Stuff to Watch: January 2011

edited December 2010 in Stuff to Watch
Red Letter Media presents their long-awaited review of Star Wars Episode 3.

(it's 9am 1/1/11 here)


  • So Derek Rex, one of my co-hosts on Pulp Gamer's Out of Character, is an interrogation instructor for the US Army, and I was a criminal prosecutor for 2 years or so, and we finally got around to a show on interrogation, which turned out to be pretty damn amazing.
  • Posted By: droogRed Letter Media presents theirlong-awaited reviewof Star Wars Episode 3.

    (it's 9am 1/1/11 here)
    [RLmedia SW3 review]

    I've never heard of these, but I watched the first 5 minutes of this and knew immediately afterward that I'll need to watch everything on that site. Cool!
  • edited January 2011
    Joe Mcdaldno's Perfect is now available for purchase!
  • [Perfect 1]

    Technically, "Joe Mcdaldno's Perfect, Unrevised is now available for purchase!"
  • edited January 2011
    This is my RPGPundit Parody.

    Not content to simply blog in his ongoing war against the Swine, the madman of Paraguay sent a package with no return address. Listen to his inaugural podrant, a simultaneous call to arms and victory lap.

    Shocked and appalled though we were, we at thecollectivegames felt compelled to release the audio to the public. Should you listen, know that theRPGAuthority’s invective is not for the faint of heart

    Edit:Link fixed
  • In response to a "what's so interesting and story-worthy?" question someone asked so long ago about the Fate (from the Call of Cthulhu Delta Green supplements): today's XKCD. I would so play that game.

    In fact, I am brainstorming a solitaire game right now.
  • edited January 2011
    Cross-section of the (now bulldozed) Kowloon walled city. I want to play a cyberpunk game that never leaves that info-graphic.
  • [City Cross-section 1]
    That is an amazing graphic. I like the little captions that describe the activities of the people within, if somewhat not-so-seriously. That, and the little guy on the top of the left-most building, taking a pee over the edge.

    It would be an interesting take on gaming maps...perhaps for Dead Weight?
  • Adamant is making the price of all their PDFs $1 indefinitely.

    I've only taken notice of them because of ICONS,, that's ballsy.
  • If you have not seen True Grit, you should. If I could play an RPG session as perfectly awesome as this movie, I would never need to play again.
  • [True Grit 1]

    You should also read the book, which is just a smidge better than the movie. The film might be one of the best adaptations from a good book I have ever seen (There have been better adaptations of bad books)

    True Grit is my number 2 movie of 2010. Number 1 is of course Valhalla Rising.

    [Kowloon Walled City 2]

    youtube has a nice video of Kowloon Walled City here and of course there's a rare photobook floating around with some gorgeous pictures.

  • Oh, my. Check out Sococo, whose chief designer is Pandemic's Matt Leacock, and imagine the possibilities.
  • edited January 2011
    Posted By: Jason MorningstarCross-section of the (now bulldozed)Kowloon walled city. I want to play a cyberpunk game that never leaves that info-graphic.
    [City Cross-section 2]

    This is awesome. I don't suppose anyone has (or can make) a translated version?
  • [City Cross-Section 3?]
    Posted By: veritascitorThis is awesome. I don't suppose anyone has (or can make) a translated version?
    It's legible enough that I could do it, given enough time. But it's hard to tell where some of the captions are pointing to in many cases, because the lines get buried in the busy image.
    However, it's almost unecessary for most of them. I have it up on screen, and some of the captions read:
    "Happy Birthday To You" (pointing to a family sitting at a table with a birthday cake)
    "Ah, I slept well" (pointing to some guy getting out of bed)
    "Big sis, wait for me!" (pointing to two kids chasing each other up the stairs)
    There are a few that describe more technical aspects, but that'll require one of my dictionaries to translate (and a magnifying glass).
  • It's also weird that it's in Japanese, since Kowloon is part of Hong Kong.
  • Round one results for The Ronnies are in.

    Cold Soldier by Bret Gillan, Death's Head by Rudy Johnson, Danse Macabre by William Durea


    Diary of a Skull Soldier by Callan Sweet, Sword of the Skull by Willow Palecek, Skull Full of Bong Hits by Nick Aubergine, Demilich by Noam Rosen

    All of the above, Ronnies and Runners-Up alike, "had me at hello" for various reasons. All but one displayed excellent use of the two terms. The cut-off almost always concerns distinct holes or confusions very obviously found in what's otherwise wonderful. For what it's worth, two of the Runners-Up are probably the ones I would most personally like to see developed into published games, over and above the actual Ronnies recipients.

