.
Although she said that there are some things she will miss in Prince George, she said “I’m not going to miss flying up here every week.”
In between presentations, the Two Rivers Gallery was open for people to wander around the art displays. The display on feature at the moment was The Good, The Bad, and The Bunny. The display consisted of evil looking bunnies, houses with legs, and sock-bunnies hanging from wires on the ceiling. There didn’t seem to be any artistic purpose to the display, it didn’t provoke any thought, and didn’t deserve more than a fleeing glance from the observer. Hopefully Fine Arts graduates from the UNBC/Emily Carr partnership produce more meaningful art than that specific display.
Other pieces of art in the museum exuded more talent than the featured display.
For more information on this Bachelor of Fine Arts joint degree between UNBC and the Emily Carr Institute, go to

Roger Farr Brings Some Anarchy

By Andrew Kurjata

The CNC Caledonia Readings Series/UNBC Just West of Unruly reading series kicked off its 2008 season on February 28 when Vancouver poet Roger Farr gave a reading in Dr. Rob Budde’s Introduction to Canadian Literature class at UNBC.
Farr, an English professor at Capilano College, read from his SURPLUS series, a collection of poems “trying to document the effects of the current social and economic order,” primarily neoliberalism and global capitalism. The poems are ostensibly written in a “more or less” sonnet format. Though there is little internal rhyming, Farr tried to stick to conventional 14 lines, 10 syllables, and problem resolution in his writing, though he admits it breaks down towards the end.
He cited Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky as a primary inspiration for his work. Burtynsky, said Farr, was a pioneer in documenting the effects of industrialism on the environment and humans, often capturing beauty in scenes of great destruction. A similar theme could be heard in Farr’s reading, which conjured up images of parking lots, box stores, and poverty in a provocative and poetic manner.
During the question and answer period that followed, the discussion turned towards the motivation behind Farr’s writing style. He said that he was attracted to the sonnet format in part because it was “very colonial,” and interjecting it with political, almost Marxist language, was a way of undermining its authority. He also spoke about the difficulties of criticizing the capitalist system while operating within it. “Poetry is the only way I know of dealing with it,” he said.
One of the more interesting points of the discussion came when Farr talked about the forces of climate change and what it means for modern civilization. He said that while in the past left-leaning thinkers would look towards various social groups and movements as potential forces for overturning the exploitive capitalist system, he’s beginning to think it may be an environmental disaster that spurs on the change.
Despite the seriousness of the issues discussed, there was a fair amount of humour involved. When asked about the cover of his book, which depicts a sinking ship, he related a story in which someone in his office the same thing. “I told her it represented the sinking of civilization,” he laughed, “that doesn’t make good office chat.”
The lecture series continues this semester with David Wah appearing at UNBC and CNC on March 11, and Rita Wong coming on March 31.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Neat stuff happening this weekend

Jezebel's Jam

Come join us, the UNBC Northern Women's Centre, for an evening of live
music, poetry, and much more! This annual fundraiser will be held at the Art
Space on Friday March 7th, 2008. Doors open at 7:00pm and the event will
start at 8:00pm. The theme for this event is, "Divas and Alter Egos"!

Tickets are available at the Northern Women's Centre and Books and Company.
Advanced tickets are $10.00 or $15.00 at the door. This is a 19 + event, so
ID will be required.

It is shaping up to be a wonderful event with fantastic musicians; Montage,
ccHamel, The Kathy Frank Band, Jeremy Stewart, Erin Arding, The Borealis
Belly Dancers, and inspirational poetry readings by Si Transken and Robert
Zeigler. There will also be a Silent Art Auction featuring 4 local artists:
Lynda Anderson, Dahne Harding, Wendy Young and June Swanky Parker.

Non-perishable food items are being accepted and will be given to the St.
Vincent de Paul Society. Funds raised will support the Northern Women's
Centre and the John Howard Society's Stop Taking It Out on your Partner
program (this year's chosen recipient).

Hope to see you there!

Cosmic Lounge
Saturday, March 8
Hosted by PGPIRG
Jeremy Stewart & The Rest
Erin Arding & the 60 Hz Hum
The Government Inspectors

Tix are ten bucks with all the profits being split between the compost site
and the student organizers of the Green Day. This event will raise
awareness about land development and sustainability in University Heights.
There will be a talk at the opening followed by live music

The event is licensed; you must be 19+ to drink!

Aboriginal Writer's & Storyteller's Festival Schedule

Schedule of Events

Thursday, March 6
Children's Storytelling Event

12:30 pm: Richard Van Camp and competition winners-- UNBC Canfor theater

6:00 pm: Storytelling-- UNBC Canfor Theatre (Free)

Friday, March 7
Public Presentation

12:30-2 pm: Lee Maracle & Richard Van Camp-- UNBC Weldwood Theatre (Free)

Evening With the Authors

6:00 pm: Featuring Neal McLeod, Richard Van Camp, Lee Maracle, Marie Clements-- PG Native Friendship Centre (Free)

Saturday, March 8
Afternoon With the Authors

1:00 pm: Featuring Janet Marie Rogers, Neal McLeod, Richard Van Camp-- Art Space (Books & Company) (Free)

Dinner and Performance

6:00 pm (doors open at 5 pm) PG Native Friendship Centre ($15)

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