Friday, July 8, 2016

Retro Mayhem: Mail Order Monsters for the C64

As a kid of the 80s, one of my favorite computer games on the Commodore 64 was Mail Order Monsters. In the game, you'd pick a template for a vat-grown creature--say a T-rex, giant spider, or lion/bear creature--outfit it with weapons, and send it into gladiatorial combat to win fortune and glory.

It has--at the very least--strong thematic ties to Gamma World, if not more specifically, Gammaruaders.

Your winnings would allow you to buy upgrades so you could be more effective in battle and (hopefully) ascend to become champion.

What really sold my young brain on the concept though, was the manual. It had this awesome box art which included photographed (!) prop weapons. The marketing and packaging around the whole game was genius--they wanted you to feel like this was the real deal.

You can imagine how this would effect on an impressionable young lad, such as myself:

Monsters fighting monsters? Cool. Slick futuristic weapons? WAIT--THIS IS REAL? Sold.
Right click to enlarge images

Yeah, and a scuba tank. But...whaddya gonna' do?

Now I just need to track me down a copy of the manual so I can stat these up!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

What is (and isn't) a mutant?

As I flesh out ideas for my own race categories in GWW, I thought I'd capture some quick thoughts about how mutants are presented in other settings.

With so many sources from which to field for inspiration, it's sometimes hard to pin down exactly what qualifies as "mutant" in a post-apocalyptic setting. In Marvel's universe--as with the X-men and other X-groups--the term "mutant" applies to a new class of human being called "homo superior," or a human who's genetic code is in someway altered to acquire any sort of superhuman (and I'll throw in here "non-human") abilities.

In the Marvel universe, Iceman with his power to create ice constructs, Jean Grey and her ability to read minds/use telekinesis, and Wolverine with his incredible healing ability are considered, mutants.

Switch to something like Total Recal where the mutants are more of a traditionally "deformed" depiction. Kuato, Benny, and a host of other melted-face Martians fill that role.

In GWW, I'm using it in a much broader sense--to mean an individual or group, who's appearance and makeup deviates from an ancestral species of origin. This includes hybrid types (e.g., any sort of were-creature), to the Cyborna races, which are at least partially robotic. There are enough of them that have, in some way, deviated from their collective original forms that they qualify as a new species or subspecies. I guess Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: After the Bomb would be a good example of this style.

It doesn't really matter how they became a mutant--they didn't need to be the result of some sort of evolutionary process. A mutant could be an individual who came in contact with some foreign, mutanagenic substance that caused them to change. In GWW, Spider-man would easily be considered to be a mutant, even though his classification as one is oft debated.

It might be easier to state what mutants aren't. They aren't pure strain humans, called Valids-- or flora or fauna, for that matter. They aren't purely robots, created for some specific task. They aren't unmended (reanimated dead). They aren't extraterrestrials. At least--in all of the above cases--they aren't until they begin to deviate from those baseline origins.

More later...

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Gamma World War timeline of events, Part I


22nd Century Earth
Advanced technologies in just about every discipline have brought prosperity to the world. Most of these miraculous breakthroughs have afforded humanity the promise of off-world colonies to ensure the survival of the species.


The disaster to end all disasters happens. All civilizations perish from the surface of the Earth. No one quite remembers what triggered it. Whatever caused it has passed from the collective consciousness, but it left the world in physical ruins.


Earth is in ruins. Anyone on the surface of the Earth who wasn't killed in the Great Cataclysm, either survived in underground strongholds or remained topside but mutated away from their genome of origin.

100 A.C. 
Some subterra bunkers begin to form city-states deep under the Earth, through totalitarian rule. Meanwhile, the surface-dwellers are left to fight over scraps. Evolution has accelerated, and the first cross-fauna mutants emerge.

150 A.C. 
Subterrans return to the surface with small, short-trip scouting parties. Due in part to encounters with brutal Mechlok gangs and frightening Inhuma tribes, news spreads of the devastation and the "horror" of the mutated "monsters" above.

360 A.C. 
Several pure-strain cities join to form a new government based on their un-mutated purity, calling themselves the "Valids," which is shorthand for the only acceptable form of humanity. Raiding parties have ventured topside in regular raiding parties. Mutants are feared and hated by Valids. Strange lights in the sky have been reported.

520 A.C.
Though skirmishes had occurred in the intervening years, the first real full-scale battle between Valids and several bands of roving mutants takes place near the Michigan Wastes. There's no clear victor, but the conflict fuels anti-Valid sentiment above ground.The first New Evolutionaries are spotted.

1015 A.C.
After centuries of hard fought war, a league made up of Valid city-states has committed to retaking the surface in order to win back the Earth. Several mutant groups have been hunted to extinction, but many more have forged alliances in order to keep the human threat at bay. Dysponia, the first all-mutant government is established.

More to come...

Note: All years are approximate. I may totally mess with this timeline and revise as needed!

Monday, November 24, 2014

VIDEO: Mad Max has nothin' on these "New Barbarians"

This trailer for The New Barbarians, a.k.a. Warriors of the Wasteland (1983) sold me when they showed a motorcycle bandit take an exploding arrow to the neck (hilarity ensues thereafter). This is Italian-made Saturday afternoon, eighties Gamma-cheese at it's finest.

It looks like the prequel to my favorite Spaghetti-pocalypse film, 2019: The Fall of New York. (Somehow I missed doing a recap on that one, I'll have to correct that soon.)

It stars exploitation film staple Fred Williamson (Black Caesar, the Black Cobra series) as said, explosive archer. Really, what more can you ask for?

Anyway, check out the awesome trailer for Barbarians: