Thursday, 25 October 2007

The Cracked LCD Halloween Special


With Special Guest Star Frank Branham
as
"Branham"



I rarely write fiction but when I do, I generally rip off H.P. Lovecraft as much as possible. Which means, of course that I am vicariously ripping off Edgar Allan Poe, Lord Dunsany and Arthur Machen, right? Steal from the best, I always says.

Anyway, this week's edition of Cracked LCD is the Halloween special. And yes, it is a "very special" Cracked LCD. We, along with "Branham" learn a few very valuable lessons about "supercollecting" and obsessing over German board games.


37 comments:

Thaadd said...

I must confess that despite my morbid curiosity, driven not only by my own ludographic interests but also the dark attraction of things sinister and occult, I was relieved when Branham put the game away and we progressed to our more typical activities such as the tilting of snifters and the playing of games with much more mundane themes.

Sentences like this are why I never could read Lovecraft for a page or two. Heresy, perhaps. Give me William Gibson or C.J. Cherryh anyday. :P

Michael Barnes said...

Just imagine Branham and I in mirrorshades and you'll get through it.

Frank Branham said...

You do realize that you are going to Hell for that don't you?

You did nail the style pretty well, though.

Thaadd said...

Sorry t'would take a heck of alot better imagined accessories to get me to read through all of that. I like my lit a little less florid, thankyouverymuch.

the*mad*gamer said...

Brilliant!!! You are indeed a very talented writer!

If you decide to make a movie out of this I would like to audition for the role of Branham.

I think I could capture the character rather well with only a few minor story changes.

I would replace the Brandy with Coors beer and I would drive from Atlanta to Houston in a black Trans Am to pick up the game at an estate auction.

Michael Barnes said...

That's a great idea Steve...we'll lose the Lovecraftian prose that bothers Thaadd so and turn the story into a CANNONBALL RUN for board gamers...I'm sure Ken B. won't mind playing a Chinese guy playing a Japanese guy. All it takes is a headband.

You do realize that you are going to Hell for that don't you?

Add it to the list. Figured a long time ago I might as well do it in style.

the*mad*gamer said...

As if that wasn't bad enough..

I regret to inform Michael that he is not allowed to participate in Tom Vassel's Secret Santa on BGG.

Michael Barnes said...

That's OK, here on F:AT we're going to do a "Secret Satan" to celebrate the first tears of the Christ child.

Malloc said...

Clatto Verata N... Necktie... Nickel... It's an "N" word, it's definitely an "N" word!

Frank Branham said...

The timing does seem particularly appropriate as well. After a couple of years, I finally located a copy of the obscure 2nd edition of Quest of the Magic Ring at a price I was willing to pay.

Arrived yesterday in a plain brown wrapper. I tossed it in my car to bring it this evening.

bill abner said...

I think this was the best LCD to date. I totally dug that.

notbillysparkles said...

Barnes: I really enjoyed that! Nice structure. I kinda wish you used your own prose since no one can "do" Lovecraft but Lovecraft. But, it was an hommage so I get it.

Thaadd: HERETIC!!
(THUNDER)
YOU HAVE BEEN BRANDED!!
(THUNDER)

In your defence, one of my very good friends once commented on Lovecraft thusly: "How can anyone read this shit?"

Oh , I have two favors to ask of you. The first is to ask if you've heard anything about a Gibson graphic novel? The second is that when you go clubbing in Iceland ask to have a shot of Opal, and tell me what it's like. Supposedly it makes Jagermeister taste good by comparison.

Frank Branham: Is Quest of the Ring any good?

Billy Z.

mtlawson said...

A real AT game based on The Cannonball Run could be a helluva lot of fun. Maybe we'd have to replace Farrah Fawcett with Charlize Theron, and Terry Bradshaw with Brett Favre, but that'd still make for a helluva race game.

Of course, if that doesn't pan out, "We could always do Dragonlords."

--Mike L.

Michael Barnes said...

Yes, yes we could. We could _always_ do DRAGONLORDS, Mike.

Heh...I really like the stilted, archaic Lovecraft prose...it makes everything seem so damn dire and deathly serious. It's part of what gives Lovecraft's writing a real character and it's very much what makes Mythos fiction so much fun.

When I was in kindergarten, there was a big pile of those read-along records in the classroom. There was one in particular that I really loved, a horror story about a guy who grows up in a castle and then leaves it and finds out the awful truth of his monstrosity. I listened to it over and over and I can still see the drawing at the end of the guy, with a skull head, looking into a mirror. That story, I learned years later when I was a lad getting into Lovecraft, that it was "The Outsider".

Out of that whole field of literature though, nobody can touch Robert E. Howard...just re-read the Solomon Kane stories...great stuff.

J de said...

The Curse of Branham is the only scenario we've never successfully tackled. The gates just keep popping up all over the place. But then again, those that lost their sanity before the Final Batlle were always the lucky ones ...

Thaadd said...

Ooh, branding. Now I can be punkrock. Now to just get my nose pierced...


I can try to ask for some Opal. I can't promise all if I will remember it. :) If you want truly heinous, try something called 'Gammal Dansk' however. Oy.

Gibson graphic novel - Gibson has had his stuff optioned a number of times, generally does not get light of day. You should check out his Wikipedia entry, however!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_gibson
That I know of, he has never written for a comic, nor been comic-ized. He had that truely horrible Johnny Mneumonic experience, that taught him the truth of letting anyone get final edit rights. He wrote at least one episode of X-Files, however.

notbillysparkles said...

