Next week wraps up our scene with Hartmann and Mark. Will they find common ground, or are they destined to be enemies? Check out the preview below for a hint.
I’ve been forwarded two different videos intended to promote games over the last couple of weeks. I consider them both failures, but for entirely different reasons.
The first is for Shadowrun, the popular tabletop roleplaying game that blends cyberpunk with traditional fantasy tropes. So, you can play an elf with a cybernetic arm and work for a corporate executive who happens to be a dragon, for instance. (If that sounds like a criticism, it’s not.) Anyway, this video was produced in 1990, when the game was published by Fasa. Al and I actually saw this video at GenCon, a giant gaming convention, when we were in college. I’d completely forgotten about it until I received a link to it the other day. Take a look, and meet me back here when you’re done.
Last week, I discussed cherished childhood entertainments that lose their luster in the harsh light of adulthood. I listed a bunch of old cartoons, movies, and music that just didn’t stand the test of time. Now I must add a new entry to that list, though it may be geek heresy to do so: Stan Lee.
Okay, first things first: I will always respect Stan Lee for his role in creating some of the most iconic superheroes ever. Lee helped create The Fantastic Four, The Avengers, X-Men, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, The Hulk, Daredevil, and of course, Spider-Man, to name just a few. He was instrumental in defining the modern comics landscape, and I love him for that, and now I wish he would just stop. In fact, I wish he had retired about twenty years ago.
In comic books, radiation can give you superpowers. In real life, the only power it will give you is the ability to bleed out of every orifice, and then only for a short time. Likewise, in The Specialists, eugenics is a program of genetic manipulation intended to create super-powered Nazis. But the real Nazi eugenics program was a system of selective breeding intended to create an Aryan race that was taller, blonder, smarter, and more genetically “pure”. They used artificial selection to ensure that their Germanic genes were propagated while inhibiting the “lesser” races through extermination and sterilization. In the meantime, the Nazis put those undesirables to good use through forced labor and medical experiments.
Those who are familiar with WWII history will no doubt have noticed that Doktor Metzger has a lot in common with the real Josef Mengele. That’s no coincidence. In fact, we had initially intended to use Mengele as our mad scientist character. Mengele was not the only scientist conducing medical experiments in the concentration camps, though he has become the most famous. These experiments were often concerned with determining how the human body withstood trauma, when they served any discernible purpose at all. This is ironic, considering that the Nazis didn’t feel that their test subjects were truly human. Here’s a short but grisly list of some of their areas of experimentation:
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Douglas Adams fans will appreciate the cosmic significance of next week’s page (or at least the page number). Whether you’re an Adams fan or not, you can catch a glimpse of next week’s page below.