I am not an observant person.
My wife comes home from the salon after having a haircut and I don’t notice anything different. Our car has a new set of dings and dents that apparently have been there for a few weeks and I was blind to them.
Metaphorically, I must have a perpetual perception field around me that prevents me from noticing many things around my life. On the up-side to this blindness is the fact that I do not stress over what has changed and not changed in my world.
However, there is one area of my experience where I notice things that few others do. That lone aspect of singular laser-like vision is in the world of entertainment.
I can catch a reference in a movie, TV show, or book like nobody’s business. Examples from the cinematic attic of my mind include…
In the 1984 movie Gremlins, there is a panoramic shot of the small city where the action takes place. In this shot, there is a movie theater. The marquee on the theater is advertising the movie A Boy’s Life…which was the working title for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.
In the 2005 animated movie Madagascar, I was the only person in the theater laughing when, during a chaotic scene, one of the characters holds up a book screaming “It’s a cookbook!” which is a reference to a classic story from The Twilight Zone television show entitled “To Serve Man”.
In Paul (2011), there are several references to the movies of director Steven Spielberg. One of my favorites is a quick shout-out to Mr. Spielberg as two characters are walking in a small town and the movie marquee is advertising Duel a 1971 TV movie directed by Spielberg.
With the above in mind, I have been rolling in mirth at the references being thrown around by my latest hobby. My children starting playing this game first and now I am hooked.
I am talking about the online role-playing game entitled Wizard101.
After watching my trio of progeny play this game, I finally went to the keyboard and took the game’s initial test to determine what magical school my personality said I belonged to. Like Hogwarts’ Sorting Cap, the answers to this personality test sort you into one of the seven schools at Ravenwood.
I took the exam and landed myself in the Myth school – which means, I guess, I’m good at telling stories (go figure).
However, back to the theme of the day and references and I have to tip my wizard hat to KingsIsle – the makers of Wizard101 – for their musical references. In the various worlds that comprise the Wizard101 Universe (aka The Spiral), there is a common quest that the user needs to do. This quest involves running around the world and finding seven to a dozen similar items. It took me until the fourth world until it dawned on me that the names of the items were all musical bands. Take a look for yourself…
In Wizard City, you look for The Smiths.
In Krokatopia, you look for The Beetles (Beatles).
In Grizzleheim, you look for The Yardbirds.
In Pigswick Academy, you look The Wallflowers.
In Marleybone, you look for The Stray Cats.
I look forward to see what the other worlds (e.g., MooShu, Dragonspyre) have to offer.
Just to put a cherry on this referential sundae, Wizard101 has an area called the Pet Place where wizards can power up their pet sidekicks. In this area, there are two stores. One is run by twin shopkeepers called The Pet Shop Boys. The other is run by two females called…wait for it…
…the West End Girls.
It’s the little details like that that make this game fun for a 43-year-old balding fella like myself.