Barnes: Agree 100% with your thoughts on Lovecraft's prose. My point was that it was a style that was often immitated/never duplictated, and when attempted it often takes away from a story more than it adds on-- if you know what I mean. A good example of a writer doing Lovercraft his own way is a story called "The Pine Barrens". I can't for the life of me remember the author's name, but I know that it was in a HPL anthology. It is hands down the best modern Mythos story I have ever read, and the best thing that said author did was to stay away from Lovecraft's patented logorhea( in fact all the authors in the anthology put their own spin on HPL-- it was quite good come to think of it). I'll get you the official particulars so you can see for yourself.

Thaadd: I feel so sorry for you people that can't appreciate Lovecraft's brilliance :p. O-P-A-L. like the gem- it's easy. Thanks for the wiki tip, and yes Johnny Mnemonic was truly fucking terrible.

As a closing thought, Robert E. Howard is finally getting his due.

Which makes me wonder why the hell the brilliant work put forth by Fritz Leiber (incidentally one of Lovecraft's many correspondents-- a list which also included Robert E. Howard)is rotting away in relative obscurity.

If you are a fan of fanstasy literature do yourself a favor and read some.

You'll thank me for it.

Billy Z.

mtlawson said...

Oh man, Fahfrd and the Grey Mouser.

Great stuff.

--Mike L.

Muzza said...

Excellent work Barnes. [two thumbs up]


[i]Give me William Gibson or C.J. Cherryh anyday[/i]

It's good to see another Cherryh fan on the list. I also like Gibson AND Lovecraft for that matter. I have to take my Lovecraft in small doses though, the verbose style and the repetitive themes bother me after a while.

mads said...

Thaad, Gammel Dansk is the worst thing ever to come out of Denmark - and this includes the guys who pillaged and plundered the coast of England some 1000 years ago.

For those who do not know it, here's how I imagine it's made: You take every disgusting herb known to man, feed them to cows which then piss in a bucket, mix it with still water from the river Ganges and let it ferment for a couple of years. And they claim it's good for your digestion - I think it's because you can't stand the sight of food for quite some time after downing a shot of this crap.

Oh, and a very funny story that really nailed the true lovecraftian style.

Thaadd said...

One of my study abroad friends (A Welsh guy) came up with some line that only guys can enjoy the taste of Gammal Dansk - years back when I was in Sweden. This macho trolling attempt of course worked perfectly on me, and I tried really hard to like it. Bleh. I think your reverse engineering might be dead on.

dedindahed said...

i thought the point of cracked LCD was to make boardgaming accesible to the modern videogaming youth. Well written lovecraftian halloween tale it may be but I can't see it doing anything for the console generation.

ubarose said...

Stupendous.

neonpeon said...

Haha, good stuff.

Rliyen said...

PUERTO RICO IS MADE OF INSANITY!!!!


*SNERK*

Great article. Nailed H.P.'s style head on!

Michael Barnes said...

But I failed to reach the video game generation, according to dedindahead...next week's article: "Why don't they make games like ARCHON anymore?"

Juniper said...

"Why don't they make games like ARCHON anymore?"

I've heard that this game ... whadyacallit ... PONG ... that kids are playing nowadays is pretty good.

Maybe Glenn Drover has already designed PONG: THE BOARDGAME, and is getting ready to release it through Tropical Games. The board will be HUGE!

Michael Barnes said...

I hope he captures the bouncing of the little white square better than he did the theme of AGE OF EMPIRES III...

Frank Branham said...

Y'all laugh. But, I have two Table Tennis boardgames, and one SUPERB monkey tennis boardgame.

There actually are Archon-ish like games popping up occasionally. Wrath Unleashed came out for the PS1. Silicon Knights did an Archon variant as one of their first games.

The Japanese still get weird boardgame/videogames hybrids in decent quantities. Wiki "Culdcept". I've played the one iteration that got US release, and it is actually pretty decent in a Lineage II kind of wacky asian way.

Michael Barnes said...

Yeah, Wrath Unleashed is like Archon, come to think of it...

The monkey tennis game Frank has is actually pretty cool...and the other one (TENNIS MASTERS?) is pretty neat as well. Robert Martin likes it, so that's gotta mean something given he likes one out of every 500 games we play.

neonpeon said...

I still play Archon on occasion (though not as often as MULE). Man, EA put out some great titles.

I had a decent game around '94 called Dark Legions that was Archon-esque. I was obsessed with modem-to-modem games at the time so it was pretty cool. Wasn't as good as Archon though.

Monkey tennis??

Frank Branham said...

Dark Legions was the Silicon Knights game. Silicon Knight then went on to do two of my favorite games (Legacy of Kain and the (on topic) Eternal Darkness).

Personally, as far as the Archon-like games go, I'm all about Star Control II. The two player melee combat controlled flawlessly, and the single player adventure game stands up today against those gloriously overhyped GTA free-roaming game clones.

Michael Barnes said...

If you catch me in the right mood, I'll tell you that STAR CONTROL II is the greatest PC game ever made.

Lovecraft video games...the first ALONE IN THE DARK. Enough said. Maybe NOCTURNE. ETERNAL DARKNESS is pretty damn good too.

neonpeon said...

I need to play Star Control II. Only played the first and I loved it, but it's the second that gets all the raves.

Frank Branham said...

It is easy enough to play Star Control II. Go here:

http://sc2.sourceforge.net/

Toys for Bob released the source code, and this crew ported it to all modern OS flavors (ok, except for BeOS), and even supports the (essential, IMHO) 3D0 speech vocals.

notbillysparkles said...

The first ALONE IN THE DARK was a blast! What year was that? 92?

neonpeon said...

Wow, nice...Thanks Frank.