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Babylon 5 In Depth – The Sad Tale of Londo Mollari

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Now to start going deeper.

It is clear which actors truly loved what they were doing in this series, and while the series also has some golden examples of terrible acting it also features some of the best performances in science fiction history. I’d like to start with Peter Jurasik in the role of Centauri Ambassador Londo Mollari. There will be spoilers in abundance from this point onwards…

Mollari begins our story as someone forgotten by his government, given a position deemed to be of negligible importance, representing the Centauri Republic in the Earth Alliance diplomatic and trade station just about to open it’s doors. Given the fate of the previous Babylon stations it was practically a death sentence for any sent to take the job, so Mollari is found to be living his life to the decadent extremes that his people are accustomed to, cramming his life with as much joy as he can before he’s either killed or dragged home. (more…)


Internet Nostalgia

Ahh for the good old days.

At the age of twenty-seven I already yearn for so many of the more enjoyable aspects of my youth: the old A4 boxes for PC games stuffed with bonus goodies now labelled “collectors edition”; playing Pokemon in between street lights in the back of the car; Angry Beavers.

But there’s plenty I’m glad has changed. I love that I can now see a face in a film and delve into my pocket to find out where I’ve seen that face before, if I’m ever looking for an answer to a question I’m never far from an answer, or that if I need a friend that it’s easier than ever for me to reach one. The internet and mobile technology, give us incredible power to discover and communicate, no need to remain ignorant when the answers are at our fingertips, square debts with friends in seconds when they organise awesome events. (more…)


Babylon 5 In Depth – Angels and Demons

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Last week I discussed the alien races of Babylon 5, similarities and differences and how we’re not all that great at coming up with wholly alien life forms. Everything we create has some irrevocable grounding in what we are and what we know, and while a lot of that has a solid basis in evolutionary biology we’re still missing a little imagination at times.

There were a few races I noticeably omitted in the last in this series that stalwart fans may have wondered about (I know there’s a few die-hards reading), The First Ones. Humans are not the first to set foot among the stars, far from it. The Centauri found us first, the Minbari are the most advanced of the spacefaring species, except for the handful who came before. Creatures of legend, actual legends given shape. (more…)


My DMing Bucket List

One of my favourite discoveries of recent months, the works of Creighton Broadhurst and his group Raging Swan Press have served as an inspiration and a great resource for me to call on in the quiet moments where ideas are running short and just need to be given a push until momentum takes over.

As it stands I am not short of ideas, but after spotting this headline I’m prepared to push a few planned articles back a week. Creighton‘s list and mine will differ quite radically though, I’m not so interested in running famous dungeons or campaigns, while I sit and peruse some of the classics from time to time I’m a firm believer in finding my own style and adjusting as I play, rather than finding someone else’s style and adapting it to my own, and after ten years and forty articles I’d like to think I know my style at this point. (more…)


Babylon 5 In Depth – Aliens

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What makes something alien? And how can we create something wholly alien when we create from such terrestrial experiences? It is absolutely true to say that we write what we know, and no fantasy or sci-fi can create something utterly beyond our knowledge and comprehension because… well how would we write it? Can the viewer or reader invest emotionally in an alien that conforms to nothing terrestrial? To say nothing on the subject of makeup and special effects budgets.

Babylon 5 does it’s very best to give us something that did not and could not evolve on Earth, with signifying factors that make them something strange and different, but we are left with characters that we can love as someone with whom we share common ground, or loathe for showing us our worst facets. Here are some of the biggest players that make up the cast: (more…)


Trailer Rundown – Superbowl ’17

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I do not sports.

I am not a sports person, I cannot name sports people, but I like how those who sports on a regular basis don’t admit to being nerds despite the fact that they’re bigger geeks than we are when it comes down to names, numbers, dates; I see no difference between sports fans at a match and geeks at a convention. But anyway, that’s not the point.

I love the Super Bowl! I’m vaguely aware of the results and that they are somehow historically important, but I was far more interested in YouTube the following few days, which have been as full of trailers as I’d hoped. Some I expected, some I really didn’t, most of them made me stupidly excited, and here are those: (more…)


Babylon 5 In Depth – How To Do Space Combat

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It’s one of those little facts that’s easily forgotten about Star Wars that in early edits before cinematic release that old dogfight footage was used in place of the actual space battles until decent special effects could be put into place. This translated to the X-Wings and Tie Fighters taking great swooping loops and arcs to follow one another, and the same can be said of the Enterprise vessels in Star Trek, along with the many others who mimic the same style.

