Wednesday, November 12, 2008

For Ernest Gary Gygax 1938-2008

So you just got a job writing for Trivial Pursuit. They are branching out from their general trivia games and creating more niche brands. Create a niche and create a six-question card for your game. Your niche should be a little odd-so no movies, music, etc.

First as a means of explanation for this post, I have to confess to an addiction. At this point, I'm almost 50 hours (though not consecutive, thank jeebus) into "Elder Scrolls VI: Oblivion" for the XBOX 360. And I'm friggin loving this game. It's pretty much exactly as dorky as it sounds, but as much as I love it now, I can only imagine how much better this would have been when I was 12, and waist deep in my Dungeons & Dragons phase. 25 years later, and I'm right back to that special place, in the darkest recesses of my forgotten past. No more need for imagination, when it's blown up onto an HD monitor with surround sound. The kids today don't know how leisurely they have it.

This alone would be cause for nostalgic recollection, but two books I'm currently reading are doing a fair bit of mining inside of my memory caverns. The first, "Everything Bad Is Good For You : How Today's Pop Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter" by Steven Johnson, opens with a summary of the process for creating a character in Dungeons & Dragons (D&D for those on the inside), as an example of extreme and obsessive number crunching in the pursuit of attempting to have fun. The other book is even more accommodating to my present state of mind. "The Elfish Gene" by Mark Barrowcliffe is a memoir about a young man in Coventry, England who, in 1976 in introduced to a new American game, and how it proceeds to destroy his life in all the best ways that can only be appreciated in the forgiving light of adulthood.

None of this is by design, but rather the byproduct of one of those serendipitous moments that often results in things like two comet or volcano movies or two Steve Prefontaine movies being released at the same time. Just the stars, I guess. And so, this rambling preamble brings me to the actual theme at hand.

Trivial Pursuit :


Parent company Tactical Studies Rules (or T.S.R.) was located at P.O. Box 756 in which northern American city?

Almost universally reviled as an absolute flop, Dungeons & Dragons (2000) was a live action adventure film starring which of the once ubiquitous Wayans brothers?

D&D, first published in 1974, was largely based on another wargame system published in 1971 by E. Gary Gygax, one of the games original creators. What was the name of the original game system?

Art & Literature:
There have been several D&D related novel series, such as "Forgotten Realms" and "Gourd the Rogue". The most successful line was launched in 1984 and stills continues publication today. What is the series title?

Science and Nature:
Turns of action and events of random probability are governed by mathematical calculations of numbers generated by the iconic d20. What is a d20?

Sport & Leisure:
Which power forward/center, four-time NBA champion, a three-time NBA MVP, and current captain of the San Antonio Spurs confessed in 1997 to a love of renaissance fairs and Dungeons & Dragons?

Geography: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Entertainment: Marlon Wayans
History: "Chainmail"
Arts & Literature: Dragonlance
Science & Nature: A twenty sided die
Sports & Leisure: Tim Duncan

Weezer - In The Garage

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