Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Secret Project X-13 Revealed! AZ: After Zombies

So, I've been dark for awhile. Things go like that when you're working a full time job and designing a new RPG system from the ground up in your spare time.

But things have progressed and I am now very proud to pull the curtain back and reveal what I've been working on, along with the first bit of art from the game. The game is called AZ: After Zombies. Human history has entered a new phase, not seen since Before Christ became Anno Domini. Now history is divided into Before Zombies and After Zombies.



After Zombies is a survival horror role-playing game, written by Charles Rice with art by Jon Gibbons. I've been talking about the game on the official Facebook page since the initial reveal, so I recommend you go there for the latest news on  the development of the game.

https://www.facebook.com/AZafterzombies

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Secret Project X-13

In which Chuck falls off the wagon. No, not that wagon, he was never on that one, the other wagon.

Ahem.

So, I have been writing a RPG for a few weeks now. As always, the name of any RPG in development is Secret Project X-13. The usual suspects have already seen it and have provided some great input.

But now it is time to broaden the field. If you'd like a look, drop me a line and let me know where I know you from. If I don't know you, at least virtually, well, it's hard to put this delicately, but I am unlikely to trust you with a manuscript that is still in development.

Who are the usual suspects? They are legend. Give me great input and this is your chance to become one of the usual suspects!

Chuck

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness thoughts: It's about parallel worlds

I am a huge fan of Fringe, which is similar in many ways to STID, and is a show created and created by the same creative minds (Abrams, Orci, and Kurzman).

My favorite Trek is DS9, but I am very much enjoying the latest film franchise. 

Following are some thoughts that contain spoilers for both Fringe and STID.

Fringe is a show about (among other things) two alternate Earths coming into contact.

The Earths are subtly different, and the show LOVES to show scenes from subtly different angles.

For example, in one episode, a father on Earth One is shown teaching a coin trick to his son, who is terminally ill. 

On Earth Two, we see the same boy, still terminally ill, who is being taught the same coin trick but by his mother.

We also see that in Earth One, the twin towers were destroyed on 9/11 while on Earth Two, the twin towers were saved, but the Pentagon and White House were destroyed. 

Even seemingly insignificant details are shown to be different, such as Back to the Future starring Eric Stoltz, rather than Michael J. Fox. 

So for those who think a lot of the subtle differences in, for example, the Engine Room scene of STID are just tugging on nostalgia (or- more unkindly, laziness or a lack of creativity), I would strongly disagree.

The subtle differences of a parallel reality are clearly an idea that interested the creative team in 2009. To my mind, it's a great idea and one of my favorite things about this new incarnation of our favorite franchise.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Hey! We're back!

"So, how did you fare going through the asteroid belt?"

"Jeepers! Don't remind me!"

Joel and the Mads, MST3K

So, been quiet here for a long time. Well, blogwise anyway.

So, how are you? What's new?

Me?

Well, in addition to working at Mayfair Games and making myself a hallowed, revered figure at my local watering hole, I've been running a FASA star trek campaign.

You can read about it here. 

I have also been working on a little short story about the origins of a prohibition-era still busting masked vigilante. More on that when I have more to tell.

Hmm, what else.

Well, the American House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey is awesome. It's based on the 20+ year old British House of Cards, starring Ian Richardson, which was also awesome. Such a Mobius strip of awesome has not been seen since "The Office" and uh, "The Office".

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Star Trek- The Toys Are Awesome (Play With The Toys)

So I seem to be in the minority on this- but I am SO STOKED to hear that Gary Mitchell will be the villain in the next Abrams Star Trek movie. Many (most?) seem to want him to leave the toys in the toybox, so they can stay collector's items.

I say bah to that. He brought the toybox out of the basement for a reason. Most thought he couldn't do it, and he did. So now, he should play with ALL the coolest ones- Guardian of Forever, Doomsday Machine, Khan (yes, Khan), Kang, and Gary Mitchell.




Whatever he wants.

Glad to see he's not afraid. Course, I suspect most of the people sniffing and shaking their heads at Gary Mitchell (and saying he should never, EVER revisit Khan) probably had the same reaction to recasting Kirk, Spock and Bones too.

