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Cyberspace Review

There was a time in the late 1980s when there was quite a run on cyberpunk roleplaying games; Cyberpunk (1st edition and 20.20), and Shadowrun were, of course, the big names, and even Traveller 2300 (2300AD) decided to have a shot with the Earth/Cybertech supplement. From the ICE corner of the publishing market, came Cyberspace. It did strike as a little contrived and incongruous at the time. After all, ICE was known for their detail-heavy Rolemaster fantasy RPG, their Middle-Earth line, and a rather space operatic Spacemaster. Nevertheless, author Todd Foley (previously responsible for War on A Distant Moon and Beyond The Core for Spacemaster) stepped up to the task, with a stripped down version of the 'Master' system supplemented with cyberpunk setting and style.

Cyberspace came in a 206 page softcover with cover art from Rick Veitch, representing a juxtaposition of the crowded, polluted cybernetic environment and the abstract neon of cyberspace. It shows some creativity, but the technique is very much comic-book style, which is the illustrator's area of work. The interior art, by Rick Lowry, Angela Bostick, Del Harris, and Karl Martin, is nearly all good, giving a good sense of the style of cyberpunk with some images reminiscent of scenes from books and films of the time. The text is mostly presented in three-column ragged-right with an somewhat annoying sans-serif font, made up however by very clear and common sub-section headings along with obvious chapters heading and numbers on each page. Despite the density of the text finding the relevant material during play was as easily acquired skill.

After a short preface there are six chapters, The System, Running The World, Technology, Cyberspace, an Adventure and some very handy Appendices. These are supplemented by a good two-page table of contents and a somewhat short one page index. The writing style in the rules is mostly formal, to the point but supplemented with plenty of examples. There are thankfully short narratives introducing each chapter along with interesting occasional box-sections outlining annual events up to the year 2090, when the game is set.

The History and Resurrection of RuneQuest!

To be published in Phantasmagoria 2006: The Annual of Murdoch Alternative Reality Society

Review of Traci Harding's Gene of Isis

Voyager, 2005, 468pp

George R.R. Martin, A Feast For Crows

Published in Ticonderoga

Role Playing and Religion

Role Playing at the Melbourne Unitarian Church

Historical Fantasy Campaigns for Role Playing Simulations

Published in "Phantasmagoria" Murdoch Alternative Reality Society Annual, 2004, pp32-38

Why Historical Fantasy?

This article starts with an aesthetic opposition to modern fantasy.

Defeating Gnuchess

December 17, high noon, Dili, East Timor

Literary Critique and Improvements in the Fellowship of the Ring

Abstract

The classic fantasy text of the twentieth century, the Lord of the Rings, suffers from notable literary flaws. The current portrayal of the first book of the trilogy by Peter Jackson, ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’, is a substantial improvement that manages to overcome Tolkien’s own biases and intellectual failings, yet also makes additional use of Tolkien’s heretical Catholicism.

Rational Domains for Developmental Psychology

Published in Mimesis #2 (online), June 1998

by Lev Lafayette

The following is by no means a fully fledged article for the use of developmental psychology in roleplaying games however it should point to specific issues that effect psychological development that should be catered for in role playing and simulation games (most of which are not).

The Social Psychology of Alignment

Published in Mimesis Issue 2 (online), June 1998

Abstract

The formulation of moral alignments is as varied in roleplaying games as it is in behavioural psychology and the philosophy of ethics. Both universal and context bound models require assessment on quantitative and qualitative scales. Comparative evaluations through social simulation models, such as role playing games, may allow for a consistent synthesis of existing approaches.

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