It's that time of the week: time to check out what genre-related stuff I've been reading on the internet. Last week the greatest amount of interest focussed on Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford's poor promotion skills. What will it be this time, I wonder? For your consideration:
1. Top 50 Robots and Artificial Intelligence Computers in the Movies
We’re back with the dependable Den of Geek. Here they detail their Top 50 robots and artificial intelligence computer systems. There are many on the list that I’d forgotten. Check it out here and see if you agree with the order.
2. Panic Stations!
There aren’t a whole lot of mainstream board games with a science fiction premise, so it’s really nice to see Panic Station – a board game heavily influenced by John Carpenter’s The Thing. A team of heavily armed troopers enter a desolate army base. The collective mission: destroy the alien parasite that lurks within the darkness. Your team has only half an hour to locate the parasite hive and destroy it. But one member of your team has transformed into a host and will attempt to infect your team… one by one.
Panic Station is a paranoia-driven semi-cooperative game in which you control two characters in the Extermination Corps sent out by the government to investigate the presence of fiendish alien life forms. However, one of the players will become a Host. He must keep this identity secret, infecting as many team members as possible to gain allies and prevent the humans from completing their mission. Only players who carefully watch the behavior of team members will stand a chance against the infected players and roaming parasites. Panic Station is a game of growing paranoia in which no one can truly trust anyone. Players move both their Androids and Troopers through the base, exploring and gathering equipment that will help them to complete their mission: to find and destroy the Parasite Hive hidden somewhere in the inner depths of this doomed location. A player who gets his Trooper into the Hive and plays three gas can cards to fuel his Flamethrower wins the game for the humans. GMS Magazine reviews the game and gameplay here.
3. Herald of Oblivion
Continuing the gaming theme, this week Black Library released their first Path to Victory series gamebook to feature Space Marines. Last year Christian Dunn kicked off the series to great aplomb with Hive of the Dead. Check it out here. The modern master of the gamebook format Jonathan Green picks up the series reins with Herald of Oblivion. Cue blurb:
You are a veteran Space Marine of the Imperial Fists Chapter. Equipped with powerful Terminator armour and armed with the deadliest weapons that the Adeptus Astartes wield, you are a symbol of the Emperor's might. Trapped aboard the space hulk 'Herald of Oblivion' and the only survivor of your squad, you must fight your way through the aliens and heretics that infest the star vessel and find a way to escape the horror and return to your Chapter.
Check it out here. Jonathan talks about Herald of Oblivion and his gamebooks on his website here. I love that Black Library have returned to gamebooks many years after Games Workshop founders Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson began the highly successful Fighting Fantasy series. You can check out what I have to say about gamebooks here.
4. Alien (1979) Test Footage
This is interesting. Aliens relied a good deal on hydraulics/robotics. Alien 3 and every movie in the franchise since used CGI for their alien effects. Ridley Scott’s first Alien film used the old fashioned method of a man in a suit: but what a man! At 7’ 2’’, Nigerian actor Bolaji Badejo was an inspired choice for the alien. Check out this test footage from the film in which Bolaji takes direction and experiments with physicality and movement. Even out of the full suit, in the long corridor and using his body to great effect, Bolaji creates a seriously creepy portrayal of the movie monster.
5. Two Ways Science Fiction Is Destroying Itself
An interesting article here from Giant Freakin Robot in which they look at science fiction film trends this year and draw some interesting conclusions about the direction of the genre. I’m just glad to see that the genre is getting representation. In tough financial times it would be easy to do away with entire genres on the basis of their ambitions and cost of realisation but we also need to make sure that our science fiction diet isn’t becoming too stale.
6. Poor Luke...