How many Jokers have we seen in the same amount of time we saw one Khan? Three? Way more if you count voice actors in the mix.

Having a different Khan will not make anyone forget the awesomeness of Ricardo "Corinthian Leather" Montalbahn. And maybe, just maybe, the second Khan, or the second Gary Mitchell, will be better than the first.

I mean, it's certainly possible. Heath Ledger crushed Jack Nicholson like a grape.

The toys are awesome JJ. You lugged the toybox up from the basement, and grandpa is dead anyway. Play with the toys.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Batman is Antiquated

I think this is one of the problems comic books have that isn't often discussed, and uttering the phrase I used for this post title in a room full of nerds is apt to get some nice explosions of disbelief out of folks.

But the idea that billionaires can lead truly private lives is super, super old fashioned. It requires an era where reporters didn't delve into people's personal affairs and even if they did discover, say, that Babe Ruth was an alcoholic whore-monger, their sense of propriety (and the money to be made selling heroes) would lead reporters to keep it to themselves.

Quaint, huh?

Batman is about as modern as Zorro.

Let's walk through a thought experiment to illustrate how out of touch an idea Batman is.

1. Bill Gates meets a young boy and takes a liking to him.

2. Bill Gates begins to spend a lot of time with this boy and is frequently seen with him around town at all hours, especially in the shady parts of town.

3. Bill Gates adopts this young lad, and cuts him into a sizeable part of his fortune.

4. Beginning to look into this weirdness, a reporter begins to hear rumors that Gates has been spending money unofficially. Like lots of money. He finds a trucker who reveals that Gates has been building some sort of underground dungeon, custom-made cars, various weapons, supercomputers, at the cost of a couple billion dollars.

5. Looking into the financial side of things, the reporter, who has now brought a financial expert in to help him investigate the case, discovers that Microsoft has secretly opened an entire new division doing research into things like exotic cars, aircraft, weapons and computers.

6. Delving deeper into Gates odd goings' on, reporters speak to a doctor off the record. This doctor has treated Gates and his young, adopted ward for various injuries, blunt force trauma, the occasional concussion, bruising consistent with multiple auto accidents thing like that.

The doctor was paid handsomely to keep his treatments off the books but finally had pangs of conscience after treating the young boy for a severe electrical burn and Gates for a gunshot wound.

7. After an outcry from shareholders about these odd expenditures and odd behavior, the SEC launches an investigation of Gates and Microsoft.

8. The young boy Gates been spending so much time with is found dead, beaten to death in one of the parts of town where he and Gates have been seen together.

I think we can all imagine where things would go from here.

The media shitstorm that would surround this would make the OJ case look like a press conference given by a minor league baseball team.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

We can still be friends D&D

Of all the myriad reactions and responses to D&D 5th edition, this Grognardia post is easily my favorite.

If you're excited for 5e, then you only went to the old school because you were a lover jilted by 4e and playing old school games was strictly your "rebound fling".

James doesn't come right out and say it, but I guess unless you're completely disinterested and dismissive, I guess you aren't a real old schooler at all.

There is, in fact, a 3rd option, that one can be excited to see a new take on D&D without abandoning your love of the old school.

Speaking only for myself, I will buy 5e and read it with interest. However, I will still be RUNNING the same two games: AD&D and FASA Star Trek.

Maybe what we're seeing is the difference between an old-school gamer, which I definitely am, and a grognard, who feels the need to give a "meh" to anything new just so they can show how hardcore they are.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Truth

‎"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."

HOWEVER, reading Ayn Rand gave us 2112.

So, I think I have to call this one a wash.

Two bad books.*

One led to a great album. One led to three great movies.

*I know, I am in the minority on this one, especially when it comes to Lord of the Rings. I am comfortable with that. I also don't care for Shania Twain and millions would disagree with me.

All views expressed are only my opinion, not a claim to objective quality.

When I start speaking on behalf of all mankind, I'll let you know. ;)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Old Ways

My homebrew AD&D campaign set on the world of Arkara is about to kick into full swing again I think.

When last we visited the world, Illanyra, high priest of Atos (the Holiest of Holies) had had kingship thrust upon him, bringing church and state together.

