Thursday, March 10, 2011

Movie Mashup 2011 - The Great Garbage War

Since I'm involved in a contest that doesn't end until June 1st, 2011, I figured that I would do what I did with Game Chef and do reviews for people who have put forth entries into the Movie Mashup 24 hour RPG competition. I put my game up already, but since I'm not really going to review my own stuff, I'd rather get feedback from other people, I turn my attention to those the other contestants.

I'm doing this because I know that feedback is important, and that it is rather notoriously hard to get. I offer free copies of a book to people who will do a review of the PDF and I still haven't gotten any reviews that fit the contest (though Ed at Robot Viking did one, which is always appreciated).

Anyway, I'll be doing this review using most of the criteria put out by the contest. Copying from the thread here are the criteria for judgement.

Poor you! Our panel of monkeys will be judging you on:
Must include an NPC called Keeton
Proximity: How close to the two films is it?
Complete: Is it complete? Could you run it?
Attractive: Is it attractive to look at?
Professional: How much effort went into layout and style?
Extras: Did they include actual cover, index, character sheet or any other cool things you get in a proper RPG?

Don't worry too much about the Keeton part. That's a running joke on the site.

Today's game is The Great Garbage War by Alistair Morrison

The idea behind this was to take Wall-E and Mars Attack. What I love about this challenge is that these are two very different movies and bringing them together isn't something that comes easily in my head. This means that there's a good chance for a rather pleasant surprise when it comes times to reading the game, that or it could go horribly wrong. Either way, I think a kudos is needed whenever someone goes out on a limb and this game is by far the most going out on the limb game I've seen.

The game is less of a mash-up of two movies to create a new game, but taking Wall-E extending it and putting Mars Attack in. It feels like a bit of fan fiction in that regard, ridiculous silly fan fiction, and this isn't a knock on the idea or the game. Fan Fiction is a type of mash-up, especially if you add outside elements of other fannish things (movies, books, etc.). However, much like my complaint about A Fistfull of Darkness it feels more like Mars Attacks slapped at the end of Wall-E rather than a combination of the two movies. I think if you take Mars Attack as one of the movies, that's going to be the nature of the beast. It's hard to take "Martians invading the planet" and not have it feel like you've just thrown it in the middle, or the end, of the other movie.

This is a lovely complete game. The mechanics are pretty simple roll a bunch of d6 depending on your stats and 5s and 6s count as successes. The system is pretty lethal, which makes sense because Mars Attacks is all about the death and destruction part, and quick. The biggest and brightest part is the probability table, which I think makes picking a difficulty number easier for anyone wanting to run this.

Attractive and Professional
The book is layed out well, and rather well written. There are definitely a couple of chuckle worthy moments. I'm going to give the book a fail on two points, and they might seem minor but they're important even if you're going to do free work. There are two movie stills in the book, and that's a big no-no. They aren't copyright free, or even under a creative commons license. If you want to be professional about stuff, taking something that you don't have the rights to is a very large mistake and I'm going to have to point it out here. Yes, it is only 2 stills but that's two stills too many.

There are lots of lovely charts and appendices at the end to help you reference things quickly if needed. The character sheet has all the details and everything you need to play which is in keeping with how well the book is layed out and how clean it looks.

Would I play it?
I'm still undecided. I'm leaning more towards the not, because there are a lot of other games so far I'd like to play in the contest and I have a limited time. Yeah, very undecided. The mechanics are easy to pick up, but I'm not sure if I'm convinced that thematically this is something I'd want to play. I'll probably be mulling this for a while.

However, again, Kudos needs to be given for trying to mash these two films up.

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