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Gifting to Gamers

Once again, the holidays are upon us. Well, this is the first holiday season Never Say Dice has been around for, but “for the first time, the holidays are upon us” would just be pretty confusing. Whether your celebrations have already begun or whether you’re in the pre-event panic GMs know all too well, we thought a simpler, briefer post was in order - so here are our Holiday Wish Lists. (Aside from the time to play the games we’d like to play, and for vaccines to magically appear for everyone. And also a billion dollars. And a DeLorean. And a Lego Millennium Falcon. And...) A : I think we’ve slowly been entering an age, both as people and as a culture, where a wish list of gifts has become exceedingly difficult. If I see an RPG book, set of dice, or video game I really want, I’m now old enough to be able to afford the purchase, unless it's something outlandish. Of course, I tend to be a bit more frugal and buy last generation’s gaming system, as we’ve discussed before in Dragons

Shareware Day

This week features a rather obscure holiday honoring something that was a surprisingly large part of our collective youths: National Shareware Day. It can be hard to imagine now, but in the days of dial-up BBSs, disk swapping, and a pre-web internet, there was an entire file sharing ecosystem supporting independent software, which included a wide variety of games. From the “Episode 1 is Free” model to the “Breaks Itself After a Certain Period of Time'' approach to "Too Weird to Release Commercially” examples, shareware was the primary way PC users got to experience new games on the . As Andy and I both grew up at the tail end of this era and were denizens of local BBSs, we got to see a lot of this firsthand, and thought we’d discuss  this strange relic of our collective past, why it’s still intriguing, and how it relates to current publishing models for both electronic and tabletop games. - B B : Andy, what were your earliest shareware experiences? A : To talk about that,

The Phantom Plain: Storytelling through Landscape in MGSV

I’ve recently come to the ending (such as it is) of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain . I’d been putting it off for a while, with a whole range of reasonable excuses. I need to play Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance first! I need to make more progress in Peace Walker - sure, I’ve made it to both endings, but not the Monster Hunter missions! I can’t hog the PS3, it’s our main household media device! And I don’t have the time for a game that size, anyway… Maybe I was scared by the reviews and references I had come across - did I want to delve into the final installment of my all-time favorite game series and be disappointed? One by one, though, they all fizzled. We got a PS4, so I was able to spirit its predecessor off to my desk for solo gaming whenever I have a chance… which meant I was able to play Revengeance ... and plow away at Peace Walker until I got sick of failing to take out that damn Attack Chopper (Custom) over and over. And finally… there was COVID. I should mention an a

Always Say "Thanks"

Those of us in the United States just completed the annual feast of gluttony as opposed to our normal everyday gluttony this week, and here at Never Say Dice we are no different. Wait. Thankfulness. I meant "here in the United States we just completed our annual feast that celebrates thankfulness (and gluttony), and here at Never Say Dice, we are no different." While we're still not coming together in a normal fashion, due to the raging pandemic, we’ve still celebrated and brought our thankfulness to the table. So, this week, Never Say Dice would like to share with you, dear readers, what we are thankful for in the realms of games, storytelling and general nerdery. Feel free to let us know what gaming things you are thankful for on our Facebook page and Twitter ! Andy : One thing this wretched pandemic has given me, as it has for many of us, is significantly more time at home. This has allowed much more time to spend playing video games. While I have no intent to get a

LEGO Life Day Playset

You may have caught our Life Day post , which goes over what the holiday is about, where it came from, and what we can learn from it. If you haven’t checked it out, you may want to give that a read first. This week, I’m updating you on the new Disney+ LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special and reviewing this latest entry into the Star Wars universe. Will this special go down in history as a classic to watch every year with your loved ones? Or will it, like its predecessor, be reviled and spoken of only in hushed tones, ultimately removed from the streaming service, and unlikely to ever be seen again? As Never Say Dice did with the original, this special has been watched so that you may not have to! I’m sure one question first and foremost in your mind is "did the stars return for this entry like they did back in the 70s?" In the original special, we got almost everyone back: Harrison Ford, Peter Mayhew, Mark Hamill, “R2D2” (I guess it was Kenny Baker? They really should have credite

The Legacy of Life Day

 "This holiday is yours, but we all share with you the hope that this day brings us closer to freedom, and to harmony, and to peace. No matter how different we appear, we're all the same in our struggle against the powers of evil and darkness. I hope that this day will always be a day of joy in which we can reconfirm our dedication and our courage. And more than anything else, our love for one another. This is the promise of the Tree of Life." - Princess Leia Organa Andy : The Star Wars Holiday Special is something of a dark legend in nerd culture. Airing only once, November 17, 1978 on CBS, it was a quick attempt to cash in on the popularity of the original movie, released a year prior. Almost universally, it's agreed that the special is a horrible abomination. Copies of it have been historically difficult to find, as it was never rebroadcast or officially released. However, you might track down a copy on a torrent site or streaming video. Personally, I’ve seen enou

The Lion, The Witch, and the Adaptation - Part 3 (ITV + Summary)

Welcome to the wrap up for this series on the adaptations of the Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe . If you missed them before, you can go back and read my reviews of the Disney version as well as the 1979 animated and BBC editions . In this post, we’ll review what little remains of the ITV adaptation and take a look at my overall rankings of the three full versions that I was able to find. Finally, we’ll take a quick look at what the future may hold for Narnia. ITV I can’t really compare the serialized ITV version to other productions, as most of it has been lost to history. That being said, I did find two existing parts on YouTube, and watched all sixteen surviving minutes - albeit in poor quality, even for 1967. It felt much like watching some of the earliest Doctor Who , once again taking me back to watching reruns on PBS as a kid. That isn’t the only time Narnia and Doctor Who are connected, but we’ll discuss that in another post. Episode 8, Parts 1 and 2 detail Aslan meeting Edm