As you might imagine, this is not going well for church or state.

Especially since it seems like Atos might be going mad, and taking his high priest with him into madness.

Also, there are some upgraded maps of the setting in the works.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Silent Running

It's been pointed out to me by some folks that I've been quiet of late.

Well, I recently sold Vigilance Press, which I talked about. I also recently got a day job and moved, which I haven't talked about.

It wasn't planned, not that it matters. Sometimes life happens and we get to hang on, and during those times blogging winds up not happening.

Several months ago I interviewed at Mayfair Games. That ended up not happening and life goes on. In the meantime I sold Vig Press to James Dawsey, and my plan was to focus more on my writing while James handled the business stuff.

And then, out of the blue, Mayfair called back, and this time I got the job. Getting the job also meant moving... in two weeks.

So I've been finding a place, getting power, water and internet transferred (the latter is still in process because Verizon is sooooooo efficient) and getting my feet under me at the new job.

For the next little bit, unless you enjoy reading Mayfair press releases (and really, who doesn't), you might not see much of me.

But don't despair. I will be on real internet and not the free city WiFi Tuesday, so swears Verizon, and I had a dream about USHER last night, so maybe things are settling down a bit.

In the meantime, look for me here and on facebook, and like the Mayfair Games facebook page and you'll see me make regular posts there incognito as a spoke in the wheel of marketing, doing something I've had a lot of practice at over the years, selling awesome games.

Chuck

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Vigilance Press blog is now live

We've started a new blog specifically for the new Vigilance Press.

Please mosey on over and read my thoughts about the very beginnings of Vigilance, as well as the future.

I imagine the new boss (not the same as the old boss) will be along as well.

You can still keep up with me here, as well, but for now, check out the new place!

http://vigilancepress.blogspot.com/

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Savage Afterworld reviews Books of the Wastes!

Books of the Wastes is a little Mutant Future book ILink did, introducing some wasteland tomes that survived the Great Fire as well as a system for characters learning from books they find in the wasteland.

Find out what the Savage Afterworld thought of this terrifying tome they found amidst the rubble!

Monday, August 01, 2011

The tropes have it

For those continuing to predict the death of the superhero movie bubble- here is why that has now become impossible:

Superhero tropes are now officially everywhere.

Hanna Montana has a secret identity.

Don Draper has a secret identity.

Further- 9 of the highest grossing movies (adjusted for inflation) have plots or characters involving super-science or magic, or both. The number is 10 if you want to be a heathen like me and add the 10 Commandments to that list (Moses was SUCH a 20th level Cleric).

Now granted- these were all really PULP tropes- but for decades the keepers of that flame were comics writers and their fans.

And then, invisibly, these pulp/comics fans formed a 5th column and infiltrated every aspect of the entertainment medium, poisoning an unsuspecting nation with their worldview.

We're everywhere. We strike, and sink back into the night, often thanked by those we have converted to our cause, like Morpheus from the one and only Matrix movie (what? there were more? LALALALALA I can't hear you).

That show you thought was a soap about a plane crash?

Turns out it's a time travel show set in the nexus of all realities.

The spy show with the cute girl?

Her existence was prophesied several hundred years before she was born.

The most mainstream of cop and lawyer shows? Written by the guy who killed Gwen Stacy in a Spiderman comic.

In other words- there is no bubble to burst. Or there is, there are THOUSANDS of them.

Game Masters are entertainers

For those playing the home game since our last post (yes, that is the royal we), I am now no longer sort of drunk. I am now full blown drunk.

Anyway.

I often hear game masters called failed novelists, or wannabe novelists, or aspiring novelists, as though this is some sort of insult.

As TS Eliot once said, "they damn editors by saying they're failed writers- most writers are failed writers too".

I am sure that's not the exact quote, as sure as I am that it captures the essence of the real quote.

To be clear- none of those things are slurred. Wanting to write a novel, thinking you might in the future, or trying and failing- none of these things are bad.

Novels are awesome. Sharing one with the world, even if you don't succeed, is a noble endeavor.

Game masters are entertainers. Some of them do indeed want to be novelists, but I think this is just a deeper expression of wanting to entertain.

