Did you know…about video-game movies?

A new film based on the Tomb Raider series of games was released today. A reboot of the franchise that previously featured Angelina Jolie, it will be interesting to see how it performs both at the box office and with the critics.

You see, 2018 marks 25 years since Hollywood began tapping video games for movie plots, of which very few have been successful. That first film based on Nintendo’s Super Mario Brothers series of games stared Bob Hoskins in the role of Mario and was a box office failure, costing more than $40 million to make but returning only $20 million. It was also panned by critics and today only has a 15% approval rating on the Rotten Tomatoes review site.

Financially, the most successful video game film to date is Warcraft by Legendary Pictures. Adapted from Blizzard Entertainment’s Strategy and online Roleplaying game, the film failed to break even in its US release and was only saved by the Chinese market despite the online game boasting more than 100 million active accounts. Critically, the most successful video game film is Prince of Persia with a rating of 36% on Rotten Tomatoes (Warcraft recieved 28%). On average the video game films recieve a 16% approval rating on the review site.

Will the new Tomb Raider finally break this trend?

Only time will tell…

In the meantime, why not check out the history of the Tomb Raider franchise or check out the Angelina Jolie incarnation of the character. Or, if you are brave, see if you can find some other video game movies on the library catalogue

Way back when, Wednesdays

What every child wants for Christmas

What would your children like for Christmas? Parents start putting toys on layby from the time of the mid-year sales. Or they race around the shops in December looking for the popular and sometimes expensive toys.

Search online and you will discover that a range of toys such as the Slime Factory, the Furreal Roarin Tyler and the Robo Alive lizard are in demand this Christmas. Santa is also stocking up on the cute L.O.L Surprise Dolls, the My Little Pony: My Magical Princess Twilight Sparkle and the Hatchimals. Lego and Star Wars related merchandise are listed as perennial favourites.

Would you like to encourage your children to play outdoors? Perhaps Santa could bring each of them a pair of stilts and they could have races! The North East Leader, a Messenger Newspaper printed this advertisement for Gimpy brand stilts on page 17 of the edition dated 7 December 1966.


In a simpler time, kids probably had a lot of fun playing with their stilts over the summer holidays. Library staff who were children in the 1960s reflected on some of the Christmas presents that they received. Most parents never bought anything on credit. Only store-cards (which could be used exclusively in the issuing store) were available in Australia up until 1974 https://www.finder.com.au/credit-card-history and people usually could not afford to buy expensive gifts. Some toys were homemade. Intrepid woodworkers made and sold playsets such as a wooden hand-painted service station for toy cars. One member of our staff remembers that her uncle made her some furniture for her doll, a small wardrobe and a bassinet. Or you might gladly receive homemade clothes for your dolls. And you would have been very fortunate to receive several presents in your Santa Sack.


Recollections of commercially made Christmas gifts include skipping ropes, Tonka toys, little cars, minature toy household appliances including a sewing machine and washing machine. There was also a treasured spinning top!



A metal spinning top


little washing machine

Mini washing machine that really worked!

Childlike dolls, Mattel’s Barbie and Skipper and Sindy manufactured by English company Pedigree were on many girls’ wish lists. Board games such as snakes and ladders and quoits were popular gifts as they encouraged family interaction.

Snakes and Ladders


Or you could have lots of fun with dress up outfits like cowgirl and cowboy costumes or a nurse’s uniform (perhaps you were lucky enough to also own a toy medical kit with a stethoscope).

Most toys manufactured in this era relied on children using their imaginations or being physically active to have fun, rather than the use of technological components.

You can still buy stilts for kids online. The design is still basically the same. Modern stilts are made from metal or plastic and the height can be adjusted to fit the child. Some can also be strapped on. Parents might be concerned about accidents and broken bones. Unlike in 1966, it is now recommended that children wear safety gear when using stilts, such as elbow and knee pads and a helmet.


How to play Dungeons and Dragons

Fans of the legendary role-playing game ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ meet every second Saturday at Tea Tree Gully Library to play out their characters until the final victor emerges.

The essence of Dungeons and Dragons (or D&D as it is commonly known) is a social gathering, where friends and acquaintances gather to experience a new story they create for themselves. There are quests for treasure, battles for territory, deadly meetings with enemies, romantic interludes and absolutely no dull moments.



We caught up with D&D leader Teresa McBride and asked her to give us more details about this intriguing game….


  • Can you tell us about ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ – what is it all about? How do you play & how do you win?

Dungeons & Dragons is a game about role playing. Each player has a character, which they create themselves.

Character customisation is one of the biggest things about the game. You can be a Pompadour Elf with a taste for Dwarven Ale, or a human whose entire life goal is to track down the murderer of his family.

You don’t need a story or description to build a character, just an idea on what you want to be.

One player, however, is the Dungeon Master or Game Master. The DM/GM is the one in charge of creating the story, world and encounters.

Having played D&D  from both perspectives, each role is hugely different and satisfies different people.

D&D is best explained by the phrase: Are you a listener or a story teller?
There is no flat ‘you win’, it is more ‘Congratulations you have overcome this challenge, what would you like to do next?’.


  • When did you first become interested in D&D? What about the game appeals to you?

I first started playing D&D in 2012, but I became interested earlier through video games and hanging around in my local hobby store.

What I find appealing is the ability to create a main character for someone else’s story and then seeing how events play out.


  • How long does a game normally go for?

A game session can go for as long as the party wants to and is usually determined by when and where the group can next meet.

Personally I find one game for 4 hours a week provides enough substance to keep people attracted.

A game campaign can last indefinitely if wanted, but it usually ends after one of three things happen:

1. People start losing interest in their character

2. All the player characters die

3. The ‘final’ boss is defeated


  • Have you made lots of friends through playing D&D?

Personally I have developed strong friendships with friends that I play with and have discovered some new friendships through the game.


  • Can you tell us about one of the most interesting D&D games you played and what happened in that game?

The most interesting game was when a single player killed the final boss of the dungeon.

Just before the final boss room, the troll player decided to gather up all the explosives the party had on them at the time. Then he rode atop his giant boar mount, charged through the final boss door and threw himself, with all the explosives ignited, at the evil necromancer. The explosion was so massive that it destroyed the final boss instantly.


  • What would you say to someone interested in playing, but isn’t quite sure?

Take the plunge, get a small group of friends and host the game yourself. The materials are easily available online. If you are too hesitant, conventions like AVcon have been known to host D&D games, which would be a perfect place to start.

By the way…

During non-playing time, players can enjoy novels that depict D&D scenarios. These fantasy books are available from the Tea Tree Gully Library collection and all South Australian libraries.

International Games Day @ The Library Sat 21 November

Anyone can play games, whether you’re 1 or 101!

International Games Day

On Saturday 21 November, Tea Tree Gully Library will be joining thousands of libraries across the world for the eighth annual International Games Day @ Your Library

There will be everything from charades, chess and Monopoly, to giant Pacman and a cricket play-off. You are welcome to bring along your favourite games to share with other players on the day.

Plus we’ll have an assortment of board games to try, like Pictionary, Upwords, Jenga, Cranium and more.

You can choose to join in a group session or play any game at your own leisure.

We’ll be hosting sessions on playing:

12-12.20pm Pictionary Play-Off

12-12.30pm Come and Try a New Board game

12.30-12.50pm Uno Tournament

1-1.20pm Outside fun in Civic Park

1.30-1.50pm Twister in the Teen Area

2.30-3pm Cricket in Civic Park

No bookings are required. Just come along on the day. Bring your family and friends and anyone else you’d like to get competitive with!