Friday, July 28, 2006

RETRO TOY FLASHBACK # 45: Role Playing Games

Man, it was fantastic growing up in the eighties. That's all I'm saying. If you didn't grow up in the decade of Smurfs, Rubiks Cube, Madonna Wannabes and Scripto erasable pens...well, you missed a good time.

Video tapes had just come out, bringing home a whole new world of entertainment; MTV was changing the nature of television video by video, and heck - for the geek crowd anyway - there was the advent of the role playing game. Yes, when I hear about RPGs, I'm not thinking of rocket propelled grenades; I'm thinking about multi-sided dice.

Just to be clear on this. I wasn't a total and complete RPG convert. I only participated in one D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) adventure before being completely bored out of my mind. And I only played in that one because two of the other players were these hot (all-right, semi-hot...) girls; and I thought they might go in for an elvish threesome.

So, anyway...

I did enjoy role-playing games, but since I didn't play Dungeons & Dragons, guess what I played instead? A handful of tribbles and a snout-full of tranya to any reader who guessed...Star Trek.

FASA produced this fantastic Star Trek role playing game in the mid-1980s and I loved it. I played it through the end of high school and part of college (until I met my then-girlfriend/now-wife, Kathryn...who introduced me to different kinds of role playing...).

But back to the game. I joined a cadre of friends, including my roommate, and together we populated the crew of a Federation starship, the U.S.S. Nassau. I was the first officer and a human being (yes, I'm boring...), and we had an Andorian communications officer and a Caitian science officer. Our chief engineer was a Vulcan female (a Saavik rip-off, no doubt). We had lots of adventures together and many space battles. The adventure ended for me when my character got abducted to another space-time dimension by some super-intelligent telepathic life form. Yeah, bummer, huh?

But over the years, role playing games have come in all shapes and sizes. I have cloudy memories of playing an espionage role playing game in high school called Top Secret. It was fun; though I remember almost nothing about it. There was also a James Bond role-playing game for a time; between Octopussy (1983) and A View to A Kill (1985), I think. I played that one a few times...

And then, further indulging my love of superheroes, there was a Marvel Superheroes role playing game! Man, that one was terrific fun too. I played that one for a spell in high school too, if memory serves. You can see what the little character cards look like (replete with character powers, below.)

I guess RPGs are still pretty popular today, though I don't know for sure because they aren't really my thing nowadays. I can't imagine sitting around and rolling dice for hours on end (and not showering...) when I could be making movies, blogging, writing books, playing video games, watching Box Set DVDs, restoring our house, etc.

1 comment:

  1. I always wanted to play the Marvel Super Heroes RPG but never got around to it. The superhero RPG is now enjoying great popularity in the digital age as the MMORPG City of Heroes.


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