Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Just Because

I post this picture by Dave Trampier from the 1st edition Gamma World rulebook for no other reason than because I like it. Like a lot of illustrations from the original rulebook, this one has stuck with me all these years and my conception of Gamma World is colored by it. There's a kind of retro-future Old West feel to the piece that I've come to associate with the game. Given the way the game has developed over the years, I don't get the impression many others had a similar association, but what can I say? I'm weird.

17 comments:

  1. Glad you mentioned it James, I've never played Gamma World but your comment about it having a "retro-future Old West" vibe convinced me to check it out, that's one of the reasons I'm running a homebrew Fallout campaign at the moment. Thanks for the tip!

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  2. Love that pic too. GW always felt to me kind of like post-Apocalyptic Buck Rogers. Sort of like old 50's/60's futuristic Sci-Fi conceptions meet Mad Max.

    Word verification: equetlis - yet another sugar-free gum

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  3. Like the rest of us, he's wondering what happened to the future of jetpacks and flying cars he was promised. Here he is, stuck in some out-of-the-way, two-brutorz town with a single domar to his name and no prospect other than the bank job that was pitched to him by the guy in the saloon with the squirrely eye (literally, he has a squirrel for an eye).

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  4. "I don't get the impression many others had a similar association, but what can I say?"

    That's exactly the association (or one of many) I have/had.

    "Like the rest of us, he's wondering what happened to the future of jetpacks and flying cars he was promised."

    He shouldn't worry, there's probably a jetpack buried around there somewhere.

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  5. We played a lot of GW 1e. Although we discovered it after D&D. It was the first game I ever bought. I also love the illos and the historical time line at the beginning.

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  6. I think you are correct in it having a Wild West feel in some ways. My group played Gamma World and Boot Hill around the same time. Our stunts were about the same, except one campaign was in the Old West and one in the post-apocalyptic future. In those days all of the crazy films that portrayed the future, like Escape From New York and Mad Max, etc had a vibe like that: lawlessness and rule of the gun.

    The Gamma World pics were some of the best Old School art!

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  7. My vision of Gamma World has always been retro-futuristic as well. A retro-future after an apocalypse, of course!

    While I loved Road Warrior as a kid, the whole aesthetic of stop-sign shields, parking-meter clubs, and gasoline wars does not enter into my vision of the setting. Those are 20th century artifacts that would have long since disappeared by the 25th century. I prefer the artifacts in my game to be weird and alien enough to make rolling on the artifact complexity charts seem appropriate.

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  8. I remember that pic well. I always wondered what George C. Scott was doing in Gamma World...

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  9. I remember that Trampier picture! How I loved his work in 1e GW. (If only my rules had not disappeared two decades ago...)

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  10. "My vision of Gamma World has always been retro-futuristic as well. A retro-future after an apocalypse, of course!"

    Thus, the Fallout series.

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  11. I don't know anything about the Fallout video games, but I recall reading on a blog somewhere that someone thought that the creators of Fallout may have been influenced by Roadside Picnic by the Brothers Strugatsky.

    If true, that does make me more interested in Fallout as Roadside Picnic ranks as one of my prime Gamma World resources as far as atmosphere and ideas.

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  12. One of the things I like about the picture is that it gives you a vision of what the game is about: adventurers seeking loot. Now, we don't know if he's scowling because he fought some mutant bunny-men and all he got was this stupid coin or if he's trying to figure out just what that thing is, but the point is that it isn't a picture of a mutant or powered-armour or fighting. I think that is part of the charm.

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  13. I've always loved those Gamma World illustrations.
    Our games definitely had an Wild West flavor to them (it helped that in RL we lived in a small desert town with lots of abandoned mine-shafts and cattle skulls all around).

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  14. I just looked over an old copy of the 1st edition rules. There's so much there that I didn't "get" when I was a kid. Arks consider human hands a great delicacy, indeed!

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  15. Same for me. For the old school clone of Gamma World I am currently designing over at http://www.gaiagamma.com I am still searching for great stock art resources. Does anyone have any hints? The game being a labour of love really presents a certain problem due to a tight art budget. I recently commented only the great art resources available for low budgets (see http://www.gaiagamma.com/2011/04/image-support-for-rpgs-in-21st-century.html), but I still would love to include more B/W "Gamma art".

    The next release (R6) of Gaia Gamma will include some very cool full color images (as far as I am concerned) which befit the game very well, but I'm still in dire need of good sources for B/W stock art. I already scored RPGNow.com and simlar sites for "Gamma art" but so far found very little. Hints and suggestions welcome!

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  16. That was the sort of mood I had, when I did the art for Mutant Future. The spacesuit cowboy riding a mutant chicken alone conveys a lot of my feelings towards the classic GW game.

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  17. I loved that picture too! The original Gamma World had lots of good art, actually. I never really thought of it as an Old West style game, but it can certainly be played that way.
    One thing I loved about Gamma World was that I could play a mutant plant. I had an indulgent GM who automatically gave my character the Mobility advantage so the other members of the group didn't have to carry me around like a potted plant!

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