Jan 292008

Just when the Black Library had announced that the first printing of the Dark Heresy game had been sold out in a day, follows the announcement that the entire role-playing game line of the company is effectively terminated.

No proper explanation is given, just a vague statement to the effect that the company will focus its resources on fiction and fiction alone. But a good assumption is that the financial distress of the parent company is the root cause.

As expected the relevant fora – both in-house and independent are bursting with perplexed and pissed off gamers, a good fraction of whom suffered under the definitive period of non-support for the preceding fantasy game for two decades.

But after the significant commercial success of both games, I would be very surprised if they wouldn’t already have suitors lining up at the door eager to pick up the licenses. My bet is on Green Ronin, who actually wrote the games – Black Industries acted merely as publishers.

Jan 292008

Lego brickLego turned 50 years yesterday.

And what a ride it has been, gizmodo’s illustrated timeline barely covers some of the events that occurred.

Like many others, I was a fan. Pretty much from when I could walk. And were there a list of career choice influences, Lego would probably feature quite high on the list (higher than MacGyver at least).

I’ve been hankering for the ultimate Millennium Falcon, and if the attention the Mindstorms kit has received lately is an indication – the time to build Han Solo’s craft would have to be measured on a geological scale.

But here’s a virtual Guinness to the studded plastic brick.

Jan 282008

Seems that Wired issue 12/2007 is stuck somewhere in transit, and not available in Helsinki (nor elsewhere in Finland, if a brief visit to Tampere proves anything).

Trying to procure the magazine from ebay failed, as the shipping/handling fees for a single issue are a whopping $24.

I may be addicted, but not that bad.

And anyway, with the contents of the magazine available on the web (minus the advertisements, of course), this might be just the spot to drop buying future issues. But somehow that idea seems very alien indeed.

Sightings of the magazine will be appropriately rewarded. Report via comments or e-mail.

Jan 262008

Photo Friday 26.1.2008:  The Machine

This week’s photo friday challenge is machine.

My take on the subject is the attached image, of a piece of kinetic art by Arthur Ganson. Sadly, the still image does no great justice to the twitching and rotating sculptures, but only conveys a hint on how complex these artifacts are. The photograph is available in full size by clicking the image.

The photograph was taken in the MIT Museum in Cambridge, MA. Definitely a worthy place to visit while in Boston.

Jan 262008

Thursday Challenge 24.1.2008:  Nature

This week’s thursday challenge topic is nature.

The subject of the image is an unknown lizard species, its photograph taken on a scorched rock in Clear Mountain, Queensland. I got quite close with the camera before the reptile stirred and slunk off to a crevice, periodically returning to bask in the sunlight, but not letting me get as close as on the first time.

Jan 252008

To a cthulhu-savvy person, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo’s statement is very frightening indeed:

…the stars were favourably aligned for Nokia in Q4…

What next?

Should we nickname the next communicator “Hastur”?

Jan 252008

The 2007-08 fantasy NHL campaign hasn’t started that well. While Hakkapeliitat is above the .500-mark, the position is by no means strong.

This week is shortened by the weekend’s All Star-game, and thus the 1-8 loss is a fact already.

And the titular swedish wonderboy would not have made much of a difference in this week’s tally – despite an amazing 3+4 point game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. I wisely had him benched, on account of some minor injuries sustained last weekend.

And while the seven points is a big score indeed, the NHL record for a single game is an amazing 10 points – Toronto Maple Leafs’ Darryl Sittler had six goals and four assists in a game against the Boston Bruins in 1976.

Jan 232008

In 1987 Games Workshop published the first edition of Warhammer 40´000. Subtitled “Rogue Trader”, this seemed like a natural opportunity to field a role-playing game in the imaginatively dark universe.

However, the concept of trading, and basically anything apart from pure war, stayed absent for two decades, with the company firmly concentrating on nothing but miniatures-based games.

After a long gestation period Black Industries released Dark Heresy this week.

The hefty book weighs in at 400 pages, but manages to be very thin on some content (list of adversaries is ridiculously short), at least on a first cursory glance. There’s lots of background information, and rules seem to be further streamlined from the reworked fantasy game published a couple of years ago. But if past performance is any indication, the prolific publisher will waste very little time flooding the market with supplements.

Jan 232008

The Chargers ousted the Colts, but the Manning dynasty will be represented on the highest level of football (the helmeted kind) this season nonetheless.

Eli Manning guided the New York Giants to victory on the frigid Lambeau Field in Wisconsin, and thus the team returns to the superbowl after a decade-long absence.

The Patriots are obviously the favorite team, but it’s the Giants that came closest to defeating the New England team during the regular season. And Tom Brady’s uncharacteristic three interceptions against the quick San Diego defense showed that the Patriots’ passing game is vulnerable.

I’m definitely rooting for the underdog – never liked the Patriots too much, and ran Eli as the lead QB in Hakkapeliitat a couple of seasons ago (one of those teams that never made it to the bowl in the fantasy league).

Haven’t yet discovered whether the finnish channels televise the game, but Viasat will, that’s for sure. If it’s available from multiple sources, care must be taken to choose inbetween – it’s by no means certain that the domestic show is inferior. The american commentators can be very annoying indeed, and the selection of off-action jingles provided by Viasat is extremely limited, and the same clips get run over and over again over the course of a single game.

This season’s bowl will be played in Arizona. This probably eliminates the possibility of rain, which made last year’s game chaotic fumblefest. Unsurprisingly, neither of the last year’s quarterbacks ranks very high on ESPN’s list of the eighty-two playmakers fielded previously.