Monthly Archives: July 2009

A brief moment of geekism

Usually, I post about politics and history on this blog. This post has to do with neither. Instead, it has to do with another, if somewhat geeky love of mine — gaming.  I’m a fan of the old “BattleTech” board game and back in the day, loved to play the MSDOS the “MechWarrior” computer game (back when everything looked like blocky polygons and you could have a Locust shooting off a Warhammer’s leg by getting in close — I loved that tactic, saved my butt many a time ).

But then, they introduced the clans, and the great “Prisoner of Zenda” meets “European Great Game” meets “Post-Apocalyptic wasteland” meets “fight for survival” storyline of the Succession Wars was subsumed in the escalating munchkinfest that was the Clan War (where they had to literally write rules binding the Clan players not to use their goodies unless certain conditions were met, because the gear was too overpowered) and then the complete batshit insane world that came after (The collapse of Liao, the Chaos March and then the “Dark Age” reboot attempt), and I just threw up my hands in disgust.

Meanwhile, lawyers also got involved. Oh, I know that Battletech has had a long history of legal headaches, starting with George Lucas threatening a lawsuit if FASA had kept with their first (and more dorky) name for the game, “Battledroids”. However, the real legal meltdown happened in the ’90s, when FASA was told to stop using mecha designs from a number of anime shows that they had licensed legally as far as anyone can tell — its just happened that Harmony Gold (producer of Robotech) had a major toymaker as a sugar daddy and was riding the high of their “We own Macross” campaign (never mind that the let Macross II and Macross Plus slip from their grasp), and got the licenses — made without HG input — cancelled through a legal settlement. The classic machines form the game were suddenly, while not “banned” no longer allowed to be used in game materials.

 Already long rant cut short, I happened to pop over to a gaming blog, where I saw this video, and I nearly died on the spot. A real Red Foxx “Elizabeth, I’m comin’ to see you” moment — 

I’m in heaven. This video resurrected a little bit of gamer me that had died inside thanks to everything I’d said above. Vet MechWarriors will recognize the “hero” machine as a Warhammer (Macross Fans will recognize it as the Destroid Tomahawk), and the date, 3015, as deep in the Third Succession War, well before the Clans screwed everything up invaded.

What do we have to thank for this blessedly unexpected turn of events?

Jordan Weisman, the original creator of the game and one of the founders of the late lamented FASA, has returned to the helm. And, somehow, the new rightsholder for Battletech, Catalyst Game Labs and Harmony Gold have come to a meeting of the minds late last month allowing the Macross, Dougram and Crusher Joe machine designs to be used again, after almost 13 years of being “UnMechs.”

All I have left to say is — where are my spurs? I’m off to Kittery to defend the honor of our lord Hanse Davion once again!

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Two steps forward, one step back?

I’m all for nostalgia. I admit, I think music really died in the ’90s after MTV forgot what the “M” in their name stood for. I go to Renaissance Faires where I can indulge in the fantasy of being Ragnar the Smelly, Viking chieftain or some such.

Some flashbacks we can do without, however. Recently, we got a really nasty trip in the WABAC, back to the bad old days of Jim Crow:

In Philadelphia, a group of black schoolchildren were taken to the Valley Swim Club, an exclusive (but allegeldy “open membership”) pool. These were inner city youths, whose parent organization had ponied up nearly $2000 for access to the club. The moment the children got into the pool, all the caucasian kids were yanked from the pool by their parents. Then, an attendant, according to the local NBC affiliate, told the children they had to leave — explicitly telling them the pool was whites-only.

Mind that I mentioned this happened in July of 2009. Almost 50 years after legislation and court cases put an end to the farcical “seperate but equal clause” mandated by the Plessy case. Some 44 years after “I have a dream.” Some 40 since meaningful steps were made in civil rights. A bare  9 months after a majority of Americans, black and white, elected the first black president in this nation’s history. This was unAmerican. Pure and simple. This is the antithesis of the sacrifices made by hundreds of thousands over the course of this nation’s history. 

Of course, going to the other extreme, the racism industry led by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are now going to come out of the woodwork and pontificate on how this proves that all caucasians are nothing but sub rosa members of the Klan, and how this proves that blacks still need preferential treatment in all walks of life. Does racism exist? I think this disgusting incident proves that it does. Is the country as a whole racist? Ask Barack Obama, who would not have been elected if not for a large number of caucasian voters (and asian, and hispanic…). If Sharpton, or Jackson, or whoever drops by to coattail on this ugly incident is smart, they would tell Valley Swim Club to get a life (and I hope the trogolodyte WASPs there are protested into the Stone Age for this), but remember that we’re not all horrific racist bastards, and not turn this into another chorus of “oh woe is me, give me money.”

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