Titanic Gazette Souvenir Shop

Titanic Gazette Souvenir Shop

Titanic Gazette Souvenir Shop

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Titanic-Honor and Glory: A Game To Remember

Titanic: Honor and Glory can rightly be called one of the biggest and most ambitious attempts to recreate the Titanic's maiden voyage and sinking since James Cameron's 1997 Titanic film.  It is a video game being made by Tom Lynskey, Matt DeWinkeleer, and Kyle Hudak.  They have spent countless hours bringing the Titanic to life virtually, pouring over books, blueprints, accounts, and more.  
In the game, you will have two options much like Titanic: Adventure Out Of Time.  You can either do a "Explore Mode" or "Story Mode."  "Explore Mode" allows you to walk around the entire ship and explore nearly every room without any time limits or 1912 restrictions from going into other classes or sections.  "Story Mode" allows you to experience her voyage and sinking.  In "Story Mode," you are a fictional passenger named Owen Robert Morgan.  You are falsely accused of stealing the crown jewels when you had the misfortune of in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Your only lead about the actual perpetrator is that they are on the Titanic.  This is where the game begins.  You arrive in Southampton (most of which you will be able to explore) and board the Titanic as a 1st class passenger where you hope to find the real criminal and clear your name.  You spend the voyage looking for clues, interacting with historical passengers and crew, and exploring the ship.  After the Titanic strikes an iceberg, you have a choice.  You can either do as you wish, or you can try to follow along with the story and clear your name.  If you decide to go do your own thing, you will have many opportunities to experience history.  As the ship sinks in real time, you can sit on a deck bench and listen to the band playing, observing everything going on around you.  You could even go down below and help the engineers fight to delay the sinking with pumps and keep the power going. If you don't get into a lifeboat and end up in the water, you will have about as much time to get out of the water as the actual people did before hypothermia and exposure sets in.

To assist with the project, they have brought on world famous Titanic historians such as Ken Marschall, Steve Hall, and Parks Stephenson to consult on the physical details along with Bill Wormstedt, Tad Fitch, and others to consult on other details such as lifeboat launch times, crew shifts, and things that would be shown and heard in the game.  Yours truly is very honored to have contributed some information and details to the game as well. 

Regarding the characters, they will not be exaggerated or misrepresented,  In fact, actual descendants and relatives are being consulted.  As if that's not cool enough, Doug Willingham will be voicing his cousin, 1st class passenger Archibald Butt and Helen Benziger will be voicing her great-grandmother, Margaret Brown.  People in minority groups of the time such as Joseph Laroche (the only black man on board), and Masabumi Hosono (the only Japanese person on board) will be included.  

I can promise you that you won't be disappointed when you play the game.  Not only will you be able to have an authentic experience, you will learn things as well.  As I alluded to earlier, the team has gone above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that every little detail is accurate.  The Grand Staircase for instance has been redone many times as more details come to light and is just now near completion because more details keep coming up.  The experts mentioned above have sent many research materials.  From Steve Hall, they have his books which go into great detail about the physical details of the ship.  From Ken Marschall (who has worked with James Cameron on his 1997 film and subsequent documentaries), they have received a care package with 500 physical photos and about 18 gbs of digital data.  

The game will be very realistic.  Using Unreal Engine 4, the team have been able to recreate the Titanic's interiors, exteriors, passengers, and crew in a believable way.  The models will be very detailed, allowing you to enjoy her beauty and get a good sense of what she looked like right down to the brush strokes on the walls.  

I highly recommend donating to this project to allow it continue to allow this dream to become a reality.  If you wish to donate, you can go to the link below for more details.  They need as much money as possible and every dollar counts.  
Also, please join their Facebook page here for updates:  https://www.facebook.com/TitanicHonorandGlory?fref=ts

Would you play this game?  What do you most look forward to seeing in the game?  Comment below and tell me what you think!  

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Review: Museum Men Resurrecting the Titanic

When I first learned about the Museum Men episode coming on the History Channel, I was excited.  When I learned that it was about them creating the Grand Staircase for the Titanic museum in Pigeon Forge, I was more excited.  I was really looking forward to them bringing up interesting facts about the Titanic's construction, showing us how she was built, and talking about the Grand Staircase during the voyage and sinking.  By the end, I was very disappointed.

Museum Men is a show on History Channel 2 about a group of men that replicate rooms, machines, and monuments for museums across the US and the past few episodes have been excellent, entertaining, and education until now.  When they got to the Titanic, they talked a big talk about recreating history and honoring the Titanic's legacy, but they didn't deliver regarding the details.  They did have some interesting facts thrown in about the construction and building materials, but I wasn't sure about how much I could believe because they got so many "facts" wrong!  From saying that the Grand Staircase was nicknamed the "Stairway to Heaven" at the time to saying that it was only for a limited number of 1st class passengers, it was just a mess.  Plus, they used a black and white photo obviously of the Grand Staircase at the Branson Titanic museum as if it was an actual photo of the Titanic/Olympic's Grand Staircase even though there are multiple photos of the Olympic's Grand Staircase photos they could have used.  While we're on the subject, they did mention the Olympic and Britannic.  However, they focused heavily on their WWI service and didn't show photos of the Grand Staircases for comparisons.  On top of that, I felt that they rushed the editing with them reusing footage from several past Titanic History Channel documentaries to rushing through some parts while other parts were unnecessarily lengthy.

It was nice to see how the Grand Staircase at the Pigeon Forge Titanic museum was made and from personal experience, it is truly wonderful to walk up those stairs.  It really takes you back in the time when you walk into that room.  But it could have been a lot better with proper research and more careful editing.  

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Review: All About History Book of the Titanic

When I was going through Sam's Club, I noticed a magazine from All About History about the Titanic.  Being the passionate Titaniac that I am, I had to get it.  The price on the magazine was $25.00, though the price was reduced to $15.00 with a membership.  I understand that it is also sold at Barnes and Nobles'.  It is written by Beau Riffenburgh and was published in 2014.

As I was skimming through the magazine, I was almost immediately struck with the fact it is very similar to Beau Riffenburgh's book, "Titanic: The Legend of the Unsinkable Ship."  A closer examination of it reveals more similarities.  A lot of the materials he used and people he focused on were the same as ones used in "Titanic: The Legend of the Unsinkable Ship."  Unlike his book, however, the papers and documents were not ones you could pull out of pockets.  I will add that the book is not really for someone who has researched the ship for many years and knows a lot of commonly said facts.  There is no new information which can be gained by it if you have Riffenburgh's book.

The information is pretty good.  It's clear he did a lot of research on the subject, though some of his information is outdated (such as the legend Thomas Andrews died in the Smoking Room which we now know to be incorrect).  Riffenburgh laid a good foundation at the start, talking about the White Star Line, Cunard Line and the world the Titanic came into.  He then takes you into the Titanic's construction, maiden voyage, sinking, aftermath, and legacy with interesting facts and details which will keep you interested throughout.

The images in the book are wonderful and while some are common, others are not that well used.  Unfortunately, I do have to urge caution with the captions because some images are mislabeled including several photographs being identified as the Titanic when they were actually of the Titanic's sister ship Olympic.  I believe you will also recognize some of the computer models as being from Explore Titanic by Peter Crisp.

In conclusion, I believe it would be a great addition to your Titanic library.  If you are a Titanic historian who has studied the ship for several years, it may not be for you because you probably won't learn anything.  But if you are someone with a casual interest or someone who is just getting interested in the Titanic, it would be great for helping you to get to know the Titanic better.  However, it might be better if you just go ahead and purchase "Titanic: The Legend of the Unsinkable Ship."