However, even game masters who never want to write a novel love to entertain- just like people who cook, or people who homebrew beer to share with their friends, or people who like to write games and bask in the pleasant glow of other game masters saying "hey, you made my task of entertaining my friends easier".

This is the same impulse that caused Homer to sing around campfires of the glory of Achilles.

It's noble. Maybe the noblest thing in the history of the human race.

If you think that deserves a snicker, then fuck you. I don't want to know you.

(slightly) drunk musings of a writer

Ran Modern20 tonight- post apocalypse gaming in the post-nuclear world of Fallout.

I think, along with USHER Dossiers, Modern20 has to be the book I'm most proud of that I was ever involved with.

A d20 game with no experience tables. Where the GM decides at his sole discretion when you gain levels (ha! how old school is that- eat it forgies).

6 classes (and never EVER going to be any more).

Where players build their characters as they go, each constructing his own class with the feats and skills he takes.

It's really a game designed in such a way that it has no business being a d20 game at all.

I love it.

Oh yeah, and I'm a little drunk, watching Mad Men on Netflix after a night of gaming (and drinking, and eating and uh drinking).

Currently eyeing a Dugges double IPA- it's a pint and it's 9% alcohol.

In other words, at this hour, this will take from "sort of drunk" to all the way there.

Hm...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Books of the Wastes

Books of the wastes is a Mutant Future book that will allow your character to acquire new abilities from pre-war books found in the Wastes.

Books included are:

  • Alice's Gun Almanac
  • Better Living HIGH Magazine
  • "Big" Bill Hutchison's Guide to Business Influence and Success
  • Chairman Mao's Little Red Revolutionary Handbook
  • Mr. Fixit's Handy Dandy Advanced User Manual
  • Mr. Fixit's Handy Dandy Robot Repair Manual
  • The Laze
  • U.S. Army Robot Combat Manual
  • U.S. Army Field Medic Guide
  • Little Pathfinder's Wilderness Survival Guide
All these books, along with rules for learning new abilities from books for Mutant Future, for the low low price of 99 cents.

How could you possibly go wrong?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Christmas in July!

It's that time of year again: Christmas has come early to RPGNow- 5 months early in fact!

All Vigilance Press books are 25% for the length of the sale, so if there's something you've been thinking about buying, your passivity has been rewarded! Click on the banner at the top and it will take you to our RPGNow storefront.

New Modern20 Occupation: Weaponsmith

New Occupation: Weaponsmith
You are a master at creating archaic weapons.
Professional Skills: Athletics, Engineering, Weapons
Improved Feats: Master Craftsman: one aspect of a weapon can be improved to +2; Attack Focus: when using a weapon of the chosen type that you created yourself, your attack bonus is increased to +2, for example, a character with Attack Focus (longsword) would gain a +1 attack bonus with all longswords but a +2 bonus on one he constructed himself; Great Fortitude: +4 on Fortitude saving throws; Strength Training: +2 Strength

Behind the scenes: Billy, a player in my Post Apoc20 game set in the Fallout universe, wanted a tribal who was a master weaponsmith but no occupations really covered that niche. I created this occupation to fill a needed gap.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Eternal War: modern USHER Dossiers adventure on the way

Hey guys! Quick update here from the Land of Vigilancia!

Just got an outline for Eternal War from Steve Perrin and it's shaping up!

Eternal War pits the PCs against the three greatest villains from two different worlds, so it's not an adventure for the faint of heart.

Trying not to be super spoilerific, though the astute will find a big clue in the title.

The adventure takes place at locales such as USHER's Liberty Tower, USHER's Rock City prison and in orbit of Planet Earth!

Also, it will introduce an entirely new team of heroes into the USHER universe. These heroes will both add to the lore of the setting as well as serve as a perfect springboard to quickly introduce the setting to new players.

Now, as anyone who has heard me say "USHER is my baby" can guess, I have been pretty involved in this in a behind the scenes way.

The initial idea was mine, and some of the events, especially in the early stages, were drawn from my home campaign.

I've also taken a hand in crafting the new hero team Steve is working on.