    To clarify what follows, the two groupings below are equivalent in quality; they differ in type but one is not worse than the other.

    Baking - the issue here is that the components of the game are sound, but don't quite work together or are missing some particular connection that would make them "jump" much better

    Keen Edge of History by Cliff Horowitz, Knights of Twilight by Davide Losito, untitled jeepform by Ben Lehman, Facing the End by Lee Hammons

    Mixing - the issue here is that the components themselves need to be traded out or around in some way, although the "baking" may well be in good shape

    Veterans by Rush Wright, The War of the Sheaves by Zac Dettwyler, The Sword and the Skull by Troy Costisick, Swords of the Skull-Takers by Joe Prince, The Eye in the Pyramid by David Berg
    Congrats to the winners!
  • If you'll excuse some self-promotion....

    My novel, The Dead Women of Juárez, is now available in US via the Kindle Store, and in the UK in paperback.

    One blurb:
    'A beautifully written and deeply affecting crime novel dealing with the wasted life of an American boxer in the city of Juárez, Mexico, the missing women of that city and ultimately a small amount of justice that is awarded them. Hawken writes with a maturity that is rare for a first novel, and achieves both a great crime novel and a work that transcends the genre. This is the real deal: tragic, dark, heartfelt. The Dead Women of Juárez deserves to be massive.' - Dave Zeltserman
    Self-promotion over with. Go about your business.
  • [1] Good luck, Sam. Self-promotion of self-published stuff is a good thing, I think.
  • Posted By: Graham[1] Good luck, Sam. Self-promotion of self-published stuff is a good thing, I think.
    [2] My work is not self-published. I sold The Dead Women of Juárez to Serpent's Tail last year for a goodly sum.
  • [3] Good luck, Sam!
  • Ion, the people that USB tape decks and turntables, is coming out with a home book scanner. Well, so much for not releasing in PDF format to prevent piracy (not that that ever worked very well).
  • Speaking of self-promotion, my book of role-playing game poems was mentioned in a list of "best books of 2010" in the local weekly independent paper here. That is crazy to me, but I'll take it! It's in print, so it must be true!
  • I really like this article, Rehashing is the new expression of house rules, about the growth of products in the Old School Renaissance branch of independent RPG publishing and the fatigue that has resulted from that. I think it reflects similar issues this community has had over the years.
  • Dot Dot Dot a dramatic reenactment of an angry review of a flash game.
  • Matt Colville posts work he did on the d20 DUNE RPG before WotC decided to kill the project.
  • edited January 2011

    Wake up, geek culture. time to die

    is a rather enjoyable if not entirely agreeable rant by Patton Oswalt about pop culture and the possible repercussions of ease of access to supposedly nerdy media. Of course, not 100% accurate as he confuses his adolescent experience with something linked to a specific period of time. As late as 2006, the Boredoms were an unknown fringe band and it wasn't until the next year that they exploded in popularity with write ups in Vice and reissues of most of their past material on CD; but for a while there was definitely a sense of having my own thought palace for listening to music that maybe 10 people using soulseek had access to.

  • [Wake up 1]

    Yeah, besides having a faint whiff of "My favorite band was cooler before all of YOU knew about them," Oswalt's rant seems founded on the idea that new stuff only emerges out of scarcity... which is demonstrably not true. Maybe it's more that back when you weren't swimming in the old stuff, the new stuff could actually be found.

    Also this all leaves aside the question of fan fiction, some version of which I believe we will eventually see become a more legitimate genre. The new-stuff-made-from-old will eventually, out of necessity, get newer and newer, until it resembles Marvel Comics continuity with all its different states and arrangements of the same characters. (Okay, wait... maybe now I agree that this is a problem.)
  • edited January 2011
    [Dot Dot Dot 1] That's indeed hilarious. Not to mention I think a lot of the story games folk here could learn a lot from the game it's talking about.
  • Posted By: whiteknife[Dot Dot Dot 2] That's indeed hilarious. Not to mention I think a lot of the story games folk here could learn a lot fromthe game it's talking about.
    Uh... what do you think is actually learnable from this? It seems to be to be a pretty straightforward, if simple-minded, final fantasy parody.
  • I cleaned up the audio and posted one of our Gamestas Interview with Keith Senkowskii, with lots of Conspiracy of Shadows talk and one of my favorite lines about gun skills in Call of Cthulhu. I'll be posting a some of the best Gamestas interviews and segs every Wednesday, so let me know if there were any bits you'd especially like to hear.
  • Via Warren Ellis, a guide for selling your e-book or comic without Apple's "help" - basically, how to take payments via SMS and set up auto-delivery of links to downloads.
  • Posted By: Ben LehmanUh... what do you think is actually learnable from this? It seems to be to be a pretty straightforward, if simple-minded, final fantasy parody.
    That was supposed to be sarcasm, sorry. Sometimes I forget not-particularly funny sarcastic remarks translate even less well when written than when said over a gaming table.
  • edited January 2011
    Oglaf: extremely naughty, hilarious comics with a fantasy theme. Mostly not SFW.

