Monday, 25 January 2016

"The Horror! The Horror!"

John Wick is one of those gaming industry personalities that always seems to be lighting fires wherever he goes. Recently, he wrote an article about one of the most infamous AD&D modules of the early days of roleplaying, THE TOMB OF HORRORS. Predictably, the gaming Internet imploded, or at least certain segments of it did. Here's one of the rebuttals. Make of it what you will.

Friday, 22 January 2016

American Gaming Story

I'm late to the party that is American Horror Story, but I'm a fan. I love a good horror movie, and anyone who has any affection for the genre knows that really good stuff is few and far between. Although the first season starts out a little rough, AHS has grown into one of the most provocative and entertaining shows on television. That said, it's definitely not for everyone. If the presence of the word "horror" in a title makes you uneasy, this is not for you, because they really mean it. AHS, unlike a lot of horror films and television shows, consistently goes after material that is truly difficult and frightening, daring to explore truly dark territory. So again, not for everyone, but it's awesome that someone is pushing boundaries like this in ways most horror films are frankly too lazy to bother with.

So what can we learn from American Horror Story as gamers?

Wednesday, 20 January 2016


CALL OF CTHULHU is an outlier in the gaming industry, a game that has been around in the industry since the early 1980's in very much the same form. The 7th Edition of CoC will apparently change things up from the venerable Basic Roleplaying rules that have powered it from its beginnings, and time will tell how well it will be received. If I sound a little skeptical, it's because CoC is pretty much the perfect case point in "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". I have been running games from my battered old copy of the 5th edition rules for twenty years now, and (notwithstanding a flirtation with the excellent but short-lived d20 incarnation of the game) never felt like it needed an update. Oh, I've played other games that take on Lovecraftian horror, like Graham Walmsley's rules-so-light-they're-hardly-there CTHULHU DARK, but the grandfather of horror gaming is still the best, in my book.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Thomas Wolfe May Have Been On To Something

Fair warning: I’m going to say some things about The Force Awakens here that you might not care for. If it would spoil your enjoyment of that movie to hear criticism of it, do yourself a favour and skip this. I have my problems with it, but I also have no interest in shitting on anyone else’s fun.

I also have no interest in discussing the merits and problems of The Force Awakens in the comment section below. Feel like arguing about it? Take it somewhere else.

Nostalgia is the will-o-the-wisp lurking on the moors of nerd culture. Unapologetic affection for the things we like is a fine thing, but too often that leads you into the noxious bogs of sentimentality. It’s easy to get lost there, losing sight of problematic content, giving things a free pass just because we enjoyed them when we were young.