The rest is all Steve. He's a legendary supers designer and I've been very much enjoying seem him take on the USHER-verse, both here, and in his recently released WWII adventure Invasion: Oceania.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Vigilance Press nominated for fan favorite publisher at the Ennies!

So go vote for us!

And thanks to everyone who helped get us nominated!

I got a few nods in my RPGObjects days for various things, but this marks Vig Press' first ennie nomination ever.

Actually, this is the first year I submitted product. Prior to this, I felt like I was still figuring out what the heck I was doing.

I submitted USHER Dossiers, Homefront Heroes and Field Guide Vol. 1, which didn't make it through the judges' phase to be nominated.

But the fans came through for us, and that's way cool.

On a related note, ICONS proper *did* score quite a few nominations, so if you're an ICONS fan, like I am, you should definitely give it consideration for your vote.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

1998: the best year in the history of video games Part 2

Fallout 2Link
Many of the great games in 1998 I am featuring here I didn't experience until later. Why? Mostly because I spent all my game time in 1998 playing Fallout 2. In a year of great games, this is without a doubt the best.

Fallout 2 took the SPECIAL system, the underlying RPG rules set that powered Fallout, and changed it... not at all. Mechanically this is Fallout.

They changed the interface to make it easier to access what your character could do but the core rules remained the same.

Then they crafted an adventure 4-5 times larger than Fallout.

While many games talk about their moral choice mechanics today, no game did this better than fallout. You have Karma, which is more or less your overall morals on a good-evil axis, you have Reputation, which is what each specific town thinks of you and then you have specific Reputations that kick in based on certain actions.

For example, if you find a town with a graveyard, and there are at least two in the game, you can grab a shovel, dig up all the graves and pocket the trinkets buried with the deceased. But you are then a gravedigger, which will get around, and which will color how some NPCs react to you.

More dramatically, if you get into a firefight in town and accidentally mow a few kids down with your automatic fire and you are a Childkiller. This completely changes the course of your entire game, as there are whole categories of NPCs (ones who tend to be uh, moral) who won't even talk to you.

From a story perspective, Fallout 2 is not only at the top of my list, but one should more accurately talk about Fallout's stories.

There's the main plot, which has your character, proving he's "the Chosen One" in a primitive dungeon of trials, tracking down the location of "the holy 13", the vault your ancestor came from, finding the GECK (Garden of Eden Creation Kit) and then rescuing your entire village from the clutches of the villainous Enclave.

This main story, even if you sprinted through it, alone, is much larger than the story of the original Fallout game but if you do a "speed run" to save your village, you're only seeing about 20% of the game.

There's Vault City, a beacon of light and civilization in the Wasteland... that's also racist and classist and practices slavery.

You can help it, deciding the place does more good than evil, or you can try to tear it down and hand it into the waiting arms of the New California Republic. You can wholeheartedly embrace First Citizen Lynette and her arrogant, racist ways, or you can undermine her by dealing with other members of the ruling council.

There are at least 4 major adventures centered around Vault City alone, and numerous smaller tales there. I'd wager that your total play time just doing everything you can do in Vault City equals the entire original Fallout game.

You can fight a dangerous raider gang in what might be your toughest battle yet. You can donate sperm to help combat Vault City's genetic stagnation (more XP if your Int is higher!) you can help one of your followers repair his relationship with his estranged daughter, or you can learn about cybernetic combat implants and turn your character into a nearly indestructible Wolverine-wannabe, at the cost of your Charisma stat.

From there you head to New Reno and again you have a hub for probably a dozen adventures, some large, some small, and some plain silly.

Want to join a crime family and become a made man? Check. Want to step into the ring and become the heavyweight champion of New Reno? Check. Want to step in front of the camera and become a, uh, porn star? Um, check.

Just on the made man front, there are four very different crime families in New Reno to choose from and each has something to offer your adventurer. The Wright family, a big clan that takes in homeless kids and specializes in booze over meth, is your choice if you want to be a mobster and stay moral.

Then there's the Bishop family, who will embroil you in New California's machinations to take over Vault City. Since they're mobsters, their way of playing politics isn't karma-friendly. Make a few pesky politicians have "accidents" and you're a made man.

