The Thrice Tenth Kingdom

First off, apologies for this being late. Without getting too personal, my time was eaten up by a move, an illness, and a death in the family. Things ought to be smoother from here on out.



And now: the basic crunchies of the Thrice-Tenth Kingdom. Sure, you don’t necessarily know the setting well enough to play yet — but if you can’t wait till the next column for further elaboration, you can fill in most of the blanks by checking out a book on Russian myth.


I highly recommend eliminating all PC races other than human; the TTK setting simply doesn’t harmonize well with a Forgotten Realms-like plethora of races. However, if you or your players just hates the idea of restricting character creation to that extent, use this compromise: humans, dwarves, and elves, as follows.

Humans are precisely as they appear in the Player’s Handbook.

Dwarves dwell in caverns and grottos in, around, and below the hills which surround the forests. They have the same racial abilities as the standard dwarves in the Player’s Handbook, except: ignore the language notes, and use +1 Strength, +1 Constitution, -2 Charisma for ability modifiers. Dwarves tend towards crankiness, and are loners by nature; their settlements are loose groupings at best, and every dwarf does his best to remain self-sufficient. Typically, a male dwarf does not live with his mate, who raises his children; indeed, marriage, while it exists, is a rare institution among dwarfkind. Some of the most legendary dwarven heroes …

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Goodbye Dreamcast

January 31, 2001 will forever be a black day in the minds and hearts of Sega faithful. This morning, Sega has officially announced that it will cease production of Dreamcast. I must admit that I’m not the biggest Sega fan, and saw Sega’s demise as an inevitability, but I nevertheless felt a twinge of sadness for the company.

This is concrete proof of something that the entire video game industry has suspected for some time now: the industry can only support two competing systems at any one time. With Dreamcast gone, and Nintendo’s Gamecube destined to become nothing more than a child’s toy – if even that – the two winners are going to be Playstation 2 and XBox.

Those of you that have read the official announcement are probably thinking, “but the technology has been licensed to set-top box manufacturers, and Sega is still going to support the platform with games.” This is true, but think about this: how many set-top boxes have been truly successful in the marketplace? And as for games, third party developers have already begun leaving the system in droves, and I give Sega itself one year, tops, before they finally call it quits on the hardware.

But fear not, Sega Faithful, this isn’t the end of your beloved company. Sega has entered into negotiations to develop its properties on Playstation 2 and XBox, which means that your favorite brands, like Sonic and Ecco will still be around for many years to come, just …

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Top Ten College Humor Video Game Parodies

College Humor produces some of the funniest video game themed parodies on the web. They often pick at the ridiculous things video game fans just suspend disbelief on or attack common video game frustrations. The following are my top ten College Humor video game parodies.

10) The Video Game Bosses’ Lament


A solid video that really illustrates how College Humor (CH) mocks video game cliches.

9) Sonic and Mario’s Awkward Reunion


Ahh, Sonic how far you’ve fallen. CH takes a jab at Sonic’s downfall in the video game world.

8) Duck Hunt Behind-the-Scenes


A hilarious look at what really goes on behind the grass in Duck Hunt.

7) Bowser’s Minions


Bowser’s Minions have finally had enough and they’re fighting back!

6) The Tetris God


CH answers the question of why you never get a line block when you really need it.

5) The Legend of Link’s Distractions


CH does a great job attacking something obvious about Zelda games (and many adventure games and RPGs). If the heroes are supposed to save the world, why are they always doing random side quests?

4) Luigi Finally Snaps


Luigi can’t handle playing second fiddle to Mario and finally snaps!

3) Mario and Princess Sex Tape


What makes this stand out compared to the videos above is that CH shows the dirty side of Mario and Princess Peach’s relationship.

2) RPG Heroes Are Jerks


CH picks on a classic RPG theme. Why are heroes always …

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Anticipating 2020 Sports and Family Video Games

With the unpredictable Florida weather, my wife, son, and I play many video games inside, especially sports and family-oriented video games. We await new games as their release dates approach, and we often pre-order those we want most. We are currently anticipating one game from each of our two favorite categories: NBA 2K13 and Super Mario Brothers 2.

