I needed to look up something on the web and I saw the Zine Register #30 for the first time. Apparently someone named Tim Snyder did this two years ago in 2005. Tim, if you are reading this please feel free to contact me. I had no idea that it came out, I had thought that the Zine Register had died out after Phil Reynolds passed away. I have always felt that the name of this publication was mis-named, it should have been named "the Zine Review." A better list of zines with no opinions was Robert Sach's "The Zine List." He would mail it to anyone who asked and it was given out for free as a flyer at Atlanticon and the east coast Origins conventions. John Boardman and Robert Sach used to run the Diplomacy event there and they did a great job when they did so. But the Zine List died out after Robert died.
My sister informed me that my nephew is now in the Marines and will either be going to or already is in Iraq. Unfortunately, my sister's information is not too reliable, and she says she can't even remember the address. So Lee, if by any chance you or anyone of your comrades are reading this, please feel free to call your Uncle Paul collect, or write us at P.O. Box 2713, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034!
My computer addiction.
Editors Note: I wrote the following in 2004.
A couple of years or so ago I discovered Mafaldor’s game of Space Empires IV Gold. There is a link to Malfador on my “other Links” page. Space Empires (SEIV) is a turn based computer game, something like Civilization in space. It is certainly as addictive.
In the early eighties it was SSI’s Imperium Galaticum. In the late eighties it was Interactive’s Empire. In the nineties it was Microprose’s Civilization, (although there was some Master’s of Orion and Doom in there as well). In the 2000’s, or the double ought’s, it seems to be Space Empire IV. (This is not counting Quake III for those times when I want to shut down my brain.) Not only is SEIV a Sci-Fi empire building combat game, but what made it really addictive is one’s ability to modify it. I think I am having more fun modifying the game than I am playing out the scenarios.
You can shoebox computer games into pretty much four categories. There are the turn-based, First Person Shooters, Real Time Strategy, and puzzles.
Warning! I am about to go into boring mode, explaining the obvious. I gave computer games up for Lent. So now I am substituting that with these windy explanations. Perhaps I should take up drinking or something.
Going from last to first, the puzzle games are usually single player games where the player solves puzzles. No big revelation here. I understand Myst is one such game but I have never played it. One could say that Doom is a puzzle game, since one has to solve the maze to win, but puzzle solving is really not the essence of Doom. My kids The Learning Company ‘s Reader Rabbit and Humongous Entertainment fit into this category. The Learning Company is on my SH*T LIST for not honoring the rebate they advertised, even though I bought the correct product and sent in the receipt as they required in the time they specified. So it will be a cold day in Hell before I ever knowingly buy any of their products ever again. I have nothing but praise for Humungous Entertainment products, all with work great, the kids like and were entertained with.
Real Time Strategy (RTS) games are games happening in real time. The other players, either computer or human, are doing their moving all at the same time. If you want to take a break to think, the other players are still moving and you could be eliminated by the time you are done your break. Of course, if you are playing solely the computer, you can usually put the game on pause, or save the game. The *big* attraction to a RTS game is that they tend to move faster and you can finish a game in an evening. The first RTS games I’ve played was The Ancient Art of War and Command HQ, although the famous one was Blizzard’s WarCraft. There has been many other good ones, Starcraft, Command & Conquer, Total Annihilation, Age of Empires, Cossacks, Sudden Strike to name a few. What I don’t like about the RTS games is that they are a function of your speed on the keyboard and mouse, and that there is usually a key tactic of rushing the other players base early on with your cheapest but fastest combat unit and the game is over. The RTS games devolve into a race between who can process their resources the quickest. Boring. Perhaps Sudden Strike was the lone exception to this, but I have since tired of such RTS games. Also in this category are the non-combat games like Railroad Tycoon and Sim City, and I suppose, the Sims, (although I’ve never tried the latter).
First Person Shooters (FPS) are games like Doom, Duke Nukem3D, Tomb Raider, Heavy Metal, Quake, Unreal, Halflife, Blackhawk Down, etc. It is a real time game where you are the one subject person and you see everything around you and it is your new universe. And you handle it with a shotgun. …Or Chainsaw, or rocket launcher, or sniper’s rifle, or crossbow, or plasma rifle, or banana peel of death. This seems to be the type of game that gets non gaming people excited about violence in computer games. I liked Doom and Quake since they were so fanatical, and that you, the gunman (or woman) was fighting demons straight from hell. Or Straggos or wherever. And QuakeIII Arena was really just a fancy paintball game on the computer. But some of the other FPS's are a little too real for my liking, and that I have kids who might see me playing the game is too much for me to have in the house right now. These games depend on your keyboard and mouse dexterity, which is why they are sometimes referred to as twitch games.
Turn based games (TBG) are the original games that we are all pretty much used to. Like the board games of old, Chess, Checkers and Monopoly are TBGs. Those old wargames where mostly Turned based, even the ones that had simutanious movement such as Diplomacy. And the good old computer games such as Imperium Galaticum and Civilization and MOO2 and Century Of Warfare were/are turn based. SEIV is that type of empire building turned based game. Or, for the Grognards out there who still remember SPI's Strategy I, SEIV is the Strategy I of Space faring 4X computer games.
If you like the traditional turn based game then SEIV is at least worth a Google review search. When you run into all the fan sites you will see that it is a popular game. That is even more amazing is that the game has never been sold in a store, at least not that I know of. It is totally sold by mail order and internet only. If you don't like turn based games for whatever reason, you won't like this one either.
2007 update: Space Emires V has been released. The latest patch for it as of this writing is patch 1.71. You need to run the patch for best play. The game is still very moddable. If you buy the game in a store such as Game Stop they are including Space Empires IV Delux as well. I'm seeing prices for around $15, (if you can find it, keep your eyes open).
Strategy First has picked up the distribution for the game. If you buy the game through them they will include the game StarFury. I give it the ABSOLUTE! stamp of approval.
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