Though, if you sleep with the boss' wife... or daughter... and father illegitimate children with him, he might make you a made man and then kill you. Or maybe he never finds out, and your illegitimate child becomes the next head of the Bishop Family.

Then there's San Francisco, where your character can destroy a weird little cult building a spaceship, help the Brotherhood of Steel and be rewarded with access to their local bunker, which makes a lovely base of operations for your 20-30 level adventuring btw and you can even join in the battle of good vs. evil between two martial arts teachers, becoming the student of one and the enemy of the other in a hand to hand fight to the finish.

And then, when the game is over, Ron Perlman comes in and tells you how your actions affected each of the towns you passed through in the far future. This is how you know the fate of your illegitimate child with Boss Bishop's daughter (and/or wife).

These endings just add to the replayability of the game. Sure, you helped those plucky ghouls of Gecko in the short term, but is there anyway to stop them from getting shredded down the line, conquered and enslaved for their nuclear power plant you helped them fix? It seems not.

Such is the way in the world of after the apocalypse, but playing the game again, making different choices, and hearing Ron Perlman give you a glimpse of how it all worked out is just one of many things that makes Fallout 2 the best game in 1998.

Which, given that you already know how I feel about 1998, I suppose would make Fallout 2 the best game of all time.

Problem solved I guess!

Or maybe not- tune in next time with a game I am some out there would argue belongs on the pedestal with Fallout 2, if not above it: Baldur's Gate.

Tech stuff- animated GIFs

Does anyone know how to save an animated GIF to blogger so its, you know, animated?

The above banner is supposed to have a few frames talking about RPGNow's Christmas in July sale.

It's animated when saved to my desktop, but only the first image shows when I upload to Google.

Any pro tips?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thoughts about Nuclear Sunset

So I have begun work on Nuclear Sunset: Northeast and it's got me excited all over again about the project in general.

And apparently, I'm not alone, as the first book, Nuclear Sunset: Southwest is still in the top 15 list at RPGNow. That's an unusually long stay for me.

But I digress into weird proud poppa mode.

One of the things that popped into my head while Darrin and I were brainstorming this, was to have each region be its own genre to make each sourcebook feel truly fresh and not just the same campaign slathered over different geography.

I started in very familiar PA territory- namely, the gonzo Western. Now Western as post apoc story goes at least as far back as Mad Max and recently made a triumphant return in Book of Eli but what I did was a gonzo Western, which has no less a hallowed history in the post apocalypse genre, thanks to Fallout.

BTW- Fallout 2 one of those things that makes 1998 the greatest year ever in gaming- though I'd forgotten that little series had you?

If you want to have a gunfight with pimps and mobsters in New Reno, Fallout 2 has your back. On the other hand, if you want to fight mutant cyborgs and aliens, Fallout 2 also has your back.

But the tabletop genre had moved away from the gonzo. I have no idea why, except a brief idea that RPG writers like to take themselves very seriously. There's nothing wrong with this, just don't let it get in the way of the fun.

And btw, I am definitely guilty of taking myself too seriously. Maybe right now.

So, while the Southwest really grabbed me first, mostly because of this Marshall Chronicles idea floating around my laptop in various files as a novel/novella/game/who the heck knows, I also had an idea to do something really different, which is what I'm working on now.

Post apocalypse as superheroes.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. You have all these mutants running around a post apocalypse landscape. It's almost as if we were telling the stories of pasts of future days... future days of the past... eh... it'll come to me.

And we still have the gonzo because these latter day mutants (and yes, I would welcome a pamphlet from the Church of Latter Day Mutants, thank you) are getting the idea that they need colorful costumes, code names and a nemesis from "historical documents", aka comic books.

Cue the Galaxy Quest theme.

And the Northeast makes perfect sense for that, because that is still ground zero for the comic book industry.

Monday, July 11, 2011

New from Vigilance Press: Invasion Oceania! (ICONS)



The year is 1941 and the Nazi menace looms across Europe.

Britain stands defiant but has been pushed to her limits. Without the support of her allies in Canada, America and Oceania, Hitler is convinced Britain will finally be brought to her knees.

However, even Hitler's mighty U-Boat fleet cannot stand against the undersea kingdom of Oceania, staunch ally of Britain through WWI and now WWII. Hitler has decided the first step to control of the Atlantic must be-

Invasion: Oceania!