Simply put, they use aeroplane battles and set them in space. We seem to snap to a 2-dimensional plane, having a clear definition of up and down, ships meet facing the right direction, no one is ever sideways or upside down, and while they may sit above or below one another they generally face some universally accepted axis system, even amongst species we’ve never met. (more…)


This One Weird Tip Can Help You Avoid Clickbait

Advertising is a tricky business because frankly we no longer care enough to pay attention. We change channels during ad-breaks on TV, walk serenely past posters, bin flyers, and now have a total patience span of five seconds until the skip button lets us get to the content we wanted in the first place. Advertising may be a necessary evil in order to support aforementioned content financially, but an evil it can be. Despite a few shining examples of advertising becoming artistic, poignant, memetic, and positively enjoyable, at large we find the industry to be irritating at least, infuriating or insulting at worst. (more…)


Babylon 5 In Depth – What Makes Humans So Special

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The gates of Babylon 5 opening places humanity firmly in the middle of the space-faring races. No longer completely green around the gills, they’ve helped topple one mad genocidal force, narrowly avoided genocide in mysterious circumstances, and are now seeking to help forge peace among the disparate races and factions of the galaxy.

Naturally as creators, we create based on what we know, so aliens in B5 are broadly based on human cultures or some animal traits given sapience – more on them next week – but there are particular features of humanity that distinguish them from any other species, often commented on by main alien characters in awe, deference, disbelief, or disgust. Today I’ll be looking at what makes humans so special. (more…)


The Etiquette of Buying Board Games

It’s a fascinating and unique thing. Books, films, music, video games, all are bought with a mind to sitting and reading, watching, listening and playing alone, or at least the possibility of doing so alone or in the company of friends or family. A board game on the other hand is not something that can be enjoyed alone* but something that you buy with a view to using with others, and almost all of us are lucky enough to have a group of people with whom we can call upon to play.

Amongst the gaming group you have a collection of your favourites, maybe split between various homes and cupboards, or hoarded all in one place by the one with the biggest house, a decent gaming table, or a friendly pub with a geeky disposition.

This presents us with some quite fascinating issues. How do you buy an item specifically for a group?

unboxing-corvus-bellis-infinity-operation-icestormOk, so there are those games that you can comfortably divide between friends. I recently picked up a copy of Operation Icestorm – the Infinity miniature skirmish pack – alongside the co-creator of Quotes from the Tabletop, Mike. That’s a nice easy thing to divide up, there are two factions, a rulebook and a terrain pack. As a fiend for rules and mechanics I was more than happy to leave Mike with the rulebook and the Panoceania minis, and as a feverish DM with a new cyber-punk styled role-play to run I fled with the scenery pieces and a box of Nomads.

Munchkin, another fairly easy game to divide up, not that you can split a box but each person able could buy the set they prefer from the massive range of genres. The same can be said of Fluxx, these days Love Letter too, and a smattering of other games seeking to reach as many fandoms as possible.

14589874_1132049426832052_7247111122054984844_oSo what if a group pitches in on a game, and then the group divides. What criteria do you use to decide who gets the game? As geeks it could be one of the most awkward and terrible things we may have to face, not just the loss of a friend but potentially losing one of the things you shared memories over.

I mean what else do we buy together? Houses, pets, loans, small businesses. Somehow board games have made it onto that list and brought with them the complexities and entanglements that come with them, although perhaps on a much smaller scale. They do say that you do not know someone until you have played Monopoly against them; personally I say that the kind of person who plays Monopoly is no friend to you. It is worth saying then that you should really know someone before considering starting a board game collection with them, it’s one hell of a commitment, just be sure your ready.


Thanks to John Common of CSR Studios, creator of Dead Pixels and it’s upcoming sequel Straight to Video. It was an interesting topic to consider. If you have ideas for articles you’d like Timlah, Catharsisjelly or me to consider, you can get in touch with us at our contacts page, Facebook, or Twitter.

*Except for all of the games that you can play on your own, there are plenty of those but that’s missing the point.