Friday, September 30, 2011

Jedi Lies? - Episode II

1LR continues exploring the Star Wars films for evidence to answer the question, "It is okay for a Jedi to lie?" Today, we examine Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
  • In this episode, we see (chronologically according to the films) the first time a Jedi lies to another Jedi. On the way to see Padme, Obi Wan says to Anakin, "You seem tense." Anakin replies, "Not at all," which is clearly not true. Sure, it's a "little white lie," but I'm SURE that Padawans are suppose to tell the truth in all matters to their master. Sure, Anakin is arrogant but this is before he was tainted by the dark side in any way.
  • Obi Wan uses the Jedi Mind Trick on Elan Sleazebaggano to convince him to stop selling Death Sticks. "You don't want to sell me death sticks." "You want to go home and rethink your life." Both of these statements are untrue for Elan. As discussed in the Ep. 1 Jedi Lies post, the JMT is, in its nature, forces the victim to believe lies.
  • I don't know if it qualifies as a "lie" or not, but Anakin sure twists the Jedi Code when he is talking to Padme on the refuge freighter. "Compassion, which I would define as unconditional love, is essential to a Jedi's life. So, you might say that we are encouraged to love." Anakin says. Is this Anakin lying to himself and Padme or is the Jedi Code so ambiguous it can be interpreted differently by different people?
  • On Kamino, Obi Wan reacts to the news that the "order is ready" by saying, "What good news." Obi Wan's entire visit to Kamino from that point on is a deception - he doesn't tell the Kamino cloners that he has no idea what they're talking about and doesn't know anything about a clone army. He plays along like he knows what they're talking about.
  • Yoda wishes to keep it secret that the Jedi's ability to use the force has been diminished. I wonder if this desire for secrecy would extend to Yoda outright lying to anybody who asked about this phenomenon.
  • When speaking about Count Dooku, Yoda says that since he left the Jedi Order, "Lies, deceit, creating mistrust are his ways now." This clearly outlines that Yoda thinks lies and deceit are the ways of the dark side..
  • Anakin marries Padme in secret. Although direct deception doesn't happen on screen, this arrangement by its nature must involve deception and lies. How else would they be able to keep their relationship a secret? Of course, this is after Anakin has already started down a dark path so this behavior is probably not reflective of Jedi in general.
All accounted for, there isn't much direct evidence in this episode of Jedi lies. Part of that may be that the plot was so thick with exposition. Yoda's quote is particularly interesting - he apparently sees lies as being seperate from the Jedi Order. It is also notable that we see a Jedi lie and keep secrets from his fellow Jedi. We'll continue next time with Episode III.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Gasoline-Comic Book Pricing Theory

I have an interesting theory that concerns the price of comic books and gasoline. I think that, for whatever reason, the price of comic books and gasoline rise at the same rate.

I have selected Amazing Spider-Man as the comic whose cover price I will use to compare to gasoline prices. The date and issue number listed below reflect the first issue at a new, higher standard price. I ignored "special" issues that had a higher cover price for one or two issues due to extra story pages or a special cover. Research for ASM cover prices was done at

Gasoline prices were retrieved from (for up to 1988) and from government sources such as for dates after that. Since gasoline prices vary greatly by region and type of gasoline, I tried to get average prices for the East Coast regular unleaded gasoline.

As evidence that this theory is valid, consult the information below:

DATE                   ASM ISSUE #              COVER PRICE            GAS PRICE
1963 March                         1                             .12                                 .30
1969 August                     75                             .15                                 .35
1971 December            103                             .20                                 .36
1974 May                        132                             .25                                 .53
1976 September           160                             .30                                 .59
1977 November             174                            .35                                 .62
1979 May                         191                            .40                                 .86
1980 October                  209                            .50                              1.25
1982 January                  224                            .60                              1.30
1985 April                        263                            .65                              1.20
1986 February                273                            .75                                .93
1988 June                       301                          1.00                             1.08
1992 February                359                          1.25                             1.07
1994 May                         389                          1.50                             1.18
1997 March                     421                          1.95                             1.20
1997 September           426                          1.99                              1.20
2000 June                      459  (v.2 #18)         2.25                              1.55
2005 August                  521                           2.50                              2.53
2006 June                      531                          2.99                              2.82
2010 January                 612                          3.99                              2.75 (3.75 today)

Now, let's analyze the evidence. I think you can break this data into three categories - Comic x2 = Gas, Comic Greater Than Gas, and Comic = Gas,

Comic x2 = Gas - From 1963 until 1985, a gallon of gas was roughly twice the price of a single issue of Amazing Spider-Man. But the trend for both items was that they continued to go up in price at roughly the same rate. ASM went from 12 to 65 cents - a 540% increase - while gasoline went from 30 cents to $1.20 - a 400% increase.