NBA 2K13 – October 2

Past editions

My son and I started playing the popular NBA 2K series with the 2011 edition. This was the first one that we played that allowed online play through WiFi. We liked this game enough to continue in the series when the 2020 edition came out.

With NBA 2K12, we have made our own super players and teams, which make us want to play together more often. The announcing sounds just like an NBA broadcast; to me, announcing makes a very good game even better. NBA 2K12 also made my son a little more interested in watching the NBA this coming season so he can see his favorite players from the video game in real action.

New edition

NBA 2K13 promises even better graphics and more realistic basketball action. It will let players match up today’s stars with past NBA legends such as Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls versus the 2020 NBA Champion Miami Heat. We also look forward to playing the All-Star events, including the slam dunk competition.

Super Mario Brothers 2 – August 19

Mario became Nintendo’s signature character in the 1980s, and we have …

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Dweep. No it’s not a typo. It’s the creation of Dexterity Software. So what exactly is Dweep? Well, Dweep is the shaggy purple hero of his own game. Dweep is a game for puzzle fans only so Tetris and chess fans should be the first in line for this little gem.



Dweep is all alone in a hostile world and it’s his job, with your help, to rescue the baby Dweeps. You must guide Dweep through ingeniously designed levels that contain a vast array of traps that are present to prevent Dweep from rescuing his youngin’.

Logic is your ally as you try to maneuver Dweep past the deadly obstacles to his prize. The level design can be frustrating – almost to the point of yelling at Dweep for making a misstep. OK so I’m guilty of yelling at my monitor, it’s not unusual if you live with me. Some of the challenges you’ll face include laser beams, bombs, ice, hot plates –oh there are just too many to list. There are also various items that you can use to your advantage and some can be used in a couple of ways, requiring you to pick the correct usage for the situation.

In order to pass by laser beams you must use a mirror to change the direction of the beam. The only problem is you have a choice of mirrors pointing in opposite directions, so it’s easy to pick the wrong mirror. You can also use a wrench to …

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First Impressions: Black & White

Black & White has been in development for three years. The hype built up over that time had many, including myself, fearing the game wouldn’t be able to live up to it. Well, I’m happy to report that not only does Black & White meet all expectations, it actually exceeds them.



The premise of the game is simple: you’re a god in a land that has no concept of good and evil. The game takes place in four lands, each of which represents one chapter in the story. You have to complete Land 1 before moving on to Land 2 and so forth.

The first land is a tutorial, and it’s important to really pay attention. While Black & White is simple to get into, it’s tough to get the hang of it. Dealing with the camera is especially tough at first, so that’s the first thing you learn. After that, you’re taught the basics of interacting with the world and people and get your first quest, or Challenge.

Completing this Challenge requires the completion of some mini-Challenges, and eventually you obtain your Creature, who is essentially your avatar in the world. The creature is important, and proper care of it is required. The rest of Land 1 teaches you basic Creature care, and you can spend that time teaching it all sorts of tricks and miracles.

Miracles are important to providing your people with necessities, and also increases their belief in you. Belief is important, because if nobody believes …

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Microsoft forces Bungie towards X-Box: More to follow?

The PC Gaming industry may be slipping



Microsoft, the glutton of smaller companies, has taken over control of game developer Bungie in an unexpected move. Bungie, the makers of the Myth series, were not a serious contender in the market, and the purchase by Microsoft surprised many. However, Bungie is developing one of the most anticipated games in the foreseeable future, “Halo,” something Microsoft probably wants to get their hands on. On the plus side, with Microsoft’s enormous amount of resources, shouldn’t Bungie produce a superior product for PC gamers? They should, but Microsoft may not let them. With their eventual release of the gaming console X-Box, Microsoft has been recruiting developers everywhere to make games for it. Bungie will now direct their focus towards development of “Halo” for the X-Box, with a possible port for PCs afterwards. The head of Microsoft’s gaming division, Ed Fries, mentions that “Only a few very special games will work well on both PC and on X-Box.” Those PC gamers anticipating “Halo” may have to extend their wait from much longer to forever.


