15 Tabletop Games - That Aren't Call of Cthulhu - for a Horrifyingly Happy Halloween

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 6:00 am

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Call me crazy, but I'm one of those geeks who loves to play games related to approaching holidays. I've been known to break out a copy of 1776 or Tarleton's Quarter around Independence Day. I've even written a couple of Christmas themed Savage Worlds adventures for my home game, but no holiday is more suited to gaming with friends than Halloween. The Halloween season is the perfect time to get together with friends for an evening filled with horror themed gaming.

When it comes to horror-themed tabletop gaming, Call of Cthulhu is the king of the mountain. It is the oldest and most well known horror-themed role-playing game, and it's one of the best role-playing games ever designed. That doesn't, however, mean it is the only horror game worth playing, or that it is the best game to use as a way to recruit new players into hobby gaming. I looked around my sizable game collection to see if I could scare up some frightening alternatives and came up with a list 15 that I offer for your Halloween gaming pleasure. Some are silly and some are grim, but not a single one is entitled Call of Cthulhu.

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The 18 Strangest Versions of Dracula

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at 6:00 am

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Could Bram Stoker ever have imagined, back in 1897, that the character he created would one day be used for everything from pornography to breakfast cereal? It's hard to imagine that even Bela Lugosi could have guessed that the accent he gave Dracula would still be in use, more than 80 years later, spoofed by George Hamilton, or teaching kids to count, or marketing everything from car insurance to debt-consolidation loans ("because debt sucks!") to throat lozenges. Thus Dracula Untold, the title of the Drac movie that opened this past weekend, seems almost impertinent. Can there be a variation on the Dracula tale left untold?

Here are 18 strong contenders for the most peculiar takes on Count Dracula in popular culture. Note: These aren't just vampires in the Dracula mode; all of them had, at minimum, to have either the title "Count" or the prefix "Drac-" or the suffix "-ula" somewhere in their name.


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ROBOTIC GAMING MONTHLY - Destiny, Danganronpa, and Death at The Hands of Freddy

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 6:00 am

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Art by CitrusKing46

Welcome another edition of Robotic Gaming Monthly, Topless Robot's monthly column devoted to whatever in the wide words of video games has washed up recently!

This time around, it's pretty much a full-on review special as we tackle ten different games for your enjoyment! We won't say what they are, but will indeed say that they are some super titles that will absolutely smash the competition and provide massive enjoyment for brothers and sisters of all ages! So let's get on with the show!

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The 7 Most Amusing Reactions and Possibilities to Come From Microsoft Buying Minecraft

Friday, September 26, 2014 at 6:00 am

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Last week, a whole lot of people who aren't into video games, but like reading financial news, suddenly heard about Minecraft for the first time when it was announced that the game is being acquired by computer giant Microsoft for 2.5 billion dollars.

This news has been a huge surprise, sending shockwaves through the fan community and the gaming press. Some of those reactions have been particularly entertaining, and the possibilities that the deal presents are interesting as well. Let's take a look at some highlights.

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8 Things Anita Sarkeesian Says That Gamers Should Come to Terms With

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 6:00 am

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I had the good fortune of being born in 1979, and thus living through the golden age of video games. I received an Atari 7800 for Christmas, which sort of sucked actually, but it was replaced the next year by the hallowed Nintendo Entertainment System. I also had the fortune of growing up in an area where arcades were popular and spent summers living the birth of Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat and my personal favorite, Time Killers. In more modern times my wife, daughter and I all game and frequent our local Gamestop. The game I am most looking forward to this year is Dragon Age: Inquisition, and I plan to take a long weekend to get into it.

Why say all that first? Well, there seems to be an opinion that growing up loving video games and thinking that Tropes Vs. Women is total crap and that Anita Sarkeesian should be banned from the internet are inseparable. Honestly, this is only the beginning of the online rage as you can see from this Patreon with a $5,000 a month payout vowing to fight her movement because apparently "Recent evidence suggests they have far larger powers of censorship than anyone would suspect; this is what we want to uncover." Because obviously a secret cabal of feminists is controlling all media. Hadn't you noticed?

Is Tropes Vs. Women perfect? Not at all. One simple complaint I have is the lumping of games with a karma system like Fallout or games that reward pacifist play-through like Dishonored with the Grand Theft Auto games of the world. Sarkeesian states that these games all have a similar punishment/reward system for offing random innocents, and this is factually incorrect. However, we should not throw the baby out with the bathwater and having actually watched these videos, I have to say they bring up some really simple and valid points.


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Ask Luke's Mother-in-Law: Who Is Adam Henry? The Answer May Surprise You...

Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 8:00 am

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Martha Boyd is not just Luke's mother-in-law - she's also an ex-cop, a landlord, a self-described crazy cat lady, a major Star Trek geek and the widow of a green beret. So go ahead: ask her anything. And we mean anything.

Hello, hello and thank you all for the words of support. Nothing P.O.'d me this week - how about that, so nothing to rant about, LOL. Was looking through the computer and I don't even have any new photos this week - must be slipping, so here's one of my ferret.

I just spent time still trying to get rid of my cold and trying to do appraisals in between sneezing. So I just poured another ice coffee and added some Coffee spirits - after all it has to be 5 p.m. somewhere in the world. That's also what I tell my mom when we go to Mexico and I am having a pina colada at 11 am. Yes, my 89 yr-old mom still corrects me, so don't feel bad. Hope all of our readers up in the Northern parts of California are okay and did not have damage from the recent earthquake, but it does look like the price of CA wine might be heading up. Napa really got hit hard.

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A Christian Gamer Offers 5 Reasons to Watch Dark Dungeons (And 5 Not to)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 6:00 am

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Daniel Suchman Photography
Just your average RPG group.

Dark Dungeons is a movie that dramatizes the infamous Jack Chick tract of the same name. For those of you inexperienced with the works of Mr. Chick, he is most famous for his warnings about the evils of games like D&D, rock music, and pretty much everything else that was invented after 1950. On the one hand, this is something funny; a remnant of history. On the other hand, such scares continue today on any and all sides of the political aisle, from GMO food to vaccinations to terrorists to nuclear energy washing up on shore from the Japanese tsunami. No one seems immune, and the Internet lets these things travel faster than ever.

I personally had my life influenced by this hysteria, as I was fascinated by role-playing games (RPGs) but due to some vague fear of cults and "real spells" I was banned from playing them. This was my status quo for many years until I reached my teenage years. I became the worst teenage rebel ever, making excuses for being out so I could attend game sessions, then smuggling D&D books back and forth. While other people took up drugs, illicit drinking, or casual sex I was trying to hide my Player's Handbook behind my back while leaving for the game store. It's pretty funny now but it led to some tense moments at the time. Having lived the hysteria, was I impressed by Dark Dungeons? Read on! [SPOILERS for those who don't know or can't guess how an evangelical tract about something Satanic is going to end]

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8 Reasons D&D 5th Edition Is Better Than Pathfinder

Friday, August 15, 2014 at 6:00 am

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Wizards of the Coast
Prepare for the editon war to begin

A new version of D&D is dawning that intends to unite the fractured fan base, as currently D&D is playing underdog to Pathfinder, a game which itself was based on D&D 3rd edition rules. Imagine if the legal vagaries allowed an old partner of Microsoft to make a Windows 7 variant which then beat Windows 8 in sales, and you're pretty close to the situation with D&D and Pathfinder at this point.

The makers of D&D have long had a problem with gamers finding it easy to ignore their releases of new editions. The old books are still available, as well as the aforementioned Pathfinder, and any one of these has enough adventures, class variations, and settings that anybody with a normal life as well as a gaming life would not be able to completely devour them in a lifetime. D&D 5th Edition aims to fix that by appealing to fans of all versions of the D&D experience and thus get them to start buying books again. I was able to get the new Player's Handbook thanks to a limited early release, and despite being pretty firmly in the Pathfinder camp I was really impressed with it - enough to switch our home game over to the new system. Here are eight reasons why...


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First 8 Minutes of Chick Tract Movie Dark Dungeons, Depicting D&D as Satanic, Are Now Online

Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 5:30 pm

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Filmmaker JR Ralls, who actually got the blessing of fiery fundamentalist comic-book creator Jack Chick to adapt his tirade on the Satanic evils of role-playing games, has played it very close to the vest as to how serious his film was going to be.

Today he emailed me with this message: "There has been a lot of controversy over the film and in response we have put the first eight minutes on youtube so now your readers can judge for themselves what type of film we have made"

Indeed.

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7 Reasons Why Remaking Final Fantasy VII Is A Terrible Idea

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at 6:00 am

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Whenever hallowed video game publisher Square Enix laments about their lack of profits from their latest, hugely expensive titles - the likes of Tomb Raider, Lightning Returns, et al - fanboys and girls from all walks of the internet are quick to shout in unison at their brilliant idea to fix Square Enix's money woes:

"Why don't they just finally remake Final Fantasy VII? They'll make millions!"

Except, for reasons that I will soon disclose, that is actually a terrible idea. Having recently revisited the game on a recent whim, allow me to discuss 7 reasons why remaking Final Fantasy VII isn't as surefire a success as most might think.

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