FOLLOW US ON: follow us in feedly
GET THE NEWSLETTER
CONTACT US
‘Aliens are never eliminated’: Amazing 1979 ‘Alien’ board game
06.20.2017
11:27 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
We’ve noted before that the merchandising arm connected with Ridley Scott’s original Alien movie of 1979 didn’t seem to know anything about the movie. (For example here are a bunch of trading cards Topps put out, with bland text that seems pretty clueless about what’s actually in the movie.) 

Apparently nobody had gotten the memo that Alien was an R-rated thrillfest in which an alien creature gorily bursts through the chest of one of the characters—this movie was clearly not intended for nine-year-olds, which made the attempts to market the movie to nine-year-olds all the weirder. (Actually, I myself was nine years old when Alien came out—I didn’t see it, but I vividly remember a classmate of mine telling me all about it. Obviously the chestburster scene was the main thing he talked about.) 

So here’s another kid-targeted mindfuck…. an actual Alien board game, put out by Kenner!
 

 
On BoardGameGeek, the world’s greatest resource for board game enthusiasts, the user reviews for this game are all over the map, and it’s easy to see why. A glance at the board reveals that the game is probably a pretty lazy rehash of Parcheesi, which is basically true. (If you were given a single day to design a board game as a tie-in for, say, Kong: Skull Island, you’d probably end up with something along the lines of Parcheesi, too.) But at the same time, there are some clever touches.

The object of the game is to make your way through the Nostromo to reach the Narcissus space station. Each player has three Astronaut tokens and one Alien token. You roll dice and move players around, and a player can use his or her Alien to take out the opposing Astronauts. Now right there you have an instant contradiction: The whole point of the Xenomorph is that nobody “controls” the fucking thing. It is inherently uncontrollable. The dictates of symmetrical gameplay that would have reigned in the 1970s meant that you couldn’t have one player as the alien and other players representing the Nostromo crew members, which is how the game probably should have been designed. 

Anyway, I mentioned clever game design. The main feature I wanted to point out was the introduction of “air shaft” pathways that are only available for the Alien to use. I like that idea quite a bit. Parcheesi doesn’t have that feature, right?

Also, in the game instructions there appears what is maybe the greatest sentence ever to appear in an instructions manual for a game designed for kids. The sentence is: “Aliens are never eliminated.” Eek!
 

 
It’s interesting that the understanding of Ripley as a movie character for the ages had not solidified yet. Sigourney Weaver’s image doesn’t appear anywhere on the box. Here’s an interesting custom logo that Kenner must have cooked up for the game:
 

 
If you paid the original price for this game in 1979, you lucked out by obtaining what would eventually become a collector’s dream acquisition.

Continues after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
|
06.20.2017
11:27 am
|
Board game based on John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ looks AMAZING
05.08.2017
09:11 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
T-shirt design company Mondo has announced a product it will be releasing for Halloween, and it’s a reeeeeal good one: a board game version of John Carpenter’s 1982 classic The Thing, in which Kurt Russell does battle with a shape-shifting alien lifeform that is causing havoc at an Antarctic research station.

The full name of the game is The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31. The game is a collaboration between Mondo and USAopoly’s games division Project Raygun. In a cute touch, the Mondo “exclusive version” will be limited to 1,982 copies in honor of the year the movie was released.
 

 
Players can choose one of a dozen characters from the movie, and there is surely a social detection component to the game, in which players must “gather gear, battle The Thing, expose any imitations ..., and escape Outpost 31.”

This is actually not the first board game based on The Thing. In 2011 Mark Chaplin released a self-published game that also used the movie’s plot as an inspiration for gameplay.
 

 
Only thing I don’t get is, what part of the game do you say, “You gotta be fuckin’ kidding”?
 

 
via Nerdcore
 

Posted by Martin Schneider
|
05.08.2017
09:11 am
|
In this Motörhead video game, Lemmy thwarts enemies with his Jack Daniels-fueled bad breath!
04.25.2017
12:32 pm
Topics:
Tags:


 
In 1992 Kaitsu Software, in what seems to have been the only game they ever put out, released a game for the Commodore Amiga using as its protagonist the greatest and drunkest frontman in rock history, Lemmy Kilmister.

