A Blast from the Past Revolutionised – HeroQuest

It came with a simple enough comment. We all have nerd vices.

With regard to the majority of my friends, this is a horrendous understatement. Given time and disposable income there are no bounds to the insane projects we will come up with. You could be financing a space empire in Eve Online, writing Fantasy novels, collecting four of every magic the gathering card, wargaming, or trying to own every single Nintendo console in existence (There are a lot more than you would think). We’ve done it all. And like most people our age we have fond memories of the board game HeroQuest.

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We’ve come a long way. So many late nights. So much Mountain Dew.

For those who don’t know, it is essentially Dungeons and Dragons simplified into a board game. It captured the imagination of young nerds across the world and I am safe to say elicits nostalgic sighs from many people who wouldn’t want you to know they played this as kids/teenagers. Just read this fantastic write up from Rock,Paper, Shotgun. It comes with the original TV spot which cannot be missed.

Now, speaking of nerd vices, Davide Rizzo, a prodigiously talented web designer/graphic artist, who also happens to be one of my Beta Readers, has tapped into his memories and created a web based application which allows you to make your own HeroQuest maps with the click of a button. (Note, you need Chrome Browser for it to work properly) For those non tech-savvy people, it may look simple enough, but the time and effort which has gone into this can’t be underestimated.

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Open source and easy to use. What are you waiting for?

The maps can be saved as text files on your computer to be loaded up again via the map creator at any point in time. At this stage the tool is only for map creation and would suit anyone looking to map out a dungeon for an RPG or even a game of HeroQuest if you still have it. The code is Open Source and available on CodePen, which hopefully provides potential for someone else to pick it up and create some working online games with it.

I encourage you all to have a play around with it and admire the work. There are plenty of projects sitting on peoples hard drives which will never be made public. Here is a great example of someone who has taken the effort to create something really outstanding and then shared it with the online community for free use.

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Hmmm, I wonder what’s behind this door… Probably Treasure …

If you are interested in seeing more of Davide’s work you can follow his blog here and see his website here.

 

 

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My Top Picks – Part Two

Part two of my series on my biggest influences covers some lesser known things that have moulded who I am today. I will continue to cover some of the key books, movies, music and shows that have influenced me.

The Call to Ktulu:

Music plays a very large part in getting my creative juices flowing. Music can stir emotions that other mediums fail to. In many ways it requires you to really utilise your imagination as there is no visual stimulus. Metallica’s instrumental piece ‘the Call to Ktulu’ is one piece of music that is very important to me. I am referring to the version presented on their S&M album together with the San Francisco Symphony.

Why is this piece of music so important to me? Because it could be seen as a trigger for my choice to become a writer. Sitting on a bus for up to 8 hours a day whilst travelling through central Australia on a school trip, I was given ample time to listen to my Walkman. Metallica had opened my eyes to hard rock a year earlier and my tape got a good workout. None more than the Call to Ktulu. As soon as this track began I was taken away from that bus. Transported to a world of clashing armies, knights and demons, magic and mayhem.

I played out scenes of an epic tale in my mind whilst staring out of the window at the endless red blanket that is the aussie outback. The music fuelled my imagination. With every repeat of the track the story grew larger, clearer. By the end of a two week trip, I had to pick up a pencil and write the tale. And that is what I did when I got home. That story became the basis for the Valerious Chronicles. I have no doubt that without the Call to Ktulu to keep me company, Christill and Thibalt’s tale would have never been told.

X-Men (Comics and Cartoon):

One of my fondest memories as a child was going with my mother to the local shopping centre and finding that a new volume of the X-Men animated series had become available on VHS. This was well before the days of the internet and the only way for me to watch the show was through waiting months for the next cassette to become available. It was shown very rarely on TV in Australia giving me little opportunity to tape it.

I shudder to think how many times I watched each episode, glued to the TV to watch Wolverine and the X-Men fight the most dastardly villains ever to grace the TV. Much can be said about why X-Men is so popular. Strong characters, relevant themes and great writing perhaps to name a few. Its popularity is still on the rise. For me it was the first fictional universe to draw me in and create an obsession. There are few things that I liked as a child that I am still passionate about now. X-Men has stood the test of time.

My brother collected X-Men comics which I eventually inherited. They opened up to me the greater marvel universe and showed me how much more there was than just the animated show. I came to realise that there were thousands of people out there who liked X-Men as much as I did. It was my first introduction to true fandom. One could say it was the beginning of my transition to teenage nerd.

Stay tuned for more over the coming weeks.