Mutants, Magic and Isometric Bitmaps


Howdy kids! It's Sideshow Joe Johnston, co-host of The Gameshelf. I wanted to add on to what Kevin Jackson-Mead said about one of my favorite genres of video games: Computer Role-Playing Games (CRPG).

As a little dude growing up in the late seventies, I was introduced to the pen and paper game by TSR (now Wizards of the Coast) called Dungeons & Dragons. Maybe you've heard of it? Now the real drag about D&D for me was all the manual bookkeeping that was required. Mapping, character sheets, marching order -- too much like Real Work for me.

It would be years later when I got my hands on a real computer to play Might and Magic II by the tragically defunct New World Computing. Mapping was automatic and even battle could be automated via QuickFight. I love games that play themselves so that I can grab a beverage. Of the M&M series, I enjoyed 4&5 (Clouds of Xeen) the most.

I love isometric 3D tile games, mostly because First Person Shooters make me physically ill. I enjoy turn-based combat games because I not very nibble anymore. As many others have noted, perhaps the finest CRPG yet made is Fallout, the Post-Nuclear adventure series. While I only once played Gamma World, it's clear that the folks at Black Isle Studios really got the flavor and the mechanics right. Heck, the narrator of opening montage for the first three Fallout titles is Ron Perlman, Hellboy himself! I jumped into the series with Fallout 2, which included a much-improved UI and expanded game. However, I think the original Fallout had a more coherent story line. Both should be played by any RPG fan.

When I have more time, I will talk at length about Fallout's SPECIAL system, which is just a ducky model for RPGs in general (even though it's based on GURPS, which isn't quite my cup of tea).

Today, I ran across a fantasy RPG called Undercroft by Rack in the Grass. When I have finished the game, I'll post a review here.

I'm a big fan of independent game designers (like Rake in the Grass) and will try to feature in this blog those games that might have escaped your notice, as well as going on like a fan boy about games you already know a lot about. I'll also dive into the world of TSR's minigames like Vampire and Revolt on Antares. Finally, I love a good casual Flash game, like Funeral Quest.

If you don't like the content, you can get double your money back!

More content later.

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