To remind you that not all LARP is either White Wolf World or people hitting each other with plumbing, here comes Rules to Live By (RTLB). RTLB, by Interactivities Ink, is the first in a line of LARP products, and this review will be considering the main book. In brief, RTLB is a success at what it sets out to do, and then it falters. Its core is as rock solid as they come, but RTLB is hampered by much misspent energy.

It's not often you get a brilliant new game from an unknown publisher that creates a new genre in PC gaming. Nexon has given us just that with their ground breaking title, Shattered Galaxy. Imagine playing StarCraft with a few hundred of your closest friends. Yup, a Massive Multiplayer Online Real Time Strategy.

Ever wanted to build a robot, arm it with weapons of mass destruction, and turn it loose to see what happens? How about getting some BattleBot action in on your home? Here's your chance. Mindrover: the Europa Project was released for Windows some time ago, but has recently been ported to Linux and is available from Loki games.

I've known for a long time that online gaming is not what I, or any other number of dedicated roleplayers, want it to be. EverQuest and its ilk make it paradise for those who want to beat the crap out of a never-ending stream of monsters, but it's not exactly anyone's first choice for good storytelling and memorable characters. But for awhile there was a wonderful little program called WebRPG that I thought had the potential to revolutionize online gaming as we know it. But along the way its creators made a fatal mistake, and things were never quite the same after that.

Electronic Arts Inc., the largest U.S. video game publisher,is laying off 200 to 250 people from its online unit, about one-third of the staff of Redwood City, California-based EA.com. It was not immediately clear if the cuts would mean the elimination of any of the offerings on the EA.com site.

It's somehow appropriate that a column called Forgotten Games should get forgotten for about a year, but as with many things we can't always get what we want... at least not when we want it. I'm happy to report that I've recently located my stash of old Role-Playing Games, and at the top of the stack was the second game on my list from oh, so long ago - Gamma World, published by "The Game Wizards," TSR.

Agone is a new roleplaying that has just been translated from French into English from a company called Multisim). What drew me to the game initially was the artwork on the cover of the book and Eminence Grise's (GM's) screen. I also learned later from another booth that games in France will only sell well if the artwork is of superior quality. This is leading at least one games manufacturer to have their next edition designed by their French artist. I was able to pick up the main book and the screen, which included a very nice poster-sized map of the world for just under $50. What happened to the days of $20 games? Oh well, let me tell you about this new game.

Are two heads better than one? Maybe, maybe not, but certainly a double-bladed axe is better than a single bladed axe. Or is it? Is double your pleasure always double your fun? Apparently so, according to the new Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook.

The first time I saw it in the store, I believe that I actually snarled at it. I continued to do that for about a month after it came out. Then, in a fit of weakness, I broke down and bought it. I told myself that the only reason I was buying it was so that I could run better Mindflayer encounters, and so that I could eventually throw a Githyanki at my party. (How I loved the Githyanki when the Fiend Folio first appeared on the bookshelves.) Now that I have sat down and read through The Psionics Handbook, I'm actually happy that I succumbed to the temptation.

The problem with Online Role-Playing Games like Everquest and Diablo II is that they have nothing to do with Role-Playing. It's all click-and-kill, repeating the same actions and quests over and over again to gain power, money and items, with little thought given to character, interaction or true development on a personal level. But maybe that's because such things are truly impossible. Perhaps this recently discovered journal can explain what it's like to be a real character in a world bereft of meaning. Or perhaps it'll just emphasize the futility of trying to explain the inexplicable.

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