Finding Inspiration: The Rest of the Books

So, we’ve covered Stephen King. What else should you read?



H. P. Lovecraft. Don’t plan on doing much with Things From Beyond and Dark Secrets Man Was Not Meant To Know if you haven’t encountered Lovecraft. Most people know him indirectly – there are Cthulhu pastiches in every corner of fandom – but it’s really worth reading the original. Pulp horror at its finest – one of the grandfathers of the genre, the Tolkien of horror. His Cthulhu stories are his most well known, but there’s a Lovecraft story in pretty much every big hardcover horror anthology (you’ll find them remaindered in the mall, often enough). I’ve picked up lots of his books at used bookstores, too.

Naturally, if you’re interested in a Lovecraft game, your best bet is Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu, which has supplements for the modern-day, Lovecraft’s own 1920s, and the Victorian era.

Anne Rice. For many people – too many people, in my frank opinion – Rice has the first and last word on vampires. The first book in her Vampire Chronicles, Interview with a Vampire, is good – you’ve probably seen the movie with Tom Cruise as Lestat. It was a nice change of pace for vampire stories – a sensual, almost effete vampire consumed by angst, the vampire as brooding sex symbol. The makers of Vampire: the Masquerade have taken this ball, run with it, and done a lay-up.

Peter Straub. Did you grow up reading Dean Koontz and Stephen King, …

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Can you go home again?

Can you go home again?



There is a certain fondness with which I recall my teen years. Not quite the kind of reverence that one reserves for nostalgia but there is certainly affection for that time. Some of my more vivid memories involve skipping class with friends and venturing to the local arcade; no this is not intended to serve as encouragement to others. Here my friends and I would spend hours feeding quarters to those hungry video game machines. Holding mini-tourneys to determine who was the best player at a given game. Galaga was my game of choice.

Well, now Macromedia has given me the opportunity to relive those days of yore. Through an agreement with Atari, Marcomedia Shockwave now offers Frogger, Centipede, Super Breakout and Missile Command available for play. For me it was an inexpensive stroll down memory lane. Inexpensive because these games don’t suck away any quarters, thankfully they’re free.

The game play remains true to the originals, if you played the monster machines you’ll remember how to play these. It’s like riding a bicycle. If you have been so unfortunate as to not have experienced the originals you’ll pick the play up very quickly.

The shockwave versions of these arcade classics bear more than just a passing resemblance to their forefathers. The biggest difference is the size of the shockwave games, while I didn’t break out a yardstick my guess would be that these games were no bigger than 2 inches by 2 …

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Preview: “Project EGO”

Big Blue Box is one of Lionhead’s satellite studios. Lionhead is the company that brought us the magnificent and innovative Black and White. The Black and White engine is the basis of Big Blue Box’s first game, code named Project EGO.

With such a pedigree already behind it, there are tremendous expectations for what Project EGO will be, and Big Blue Box has made some tremendous promises about what we can expect, mainly in the area of character management.

You start off with a single character, either male or female, who starts the game at the age of 15, and will age realistically. The average lifespan of your character will be about seventy years or so. Once your character dies, another, younger character can be created to take his place, but the details of that process is still being worked on.

As with Black and White, Project EGO gives you the freedom to have your character behave and develop however you like. If you want to be a valiant warrior, just grab that sword and start slapping enemies around. A thief? Put on some black clothing and stick to the shadows. A wizard? Well, you get the point by now. You’re not locked into any particular stereotype, though. If you want your thief to wear the brightest, loudest costume in the land, you are free to do so.

Your character’s appearance will change according to your personal preferences and lifestyle choice. A character that spends a lot of time whacking …

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