The noose is tightening ever more around stalwart Britain. Only by coming to Oceania's aid can she be saved. Who will descend into the depths to defend Oceania?

Check it out!

BBC Transcript to be read in case of a nuclear attack

As Dan Akroyd said in the Twilight Zone movie, "Want to see something scary"?

BBC TRANSCRIPT TO BE USED IN WAKE OF NUCLEAR ATTACK

This is the Wartime Broadcasting Service. This country has been attacked with nuclear weapons. Communications have been severely disrupted, and the number of casualties and the extent of the damage are not yet known. We shall bring you further information as soon as possible. Meanwhile, stay tuned to this wavelength, stay calm and stay in your own homes.

Remember there is nothing to be gained by trying to get away. By leaving your
homes you could be exposing yourselves to greater danger.

If you leave, you may find yourself without food, without water, without accommodation and without protection. Radioactive fall-out, which followed a nuclear explosion, is many times more dangerous if you are directly exposed to it in the open. Roofs and walls offer substantial protection. The safest place is indoors.

Make sure gas and other fuel supplies are turned off and that all fires are
extinguished. If mains water is available, this can be used for fire-fighting.
You should also refill all your containers for drinking water after the fires
have been put out, because the mains water supply may not be available for very
long.

Water must not be used for flushing lavatories: until you are told that lavatories may be used again, other toilet arrangements must be made. Use your water only for essential drinking and cooking purposes. Water means life. Don't waste it.

Make your food stocks last: ration your supply, because it may have to last for 14 days or more. If you have fresh food in the house, use this first to avoid
wasting it: food in tins will keep.

If you live in an area where a fall-out warning has been given, stay in your
fall-out room until you are told it is safe to come out. When the immediate
danger has passed the sirens will sound a steady note. The "all clear" message
will also be given on this wavelength. If you leave the fall-out room to go to
the lavatory or replenish food or water supplies, do not remain outside the room
for a minute longer than is necessary.

Do not, in any circumstances, go outside the house. Radioactive fall-out can kill. You cannot see it or fell it, but it is there. If you go outside, you will bring danger to your family and you may die. Stay in your fall-out room until you are told it is safe to come out or you hear the "all clear" on the sirens.

Here are the main points again:

Stay in your own homes, and if you live in an area where a fall-out warning has
been given stay in your fall-out room, until you are told it is safe to come
out. The message that the immediate danger has passed will be given by the
sirens and repeated on this wavelength. Make sure that the gas and all fuel
supplies are turned off and that all fires are extinguished.

Water must be rationed, and used only for essential drinking and cooking
purposes. It must not be used for flushing lavatories. Ration your food supply:
it may have to last for 14 days or more.

We shall repeat this broadcast in two hours' time. Stay tuned to this
wavelength, but switch your radios off now to save your batteries until we come
on the air again. That is the end of this broadcast.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

1998: the best year in the history of video games

As gamers, there's games we all should play. As game designers, there's games we should study, games whose principles and techniques have shaped the games that came after.

When a game is both of these things, it's a game that gets talked about. Other games get compared to it, often unfavorably. Games like this are so good, they even make continuing the franchise difficult.

For game like that, 1998 might be the single most important year in video games.

Resident Evil 2

Maybe the best survival horror game ever released. Certainly the best until Resident Evil 4 (Alone in the Dark fans can register complaints over here).

Venerable Japanese gaming magazine weekly Famitsu lists the game as the 4th best Playstation game, and this game has shown up on numerous "100 best games lists", such as Electronic Gaming Monthly, IGN and Game Informer.

Why you want to study this game: Atmosphere. Horror games are ultimately about atmosphere and Resident Evil 2 pulls that off in spades.

Final Fantasy Tactics

This game came out the next week for the Playstation. Turning Final Fantasy into a strategy game seems like an odd choice and it certainly was a challenge, but the design team proved no only that they were up to that challenge, but maybe it wasn't such an odd choice after all.

Electronic Gaming Monthly called it a "classic" right out of the gate and it was IGN's Editor's Choice 1998, and its esteem in the minds of gamers and critics has only grown over time.