Yes, Motörhead finally had its own video game.

Unfortunately, Motörhead was far from a great game. It was a bit derivative and it lacked any music by Motörhead, which seems like something you’d definitely want to have. It was one of those side-scrollers where you beat up your foes as you move from panel to panel. The game was heavily inspired by Golden Axe, a popular Sega franchise that had been delighting gamers since 1989. However, the gameplay of Motörhead was pretty good and it had a healthy dose of humor to enhance the experience.
 

 
In the game, Lemmy awakens from a bourbon-induced blackout to learn that his bandmates have been kidnapped. He has to progress through a series of music-related levels in which he must vanquish foes representing various genres (goth, country, acid house, rap, karaoke). In the “Nashville” level there’s a character who looks suspiciously like Dolly Parton, and the goth sequence, called “Enter the Morgue,” has a character who just might be mistaken for Robert Smith. Here’s an account of Lemmy’s capabilities, described by Mark Winstanley in the (mostly positive) review of the game that appeared in the January 1993 issue of Amiga Power magazine:
 

Lemmy can punch, headbutt, swing his guitar or use halitosis attacks, always assuming he’s loaded up on cockles or Jack Daniel’s first. By collecting magical Motörhead talismans he can unleash a devastating musical chord or summon up helpful demons, ranging from a tasty lass who distracts his opponents for a bit, up to WWF’s very own ‘Undertaker’, who just plain kills everyone.


 
It’s true: the game absolutely does literalize the metaphor of guitar-as-axe—indeed if you play the game that’s about 80% of what you’ll be doing, whacking people with a guitar. And yes, there is a feature where Lemmy knocks out his enemies by merely breathing on them! Amazing.

Between the levels you can scoop up power-ups or something on a vehicle, which is generally a motorcycle but in one instance Lemmy is perched atop a tractor! Another time (after the karaoke level) instead of his usual “hog,” he rides a bright red motorcycle clearly based on the one in Akira.
 

An amusing array of graphical elements from the game. My favorite bit is the “glug glug” icon which is the most Motörhead video game thing EVER.

Interspersed between the main levels are easier minigame modules—one of them is a copy of Root Beer Tapper called “Beer Frenzy” in which Lemmy is obliged to scamper all over a barroom lapping up brewskis. Drive responsibly, kids! 

More ‘Motörhead’ the video game, after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
|
04.25.2017
12:32 pm
|
‘Secret Hitler’: Board game of the year (from the same people who sold you a box of Bullshit)
03.27.2017
02:32 pm
Topics:
Tags:


 
A few years ago, I was living in New York City but had struck up some friendships in Cleveland, where I would eventually relocate. I had heard about this funny game Cards Against Humanity and it had struck my fancy, so I plunked down 25 bucks in some virtual kiosk and got myself a set. At a New Year’s Party in Cleveland a few months later, I unveiled it to the assembled revelers, and it rapidly became the dominant activity of the party. A few months later, and it was hard to find a party where it did not get mentioned as a possible activity.

Cards Against Humanity, the self-styled “party game for horrible people,” was the brainchild of multiple people, one of the most prominent of whom was Max Temkin, who has now teamed up with video game producers Mike Boxleiter and Tommy Maranges to find out if they could create a “social deduction” board game with the addictiveness of CAH.

My money says that they have.

The subject of an attention-getting Kickstarter that amassed nearly $1.5 million, Secret Hitler became available to consumers around the time of Donald Trump’s inauguration, which certainly speaks to impeccable timing on the part of Goat, Wolf, and Cabbage LLC, the company that is distributing the game. The game made a minor splash in late February when they shipped a free copy to all 100 U.S. Senators, thereby making explicit whatever metaphorical connections to the daily headlines may have been buzzing around your brain. 

