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Fantastical Reimaginings

Fantastical Reimaginings: “Robin Hood”
by Elizabeth B.

I don’t know where I first encountered the legend of Robin Hood; probably in Disney’s animated film about the clever kind-hearted fox and his best friend Little John, outwitting the wicked Prince John, fighting for the good King Richard and giving money to the poor. 
Disney's Robin Hood
Image from The Verge
Of course, that’s not how the real story started at all! The first Robin Hood wasn’t kind-hearted, didn’t like any kings, and didn’t even give money to the poor. Medievalists and Robin Hood scholars have struggled for years to find the “real” Robin Hood, but one thing’s for sure: Robin Hood’s history and retellings are all worth their weight in stolen gold.

Robin Hood may have started as a drinking song! In Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales”, a monk who spends too much time drinking at the pub knows Robin Hood songs better than his Bible. Robin Hood quickly grew to be a folk hero, a commoner and thief who defied kings and outwitted sheriffs by using clever disguises. Games and songs about the clever thief were wildly popular, but he didn’t start becoming the Robin Hood we know today until a high-profile fan started dressing up as the outlaw: King Henry VIII. Robin Hood needed a virtuous makeover to fit in at a noble court, so over the centuries Robin Hood gained a love interest, a religious side, a generous nature and even a noble backstory. Eventually, Robin Hood, former drinking song thief, became the kid-friendly hero he is today. 

The Original
So which story is the *real* Robin Hood? Did he ever really exist? Maybe. “Robin” and “Hood” were both common names in medieval England, and medieval records mention several outlaws named “Robin Hood.” Were any of these noble thieves who robbed the rich to feed the poor? Who knows! In every story, Robin Hood lives in the forest with Little John and other outlaws, but unlike many other legends and fairy tales, there are *so many* versions of Robin Hood: the commoner and the noble, the lover and the loner, the rebel and the royalist. No matter which legend you love, your Robin Hood can be the “real” story.

Robin Hood Variations
Which versions of Robin Hood can you watch and read right now? Is the outlaw or the nobleman more popular? Find out more about similar tales below!
 Robin of Sherwood
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Robin of Sherwood
Available through Hoopla
“They’re here with us, in Sherwood, and they always will be because they’re free.”

When Robin of Loxley, a commoner, is chosen by the mystical Herne the Hunter to become champion of the oppressed, he gathers a band of outlaws to fight against the oppressive Normans. Later in the series, Robin Hood’s mantle passes on to Robert of Huntingdon, a young noble chosen by the same mystical Herne to fight for the Saxon peasantry.
This 1980’s television show may look familiar: its aesthetic later influenced 90’s shows like “Hercules” and “Xena”. Among Robin Hood retellings, this one is unique because it has both Robin Hood figures: commoner Robin of Loxley is the hero of the first two seasons, while season three stars the noble earl’s son version of Robin Hood. Both Robin Hoods are anti-royalty, though: their loyalty is to Herne. The series added magic swords, mythological figures, and magicians to its story, creating an interesting Robin Hood remix.    

 BBC's Robin Hood
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Robin Hood (BBC)
Available through Hoopla
“Will you stand for this injustice? I, for one, will not.”

Robin, Earl of Locksley, has just returned home from fighting in the Crusades with his best friend Much. When he returns to his village, though, the Sheriff of Nottingham is running Locksley and overtaxing its people, and all of his villagers are surprised to find him still alive. Robin has to choose between being a noble and sitting by while injustice continues or becoming an outlaw to fight for his people from the forest.
BBC’s “Robin Hood” follows the nobleman version of Robin’s legend. Robin Hood is a nobleman in episode one, but his inability to stay silent in the face of injustice means that he’s banished to the forest. While BBC’s Robin Hood hates war and suffers PTSD from his time with the Crusades, he’s loyal to King Richard. Finally, he’s a hopeless flirt, and his attempts to woo a no-nonsense Maid Marian makes for a compelling Season One romance.

"The Outlaws of Sherwood" by Robin McKinley 
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"The Outlaws of Sherwood" by Robin McKinley
Available on Hoopla
“You don’t exactly tell Marian she may or may not do things.”

