Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dungeons and... Well, more dungeons

Found via Game Culture: If you're a devotee of tabletop role-playing games planning to go on an interstate bank-robbing spree in the Midwestern United States, there's some bad news. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, ruling on a prisoner's lawsuit claiming that his rights to free speech and due process were violated when his Dungeons and Dragon books were taken by guards, has upheld the right of Wisconsin's Waupun Correctional Institution to ban RPGs.

The lawsuit was originally filed by inmate Kevin Singer, reportedly a long-time gamer, who is currently serving a life sentence for killing a man with a sledgehammer. I'd been planning to make some sort of horrible joke speculating that Singer is a cleric and thus can't wield edged weapons, until I remembered that 3rd Edition D&D did away with that rule almost a decade ago. Damned kids with their d20 system and their feats and their cable television. Feh.

The ban was instituted due to the prison administration's fear that the game was being used in gang-related activity. Those of you from more sheltered environments may scoff at such an idea. Here in Chicago, though, the scourge of RPG-related gang warfare is known all too well, leaving a trail of shattered lives since the blood-soaked rise of criminal groups like the Almighty +5 Vorpal Nation and the True Neutral Aryan Druids in the 1970s. It all seems like harmless fun and games until it's a kid from your neighborhood who gets bludgeoned to death with a sock full of 12-sided dice.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

A gun-toting, steroid-addled boy's best friend is his mother...

Scott Miller, cofounder of 3D Realms, has said that the next few years will bring a “strong resurgence” in the Duke Nukem franchise, and insisted that Duke Nukem Forever is still not dead, despite the recent dismissal of the game's entire development team and the fact that the game has been in development hell since the McKinley administration.

You know, the way 3D Realms has spent the last 10+ years claiming that Duke Nukem Forever is still on its way used to be funny, but now it's just kind of sad. The level of denial being displayed here is starting to remind me of the way Norman Bates in the movie Psycho kept his mother's dessicated corpse in his house, dressed up in her clothes, and had imaginary conversations with himself in a raspy falsetto "old lady" voice so he could pretend she was still alive.

Best of luck to them, I suppose, even though at this point I expect the Daikatana franchise, the Confederate States of America, and the Serpent Men of Valusia to enjoy a resurgence long before Duke Nukem. Yes, I know it's impossible for the Serpent Men of Valusia to resurge, since they're fictional characters and never actually existed in the first place; they still have much better prospects.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Who Are the Ad Wizards Who Came Up With This One: Castlevania Edition

This March will see the Japanese release of the Castlevania soundtrack box set, which will include 19 CDs and a DVD. The complete set will retail for 21,000 yen, about $232 U.S. To put that in perspective, you can get all of The Beatles' studio albums on 12 CDs. You can get Richard Wagner's monumental four-opera Ring cycle on 14 CDs. The complete discography of heavy metal legends Iron Maiden is (as of their most recent release) also 14 CDs.

Could someone please tell me who the target market for a $232 collection of 19 CDs of Castlevania music is supposed to be? I find it hard to imagine anyone that devoted to Castlevania, and when I try to visualize such a person I find it even harder to imagine that they would have $200 to spare, given the limited economic opportunities available to insane shut-ins.

Admittedly, I'm not particularly up-to-date on Japanese culture, so for all I know there's nothing wealthy Japanese people who still have a lot of cash to throw around after nearly two decades of economic stagnation enjoy more than sitting down in their living rooms with a snifter of 40-year-old cognac and rocking out to remixes of "Vampire Killer" for days on end. So perhaps I shouldn't be second-guessing.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

2009: A year in childish mockery

It's been a satisfying first year here at Pointless Side Quest. From humble origins, the blog now draws threes of readers every day. Before we move on to 2010, I'd like to take a look back at some of my favorite Pointless Side Quest moments of 2009:

Horrific violence with edged weapons!

Rambling, barely coherent attempts at serious, legitimate commentary on gaming!

Cloud Strife's epic struggle with malfunctioning bowling equipment!

The nightmarish and most likely drug-fueled landscape of Illinois insurance advertising!

Star Wars, Bea Arthur, and Jefferson Starship, together at last!

A veritable ocean of smut, vice, and depravity!

The first and, God willing, last time the words "William Pitt the Younger" and "time-traveling Otacon in drag" appear in the same sentence!

Fist of the North Star confronts the bowel-dissolving horror of Miller Chill!

Crude ethnic stereotypes!

And, of course, picking on Dante's Inferno over and over and over again! (Incidentally, has anyone else checked out the demo? It's sort of what the God of War series would be like if the design document for the first God of War had been the notebook doodlings of a 13-year-old boy trying to think of ways to shock his mom.)

I'd like to thank my friends and associates Lecester Reed, JT Molloy, David Lanzafame, Kevin Folliard, and Kelly Goldston for their input when I started to seriously consider doing this blog. I'd especially like to thank Lecester for helping me decide on the name "Pointless Side Quest" by talking me out of my (ill-conceived, in retrospect) original plan to call the blog "Baron Heinrich von Markley's Fantastickal Video Funatorium."

Thanks also to:

The guys at, who inspired my love of the phrase "Speaking of..."

Everyone who has linked here.

My beloved Unattainable Bar Girl, waitress and occasional bartender at the local bar I frequent, for her friendliness, professionalism, and Shion Uzuki/Yomiko Readman-esque hotness in the face of several years of my poorly executed attempts at conversation. She's sort of like the Beatrice to my Dante, though hopefully my unrequited infatuation will never spawn a God of War knockoff that looks like it was designed by Beavis and Butthead.

And, of course, everyone who's read the blog so far. If you want to keep up with Pointless Side Quest, you can subscribe to the blog's feed, follows me on Twitter, or join the blog's page on Facebook. Happy New Year, everybody!

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