  • After a pretty crap episode last week, Pulp Gamer Out of Character returns with a discussion of adaptations, a conversation we've had before, but not with such broad focus, as we also talk about board and card games.
  • RPGGeek has a cool Fiasco "competition" going on in the PBF threads. Pretty cool stuff!
  • Posted By: Mike MontesaRPGGeek has a coolFiasco "competition"going on in the PBF threads. Pretty cool stuff!
    There were some really good playsets. The winner "The Bull" looks to be a lot of fun. Check them out at RPGGeek.
  • edited January 2011
    [Fiasco 2]
    Posted By: tomgThere were some really good playsets. The winner "The Bull" looks to be a lot of fun. Check them out at RPGGeek.
    This is a new "competition" (not the playset design contest). Thus far there are 5 separate games of Fiasco going with a, now somewhat large, pot for the most entertaining Fiasco.
  • ndpndp
    edited January 2011
    Annalise is back in stock. Print and print+PDF are both available through the Unstore, and should be back at IPR soon as well.
  • edited January 2011
  • edited January 2011
    More great RPG history from Matt Colville:
    Comes Wizards of the Coast and Peter Adkison and Ryan Dancey. These guys buy TSR and basically make the game they want. They are customer #1 and they want a new game, with robust design (something AD&D, designed Ad Hoc, never had) that is basically, “what if we made AD&D now?” Peter and Ryan were very strongly driving the design back then, they wanted a game that captured that feeling of gaming in 1979, but without all the ad hoc systems that never made any sense.

    The marketing phrase you saw everywhere was “Back to the Dungeon.” “Wasn’t the 90s crap?” they were saying. “Let’s get back to killing orcs and taking their stuff!”

    As someone who was a designer at the time, I remember a lot of my fellows thought this was madness before D&D3 came out, thought that gamers didn’t want to kill things and take their stuff. Gamers wanted to tell stories! But nothing succeeds like success, and when it quickly became obvious that in spite of what all the designers in the industry thought, the players loved the idea, the designers changed their tune.

    All they wanted was someone to give them permission to enjoy playing the game they way they did when they were teens, and support that with a modern game. D&D3 did that and was a colossal success. Because there’d been this 10 year drought, you had this huge ocean of underserved players and D&D3 gave them the game they wanted.

    Now fast forward 8 years. A couple of things have happened.
    Why D&D sucks (The title is deceptive, trust me.)
  • [1 D&D sucks] That's an interesting article.

    However, I don't buy his theory of why there was a backlash against 4E (because people who liked 3E saw it as a slap in the face).
  • [2 D&D sucks]

    I guess I've met enough who did that I buy it. Maybe not the sole reason, though, true.
  • [3 D&D sucks]

    I don't buy the idea that AD&D didn't have robust design. All those rules seem to point to something specific - tightly focused play. I'm not so sure that 3E has the same focus! It seems like more of a toolkit than a game.
  • Anyone talking about the decision of Wizards of the Coast to cancel a bunch of their upcoming products? It's buried halfway down the latest Ampersand column.

    Summary: canceling prepainted plastic minis; postponing Heroes of Shadow a month and doing it in hardback instead of paperback digest; canceling Heroes of Sword & Spell, Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium, and Hero Builder's Handbook; no longer producing the compiled PDF of D&D Insider content (but still doing lots of articles, probably on a weekly schedule now).

    It looks like Wizards is shying away from producing crunch (reference) books that people don't buy because they only use them through Character Builder anyway. It looks like holiday sales of Essentials and other D&D RPG products didn't pan out how they wanted, and they're regrouping to focus on the core things.
  • edited January 2011
    Arion Games along with Cubicle 7 announce the return of Advanced Fighting Fantasy. This is of nostalgic value to me as it was the first RPG I played and the first game I'd GM'ed.
  • [2 WotC Cancellation]

    Adam, it also looks as if they've recognized how expensive printing is and that the digital stuff is going to be a hell of a lot cheaper for them.

  • [3 WotC Cancellation]

    Borders is also on the verge of bankruptcy, trying to convince its publishers to convert the money they owe them into loans, possibly closing stores, and some publishers are refusing to ship additional product till the matter is resolved.

    I have no idea if this is related but may be a factor.
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