Archive | November, 2011

Dice, Rulebooks, Character sheets….Action! Role Playing Games: The enduring memories of a cult hobby

25 Nov

The 1983 edition of Basic D&D: More ’80s than a ‘Frankie Says’ T-Shirt.

The last time I played a video game properly, where I actually knew what I was doing, was many years ago. Sure, I’ve tried some game my nephew had (was it Call of Duty?  I don’t know, but it just seemed very violent and relentlessly scary, you know, like I was really going to get shot). Even Tomb Raider seemed a bit more fun than this. In my comfort zone of yore, I’m actually going back to games like Attic Attack, where the graphics on the screen were engaging and colourful but (let’s be fair) were in no way realistic. A barely three dimensional effect one colour dungeon with giant keys and exaggerated skeletons is hardly the kind of thing you think would have had ‘moral watchdog’ Mary Whitehouse worried. If Whitehouse was alive today, she’d be having some sort of arrest after viewing Call of Duty III. Plus, given that many of the games of the ‘80s required some sort of intellectual application and logic, you’d think the media of the time would be quite supportive. Infact, as some of these fantasy games involved sitting around a table talking to each other and using English and Maths skills and a lot of imagination, well, you’d expect them to practically be on the school curriculum. Well, sadly not, no… Continue reading

“You forgot the first rule of mass media, Elliot! Give the people what they want!”, The James Bond blogs: ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ (1997)

13 Nov

By the time Pierce Brosnan came to star in his second Bond picture, the general feeling was that his Bond was the best interpretation since Connery. I resisted this train of thought at the time, not because I don’t like Pierce’s performance, but rather because I saw him as a product of the times. In other words, Pierce Brosnan was very much the kind of Bond that most filmgoers wanted for the ’90s, but that didn’t automatically make him superior to the others. He’s certainly stylish and witty, but also far more a realistic man of action than Roger Moore was. But he also handles the humour far better than Timothy Dalton ever did. Not to devalue Roger or Timothy’s contribution of course. But because of the direction the films were headed in, Pierce was arguably the best man for the job and gets on with doing it with a minimum of fuss. I wouldn’t say he was outstanding, but he’s very good at what he does. For a Bond picture, that might be enough. And because he came along at that time, he was seen (and still is by many) as the best Bond since Sean Connery. Some years later, and I’ve come to really like him. On most days, I tend to agree with the fans that say he’s the one of the best Bonds. The other days I switch allegiance. Probably to SPECTRE. Continue reading