Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2021

The Mission Will Be Very Safe and Fun for Everyone: Some Thoughtcrimes on Running Paranoia

  I'm sorry citizen, but the question "why hasn't there been a Paranoia post in over fifteen months" cannot be processed. Records indicate that the previous post, " [Backstory Redacted] - Getting Ready to Run Paranoia " was activated in the Year 214 of the Computer, and, as this is currently Year 214 of the Computer, your internal chronometer must be malfunctioning. Rumors that is has always been Year 214 of the Computer are treason. Please report to Internal Security for cerebral re-adjustment. Have a nice daycycle. So, why hasn't there been a post about Paranoia in fifteen months, anyway? The previous two have been quite popular , and, as I'm fond of saying, I've put more thought into this game than nearly anything else in my life, formal education included. As time went on, I found myself procrastinating on the follow-up. I didn't have enough time to work out everything I'd want to cover, I'd tell myself, or that some other top

Home Media for the Holidays

Another holiday season is upon us, and hopefully you’re reading this on the cusp (or in the middle) of some well-deserved time off where you can enjoy some media and games. But the clock is always ticking, and if you take too long to decide what to go with, you might not get to enjoy anything! This week, we thought we’d talk a little about strategies to help work out just what it is you want to experience when your available time is concentrated, but limited, whether it be film, books, television, or games of both the electronic and tabletop varieties. B : For me, the most significant starting point is always going to be tone and feeling. Even if you’re focusing on things specifically relating to the current holiday, you’ll still have a lot to choose from. Sometimes I’ll want something breezy and uplifting to inspire holiday cheer, but sometimes (most times, if we’re being honest), I’ll go for something darker and bleaker that fits the colder weather and shorter days - the first Dishon

The Matt Mercer Effect

Roleplaying games have been around for quite a long time even before the first edition of  Dungeons & Dragons was published in 1974. You can go back into the history of Commedia dell’arte (improvisational theatre) in 16th century Europe and see this form of storytelling (and, if you want to read about similar, but more recent, traditions, take a look at our posts on the Maryland Renaissance Festival .) Even before that, there were ancient historical re-enactments and storytelling in many different cultures. Modern tabletop roleplaying games are quite different, even from their 1974 form, but commonality is shared across all these. After all, we’re still just playing playground games with the assistance of rules and dice. In recent years, there's been a boom in roleplaying games due to a number of factors: The internet making it easier to find new players and even run play sessions online. General dissatisfaction with our own realities, shared or personal. One force driving th

Pak Chooie Unf: Something Awful and Communicative Identity

There's a good chance you've seen the name "Something Awful" somewhere in the past few days following the recent death of the site's founder Richard "Lowtax" Kyanka. While some coverage will certainly be about  the bizarre, "butterfly effect" story of the way a number of banned SA forum users would set the stage for the modern alt-right (as described in the rather exploitative book It Came from Something Awful: How a Toxic Troll Army Accidentally Memed Donald Trump into Office ), little seems to be about the site itself, which is, frankly rather bizarre and speaks to the relative absence of Millennial voices in the current media landscape. Not only has the site been a solid fixed point on the ever-shifting internet for over twenty years, many creators and media figures around the ages of your humble Never Say Dicers credit Something Awful for developing their identities, viewpoints, and senses of humor, from journalists to authors to comics art

...Spins a Web? Any Size?

Spider-Man, Spider-Man, Does whatever a spider can Spins a web, any size, Catches thieves just like flies Look Out! Here comes the Spider-Man. Spider-Man has been a pop culture stalwart since the early 60s, with no signs of that slowing down. He's had numerous comic series, spin-offs, cartoons, blockbuster movies and, of course, video games. His appeal is unquestionable, as most people can relate to his dilemma of power and moral responsibility. The Atari 2600 Spider-Man from 1982 may not have been a masterpiece, but electronic gaming has come a long way over the years. After a break from video games since the PS2 generation, Marvel's Spider-man seemed a perfect fit for Captain Jumpy Andy's return to consoles. Little did he know when he picked up a PS4 and the game early in the 2020 pandemic just how appropriate the game's plotline would be... Prophetic or not, what does Never Say Dice have to say about this incarnation of the world’s favorite web-slinger, and how

They Cajole, You Roll... Blurp Balls!

Horror, in the 80s and early 90s, often worked its macabre influence on the era's more “family friendly” media.  During thus time period, we saw the likes of Goosebumps (er mer gerd!), The Dark Crystal , and blockbuster movies like Ghostbusters . There are cult classics like Goonies (which helped inspire the name of this very blog) and Little Monsters with Fred Savage. The line blurred further when some movies were adapted to cartoons specifically for kids, like Beetlejuice and The Real Ghostbusters for example. With movies like Child’s Play inverting the forumla, it should be no surprise that this mash-up of horror and "kid thing” bled offscreen into toys, as well - many of which were childhood favorites. There were the Garbage Pail Kids, My Pet Monster and Mad Balls, just to name a few. And any of these would make a fantastic conversion into...you guessed it, tabletop RPG monsters! One of these toy lines that really stuck with me were Blurp Balls. So, for this Halloween-ad

The Nostalgia Monocle

We often speak of “wearing nostalgia glasses” when we look at things from our pasts. I suppose the etymology comes from the phrase "wearing rose-colored glasses." Regular glasses should make your vision clearer, but nostalgia glasses, rose-colored or otherwise, tend to render things softer and easier to palate. This may mean we need some sort of revolutionary Nostalgia Monocle, allowing us to focus one eye on nostalgia while keeping the other out for... less than savory aspects. Earlier this year, Bugsy took a look at the subject of nostalgia in the context of his 40th birthday. As I turn 40 myself, I look to do the same, through the lens of fatherhood and with the help of my two young boys. Hopefully, I can build on Bugsy’s answer on What to do with Childish Things. If you haven't have a chance to read Bugsy’s nostalgia post, his conclusion was that it's okay to like the stuff that you like, even the things you liked at a young age. This is something I think we all

Restless Dreams: Horror, Fantasy, Gaming, and Emotional Logic

The calendar tells us that it's October, and while it may not feel like it outside, this is officially the season for spooks and scares. Given the time of year and the twenty-year anniversary of its release (and also of my owning it) the next game in my backlog playthrough was obvious: 2001's Silent Hill 2 . Much has already been written about this game (there's a reason it's on so many "Best Games of All Time" lists, after all), so this post will be neither explanation nor analysis, but rather a exploration of the way horror blurs the lines between the world that we know exists, and the way we feel it exists... and the way that games, both electronic and tabletop, are uniquely capable of embodying this dichotomy. Given my love of horror and all things surreal, it's kind of surprising that it's taken me this long to actually finish the game. At the outset, it was because I felt obligated to play the original Silent Hill first, even though I was va