As with Cards Against Humanity, the people behind Secret Hitler have taken a staunchly populist and what might be termed anti-corporate approach—and the two games are united by a similar sense of cheeky humor. In both cases users have been encouraged to print up their own sets of the game for free, if they so choose. Here’s the GitHub online implementation of the game. To celebrate Black Friday in 2014, the CAH people invited people to send them six bucks in exchange for “Bullshit,” which is exactly what they ended up receiving.
 

 
In the game, it’s Germany 1932, and the Liberals are pitted against the Fascists (one of whom is Hitler). The Fascists know which players are Fascists (and by extension, which players are Liberals), but the Liberals don’t know what side any of the other players is on. Gameplay varies according to the number of players (5-10), but in most versions Hitler does not know who his (or her) supporters are.

Every game begins with a clever ritual in which all players close their eyes, and then, on a given cue, Fascists open their eyes and ID one another. The game comes with an app in which a recorded message by Wil Wheaton guides you through the process.

The game proceeds by repeatedly naming a President who must select a Chancellor, the two of whom then must collaborate to place Liberal or Fascist policies on the board. Both sides have two paths to victory: if the Liberals place 5 policies on the board, they win, and the same is true of the Fascists, except they need 6 policies. The Liberals can win by assassinating Hitler, and the Fascists can win if they manage to get Hitler elected Chancellor after sufficient information about the players’ identities has been distributed (that is, after three Fascist policies have made it onto the board).

Basically, at every point in the game, all players will be claiming to be Liberals; the trick is to track game moves to figure out who is actively pushing Fascist policies and who has been forced by circumstance to promote them against their will.
 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
|
03.27.2017
02:32 pm
|
Amusing ‘Punk!’ pinball machine from the early 1980s hints at certain bands to avoid paying them
03.27.2017
10:21 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
I’ve never liked arcade video games much, but I’ve always been really into pinball machines. So much so that in the last few years I’ve joined a local pinball league (great fun!) and visited a few pinball conventions. I’ve even driven way out of my way to visit specific coffee shops and pizzerias just because some model I hadn’t played before was available to use.

So over the weekend I come across an amazing image of a “Punk!” pinball machine from D. Gottlieb & Company, universally known as “Gottlieb,” that dates from the year 1982. I’ve never even seen an image of this game before, much less played it. Every DM reader is aware of the cross-pollination involved between punk and new wave, there’s a lot to be said on that subject, and yet….. there’s something off about this game.

It’s amusing to see how some of the major punk acts are “implied” in a non-licensed way by having scrawled graffiti with certain letters blocked out so that nobody could really say which band starting with “S-I-O” is being referenced.

So you can spot Siouxsie Sioux being invoked on the right-hand side; at the bottom you have “EAD BO” which is surely the Dead Boys. At the top you’ve got the Ramones and the Jam and the Clash being signaled. Interesting to see Joy Division tucked away up there as well. On the backglass, behind the guitarist’s left leg, you have what appears to be the word “DAMNED” partially blocked, all the more enticing to a teen demographic because it involves a curse word.

But wait—what’s that on the left-hand side there? “PECH—M—”? How did Depeche Mode get involved with this?? They are definitely not punk!

Remember, 1981 was the high point of the synth-pop movement, with Soft Cell, Ultravox, and OMD all in their prime. This machine may say “Punk!” on it but it mainly has me thinking of Square Pegs and Valley Girl.

On this Pinside forum there’s a lively discussion about the game—not surprisingly, Punk! is a very difficult game to find from a collector’s perspective. One observer comments that “it is among the most difficult and nearly impossible pins to aquire.” Fewer than 1,000 were made, and even though the gameplay does not look all that interesting, it’s such a great item to have around that people who have it probably seldom let it go. 

Price estimates run around $800, which is a fairly ordinary price for a machine of this type. Given its rarity, if the gameplay were actually engaging the sky would be the limit here!
 

 

 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
|
03.27.2017
10:21 am
|
Full deck of awesome Japanese monster playing cards
12.15.2016
09:50 am
Topics:
Tags:

001onetwoclubs.jpg
1. Vampire Kyuradorosu.  2. Pollution monster Kashuasu.
 