Comic Great Than Gas - Starting in 1986, gas prices starting going backward (getting cheaper) while comic books continued to get more expensive. By 1992, ASM was more expensive than a gallon of gas. Gasoline would remain mostly stable (fluctuating only a dime) until 1997 but comic books would continue to get more expensive. ASM's cover price of 1.99 in 1997 was 79 cents more expensive than a gallon of gas!

Comic = Gas - The price of a gallon of gasoline quickly caught up, however. By 2005, the two products had about the same price. This trend has continued to today when ASM costs $3.99 and gas is $3.75 a gallon.

So What? - Well, my theory is that, in the modern era of pricing (2005 to today), the price of comic books and gasoline are linked. An increase in one heralds an increase in the other.

It's not funny if this is your reality.
Now, I'm not saying that this is a CAUSAL relationship. Increasing comic book prices do not CAUSE gasoline prices to go up. But, certainly gasoline prices do influence comic book prices. Gasoline is used in the production of paper and the distribution of the comic books.

While there's not a causal relationship between the prices of these two commodities, there is a CORRELATIONAL relationship. Although there are many factors in the price of both of these goods, if you graphed the above prices on a line graph, you'd see two lines that directly parallel one another and overlap a good deal of the time.  

CONCLUSION - So, the next time you see that comic book prices are going up, beware! Know that gasoline prices are soon to follow! For good or bad, the prices of these two commodities are linked.

Lone Wolf Multiplayer Gaming Notes #1

We are playing the Corruption of Ikaya adventure for the Lone Wolf Multiplayer RPG. Today, we created characters and started the adventure.
Character creation was very simple - it took about five minutes to make a character. In the end, the party looked like this:

Dave - Ice Barbarian of Kalte
Sam - Brotherhood of the Crystal Star
Young Bryan - Magician of Dessi
Old Brian - Kai Lord
Letitia - Dwarven Gunner of Bor

The party started off on their journey. They were summoned to a small fishing village of  to meet an agent of the Brotherhood of the Crystal Star. Along the way the Kai Lord sensed an ambush ahead! The party quickly dispatched the five Giaks who had attempted to take them by surprise. They found a scroll written in the Dark Tongue but could not read it.

They continued on their way and arrived at the fishing village. They first check the Temple of Ishir, finding a helpful priestess named Josephine there. Josephine showed them around town and fed them but their search at the bunk houses and tavern were fruitless. The party, short on cash, decided to sleep in the wilderless - a poor rest that resulted in lost Endurance points.

Upon awakening, the party ate breakfast and went to the most powerful merchant house in town. They were greeted by a rude man at the door who refused them entry unless they could prove themselves. The party showed them the letter that had summoned them to town and they were quickly escorted to see a Brother of the Crystal Star, Stephen Jarn.

Stephen told them about a diplomatic mission lead by a Kai Lord that had gone into the arctic land of Kalte. This expedition had failed to report on time and the backers were worried. The party is to go and locate the Kai Lord and his escorts or find out what happened to them. Stephen generously outfitted the party with the winter gear they will need and 100 Gold Crowns each for additional expenses.

The party then boarded a trade ship headed for the Sommerlund trading town of Lujk in Kalte. As they boarded they were verbally assaulted by a man named Franklin, the head of ship security. The castigated the party for the bad omens they brought on the voyage - bringing a dwarf on board (who is a woman!) and stepping onto the vessel left-foot-first! The Captain calmed Franklin down but the party was off on a bad foot with the crew already.

After a few days at sea, the party encountered a small, abandoned fishing ship with the deck covered in blood. The party searched the ship and found no clues as to what happened. They took everything of value and sent the ship adrift.

The next day, the Kai Lord heard a shrieking sound come from over the railing. Leaning over, he was pulled overboard by a Wave Runner, vicious predator of the sea! With the assistance of the Ice Barbarian the Kai Lord escaped certain death.

Later, the party saw a dwarven trade ship. The ships pulled alongside one another and the Dwarven Gunner of Bor gladly bought the necessary supplies she will need to operate her Dwarven Musket for the mission ahead.