For example, Gamespot has awarded Final Fantasy Tactics its "Best Games of all Time" award, something no other Final Fantasy game has received from the site. Final Fantasy VII and X can eat it.

Why you want to study this game: The design of the battlefields. They're big, they're intricate, they look good and they offer numerous tactical possibilities.

That's all for now.

1998 is just too big to cover in one post. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

John Byrne's MRO (most ripped off)








In case you're curious, the Wolverine-Kitty Pryde would be the original that all these other folks are ripping the hell off. Err, homaging.

Guilty pleasures

While three of the gorilla men secured Tarzan's wrists behind his back with a length of buckskin thong, the others renewed their attention to the tiger. Three or four of them would cast well-aimed cudgels at his face at intervals so nicely timed that the great beast could do nothing but fend off the missiles as they sped toward him. And while he was thus occupied, the other Sagoths, who had already cast their clubs, sprang to the ground and retrieved them with an agility and celerity that would have done credit to the tiniest monkey of the jungle. The risk that they took bespoke great self-confidence and high courage since often they were compelled to snatch their cudgels from almost beneath the claws of the saber-tooth.

Battered and bruised, the great cat gave back inch by inch until, unable to stand the fusillade longer, it suddenly turned tail and bounded into the underbrush, where for some time the sound of its crashing retreat could be distinctly heard. And with the departure of the carnivore, the gorilla men leaped to the ground and fell upon the carcass of the thag. With heavy fangs they tore its flesh, oftentimes fighting among themselves like wild beasts for some particularly choice morsel; but unlike many of the lower orders of man upon similar occasions they did not gorge themselves, and having satisfied their hunger they left what remained to the jackals and wild dogs that had already gathered.

Tarzan of the Apes, silent spectator of this savage scene, had an opportunity during the feast to examine his captors more closely. He saw that they were rather lighter in build than the gorillas he had seen in his own native jungle, but even though they were not as heavy as Bolgani, they were yet mighty creatures. Their arms and legs were of more human conformation and proportion than those of a gorilla, but the shaggy brown hair covering their entire body increased their beast-like appearance, while their faces were even more brutal than that of Bolgani himself, except that the development of the skull denoted a brain capacity seemingly as great as that of man.

Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan at the Earth's Core

The greatest fantasy writer of all time.

Through the thicket was thrust a head of nightmare and lunacy. Grinning jaws bared rows of dripping yellow tusks; above the yawning mouth wrinkled a saurian-like snout. Huge eyes, like those of a python a thousand times magnified, stared unwinkingly at the petrified humans clinging to the rock above it. Blood smeared the scaly, flabby lips and dripped from the huge mouth.

The head, bigger than that of a crocodile, was further extended on a long scaled neck on which stood up rows of serrated spikes, and after it, crushing down the briars and saplings, waddled the body of a titan, a gigantic, barrel-bellied torso on absurdly short legs. The whitish belly almost raked the ground, while the serrated back-bone rose higher than Conan could have reached on tiptoe. A long spiked tail, like that of a gargantuan scorpion, trailed out behind.

Robert E. Howard

Monday, June 27, 2011

Free speech hating idiots show they are still free speech hating idiots

Leland Yee and his cronies have responded to the Supreme Court ruling:

"What has happened today is that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided it's going to side with corporate America and Wal-Mart against our children," said Yee, as part of a press conference held today in San Francisco. "Because of the rejection of the California law, these games will continue to be sold to our children, these games have a harmful effect to our children."
And here's the best:

"In the past, we've protected them [children] from alcohol, cigarettes and pornography and we felt that this was on that level," said George Fouras, MD, of the San Francisco Medical Society. "We're accumulating evidence that shows that exposure to violence does effect the behavior of children. In addition, we're concerned that the cognitive development of youth and their ability to process and make decisions appropriate doesn't occur at the ages that these children are able to obtain these video games. Unlike Saturday morning cartoons, these video games expose kids to behavior that is not acceptable in reality."
So much crazy contained in so little space.

Ok, first, video games are dead equal with alcohol, cigarettes and porn.

Second, he says "unlike saturday morning cartoons" video games portray behavior not acceptable in reality.