Armagideon Time

Posts tagged ‘unintended consequences’

Sometime during the last few weeks of 1987, my pal Scott spotted something interesting in the back pages of the current issue of Dragon Magazine. Buried between the ads for custom character portraits and play-by-mail adventures was an ad for the Compleat Strategist, a small chain of stores specializing in role-playing and other games. What […]

I’m not really into the whole anniversary tribute school of popcult writing. It’s a bit too low-hanging for my tastes and generates a slew of half-assed hot takes by folks whose experience of the item in question tends to be after-the-fact backfiller. You shouldn’t need some arbitrary temporal milestone to shine the spotlight on a […]

After my buddy Mike and I went our separate ways, I gravitated into the orbit of a trio of geeky underclassmen — Scott, Christian, and Damian — I met while doing independent study for a “cool” English teacher. What began as dorky lunch table conversations about shared interests soon escalated into a consensus that we […]

My paternal grandmother had lived with my family for seven years before she finally decided to relocate to my aunt’s house. To celebrate our return to nuclear status, my parents decided to take Lil Bro and me on day trips every weekend. It was rarely anything elaborate, mostly drives in the family’s lemon yellow station […]

(from “Sorry, This Coffin Is Occupied” by Carl Wessler and Ernie Chan in The Unexpected #182, December 1977) My eighth-grade wood shop teacher resembled a squatter and ruddier version of Wilford Brimley. Where our metal shop teacher didn’t bother hiding the fact he was passing time until a private sector gig came knocking, his carpentry-skills […]

Play-Doh’s “Fuzzy Pumper” Monster Barbershop was one of the toy industry’s many attempts to channel children’s fixation with familiar horror archetypes into a non-threatening plaything. The playset’s real horrors were reserved for the parents who gazed upon the sanity-blasting state of the living room carpet and the phantasmagoric nightmares which emerged from the family dog’s […]

Time-Life’s The Swing Era was a series of LP box sets covering the Big Band era from the early Thirties through the late Forties. Each volume covered a period of a couple of years and focused — often tenuously — around some specific theme or trend, and also included a hardback book full of pictures […]

Like the lingering pockets of radioactivity in Fallout 4‘s post-apocalypse Greater Boston, discussions about the game’s narrative shortcomings and flubbed opportunities have been experiencing an extended half-life in my social media circles. This excellent write-up by Daniel Ford — a solid dude and author of The Paladin Trilogy — touches on many of the problems […]

In the corner of my grandma’s attic rest two storage crates which contain roughly two decades’ worth of my life as an RPG player. Barring some victims of entropic attrition or deliberate destruction, it’s all in there: well-thumbed rulebooks, grease-stained character sheets, smudged graph paper maps, and all the other detritus that comes with the […]

I started this feature without having a coherent plan,just a nostalgia-tinted swirl of memories unearthed after flipping through some periodicals from the year in question. Now that the project is done, I’m still not sure what I was trying to accomplish, much less whether or not I succeeded in doing so. 1983 was the year […]

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