On the morning of the fifth day the crew and the party was started to hear loud explosions coming from below deck! Two of the new crew members were secretly saboteurs and they had set off explosive charges, breaching the hull of the ship three times below the water line! The mad saboteurs swore loyalty to the Darklords and tried to prevent the party from entering the cargo hold to fix the breeches! The party quickly defeated the two madmen and started frantically fixing the holes in the hull. Frigid arctic water quickly filled the cabin as the heroes struggled to work. The ship almost sank completely before the heroes, with the aid of the crew, was able to stop the leaks.
Why have the Darklords taken such an interest in the party's mission? Does the presence of the Darklord's interference an ill omen for the fate of the previous diplomatic mission? What will happen next?

To be continued...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New Peanuts Ongoing Comic Book!

Did you feel it? The Earth shifted just a little bit there. That's how big Boom! Studio's announcement was that it will be producing a Peanuts ongoing comic book series. What's so huge about that? Well, there has been no original Peanuts content produced since the last strip was published on January 3, 2000. 

Now, you can clearly see from this last strip that Charles Schultz's family didn't want, "Peanuts to be continued by anyone else." Since then, Charles Schutlz has passed on. I'm not sure what changed but I think it's the right move. Charlie Brown and the gang are simply too wonderful to let them slip into obscurity like the Yellow Kid or Popeye. Perhaps it is the fact that it is a comic book and not a comic strip... Check out the #0 preview issue coming out in November for only $1!

Lone Wolf Multiplayer Game Book #1 Review

I'm a HUGE fan of Lone Wolf. I have all of the D20 RPG gamebooks but when I heard that Mongoose was releasing a rules-lite version of Lone Wolf I was very excited.

The Lone Wolf Multiplayer Game Book is around 110 pages and presents the basics of what you need to play the Lone Wolf Multiplayer RPG. What the creators attempted to do what literally copy the simple rules system from the original 1980's solo gamebooks into an RPG.
The book does a good job introducing the concept and the basic operational procedures of an RPG.

The section on creating a character is simple and straightforward. I think anyone could make a character with how it is layed out. Unfortunately, the only class included in this book is the Kai Lords which means that if this is the only book you have everyone in the party must be a Kai Lord. Not that big of a deal at level 5 (you start at level 5) but by level 10 everyone will be almost identical. Also, not all of the character-relevant information is presented together. Chapter 6 has tips on using disciplines, Chapter 4 on Kai ranks, and Chapter 2 on creating a character. Why isn't this all together?

The combat rules are very simple. Unfortunately, I don't think the direct translation of the rules from the solo gaming book works well. There aren't enough examples to show exactly how combat should go. The heroes are the only ones that roll which basically turns all of the enemies into passive grunts without special abilities. Also, as per the solo adventure books, healing only happens at the end of the adventure and zero endurance means dead. This equates to an incredible deadly game. Four low level Giaks can take out a hero just by ganging up on him. Even if they don't, the damage they do will weaken him considerably so that his chances of surviving the next encounter are greatly reduced. Also, they need to clean up their language in the text, specifically using "character" "player character" "NPC" "enemy" and "ally" when they mean them. In some places they simply say "character" but they don't mean all characters - just a specific category of characters. Also, the character sheet provided, although reminiscent of the original books, is almost completely worthless in a functional sense.

Outside of combat, everything else is resolved with TESTS. What's confusing is that sometimes tests are resolved with a simple difficulty 0-10 that the characters roll a D10 and add a bonus due to a skill or ability. But other times tests are resolved with difficulties in the 30's or higher and they add their combat skill or Endurance as a bonus. Why not just have one simple system and avoid the confusion? Once again, the information on tests isn't simply grouped all together but provided piecemeal throughout the book.

The book provides a simple listing of common monsters, creatures, and foes found in Magnamund. The history and geography sections provide a quick primer for those who are unfamiliar with the world.

The adventure provided in the book is simple enough and is straightforward. I'd say it is a nice introduction to being a "Game Master" and also to playing the the Lone Wolf world.

I REALLY REALLY want to love this game. $20.00 is a little steep for a 110 page digest sized, black and white book. I think many of its problems are easily fixable with homebrew rules. Unfortunately, until that happens, I have to lower my rating to...

1LR Rating: 14 out of 20 - It's a Hit!

