Category Archives: rpg

The Other Side

It had been a while since I cracked open the PS3. That’s actually a good thing as I’ve been getting some writing done. Life also sometimes gets in the way. I played the prerequisite hour or so of Pain, and then went looking for something else to play.

As our current tabletop DC Comics role-playing game has been stalled by folks’ busy schedule I was jonesing for superhero action so I turned to DCU Online. As I said, it had been a while, so it took forever and a day for it to download updates. Does this happen to everyone, or is it just me because I haven’t turned on the machine in a bit?

When it was done I flew around Metropolis as The Red Sun trying to figure out what’s what when I got a brainstorm. You have options in the game to have more than one character so I thought, just for kicks and giggles, I’d make a super-villain, and see what different. Walking through the steps of creation was easier this time. I think I had a young woman with zombie skin, inspired by Live Wire and the Joker with electrical powers. As last time, the hardest part was the naming. After several misses, I hit on the name Deadshock, although I think it’s spelled ‘dedshok.’

Much like my problems as a hero, I had a hard time getting out of Brainiac’s spaceship, which is apparently the default starting point. Being a villain, at least I didn’t have to fight my way out like before. But I did still have to find a way out.

Once out I ended up in Metropolis, and instead going to the police station I went to the villain equivalent. Same steps, same rules, same old same old, just cooler powers this time. I did take quite a delight in blasting everything in sight. I have to go to a certain place for a mission, yet I can’t find it. I guess I need to buy a GPS.

Is there some sort of guide as to how to play this game? Color me confused, as I’m a DC Comics fan who really wants to play and experience this world – and I’m hopefully just limited by my non-experience with games.

Who Plays the Watchmen?

Who Watches the Watchmen? was the question spray-painted on walls in defiance throughout perhaps the greatest superhero story ever told. The answer is that everyone does now. Especially with DC Comics’ recent announcement that this summer would be highlighted by an extensive series of prequels to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic twelve-issue maxi-series.

In 1986, Moore and Gibbons revolutionized the comics industry, and how we think about superheroes with Watchmen. It brought four color comics storytelling to a whole new level and told a tale of intrigue, betrayal, romance, politics, adventure, and even pirates and nuclear suspense. Utilizing a nine-panel grid layout and nonlinear narrative, it jumped through time and space and even plot to create a masterful and complex story of superheroes deconstructed in a real world setting. It was, and is, epic.

Now I’m not going to pass any judgment on “Before Watchmen,” or at least not here on this blog, but it should be noted that a year or two back a movie was made of the comic series, one that I really did like, and from that, a videogame came into being, one that I’ve downloaded not just one part, but two. Yeah, this time, we’re talking about Who Plays the Watchmen? That’d be me.

Watchmen: The End Is Nigh comes in two parts as a downloadable demo for the PS3. I’ve talked a little bit about the first part here. Part one happens during a prison break, and part two you get to go to a strip club. As the two playable protagonists, Rorshach and Nite Owl, in a time before costumed vigilantes were outlawed, the 1970s, you are promised to encounter villains from the comics who are only mentioned, like the Underboss, the Twilight Lady, as well as more famous (or infamous) folks like the Comedian, and even Woodward and Bernstein.

Now that might al sound like a blast to those of us who love the comics, and dig story in our videogames, but for folks like me, who have trouble with the controllers and aren’t seasoned gamer professionals – we’ll barely get through the prison and/or the strip club to any actual plot. Also, knowing there’s a programmed-in ending, no matter what, is also a bit of a disappointment even before you play. The fight moves are repetitive, and it’s always raining, so there’s really not much to see, but it is always a treat to see characters you know as opposed to unfamiliar gaming characters.

And as an added bonus, this is technically a pseudo-prequel to the great comic series. Like the DC Heroes RPG module “Taking Out the Trash,” a panel or two in Countdown, and of course The Question #17, this is one of the real addenda to the Watchmen saga before the announcement of Before Watchmen. Watch out, the universe is about to get bigger…

For the Other Kind of Gamer

At some point in the last few decades, the word gamer has changed. Back in the stone age when I was a kid, I was a gamer. Because then, the word gamer meant someone who played role-playing games. You know those geeks with their Dungeons & Dragons and whatnot. There were dozens of other RPGs as well, and once a year, tens of thousands of gamers got together in Milwaukee for the GenCon. Some of this is still true, but some is not.

While the term gamer is different, now predominantly referring to videogames rather than nerds (it’s okay for me to say the N word, cuz I am one) and their polyhedron dice, the games still exist in many different forms, and they are still folks who play them, again, myself included.

Now those who know me, know that I do a weekly vidcast about comic books, well, in case you didn’t know, that format began as the All Things Fun! Podcast, which just relaunched this month after a long hiatus. The Podcast continues to present reviews and discussion on all the great games out there old and new, with its hosts Wes and Jess (if you think Allison is going to hit me at any given moment of the Vidcast, wait until you hear these two) and of course store owner Ed Evans. You can listen here.

And if that’s not enough game stuff for you other kind of gamers out there, I would also suggest you try Not Just Another Gaming Podcast run by some really cool folks, and also friends of All Things Fun! as well.

And as long as we’re talking about All Things Fun!, and non-electronic games, and you’re in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area, you might want to check their calendar for what gaming events are happening when! Shameless plug over. 😉