Showing posts with label Star Trek. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Star Trek. Show all posts

Saturday, February 02, 2013

A Glimpse at the Downton Abbey SNES Game

To this day I'm still a big fan of the old style "adventure" games where your avatar is sent on a variety of often meaningless quests in order to complete a grand narrative. Every now and then, I'll reinstall one on my PC or download an updated version for my smart phone. They are quite fun.

Someone took the time to imagine what one of these games would look like if it were based on the popular brit-soap Downton Abbey.  The show is quite wonderful, and I think I'd like this game as well.

Now if only I could find an Eric Goldberg/Greg Costikyan designed "Paragraph Based" boardgame version of Downton Abbey to go along with my old Star Trek one and my copy of Tales of the Arabian Nights.

And before you ask, the answer is yes. I do own a copy of SPI's ill fated Dallas roleplaying game. Would you like to come over an play a game some time? We could film it and submit it to Geek and Sundry.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Enter Colonel Philip Green or... Gary Mitchell? -- STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS

I'm beginning to wonder if Cumberbatch's character in the upcoming STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS is either Colonel Philip Green or Gary Mitchell. There has been some talk about how the villain cannot be Gary Mitchell of late, even though the initial leak was that it was Mitchell.

Watching the teaser trailer, I'm torn between whether it is Green or Mitchell and leaning heavily toward Mitchell.  It looks like the crew explores a new planet with strange plants, there is a blond character very reminiscent of Sally Kellerman's character Dr. Elizabeth Dehner, and Cumberbatch does some pretty superhuman feats in the clips below. 

Oh, and you see him wearing a Star Fleet uniform.

If it is Mitchell, I'll be geeking out pretty hard as Where No Man Has Gone Before is possibly my favorite Star Trek episode.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Zombies, Robots, GI Joe, and Star Trek?


Dan Abnett is officially my favorite person.

It appears that comic book publisher IDW has released their first "Universe Spanning Crisis Like Event," and it is so high concept that my mind is about to explode. Here's the company's description.

It begins here! The first-ever IDW event, which affects the Transformers, G.I. Joe, Ghostbusters, and Star Trek universes! This dimensions-spanning storyline begins with a specially priced 40-page story by Abnett & Lanning (The Thanos Imperative) and David Messina (True Blood). Something goes horribly awry in the Zombies vs Robots universe, threatening to tear many of IDW’s biggest realities asunder! Don’t miss the IDW event ten years in the making!

James T. Kirk, Optimus Prime, Snake Eyes, and Venkman vs. Zombies!

I'm overwhelmed.

All that remains is to begin stating up the "Infestation" using Wizards of the Coasts' Gamma World rules set. I think it should do quite nicely for the task. Either that, or Savage Worlds...or the Pacesetter system from Chill/Timemaster/Star Ace...or Risus

Which game system gets your vote?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

WizKids Announcing Star Trek Based Games

WizKids/NECA announced yesterday that they will be producing games based on Star Trek intellectual properties. Their license includes television shows and movies and the WizKids products will be available in "digital" as well as physical formats.

WizKids will be adding the Star Trek characters to their existing line of Heroclix collectible miniatures games, which makes this both good news and bad news.

The good news is that there will be some cool minis, hopefully including the space ships, for Star Trek characters. The bad news is that they will have those clunky 1.5" miniatures bases that are slightly too big for the standard 1" format of most role playing games.

Hey WizKids! I want to buy your figures, but I want to use them in my Savage Worlds and Traveller games. I don't care for your collectible miniature game rules sets, but I do like the figures. How about hooking a gamer up?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Goblinoid Games Purchases Rights to Starships and Spacemen

In 1978 Fantasy Games Unlimited released Starships and Spacemen one of the first Science Fiction roleplaying games to hit the market -- the first three were Ken St. Andre's Starfaring (1976), Metamorphosis Alpha (1976) and Space Patrol (1977) which eventually became a licensed Star Trek game.

These early science fiction games varied in quality and theme. The science fiction of Ken St. Andre's Starfaring is reminiscent of the John Carpenter film Dark Star and had rules that focused on playing the ship as a whole rather than on individual members of a crew seeking adventure as a team. The game had a humorous bent and like much humor of the 1970s might offend some readers due to the sexual nature of some of the jokes/illustrations. Space Patrol's system was inspired by Star Trek (though it did have rules for playing Laumer-esque Bolo tanks as well), so much so that Heritage Models was able to use the same system in their licensed Star Trek game. Heritage's Space Patrol based Star Trek was one of the earliest licensed role playing game properties.