File under: “things I wish I’d have known in school.”

This pack of Japanese playing cards features a selection of pachimon kaiju or “imitation monsters” lifted from various hit TV shows and movies. These monsters range from fire-breathing gorillas to flying creatures from outer space and giant electrocuting humanoids. The set was apparently manufactured as a promotional pack for kids by a Japanese brand of mayonnaise called Kewpie.

I’d have surely eaten my egg-mayo sandwiches without complaint if I’d been dealt a hand of these fun little beauties.
 
002threefourclubs.jpg
3. Ice monster Gohoho.  4. Creature form outer space Altamegaro.
 
003fivesixclubs.jpg
5. Pesticide monster Deredoron.  6. Ancient dinosaur Tapikurosaurus.
 
004seveneightclubs.jpg
7. Elekipurosu—a giant electrocuting humanoid.  8. Meji—an extraterrestrial wolf who can fly.
 
See the whole monstrous deck, after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
12.15.2016
09:50 am
|
I was a 15-year-old Billy Corgan impersonator
12.14.2016
02:53 pm
Topics:
Tags:


 
Before the “World Wide Web” became a thing and only AOL and CompuServe existed for games and chat rooms, Sierra On-line (the software company responsible for such classic adventure games as King’s Quest, Space Quest, Police Quest, and Leisure Suit Larry) developed a highly imaginative and groundbreaking environment known as The ImagiNation Network. Initially launched on May 6th, 1991 as “The Sierra Network,” this friendly, graphics-heavy interface was so simple, advertising promised that even your grandmother would find it easy to “play games, make friends and have fun.” As a teenage computer geek I was instantly hooked after being introduced by my friend Brad Warner and spent hundreds of hours using the service: running up my parents credit card bill, holding up my families landline for several hours at a time, and experimenting with fake profiles when the internet was so new that you could effortlessly fool just about anybody.
 
Before entering ImagiNation you’d use the FaceMaker to create your appearance choosing your skin color, facial features, glasses, clothes, and hairstyle. There were enough variables built in to create over 84 million unique personas. Then you’d walk through the virtual gates and let the fun begin: Red Baron, Mini Golf, Paintball, or Boogers in SierraLand. Gambling at the casino and exchanging lewd late night talk in LarryLand (for adults only), or slaying dragons with strangers in MedievaLand. Before anybody had heard of an email address there was a post office where you could purchase “Sierra Stamps” and send messages to other users.

Through a alternative music chatroom, I befriended a cool 13-year-old Korean girl from Houston named Judy Suh who had purple hair and owned an electric guitar. We both had tickets to see the Smashing Pumpkins headline Lollapalooza ‘94 in our respective cities that summer and agreed to share our photos from the concert. Technology had yet to find a way to share photos on the internet so we made photocopies at Kinko’s and snail mailed them to each other.
 

 
In 1995 Judy suddenly disappeared from the ImagiNation Network without a trace, a few weeks later I found out that her parents banned her from using the service after running up their credit card bill. At that time the pricing structure was incredibly expensive: $9.95 per month for only 4 hours plus $3.50 for each additional hour, or $120 a month for unlimited time. Shortly after that my parents also banned me from the service because I was using their dial-up modem and holding up our six person household landline. Friends and family members complained that they received a busy signal over and over for hours and were furious when they couldn’t get through.
 
