March 1, 2011

Shameful Games

Yesterday I did an article about the games I have the most pride in the fact they are sitting on my bookshelf. Today I will talk about those that bring me shame. I don’t mean that I am embarrassed to have them when non-gamers stop over. No, these are the games that make other RPG gamers stop and look at me like I’m a weirdo. I end up having to make excuses about why I have the game, things like “it’s not as bad as looks”, “I only played it once”, “it was cheap”, “hey, look, have you seen my new dice set, it’s over there, far away from this bookshelf”.

Hercules and Xena
The role-playing game based on the popular TV series’ of the 90s. It was put out by West End Games in 1998. The next year they declared bankruptcy and this game was the last one the company known as West End Games released as a core game. However, I am sure this had nothing to do with the quality of this game.

All kidding aside, this is actually a pretty good game. The system is sleek and meshes well with the setting. The material in the nice boxed set is well done and full of useful setting material and adventures. Overall it is a good game. However, it does draw a snicker from my gaming friends when they see it.

Street Fighter
White Wolf put this out in 1994. Its actual title is Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game and uses the White Wolf World of Darkness rule set. Yes, it is a game based on video game combat marketed as a storytelling game. It makes the mind boggle. To be honest I have not read the book, only skimmed it. And yes, it was in the discount bin and I got it because it was cheap. I have not played it so I really don’t know how it would play, but again, my friends look at me sideways when they see it on my shelf.

Hidden Kingdom
This game is safe from my friends’ derision. It is a nice boxed set which pulls out to reveal some really nice maps (actually they really are nice) and a rule set in a useful three-ring binder. Released in 1983, it is a fantasy RPG game set in Arthurian times. From the outside it looks really good. Until you actually try to read the rules. To me it reads like a bunch of pretentious hippies got high one day and wrote an RPG. The rules are this mass of high concepts mashed together in the most outlandish jargon possible to describe things only someone smoking something illegal could pretend to understand. It is made up of 4 chapters, no wait, chapters is too light a title and they used the word Mode instead of Chapter. Everything they could do to remove themselves from any common ground in RPGs they did. In the end, for me, this RPG is the epitome of what not to do when creating an RPG. Why do I still have this game on my shelf? To remind myself what not to do when creating RPG material, a cold, harsh reminder. Thankfully, my gaming friends can’t hold the game against me since it looks so safe from the outside...and they will never, ever be allowed to look inside of it.

What game books do you wish you had taken the time to hide before your gaming friends come over?
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