PC gaming is now walking a razor sharp tight-rope. At the end of the rope is the acceptance and embrace of the world’s developers, producers, and gamers, plus the support that will make the computer a viable platform for games. On either side of the rope is failure. The “Halo” episode is only one of the many examples that show the PC is slipping from its perch. As the PC progresses …

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The Next Generation Of Portable Gaming is Coming

Tokyo was the venue for a gaming announcement that will change portable gaming forever. Since the original PSP released back in 2005, Sony’s portable gaming franchise has been on a downward spiral.

The problems with the original PSP were several, the limited number of games, limited network features, and a overall drop in sales which threatened to ruin Sony’s market for portable gaming. But with yesterdays announcement of the PSP 2 which is also known as NGP (Next Generation Portable), the gaming world is a buzz with the possibilities of what this sexy new console can achieve in the gaming world.

The Features Of The PSP2/NGP

The system incorporates multi-touch, 5-inch display. It is touch sensitive and will feature touch sensitive areas on the back of the console as well as the front. One major new aspect of the PSP2 is the inclusion of Joysticks, much like you see on the Dualshock Controllers… this brings a whole new way of gaming to the portable system.


The PSP2 will feature a new gaming medium, gone is the UMD to be replaced with Flash Memory Cards which will be games to play on the system. The Flash Memory Cards will also feature save data, and game add ons. The system will feature 2 cameras, one on the front and one on the back. It will feature 3G and Wi – Fi network connectivity which is good for online gaming, a big part of the PSP2 for sure. The big new feature is …

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Glossary of Siege Warfare terms

Defensive fortifications
The massive castles which spring to mind whenever the subject of siege warfare is discussed are those from the end of the medieval period. There are several reasons for this: the earlier fortifications were either destroyed or replaced by stone structures, and a good stone wall is much more memorable than the remnant earth mound of a motte-and-bailey structure. Castles started out as fortified residences for a local lord in feudal Europe, and were taken to new levels after the Norman invasion of England. Castle building probably reached its zenith during the reign of Edward I and his conquest of Wales.



A small fortified settlement on a strategic route or near a border in 13th century France.


An old pictish tower.


Fortified Welsh settlement.


Defensive island in early medieval Ireland or Scotland.


Fortified residence for a Welsh lord.


Early type of castle with a tower on a raised mound surrounded by a wooden stockade.


A strong wooden fence.

Pele towers
Fortified tower residences found along the England/Scotland border dating form the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Initiated during the reign of Edward I in response to continued raids by armies form Scotland (and England). Continued to be used throughout the era of the Border Reivers.

Shell keep
A stone replacement for the wooden walls of a bailey (of a motte-and-bailey structure) usually restricted by the size of the original mound.


Tower keep
A small castle formed from a single tower.

Castle features

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Review: Sheep

If you had asked me a month ago whether or not I’d play a game about herding sheep, I would probably have said no. After all, how much fun could that be, right? Well, as it turns out, herding sheep is actually a lot more fun than you’d expect.

In Sheep, you take control of a herder, whose task it is to guide a flock of sheep from the beginning of a level to the end. Of course, it’s not that simple, as each level is chocked full of nasty enemies and traps designed to kill sheep in the most imaginative ways possible.

The game features a total of seven worlds. Each world is built around a particular theme. You’ve got a farm, a medieval faire, a space station, a candy factory, a dinosaur playground, and even a nightclub. Each world is composed of four levels, and in order to successfully complete a level, you have to rescue a minimum number of sheep.

Each level oozes creativity, and at no time does the game feel repetitive. Not only do you have to guide the sheep past dangerous obstacles, but you’ve also got to solve puzzles. For the most part, this means herding sheep onto buttons in order to open gates, but there are some more creative puzzles in there.

As you go through a level you’ll come across machines that will provide your sheep with disguises that help them live longer, and there are also a variety of power-ups that …

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