Heartbroken, and not yet ready to give up my addiction I took to desperate measures to get back on-line. I went over to Brad Warner’s house with a floppy disc, found the directory where his password file was stored and successfully copied it into the same directory on my computer enabling me to sign onto ImagiNation with Brad’s account. This illegal and back-stabbing act gave me so much confidence that soon I wanted to know what else I could get away with. I began secretly signing on late at night after my parents went to bed. Using the FaceMaker to create a new persona, I started posing as Smashing Pumpkins frontman, Billy Corgan. I had read every Alternative Press, SPIN, and Melody Maker interview that had been published up until that point and felt strongly that I knew enough about Billy Corgan that I could convince people that I was him. The April 1994 Rolling Stone cover story I purchased at Sam Goody proved to be a particularly detailed profile and helped me understand Billy’s troubled childhood and upbringing in a time before background information on celebrities was easily accessible on websites like Wikipedia. I was successful in fooling dozens of fans: answering questions from growing up in Glendale Heights, Illinois, to D’arcy Wretzky’s sisters photography on Smashing Pumpkins single covers, to dispelling rumors that I played the little brother on the TV show Small Wonder. After about a week I was called out for falsely claiming that the Mike Mills who played piano on the song “Soma” off the album Siamese Dream was not the same guy as the bassist from R.E.M. My cover was blown.
 

 
Soon after I was outed as an imposter by the ImagiNation community I received a call from Brad who wanted to know why there was a message from Chris Williams in his virtual Post Office box. I had forgotten that I reached out to Sierra On-Line founders Ken & Roberta Williams’ son Chris (also 15-years-old) on the network, totally not expecting him to reply. I confessed to Brad that I had stolen his password and I had been signing on under his account. That was the end of our friendship and the last time I ever used the service. In 1996 ImagiNation was purchased and then ultimately shut down forever by America Online. In 2007 there was a brief attempt to revive ImagiNation through reverse engineering and use of DOSBox, but there wasn’t enough interest in the emulator for it to take off. One fan on the “Return of Talking Time” message board, however, fondly remembered his experience on ImagiNation over 20 years later:
 

“I had a ridiculous experience with ImagiNation Network when I was 14. I was spending the night at my friend’s house, and I brought the free ImagiNation install disk with me. After his parents went to bed, we got his mom’s credit card from her purse and used it to create an account. (IIRC, you were given a certain number of free hours to try it out, but you had to provide credit card info to get started). We tooled around for a bit, and eventually ended up in one of the chat areas. Somehow or another we started chatting with a guy who had us 100% convinced that he was Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins. Seriously. We weren’t dumb kids, but holy crap does that sound profoundly moronic in hindsight. Anyhow, we stayed up all night talking to Billy C, and ended up surpassing our free trial. When the credit card bill came later that month, my friend had to fess up to his mom. She wasn’t buying the Billy Corgan story, and I was never allowed to spend the night at his house again.”

 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Doug Jones
|
12.14.2016
02:53 pm
|
Fake Nintendo movie tie-in games that would be super fun to play
12.12.2016
02:08 pm
Topics:
Tags:


 
Video games in the late 1980s and early 1990s were dominated by the Nintendo Entertainment System, also known as NES. In addition to Donkey Kong, which morphed into the iconic and incredibly addictive Super Mario Bros. franchise, NES also had its share of satisfying movie tie-ins, including Batman, Back to the Future, Total Recall, The Karate Kid, and Home Alone. For a slightly later generation of gamers, the best reason to remember the James Bond movie GoldenEye from the Pierce Brosnan era was the top-notch Nintendo 64 game GoldenEye 007. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Conan is best not mentioned at all, though…..

A few years back, the outstanding vintage video games blog VG Junk dedicated three posts to meticulously crafted and completely fictional “wouldn’t it have been great” NES title screens for movie and TV tie-in games that I for one would love to have played.

It’s amusing to contemplate NES games that are juuuust a bit too adult (or possibly WAY too adult) like A Clockwork Orange and Jacob’s Ladder and Videodrome, but I also dig the games where the only conceivable gameplay would consist of talking, à la making sarcastic remarks about Blueshammer in Ghost World or defending the virtues of “propane and propane accessories” in King of the Hill.

Some of the movies mentioned here actually did have console game tie-ins. For example VG Junk doesn’t think very much of the 1997 video game for the PC that Westwood Studios made for Blade Runner. In any case, these are super detailed and witty.

Feast your eyes below—and keep a careful eye on that They Live title screen….
 

 

 
More great title screens after the jump…...
 

