Well, it was a long time coming, but as they pull themselves out of veritable finanical ruin, West End Games have finally got themselves a web-site. The World Wide WEG is pretty standard fare for a gaming company's site. There's plenty of good info on their major lines, a full catalogue with information on upcoming release dates, and an online ordering service. The free stuff is rather limited though, and beyond the customary, this site is somewhat spartan. This, combined with the servicable but hardly eye-catching presentation make this only an average site to visit, unless you are a big fan. In particular, Paranoia fans should check out the teaser for a new campaign setting...very funny stuff.
Speaking of the big names of the industry, you can check out the site of the master himself at The Creative World of Gary Gygax. He has not been idle since he left TSR, and you can read all about what he's been up to in a very detailed and revealing FAQ. Most of the site, however, is filled with info on Gary's new games, and, in most cases, full rules are provided. Of particular note is a simple but elegant little RPG called "Legendary Adventure". Plus Gary has created a "virtual residence" - a fully 3D rendered collection of rooms which you can navigate through and discover links and files. A touch pretentious, perhaps, but also fascinating. You can also mail Gary from here, and he is very generous about replies.
A link on Gary's page will take you to Mark J. Young's AD&D Page. To be blunt, this site is an absolute mess, with tiny text bunched up and splayed around everywhere, displayed in hideous colours with terrible graphics, in a horribly confused layout. However, if you can get past this, there is some phenomenal content here. This is the collected output of a man who has spent a lifetime writing about the game. While a lot of it is AD&D related, there is also a brilliant essay against religious attacks (from a Christian gamers perspective), a great introduction to the game and plenty of general stuff on cultures, settings and rules. The AD&D stuff will prove indispensible to those who play the game, but also fascinating to those who don't. The alignment quiz is particularly well done. Go and be amazed.
Moving to the other big game of the industry: White Wolf, and their World of Darkness. Thanks to the fact that these guys take themselves way too seriously, they are now the biggest source of jokes the hobby has ever seen. A fun but not particularly coherent piss-take is The World of Insufficient Light. This site is also a mess, with the most impervious backgrounds I have ever seen - the text is literally unreadable in most places. But there are a few chuckle-worthy moments, and perhaps if they ever get around to organising it and finishing it, it could be quite good. Have a laugh at the front page, then move on.
Here then is something more amusing. OK, it's not strictly game-related, but show me a gamer who doesn't love the Comic Store Guy from the Simpsons. The Simpsons depicts a wonderful microcosm of our nineties society, and when it comes down to it, this guy really represents our niche. The ultimate fantasy/SF fanboy, there's a wonderful sense of recognition in every one of his lines. And from his appearance with a shirt saying "DUNGEON MASTER", we can be pretty sure he's also a gamer. On this site, you can get loads of cool sounds and pictures and info, plus links to more Comic Store Guy pages. And since my breakfast burrito is rapidly congealing, I suggest you go there immediately, for the good of the city!
We close with some interesting links pages. John's Role-Playing Page is a collection of links to a large variety of sites. It's a little out of date now, and so some of the links don't work, but this also means there's a few more eclectic links here. Have a flick through the miscellaneous links; you're sure to find something interesting. Also, the stuff of John's own devising - sketches of RPGs, campaigns and his thesis on the Three Types of Gamers - makes for a good read.
But a far better links site, in both design and content, is the Australian RolePlaying Links list compiled by Brett Easterbrook of the Ariel Archives. As the name suggests, they are all Australian, which is a good thing for those of us who live here, because it is often too easy to feel that the Americans and the Brits have the monopoly on gaming culture. This site will certainly allay your fears there, overflowing as it is with Aussie sites, organisations, cons, games and distributors. However, anyone will find this page both useful and entertaining, regardless of their country of origin. It is well set up, very easy to read, and I couldn't find a single link that didn't work. On top of this, Brett provides a short but informative description of each site, making exploration a breeze. If only more links collections could be like this. First rate.
- Finally, as mentioned in the local news, BrisCon, in a slightly
different form, is fast approaching again. It is now joined with the
mostly strategy gaming convention Maelstrom, and thus information can
be found on both at the very nicely laid out
BrisCon's old site has
been resurrected on the Hit Point
site. However, it is practically the same as it was a year ago, and so may
be out of date in some respects. But if you're interested in finding out
more about the who, what and why of Briscon, it could be worth a look.
The new white text on black background is a mistake though.