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User:Hyarion/Reviews/A Collector's Guide to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien/Volume 1: Calendars

The cover of the CD

The following is a review of A Collector's Guide to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien: Volume 1: Calendars CD which is the first in a series of interactive CDs dedicated to informing Tolkien collectors about everything they need to know.


Packaging

I was surprised to find my much anticipated package in my mailbox this afternoon. It was shipped in a nice sturdy cardboard container which eased my fears of the CD getting cracked during shipping process.

Inside the cardboard was your standard CD case with a beautifully illustrated 3D cover. The backside contained instructions for starting the program and requirements for the CD to run. The sides contained inserts with the title of the CD, obviously a lot of time was spent and this wasn’t just thrown together.


Starting up

I take my signed limited edition (#23) CD carefully out of the case and pop it into my computer. Unfortunately it didn’t auto-start but I have a feeling this was an issue on my end. I navigate to the drive via explorer and open the clearly visible calendars.exe icon.

The Menu

Bonus Material

Oh wait, a Bonus Items folder, I’ve gotta check that out. This is one of the limited edition CDs so it contains bonus material. The folder has 7 hi-res images you can use for wallpaper which feature www.wizardtower.net and some of Jim Emerson's amazing 3D renderings. Next I see a discount text file, cool. I open it up to realize my next purchase will be half off, quite a bargain, awesome. Then I see PDF file entitled, “Calendar Log”, interesting. The file contains a template for databasing calendars for those hardcore calendar collectors out there. Neat. I’ll be honest I don’t think I’ll use it, maybe for a future version an Excel template would be easier for us tech geeks who don’t want to print out things and have to write it down. Oh wait, now I see an instructions file, whoops. Oh well, us guys don’t need any dang instructions, but its nice to know they are there just in case. Okay back to the CD.


The Menu

The main program opens to a beautifully rendered 3D title screen with animated lightning. My cursor turns into what must be a “loading” icon. Man it sure is taking a long time to load. 5 minutes later I realize I’m an idiot and that I’m supposed to just click to continue. The screen dissolves to a cool menu of rotating spheres (Palantiri?). The interface also features blinking eyes which are a nice touch. I mouse over the Introduction palantir and the portal in the middle changes its image, cool, I love interactivity. I click, a little dissolve transition, and I’ve begun.

A sample calendar entry

The Content

Wow. Just wow. There is a lot of content here. I was expecting just an offline version of the Compleat Gyde to Tolkien Calendars but this surpasses the site by far. Firslty there’s an introduction, an interview with Phill Goss, and a list of must-see Tolkien resources. Then the Calendars begin. There are just so many. Each calendar entry contains any and all information possibly available, including; the cover image, cardboard mailer image, title ISBN, publisher, dimensions, a link to a relevant website, and a much more detailed information on it than you’ll find anywhere on the internet. Not only that but the endless amounts of calendars span from The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy to The Lord of the Rings (1978 film) to foreign calendars, etc, going back as far as 1969 and even including the recent 2006 calendars. For anyone who is even the least bit interested in Tolkien Calendars, this is the #1 resource to get. I can't wait to see what Jim has in store in his upcoming volumes.


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