New Marvel RPG - Cortex System

1LR reported the other day that the new Marvel RPG will use the Cortex System from Margaret Weis Productions. Here's what it says about the Cortex System at

The collaborative efforts of  Cam Banks, Nathan Rockwood, Floyd Wesel, Jennifer Brozek, Digger Hayes, Jamie Chambers and Jim Davenport bring you Cortex. Leap into a game where the characters and the drama are at the heart of the story, where the action is fast-paced and the dice roll freely. The Cortex System Role Playing Game offers you a fun set of rules that are flexible enough for any genre, setting, and storyline you can imagine!
Character creation lets you run with a concept and be ready-to-play in less than half an hour. The rules make it easy for new players to understand, and allow the Game Master freedom to improvise when the action takes an unexpected turn. The Cortex System rules provide a simple, intuitive foundation upon which the rest of the game is built—everything from an honorable duel withswords, the repair of a starship engine, psychic powers, criminal investigation, and anything in-between.
This book takes a toolkit approach, with all the rules needed to play and a host of options and add-ons. We give you some examples, and a whole chapter full of advice—but the rest is up to you! Bring your dice, some friends, and your imagination to play in a game with no limits.

This is the same rules system that is used for Smallville and Supernatural. Those games looked intriguing to me. If nothing else they looked like they were well put together games. MWP has to be doing SOMETHING right to land these high-profile properties!

Should be interesting to check out this gaming system in the near future. I like that character creation takes less than 30 min. and it seems the rules system is designed to be simple and flexible. How they pull this off, I'm not sure... but we'll see.

My Real World "Star Wars" Moment

Recently, when my daughter was being born, I was walking the hallway of the hospital and I had a real double-take moment. I saw a robot or a "droid" if you will traveling down the corridor of the hallway! I looked around to see if anybody was controlling it but I didn't see anyone. I stopped a nurse and asked her about it. She said it was a medicine delivery robot and it was fully automated. It traveled the hallways freely and did its job on its own. Wow. I walked away thinking how close we are to actually having droids like in Star Wars. Where's my R2 unit to serve me beverages?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Jedi Lies? - Episode I

I am examining each Star Wars film for evidence as to what the Jedi moral code has to say about lying. Are lying and deception acceptable practices for Jedi to engage in?

Let's examine the evidence from Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace. Do the Jedi lie or use deception in this film?
  • The Supreme Chancellor sends "ambassadors" to the trade delegation, but Viceroy Gunray has no idea that it is actually Jedi are on the way! Why not reveal this fact? The Jedi seem to act as if withholding the fact that they are Jedi is part of the standard operating procedure. Why intentionally hide this fact unless they are perhaps planning on a little more action than negotiations at the table? While not a lie, it's certainly questionable behavior. Doesn't the negotiator between two parties normally try not to scare either party into rash action? Perhaps if Nute Gunray anticipated Jedi he wouldn't have had such a dramatic overreaction.  
  • Qui Gon Jinn and Obi Wan convince Jar Jar with a little scare tactic, overstating the threat of the droids, saying that the "bad things" will "crush" them, and detailing other methods of injury or death. In reality, both Qui Gon and Obi Wan know that there is little immediate threat at that moment from the droids.
  • Qui Gon uses ye 'ol Jedi mind trick on Boss Nas to get transportation. By its nature, the Jedi mind trick is deceitful because it implants thoughts into someone's head that are not their own. Instead of using diplomacy, Qui Gon simply implants false information into Boss Nas's head: That he wants to give them transportation. 
  • Qui Gon tries, unsuccessfully to use the old standby Jedi mind trick on Watto when his reasoning skills fail. What if he was successful? Was he willing to leave Watto with Republic Credits that are "worthless" to him, essentially stealing the parts he needs? Once again - Jedi mind trick equals forcing somebody to believe lies. I mean, "trick" is in the name of the power! Thank God that Toydarians are immune to the Jedi Lie Trick! 
  • After receiving the transmission from Naboo, Obi Wan says, with firm resolve, "It's a trick!" to the captain then two seconds later, in private, asks Qui Gon, "What if it's true?" He hides his true feelings, even from his allies, simply to get them to behave as he wishes them to. Manipulation at its finest.
  • Qui Gon willingly goes along win Anakin's suggestion that he claim Anakin's pod is his own. Qui Gon even embellishes the story when speaking to Watto, claiming he won it in a game of chance - NONE of which is true. Lies, all lies!
  • After pricking Anakin with a blood testing needle or device, Qui Gon tells Anakin that he's checking his blood for infections. While this may or may not be true, his TRUE intention is to check for midichlorians. Way to model the noble Jedi way, Qui Gon!
  • When making a wager for Anakin's freedom, Qui Gon influences the "chance cube" with the force. Why? Didn't he trust the force to come up with the right result? After all, if it was DESTINED, surely the die would have resulted in Anakin being picked anyway. This act of deception causes his whole bet with Watto to be deceitful. Qui Gon is no better than somebody who tries to cheat at poker by having cards up their sleeves.
Now, in the interest of fairness, a large part of the deception and outright lies that Jedi do in this film are done by Qui Gon. I don't think we can draw firm conclusions at this point - we certainly don't have enough evidence to judge one way or another whether it's okay for all Jedi to lie but we do have evidence that at least SOME Jedi lie with regularity.