Robin Longbow, apprentice forester, isn’t a good archer: when a mis-aimed arrow turns deadly, he and his two friends Much and Marian become outlaws in Sherwood Forest. His two friends are quick to present this misfortune as an opportunity: there are plenty of Saxons discontent with Norman rule, and Robin can serve as a rallying point for many of them. The friends start to build up a merry band of outlaws, ready to take on tyranny in any form.
Robin McKinley’s “Outlaws of Sherwood” makes Robin Hood a commoner again, but more importantly, it changes a key element of Robin Hood’s legend. Robin’s not the best fighter in his band, and he’s not a defiant revolutionary. Instead, Marian goes to town disguised as a boy to win archery contests; Little John fights for equality, and each member of the band brings something new. Robin Hood is a collaborative legend in McKinley’s telling, created by the band of outlaws working all together.

So, which is your favorite Robin Hood legend? Do you have a preferred version of the legendary outlaw? Tell us in the comments!
Enjoy these retellings and TV shows, and happy reading!

“Robin Hood: A Study of the Evolution of the Legend in Britain 1400-2018 into History and Context"
Robin Hood Legend 
"Robin Hood and Other Outlaw Tales" by Stephen Knight and Thomas H. Olgren
“Wolfshead Through the Ages: The History of Robin Hood”
“Yeoman Justice: The Robin Hood Ballads and the Appropriation of Aristocratic and Clerical Justice” by Megan Elizabeth Woosley
“The Real Robin Hood,”
Dr. Mikee Delony’s medieval literature courses, Abilene Christian University

Posted by [email protected]  On Jun 12, 2020 at 2:19 PM
Classic Videogames to Consider Replaying 
By Stacy H. 

Vintage Games

Recent stay-at-home orders for the state have kicked my spring cleaning into high-drive! However, when I found my childhood Sega Dreamcast stashed away in my closet, I wasn’t prepared to spend the rest of my weekend sucked into a 10-hour playthrough of “Sonic Adventure” - but I am very glad that I did. The vivid worlds and bright characters were a blast from the past, providing me with a much needed nostalgic escapism and a breath of fresh air.   

Here’s 11 retro video games you should consider replaying, whether you still own them or repurchase as a digital download , during the stay-at-home orders and safely practice our social and physical distancing! 

1. Battletoads 
Released/Console: 1991, Nintendo Entertainment System 
Game Description: An original beat 'em up game starring three humanoid toads (distinctly reminiscent of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) who must embark on a quest to defeat an evil queen and rescue their friends. 
Age Rating:
Re-released?: Coming TBA to XboxOne 
"Toads kicking butt." -  Steve H. 

"This game is EPIC!!” - Robbie H. 

"If you're looking for fun and challenging beat 'em type games, this is the one - crazy fun, yet crazy difficult!"  - Stacy H. 


2. Final Fantasy X 
Final Fantasy X
Released/Console: 2001, PlayStation 2 
Game Description: Travel through the land of Spira as you try to return to your home while also challenging the very embodiment of Sin. JRPG. 
Age Rating:
Re-released?: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita 
“Now more than ever, people need a healthy dose of escapism. Final Fantasy X is a 40+ hours adventure consisting of just the main game itself. When you add in side quests and trophies, you are looking at hundreds of hours of content. There is a reason this game has been rereleased so many times along with it's sequel, Final Fantasy X-2. The story of Tidus and Yuna is an infectious one and the land of Spira is a sight to behold. Travel from tropical island locales to caverns long forgotten to time. The time of the traditional turn-based JRPG is no longer here, but Final Fantasy X can bring you back to that glorious time. Summon powerful Aeons and conjure a variety of spells to defeat your enemies. Let me know your thoughts if you play the game or already have! My favorite character easily had to be Auron by the way.” - Brandon F. 

