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Links: Mike Pondsmith on His Past Future, and Wingspan for the Holidays

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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RPG Item: Cyberpunk 2020
• In its December 2020 issue, Darryn King of The Atlantic profiles designer Mike Pondsmith and "The Role-Playing Game That Predicted the Future", namely Cyberpunk and more specifically Cyberpunk 2020. Here's how the article opens:
About 30 years ago, in Santa Cruz, California, a man named Mike Pondsmith laid out a prophecy for the then-distant future — the year 2020.

It was a future teeming with tech. He envisioned the dizzying data-winds of cyberspace, gigantic holographic video screens, bioengineered wheat-powered metro cars, and, everywhere you looked, the gleam of polychrome cyberoptic eyes. In his future, some of the populace suffered from an affliction he dubbed "technoshock" — an inability to cope with technology’s incursions into their lives.

He called that vision Cyberpunk. Cyberpunk 2020 was the second edition of the world he'd imagined in 1988, when he created the Cyberpunk franchise. Now filling 50 books comprising more than 5,000 pages crammed with minutiae, it's surely one of the most extensively and fastidiously imagined worlds in fiction. And in its themes and particulars, it can feel startlingly like nonfiction today.
It's great to see Pondsmith this type of mainstream coverage, and this quote is especially juicy: "'Writing,' Pondsmith tells me, 'is a lot like basically eating a pound of dough, a whole pepperoni, a couple of pounds of mozzarella, and a bunch of spices, then throwing up a pizza.' It takes a lot of work to make an unreal world feel real."

• Did you know that artist Kwanchai Moriya has a Catan T-Shirt design on sale from Hot Topic? Did you know that Hot Topic had a Catan merchandise section, or that Hot Topic still existed at all? I've learned so many things today...

From gallery of W Eric Martin

• As Michelle Ridge explains in this finale post, the contributors at Girls' Game Shelf are going their own ways as of December 1, 2020, although they plan to maintain all published material for at least another year.

Board Game: Wingspan
• Noel Murray at Slate has published that site's "Best New Games You're Sure to Love", with Elizabeth Hargrave's Wingspan getting most of the ink and a handful of other titles being mentioned in passing.

• In mid-November 2020, Shaurya Thapa at Screen Rant published an article titled "Top 10 Movies Based On Board Games, Ranked According To IMDb" —and given that the #10 movie on the list, 2000's Dungeons & Dragons, has a rating of 3.6, you might perhaps conclude that only ten movies based on board games even exist.

Tied at the #4 spot with a 6.2 rating are Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story and Going Cardboard, and I happen to appear in both of those films. My presence merits a 6.2 rating, I suppose. I still haven't watched either of these films as I don't like seeing myself. I'd say "Maybe someday", but I know that's a lie...

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Younger Eric in front of a 2009 era Wall O' Games
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