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
|
12.12.2016
02:08 pm
|
Class Warfare: Radical French philosopher Guy Debord’s Situationist board game


Guy Debord and Alice Becker-Ho playing Kriegspiel in 1977. Photo by Jeanne Cornet via Cabinet
 
After he disbanded the Situationist International in 1972, one of the obsessions that consumed Guy Debord was a board game he invented. Kriegspiel, or Le Jeu de la Guerre—German and French, respectively, for “war game”—was based on Debord’s reading of the military theorist Carl von Clausewitz. The London-based group Class Wargames describes Kriegspiel’s purpose concisely:

For Debord, The Game of War wasn’t just a game - it was a guide to how people should live their lives within Fordist society. By playing, revolutionary activists could learn how to fight and win against the oppressors of spectacular society.

So convinced was Debord of the game’s utility and revolutionary potential that, in 1977, he founded Les Jeux Stratégiques et Historiques (Strategic and Historic Games) to produce a limited run of Kriegspiel sets. Ten years later, Debord and his wife Alice Becker-Ho published a book about Kriegspiel, Le Jeu de la Guerre. Debord opens the sixth chapter of his memoir Panegyric with these reflections on his game:

I have been very interested in war, in the theoreticians of its strategy, but also in reminiscences of battles and in the countless other disruptions history mentions, surface eddies on the river of time. I am not unaware that war is the domain of danger and disappointment, perhaps even more so than the other sides of life. This consideration has not, however, diminished the attraction that I have felt for it.

And so I have studied the logic of war. Moreover, I succeeded, a long time ago, in presenting the basics of its movements on a rather simple board game: the forces in contention and the contradictory necessities imposed on the operations of each of the two parties. I have played this game and, in the often difficult conduct of my life, I have utilized lessons from it – I have also set myself rules of the game for this life, and I have followed them. The surprises of this Kriegspiel seem inexhaustible; and I fear that this may well be the only one of my works that anyone will dare acknowledge as having some value. On the question of whether I have made good use of such lessons, I will leave it to others to decide.

The Atlas Press English-language edition of Becker-Ho and Debord’s book, A Game of War, comes with a board and punch-out pieces, but Board Game Geek warns that this edition “has a faulty translation of the rules, making it more or less unplayable.” The Radical Software Group’s web version of the game has been down for some time. So if, like me, you enjoy using things without paying for them, the best bet seems to be Class Wargames’ printable boards, pieces, and battle maps. Their website also has the free book Class Wargames: Ludic subversion against spectacular capitalism, plus information about such radical board games as Imperialism in Space, which promises to give players “a critical understanding of the political and theoretical arguments of Vladimir Lenin’s famous 1916 pamphlet Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism.”

After the jump, an explanation of Kriegspiel’s rules….

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
|
12.02.2016
09:33 am
|
Motörhead’s Orgasmatron War Pig: The ultimate stocking ... stuffer
11.23.2016
03:04 pm
Topics:
Tags:


 
The field of sex toys with an explicit rock music tie-in is a relatively new one, but if you think about it, it would be odd if a band who released an album called Orgasmatron and a song called “Vibratordidn’t have a line of sex toys. Clearly, this was the kind of thing Lemmy and the gang gave serious thought.

My colleague Ron Kretsch introduced readers to Lovehoney’s line of Motörhead-themed vibrators last year, so this isn’t exactly a new topic for us. The four products that were made available last year were tributes to Ace of Spades and Overkill—all of them vibrators—with prices ranging from $26.95 to $54.95.

But when they come out with new Motörhead models, well twist our arm, it’s our pleasure, nay our responsibility to let you know. Not for nothing, but the Orgasmatron thing was just lying out there waiting for something to give. Sure enough, Lovehoney has three new products, a glass dildo in both clear/black and black/gold which is a tribute to Bomber, and an “Orgasmatron War Pig Wand Vibrator.”

Here they are, beauties all:

 
Much more after the jump…....
 

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
|
11.23.2016
03:04 pm
|
Page 1 of 16  1 2 3 >  Last ›