The future awaits (with a baseball bat)

by Kloro Macree

Another year over, another year begun. But what does 1998 hold for the future of the gaming industry? I don my gypsy costume and begin rubbing my ball (any excuse) in an attempt to find out...

    Having recently been purchased by the Wizards of the Coast, T$R states that it will be using none of that company's infamous "Evil Marketing Techniques. (TM)" It then proceeds to release six new versions of the Wizard's Handbook, spaced two months apart and each slightly better than the one that preceded it. Players must supply their own rulebooks at tournaments, and it becomes illegal to use any rulebook over six months old. On the flipside, WotC's card art becomes a lot less tasteful...

White Wolf
    The authors of the (in)famous World of Darkness series turn their hands to lighter pursuits, and release a game called "Toon - The Flattening". However this causes serious confusion as it is immediately snapped up by their core market. Munchkins are initially delighted, because a Toon attacked by a Werewolf in Crinos form simply has a large amount of his fur torn out and staggers a little. However, it is soon pointed out that even they still aren't as powerful as Changelings.

The line is eventually closed down as it is implicated in a judicial investigation into a schoolteacher allegedly being inspired to commit a murder with a hammer that vaguely resembled an anvil after his classroom was used to play the game.

    The Shadowrun line continues to thrive, with such modules as "Harlequin's Back Part XIV" and "Slug City", a companion to the well known "Bug City." However, they still continue to make their rules more and more complex, introducing a system for calculating the amount of Brownian motion in a character's blood.

The Earthdawn line also continues to thrive, with the release of a sourcebook detailing (in a boxed set with three 100 page books and 7 fold-out maps) the contents of a T'skrang 7th Circle Swordmaster/Nethermancer Questor of Dis' coat pockets. More material for the other possible combinations is promised.

Steve Jackson Games
    SJG are picketed by huge amounts of fundamentalist protestors after they release a module for In Nomine in which the players must contact God, and discover him shacked up with Marilyn Monroe in a beach house in Florida next door to Elvis.

Meanwhile, they continue with their mission of releasing GURPS versions of other systems until a practical joke grows shockingly out of hand and GURPS GURPS, a 170 page book complete with ten pages of conversion tables is released. Perhaps not surprisingly, it does quite well.

Phage Press
    Phage continues to procrastinate, promising the Amber Book of Trump out "soon, honest." [Ednote: Right after Rebma, no doubt.]

    Unfortunately, after getting very excited over a new sourcebook for Call of Cthulu that they say will "open up a whole new area," Chaosium disappears. Completely. All that is found at the site of their corporate HQ is a large crater and the disturbing smell of fish.

So there you have it. Rumours of Microsoft buying JNM(mnj) for $200 million and renaming it JNM(mnj) 1999 (expect to be released about 2010) are happily exaggerated. However, the one about the cabbages and rhinocerii is sadly true. [Ednote: And the negatives came out SO nicely!]

All game names are copyrighted by the company whose header they appear under. All company names are probably copyright by their company.
The (TM) symbol is a registered trademark of Recursion, Ltd.
God is not a registered trademark.


j n m ( m n j )
Amber Character Quiz:
Question : An annoying relative interrupts your meal.
What do you do?
Answer : Finish meal.
Good meals may be hard to come by...
Annoying relatives are not. Especially not in Amber ;-)