Something interesting and weird to start 2018

Something I just learned today: in 1990, a video game company called Color Dreams went to some pretty significant lengths to create a game for the NES based on the movie Hellraiser. It’s a short, but interesting read, even if you’re not particularly into video game history. Someone must have really enjoyed seeing Hellraiser to go to the lengths described here to attempt to adapt it into a video game, not the least of which being developing new (and expensive) hardware and programming tricks to enable Nintendo’s old workhouse to be able to run the kind of game they envisioned.

But there’s no need for me to rehash the same information here. The aspect of this story that I’m focusing on is how after this project failed, Color Dreams went on to rebrand as Wisdom Tree, releasing a slew of Bible-themed games for the NES and Super NES that, from what I gather, featured almost universally awful gameplay. I actually owned and played through one of these games as a kid: a blatant Zelda clone called Spiritual Warfare. It actually wasn’t too terrible, and the gameplay was fairly solid. But that’s not too surprising considering that it’s no exaggeration to describe it as essentially a reskin of the original Legend of Zelda.

While I was already familiar with Wisdom Tree, I didn’t know about their earlier start as Color Dreams. I’ve written some about how the moral panic surrounding D&D (not to mention heavy metal and other aspects of pop culture) impacted me as a kid. It would have been really interesting to see how the panickers of the time would have reacted if they had learned that the religious-themed video games being sold in Christian bookstores were made by a company that had been previously working on a Hellraiser video game before its rebranding (or maybe “conversion” would be more apropos?).

Also, since I mentioned Zelda and have been on a Breath of the Wild kick with my family lately, if you’re a Zelda fan as well, look up “Ancient Stone Tablets” if you don’t already know what this is.

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“THAC0” appears in the 5e PHB!

Came across this (admittedly extremely old-school gamer nerdy) Easter egg the other day while scouring the index in the back of the D&D 5th edition Player’s Handbook for something else entirely:

THAC0

I was already aware of the “couch gag”-style blurbs that appear at the front of each book because I’m just the type of person who looks at that part of the book; but I hadn’t heard about THAC0 being included as entry in the index. Sure, it just redirects you to the entry for “attack roll,” but the fact that it actually appears in printed form at all serves both as an inside joke for old-school gamers that’s sure to confound anyone who started playing D&D with 3rd Edition and later, and further indication of Wizard’s dedication to reaching out and reuniting D&D players under one banner.

The Margravate of Greifshold

I wanted to share this beautiful map created by fellow blogger DaggerAndBrush. He’s creating a rich background as well, detailing many of the locations depicted on the map, along with the history of the region, making it a great setting for an RPG. You can learn more about his work over at his Patreon Page.

The Margravate of Greifshold Area Map Low-res.jpg

“Area Map of the Margravate of Greifshold” by DaggerAndBrush © 2017

LVO 2017 Cephalyx Table

I came across this incredible table from this year’s LVO today, made by Tyson Koch of FigurePainters.com:

If you are at all into miniatures, you should seriously check out the tutorial just to get a better look at that thing in the large tank in the back.

In addition to the pics, he’s also created a detailed step-by-step of how he made it! From custom molds, to water effects, to LEDs, to dry ice, this thing is a masterclass showcase of just about every terrain-making technique and material known to man. Awesome work, Tyson!

Some Levity As We Exit 2016

Apparently, you can drive from the Shire to Mordor in less than two and a half hours. Of course, Frodo and company were on foot, had to dodge Nazgul for significant parts of the journey, and took the long route over the mountains, before doubling back and going under them instead, so it’s understandable that it took them a few months.