"The 'Spyro Reignited Trilogy,' released in early November, contains new versions of the first three original games in one disc/downloadable file for play on PlayStation and XBox." Credit: Stock Photo | Pixabay

Play: “Spryo Reignited Trilogy”

When I was 10, thrill and excitement filled both my brother and me as our parents showed us a gift they had gotten us for our birthdays: a brand new PlayStation. It was state of the art back in the late ’90s, complete with three games. One of them would be remembered by many: “Spyro the Dragon.”

“Spyro the Dragon” was first released in 1998. It was one of the first open-world games of its time and quickly caught fire (no pun intended). It was soon followed by two others: “Ripto’s Range” (1999) and “Year of the Dragon” (2000).

The “Spyro” series eventually included many other games and even a revamped story, “The Legend of Spyro.” But to the kids of the ’90s, nothing compared to the original three.

As a huge fan of the original series, I was thrilled for the “Spyro Reignited Trilogy,” released in early November. It contains new versions of the first three original games in one disc/downloadable file for play on PlayStation and XBox. I’ve dived well into the games and have to say, I am impressed at the care developer Toys for Bob took to keep much of the original gameplay (the original games were developed by Insomniac Games), while still adding small and enjoyable tweaks of their own.

While much of the gameplay (controls, voices, music) remains the same, revamped graphics make it more entertaining and enjoyable to play. Improved camera controls and animations make exploring each world smoother and small character details and tweaks make it feel more magical.

I won’t give too much away, but I will say, from one Spyro fan to another (or even if you’ve never experienced the adventures before), “Spryo Reignited Trilogy” is sure to bring a smile to your face.

— Callie Picard

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Watch: “The Great British Bake Off”

Why we love it: For someone who, admittedly, is not the best at baking, I do love a good baking competition. They’re fun and dramatic — exactly what I like to watch.

So naturally, I found “The Great British Bake Off” on Netflix and decided to give it a go. I quickly became addicted.

Each week there is a theme and competitors are given three challenges where they have to create a perfect bake for the judges. At the end of each episode, a “Star Baker” is picked and someone goes home.

It sounds very dainty but is actually intense. Everyone is timed and things can go terribly wrong such as an unbaked baguette or a toppled gingerbread!

After watching five episodes, I decided I could be a star baker, too, and make some muffins — which I burned. I’ll just live vicariously through those who can actually use an oven.

— Rosemary Lausier


So many books cross my desk at Bangor Metro, and I purchase even more. Every month, I select a few that catch my attention.

“Maid: Hard Work, Low-Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive,” by Stephanie Land — A woman who dreams of being a writer. An abusive relationship that needs to end. A baby. A struggle to survive. A mother whose working poor status threatens to keep her in poverty forever. From the first page to the last, I was enthralled by this story of scrappiness, challenges and unrelenting effort. Stephanie Land’s memoir throws back the curtain on mothering and living in poverty and the drive and tenacity it took to overcome. The book “Maid,” comes out on Jan. 22, 2019. (adult)

“The Best American Food Writing 2018,” edited by Ruth Reichl — In a first for “The Best American,” food writing gets the spotlight, showing how modern culinary journalism is more than recipes and cooking tips. From a tale of what happened to a lunch program after celebrity chef Jamie Oliver left to an eye-opening look at the Florida citrus industry through the lens of a famous two-part New Yorker series that became a book, this book celebrates the important and good work that American food journalists are doing to shine a light on food systems, challenges with food regulations and more. But in the 28 pieces are also tales of tradition, the evocative nature of food and more. A must-read for anyone who cares about what we eat. (nonfiction)

“Sustainable Home,” by Christine Liu — Sometime between summer and autumn, my daughter, who was 10 at the time, took an interest in reducing our waste. Specifically, she independently decided to cut back on her plastic usage. We’d long before moved to glass storage containers and almost exclusively used reusable grocery bags. But her buy-in, at what’s really a young age, made having a more eco-friendly household even easier. And so does this book. From tips on having indoor plants to advise on natural laundering, this book is filled with projects, tips and advice that’s practical and achievable. I especially love the tutorial for making your own t-shirt bags and the sections on composting. (nonfiction)

Wear: Chart Metalworks Medium Silver Necklace

$175 — chartmetalworks.com.

Why we love it: My tastes in jewelry run more toward the funky and unique, and less toward the blingy and expensive. For Maine jewelry makers, one of the most Maine-centric has got to be Chart Metalworks. Based in Portland, Chart has since 2008 taken nautical charts — the sorts sailors use on their boats — and turned them into super-cool pendants, earrings, bracelets, rings and home accents, set in silver, metal and/or glass. Want an image of the lower Penobscot, Frenchman’s Bay or Portland Harbor memorialized in a necklace? Chart has got you covered. Their jewelry was only made cooler to me when this fall I heard that Diana Nyad — who in 2013 at age 64 became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida and who is a bit of a personal hero of mine — had a custom Chart necklace commissioned to commemorate her historic swim. I can tell you with great certainty that I will never swim even the tiniest fraction of what Nyad has swam in her life, but that I would happily wear that necklace as a reminder of her perseverance.

— Emily Burnham

This story was originally published in Bangor Metro’s January/February 2019 issue. To subscribe to the magazine, click here.