Category Archives: game news

RIP: Maxis

You may not have heard of Maxis, an Emoryville game company, but you’ve heard of their game, a little something known as SimCity. Electronic Arts has closed their doors.

I’ll admit I haven’t played the game in ages, but it was one of the very first games that I bought in the mid/late 80’s when I bought my first PC: a 386/SX16 with a Hercules monochrome graphics card and 2 MB of RAM! WOOT! The first two games that I bought were SimCity and Chuck Yeager’s Advanced Flight Trainer. AFT was fun: you could fly the space shuttle and actually loop it, even though you didn’t have engines. At the top of the loop you were so close to stall speed that it wasn’t funny.

But SimCity, man, some very fond memories of that. I built-out this huge city, then just to see what would happen, I turned off all the services, set it to auto-budget so it didn’t need any interaction from me, then I turned off the monitor and went to bed. The next morning a hundred years plus had lapsed, and the city was in ruins from exploded nuke power plants, tornadoes that had swept through, fires burning everywhere. So I did my best Bill Murray voice: “This was the city after the apocalypse. Our job was to rebuild it.” And I did, if I recall correctly — it was a long time ago.

It was an amazing game, absolutely nothing like it at the time. I wonder if Sid Meier’s Civilization series would have been the same without Maxis coming first.

ETA: This does not mean the end of the Sims line. EA is going to continue development, the work done at Emoryville will be continued at other EA development sites.

D&D For Free

The 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons is in the process of releasing, and you can download a starter set of rules of the player handbook as a free PDF and check it out!  It’s 100 pages(!).  How is 100 pages a ‘starter’?

The blurb states “…the Basic Rules for Dungeons & Dragons is a PDF (over 100 pages, in fact) that covers the core of the game. It runs from levels 1 to 20 and covers the cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard, presenting what we view as the essential subclass for each. It also provides the dwarf, elf, halfling, and human as race options; in addition, the rules contain 120 spells, 5 backgrounds, and character sheets.”

Happy Birthday, Dungeons & Dragons

This year is the 40th anniversary of the release of Dungeons and Dragons, the big daddy of the RPG industry, and rumor has it that this weekend is the actual release date anniversary. It’s been a heck of a ride, lots of editions, the deaths of its creators Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in 2008 and 2009 respectively, the formation and ultimate dissolution of Tactical Studies Rules, etc. Lots of water under the bridge, and the river is still flowing strong.

Somewhere I have the original white box release of the game, unfortunately I’m missing one of the three books.

And now for some public sacrilege: I really don’t care much for the game. For me, it was much more complex than it needed to be. I don’t mind complexity in games occasionally, it’s just my personal style is more towards simpler games. And this is especially weird considering that Champions is perhaps my favorite RPG. But to each their own.

I have put in a lot of hours playing D&D in various incarnations, and I have had fun doing it. I think, for me, it really boils down to the GM, or DM if that’s your preference. As in so many games, the GM can make or break the game, and my earliest encounters were with GMs that really broke it for me. My favorite GM is an old friend of over 30 years, and as a rule I will enjoy anything he runs, and he ran a D&D campaign for a while for a small group of us. And we had fun. But you’re not going to find a lot of D&D products in my collections.

Still, Happy Birthday, D&D! Thank you for being instrumental in creating an industry that has brought a lot of fun to millions of people around the world!

John Wick extends preorders on the Big Book of Little Games

Apparently he’s having some printer problems and has extended pre-orders, I think through the end of January.  I found out about this in the latest Pulp Gamer’s Out of Character podcast.

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