Archive for December, 2011

When Worlds Collide – An Office Portrait

December 30, 2011
Paradox Olbers at work in Spike’s office

Portrait by Metropoly; click on the photograph to see the larger version at her Flickr site.

Mild-mannered virtual worlds avatar Paradox Olbers in the office of Spike MacPhee, his wild-mannered not-so-secret identity, working on a blog post about Lynette Cook‘s painting of worlds colliding (on the screen).

You can also see my paperback copy of Balmer & Wylie’s classic 1933 doomsday sf novel “When Worlds Collide,” later made into George Pal’s movie of the same title. This sets up my joke about my virtual and real worlds meeting, while her painting and the book also meet. And now while I’m editing this post, I’m running by pure coincidence “When Worlds Collide,” the name of one of many NPC (Non Player Character, for those non-D&D gamers) scenarios in EVE Online galaxy, too.

Here’s the Amazon Books page link, while I relearn how to make it display correctly on WordPress. The book cover displays correctly in IExplorer, but in Mozilla Firefox you don’t see the cover and Amazon link box until you click on the Amazon text line. Click again on that to go to the book. Ignore the expensive trade paperback (though I’m grateful that it’s back in print) and try one of the many used paperback copies, if your library doesn’t stock it. Ouch – checking the used copies page reveals there are actually very few copies available, starting at U$7.

Update: My crack about ignoring the expensive trade paperback  is unfair and wrong; this 1999 edition description clearly states at the end that it includes the sequel “After Worlds Collide” as well!  (Balmer and Wylie disagreed on the third book of the trilogy and it was never written.)

When Worlds Collide amazon link



“How About a Game of Thermonuclear War?” – DEFCON Steam Special

December 28, 2011

Steam Games has a mammoth two-week Christmas holiday sale with daily specials up to 75% off, and other sales ending January 1st 2012. Yes, you’ve missed the one day sales for 50% off strategy game of the year Shogun 2, and 33% off RPG game of the year Skyrim, but there is also a summer sale too.

The classic DEFCON is normally U$9.99, but is U$2.49 until January 1st [1pm EST Jan 2nd]. A Steam account is free, there are no monthly charges, and you can buy extra copies of DEFCON at the 75% off price and store them in your account inventory until you recruit other players or give them as birthday gifts later in the year.

DEFCON screenshot from Introversion Software

Remember the 1983 movie “WarGames,” in which a young hacker breaks into the central NORAD computer and is asked “How about a game of thermonuclear war?” DEFCON: Everyone Dies reproduces the look of the movie’s NORAD control room; NORAD’s comment was “their central command room looked better than ours.”

This is a fun and quick strategy game against the computer or up to 6 players allowed online, net or LAN, Mac and PC, and very accessible to non-hardcore gamers. Players of the Risk and Diplomacy board games would likely enjoy all the opportunities to betray your ephemeral alliances with other players. You can choose game variations and make many changes to the game conditions to enhance replay value.


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