Like Space Patrol, Fantasy Games Unlimited's Starships and Spacemen was inspired by the Star Trek television series. Fantasy Games Unlimited also produced a board game in the Starships and Spacemen universe entitled Star Explorer which expanded on the themes set forth in the Starships and Spacemen game.

This week Goblinoid Games announced that they had acquired the rights to publish an edition of Starships and Spacemen and they have made the original rules available in pdf format. In the long run, they plan to adapt the system to be compatible with their Mutant Future and Labyrinth Lord d20 Open Game License/Old Game Renaissance systems. This should be a fairly easy process. Like many early role playing games, Starships and Spacemen shares some mechanical qualities with the Dungeons & Dragons role playing game. For example, six of an S&S character's 8 primary attributes are determined by rolling three six-sided dice -- just as in D&D. S&S differs from D&D in its use of attributes in that it distinguishes between inborn attributes which remain the same for that character throughout play and acquired attributes which can improve over time. The game also contains "Branches" and "Subclasses" similar to the class system used in D&D. The acquired attributes mentioned earlier, expand the basic class/level system and incorporates an early skill/point system into the mix.

Sadly for Starships and Spacemen, and a number of other promising SF role playing games, Game Design Workshop had released the first Traveller rulebooks in 1977. The Traveller rules were more closely related to SF literature, having a heavy Foundatiom influence, and this combined with an ambitious support schedule led to Traveller dominating the SF rpg market for years to come. Fantasy Games Unlimited eventually dropped support for S&S and moved on to their Space Opera project which had a broader scope with regard to the kinds of SF it emulated -- everything from hard SF to Pulp.

It's nice to see games like Starships and Spacemen return from the dead due to the long tail effect and the low cost of distribution through the internet. I look forward to seeing what Goblinoid Games have to offer in the coming months. In the meantime, I will have to dig up my S&S rulebook from storage and write a review soon.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thanks George Lucas, Because 10 Years Ago You Killed My Childhood Forever

Marc Bernardin reminds me why today is a sad day for Gen X.

When I was really young, I used to spend the night at my grandparents house every Saturday night. It was a magical time. Like most kids who visit their grandparents, my time with Oma and Opa was spent reading, picnicking, washing cars, getting to sleep in to ridiculous hours on Sunday, and experiencing the love of one's elders -- which included a very different set of social norms from life with my parents. My Opa was a retired career Sergeant Major in the Army who had served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. And when my Opa returned home to the United States after his tour with the US Occupation forces in Europe, he brought my Oma from Germany to our fair shores.

For the most part, my Oma and Opa were serious people. After dinner, we always watched the news and Oma and Opa were always interested in my opinions on the issues of the day. This was true when I was 14 and it was true when I was 7.

But the times with Oma and Opa weren't always so serious. Some of my favorite times were when my very serious Opa would, almost at random, tease my Oma with some sarcastic remark or jibe. His giggle was infectious and watching Oma go from red with anger at being criticized to laughing out loud and poking Opa when she realized it was only a jibe, is one of my fondest sets of memories from childhood.

The other time things weren't too serious at Oma and Opa's was late Saturday evenings. My Opa would stay up with me and watch the old Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers serials on some UHF bandwidth local station. I hadn't seen anything like them, and I was immediately addicted. Opa also introduced me to the glorious films of Ray Harryhausen. So in the summer of 1977 when STAR WARS was released in the theater, I had the perfect background of experience having spent a good part of 1976 and early 1977 watching the old serials with Opa. The movie captured the feel of those classic tales perfectly, and even borrowed some scenes. I dare anyone to watch the Flash Gordon serials without experiencing moments of "déjà cinema". I was 6 years old and STAR WARS was a joy to see in the theater. I watched it over 20 times in the theaters -- I am certain that is a conservative estimate. The serials fostered my love of narrative storytelling, but STAR WARS cemented my love for movies.

This is a love that continues to this day, but a part of the childhood wonder I brought to every movie I watched died ten years ago today. You see...on that day ten years ago, George Lucas released STAR WARS EPISODE ONE: THE PHANTOM MENACE. The movie was the single largest pop culture disappointment I have ever experienced. It was worse that when DC killed Superman and broke Batman's back. It was a worse disappointment than the Joel Schumacher Batman movies (though not a worse movie than those movies).

THE PHANTOM MENACE wasn't that bad of a movie, all things considered, but it did lack one thing that the original had in spades. The new movie lacked "heart." It didn't contain the same sense of wonder that inspired the first films, it seemed more workmanlike than inspired. The original series of films has a number of flaws, narratively and cinematically. For example, ust how long does it take for the Sarlacc to digest you? But the original films had an aura of enchantment that the franchise has failed to recapture as it has become more about continuing STAR WARS and less about sharing the wonder of a tradition of Space Opera tales.