3. Legend of Dragoon 
Legend of Dragoon
1999, PlayStation 1 
Game Description: 10,000 years ago a civilization of flying warriors enslaved the human race. In a final bid for freedom the humans harnessed the spiritual forces of Dragons and eventually triumphed over their captors. For eons, tranquility and harmony have reigned. But the past and the future are about to collide. Now in the land of Endiness, guide a group of warriors as they find themselves in a war between nations and help uncover the Legend of Dragoon. 
Age Rating:
Re-released?: PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3 
“My favorite game of all time is a 4 disc JRPG for the PlayStation called Legend of Dragoon, released in 1999 to compete directly with the Final Fantasy series. It received solid reviews and still has a dedicated cult following today who are continually hoping for a remaster.” - Erik B. 

4. Paper Mario 
Paper Mario
Released/Console: 2001, Nintendo 64 
Game Description: To save the Mushroom Kingdom, rescue Peach, get the castle back and defeat Bowser, you as Mario must locate the seven Star Spirits in this role-playing adventure game. 
Age Rating:
Re-released?: Wii, Wii-U 
"One of the best Mario games, in my opinion, with a ton of replayability! There's something about the world that's incredibly immersive and draws me in for hours. What I really like about this game is that it's more of a role-playing game, styled with unique puzzles and has a fun turn-based battle system." - Stacy H. 

"This easily holds up as one of the games on this list which has aged the most gracefully. Thanks to a sharp sense of humor ahead of it's time and a extremely unique art style, you can enjoy this game as if it came out today. Travel between numerous charming and gorgeous environments with a entourage of entertaining characters. If you can't get enough, move onwards to “Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door” for the GameCube.” - Brandon F.  


5. Pokémon Snap 
Pokemon Snap
Released/Console: 1999, Nintendo 64 
Game Description: You, as Todd Snap, explore Pokémon Island to take pictures of the Pokémon for Professor Oak's scientific research. 
Age Rating:
Rereleased?: Wii, Wii-U 
"Pokémon Snap for the N64 is as close to perfect as you can get in my humble opinion. Who knew that throwing together one’s love of photography and one’s love of Pokémon would be a match made in heaven? You play as a photographer and set off on a Pokémon Safari to snap pictures of the creatures in their natural habitats. Unlike National Geographic though, you interfere with nature to get the best shots… a lot. “Pester” balls can be thrown at Pokémon to annoy them or trigger certain events, like making a Pokémon evolve or explode (looking at you, Electrode) while apples can be thrown to make a Pokémon stay still for a better picture. What else can I say? It’s all in good fun and no Pokémon were harmed in the making. It’s great for all ages and it’s probably the most relaxed you’ll ever be playing a Pokémon game - even when it does get stressful to achieve the perfect shot!" - Justine C. 

6. Pokémon Yellow 
Pokemon Yellow
Released/Console: 1998, Gameboy 
Game Description: An enhanced version of Pokémon Red and Blue, Pokémon Yellow focuses on defeating the eight gym leaders, the Elite Four and, ultimately, Team Rocket. 
Age Rating:
Re-released?: Switch as “Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu!” and “Pokémon: Let’s Go Eevee!” – though technically this was not an official rerelease, both games are essentially the same and follow the same formula that Yellow did!  
“I really like that Pikachu follows you around; and it’s cuter than the other games.” - Jordan G. 
"When I was 10, I received “Pokémon Yellow” as a Christmas present and proceeded to play until the batteries died on my Gameboy Color. Released as an enhanced version of the classic “Blue/Red” games, “Yellow” not only presented the now classic Pokémon journey but also gave the players new twists and challenges to test their wits again. Even after decades of Pokémon game releases and new innovations, “Yellow” stands the most important test of time for a video game, it is still fun to play. The original version on Gameboy and the re-release “Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu” for the Nintendo switch are both excellent ways to spend a quarantine." - Erik B. 

7. Sonic Adventure 
Sonic Adventure
Released/Console: 1998, Sega Dreamcast 
Game Description: The first of the 3D Sonic the Hedgehog videogames. Play through all six of Sonic's character stories (Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Big the Cat and E-102 Gamma) to collect the seven Chaos Emeralds before Doctor Robotnik does. 
Age Rating:
Re-released?: GameCube as “Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut,” PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Steam for Windows. 
"This was the game that started my love of video games - though the controls can be a little dated at times and graphics are, for lack of better description, super goofy, the nostalgia factor makes this game a great replayable game. Replaying this as an adult, it makes sense to me why I quickly grew so attached to the creative world of Sonic the Hedgehog." - Stacy H. 

8. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Released/Console: 1992, Sega Genesis 
Game Description: Defeat Dr. Robotnik and save the creatures of Mobius while zooming through levels at super sonic speed! Platformer 
Age Rating:
Re-released?: GameCube, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii, Wii-U, Sega Genesis Mini 
“Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was the first game I've ever played and is responsible for my love of gaming. Blazing fast speed, catchy music, gorgeous graphics and a character with attitude - what else could have I wanted? If you end up enjoying this one, you can then move onto either Sonic 1, Sonic 3 and Knuckles, Sonic CD or any of the Sonic Advance games for Gameboy Advance.” - Brandon F. 

 9. Spyro the Dragon 
Released/Console: 1998, PlayStation 1 
Game Description: In the first of his titular series, players take on the role of Spyro, the small purple dragon with a big attitude. Journey across five distinct home worlds, rescue imprisoned elder dragons and recover your lost dragon gem horde while fighting against the villainous plotting of the despicable Gnasty Gnorc. 
Age Rating:
Re-released?: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as “Spyro Reignited Trilogy.” 
“Very nostalgic. It's calm and peaceful, and there's enough content to last a few days. It's a fun game no matter what the age, and it's a game you can easily pick up and put down whenever you'd like.” - Megan P. 

10. Super Mario 64 
Super Mario 64
Released/Console: 1996, Nintendo 64 
Game Description: As Mario, the player must explore Bowser's castle to find Princess Peach and rescue her. The first in the Super Mario series to feature 3D graphics and gameplay. 
Age Rating:
Re-released?: Nintendo DS, Wii, Wii-U 
"I was playing Super Mario 64 before my hands were even big enough to properly hold the controller (I mean, we can agree the Nintendo 64 controller was weird, but still). For reference, the game debuted in 1996 and I was born just three years earlier in ‘93, so I was probably five or six by the time I started being able to play it and not just watch. That being said, it was one of the first video games I ever played and it holds some of the fondest memories of my childhood. I loved playing as Mario and returning the baby penguin to its mother, swinging Bowser by the tail and chasing around the yellow rabbit. I wanted a Chain-chomp of my very own because I thought they were “cute puppies” and I warily eyed the grand piano in my grandmother’s living room after a harrowing run-in with a terrifying, presumably man-eating piano in the game. Seriously, look it up. I’m sure that very piano has scarred many a child from those days. Perhaps it’s the nostalgia talking, but Super Mario 64 was a delight and a fresh installment in the franchise because it was one of the first to divert from the side scroller setup Mario is famous for. The 3D models might not have aged well (looking back at pictures I can’t believe that’s what the graphics looked like), but the gameplay more than makes up for it. You can spend hours traversing the castle and unlocking its secrets without even entering a level. If you’re a fan of the Mario series, this is a must-play. Unpopular opinion: Mario Odyssey’s got nothing on this." - Justine C. 

11. Typing of the Dead 
Typing of the Dead
Released/Console: 2001, Sega Dreamcast 
Game Description: A modification of Sega's arcade classic “The House of the Dead 2”, where the weapons are replaced with keyboards and game consoles. Taking the role of a secret agent, you must fight through waves of zombies by quickly typing words, phrases and answering riddles. 
Age Rating:
Re-released?: Although not the original game, there is a Steam download on Windows as “Typing of the Dead: Overkill”  
"This is game is honestly ridiculous and definitely not a typical typing game. My favorite part is that there are no weapons, all the characters wear Sega Dreamcast's strapped to their backs and use keyboards strapped in front of them." - Stacy H. 

Special thank you to all my friends, family and coworkers who helped recommend a strong variety of games!  

Tell us your favorite vintage video game in the comments below!
Posted by [email protected]  On Apr 10, 2020 at 2:16 PM