Tuesday, November 11, 2014

VIDEO: So Dino-Riders is basically off-world, Gamma World

Somehow I'd forgotten that in addition to the insanely cool action figures and playsets, there was also a Dino-Riders television series. The pilot is equal parts awesome/terrible/surprisingly dark for a kids show. So chances are you'll love it!

Check out the pilot episode...

Some observations...

That opening. Uff-da. Thankfully, sketchy-rotoscoping went out with hypercolor clothes.

The set-up for the show is swipes quite a bit from the Transformers arrival to a prehistoric Earth (was it Earth? Seemed like a different planet), except for: no sleepy robots waiting to be woken up millions of years later. Hell, it even has the same voice cast!
The TV show was just an excuse to sell toys. Beautiful, perfect toys...

I rather like the psionic amulets the characters use to communicate with the dinosaurs. Definitely has potential to be mistaken as magic in a game setting.

Speaking of which, there's---of course---plenty here from which to borrow for gaming, like the mutant baddies (aliens based on Earth-like creatures), crashed spaceships and the futuristic technology they brought along, and most notably--"brain boxing" the dinos into war machines.

Perfect for Gamma-gaming!

I think if I were to run this as a campaign, it'd be the "ancient history" for a Herculoids setting. You could make Dino-Riders the backstory--or even a playable "A Long Time Ago" one shot before the main present day with the Herculoids:
  1. In the distant past, a great galactic war between humans and mutant aliens is at hand!
  2. Humans pursued by mutant aliens, crash on dinosaur planet
  3. Both sides use advanced tech arm dinos, fight and stuff
  4. Soon, they establish themselves, creating tribes and makeshift societies
  5. Eventually they nearly wipe each other out, but their tech has permanently altered the planet's fauna and flora
  6. Over time, a few humans still inhabit the planet, but are themselves an endangered species
  7. Mutant alien empire is the first to send a successful search party for their disappeared comrades
  8. Present day: baddies end up finding a small family, descended from human survivor of the original war
  9. Family has made allies of local mega fauna in their fight to defend their home
  10. Planet becomes an important strategic point in the greater human vs. mutant alien conflict
Here's a Megafauna Wetwire system I wrote for X-plorers RPG, but could be easily plugged into just about any game.

Also for your perusal...

TSR did a perfectly themed but unsuccessful entry in the dinosaurs-with-lasers category called Gammarauders. It was a boxed game that was also supported by a DC comics miniseries. I have a copy of this game but have yet to play it myself. :-(

Fisher Price's (Mattel, basically) Imaginext line of toys did a "revival" of sorts of the dinosaurs-with-lasers concept. Looks like the series might be finished, but you can still find some on eBay and a few smaller stores with overstock.

The Imaginext vestigial arm upgrades were a big improvement over Tyco's useless foreclaws:

Image Comics has a fantastically fun, all-ages title called Super Dinosaur, where a kid and his T-rex go on adventures in the "Inner Earth" with the dino dressed up in Iron Man-esque armor. It's got a very Johnny Quest in the hollow Earth" feel to it. Also, SD has probably the best system yet for buffing-up his tiny forelimbs--JOYSTICKS!

Still wondering why Hollywood has missed the whole dinosaurs with frickin' lasers genre. Instead  we're getting movies based on Battleship and Ouija boards. C'mon Spielberg--supe up those dinos in Jurassic World!!
If you do not love this you are dead inside!


  1. Hell yeah!

    Dino-Riders really takes me back. I never had the toys, but I had the first three videos on VHS, and I played those tapes to death. It was a great series. I have been meaning to get back to them.

    Here are some great pics akin to this.

    1. Nice finds Mal! I'll add them to my Gamma World War Pintrest gallery!