Since THE PHANTOM MENACE, my movie viewing has become a little more cynical and I don't go in expecting to feel enchanted anymore. Sometimes a film can make me feel slightly enchanged, STAR TREK and QUANTUM OF SOLACE come close, but I no longer watch previews expecting that they even come close to representing the wonder (or lack thereof) that a particular film will offer.

Don't even get me going on how much I think WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE will suck.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Quick Cuts: Friends of Cinerati Speak Up

In this entry in newly renamed "Quick Cuts," the friends of the Cinerati blog answer the following question:

"Was there a particular book (or television show, or film) that you read (or watched) as a child that inspired you into your current career?"

David Chute

I sometimes think the key issue is at which stage one's development gets arrested. I liked monsters (and Famous Monsters) as a kid but was never into the classic "guy movies," the war films and Westerns that were basically about groups of boys playing in the backyard, with no gurls allowed. For me the light bulb went on watching Ann-Margret in "Bye Bye Birdie." "Viva Las Vegas" and "Dr. No" were not far behind, and Claudia, Romy and Barbara (Bouchet) were strong favorites. But that opening back-projected image of A-M being massaged by a wind machine was the real thunderbolt. My interest in movies ever since has been as much about sex as anything else. Make of this what you will.

David Chute is a film critic who has written for LA Weekly, Premiere Magazine (both print and online), The Los Angeles Times, Film Comment, and Vanity Fair. In addition to his work as a critic, David has also written press kits for films like THE SHADOW, HARD TARGET, JACKIE BROWN, and IRON MONKEY.

Matt Forbeck

The blue book version of Dungeons & Dragons launched me into the world of games, fantasy, and adventure and swept me through my middle-school and teenage years, right through into adulthood. I don't know if you can call the many varied things I do a career in the traditional sense, but if it hadn't been for that thin, little booklet my friend's mom picked up for Christmas on a blue-light special, I'd have probably wound up in engineering or law instead!

Matt Forbeck has worked full-time on games and fiction since 1989. Projects Matt has worked on have been nominated for 23 Origins Awards and won 12. This includes the Best Roleplaying Game for Deadlands and The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game, Best Miniatures Rules for Warzone and The Great Rail Wars, Best Roleplaying Adventure for Independence Day, Best Fantasy Board Game for Genestealer, and Best Short Story for “Prometheus Unwound” from The Book of All Flesh.

Dale Launer

Woody Allen's Take the Money and Run. It really wasn't very funny, or coherent, no plot and it looked cheap. It was inspirational because I thought "Shit, I could do that!"

Dale Launer is writer and director of motion pictures. His movie-biz break came after the producing team of Lancaster/Wagner optioned his screenplay of RUTHLESS PEOPLE. It was produced and released in 1986. This was followed by BLIND DATE, for which Launer neither takes blame nor credit since it was heavily re-written. Launer followed this effort by optioning the rights to the film BEDTIME STORY, which was re-written and re-titled to DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS (which he also produced). He also wrote and directed LOVE POTION #9, which was followed by MY COUSIN VINNY, which he wrote and produced.

He is currently finishing up TOM'S NU HEAVEN, a movie he made very, very independently.

Richard Scott Nokes

I think I was more influenced by people and events then by a single book, mostly because I was such a bookworm it would have taken a lot for one book to influence me over all the others.

Even though it's a cliche, The Lord of the Rings was probably the most influential book. As a child I really identified strongly with Sam, and liked to imagine when I grew older I would construct an underground hobbit hole and live in it. Even though I've grown up to have a career as more than of wizard than a hobbit, that book created my initial interest in the medieval.

Richard Scott Nokes is a professor of medieval literature at Troy University. Dr. Nokes enjoys reading, film, and all things medieval. He is interested in looking at representations of the medieval in modern culture, a phenomenon he calls Popular Medievalism.

Susan Palwick

Star Trek. (The original one; my third crush was on Spock. My first crush was on a parrot keeper in Florida, and my second crush was on Don Rickles. Yeah, I'm weird. That's why I write science fiction.)

Susan Palwick is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author who holds a doctoral degree from Yale. She currently teaches as an associate professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno. She is the author of three novels (FLYING IN PLACE, THE NECESSARY BEGGAR, and SHELTER) and a collection of short stories entitled (THE FATE OF MICE). She is currently working on her fourth novel, DRIVING TO NOVEMBER, which is historical fantasy set in central Nevada. Her fiction often centers on concepts of identity, belonging, and sense of place.

How about you Cinerati readers out there? What do you have to say?