it is interesting to note that there are two times in the film that a Jedi give his word and one time that he makes a promise.
Qui Gon gives his word that he will care for Anakin.
Obi Wan gives his word that he will train Anakin.
Obi Wan promises Anakin that Anakin will become a Jedi. (Later, Obi-Wan insists when talking with Yoda, saying, "I gave Qui-Gon my word!")
In all of these cases, the Jedi is being 100% honest and does what he says he will do. So it seems when a Jedi say, "I promise," they are bound by the their word at that point. Also, the Jedi lie to and manipulate everyone except for the other Jedi. At least it seems that they have SOME honor.

At this point, we can say...
- Jedi lie, some with regularlity
- Jedi sincerely attempt to keep their promises, at least to other Jedi
- Jedi do not generally attempt to deceive other Jedi
- The Jedi mind trick is inherently deceptive as it forces someone to believe a lie

Zombie Lane Online Game Review

I'm known to become feverishly addicted to one online game. I'll play it day and night for months, burn out, and move on to another one. In the past it has been Wizard 101, Maple Story, and Elements: The Card Game. Now it is Zombie Lane (Google+ edition).
The initial attraction to Zombie Lane is, of course, killing zombies. But killing zombies is actually a very small portion of what  you do in the game. In fact, you can't die! You are really focused building a world for yourself - a safe haven after the zombie apocalypse. To do this, you clear trash, clear debris, build buildings, mend and build fences, craft weapons out of common household goods like Macgyver, and many other things. 

You're given missions to go on. One major ongoing storyline is the return of your spouse who is out walking the dog. How he or she survives when you've had to kill 1,000 zombies by that point is beyond me!

One frustration with the game is how they determine what you can do. Everything is an "action." But you're only given so many actions in a given period of time - say, 15. Once you've used up those 15 actions, they regenerate at a rate of one per five minutes. That makes progress in the game slow at best sometimes. You can buy items that will restore your energy with real money but that would get expensive very quickly!

The key to the game is playing socially. You won't do very well as a man on your own. You've got to "friend" people on Google+ and then ask them to be your neighbor on Zombie Lane. This way you can visit them and get additional actions at their house each day, hire them to help you at your house, and gift one another. Gift all day long every day! To my knowledge there are no restrictions on gifting so this becomes an important element in the game.

All in all, Zombie Lane is a fun and addicting game.

1LR Review - 15 out of 20 - It's a Hit!

Monday, September 26, 2011

RPG Crafting #6: Character Development

Okay, so how will characters advance in a simple, classless fantasy RPG that only uses one six sided die?

Well, some RPGs use a complex web of advancement that involves stat increases, skills, feats, class features, increased spell selection, and other increased abilities. This can happen either by "level" or by spending experience to improve specifics aspects of your character. To a new player, this can be a nightmare. Why make it so complex?
In our game, Sam and I put everything on equal footing - skills, spells, feats, etc. When you adventure for a "season," you gain additional abilities. Characters primarily adventure for three seasons a year. So in this way, time will pass, unlike a lot of RPGs (ever been in that game where you characters go from first to tenth level in a month in-game time? - I have even though it took a year in real time).

So going up a level will be easy. A season passes and you simply check the boxes for your new abilities. Done.

1LR's Dungeons and Dragons Story for National Toy Hall of Fame

One Lost Road has submitted a story in support of Dungeons and Dragons's status as a finalist nominee to the National Toy Hall of Fame. Check it out at This is a contest so I would appreciate you clicking on the green thumbs up button to vote for my story! I decided to write about one of my favorite DnD gaming moments that is a little different than your average game.

New Marvel RPG announced!

1LR demanded a new Marvel RPG and the gaming world listened! During the last GenCon, Margaret Weis Productions announced that they will be releasing 16 Marvel Universe RPG books in a year, starting in February 2012.

The system will be Cortex Plus - I've got to admit that I've never played anything with the Cortex Plus gaming rules. Kinda nervous about that.

It seems like the game will be based on events in Marvel history such as the Civil War. I'm not sure how this will go for a long term campaign... we'll have to wait and see. Each event book will have a "premium and essential edition." Not sure what that means. Does that mean two versions of the same book - a cheap version and a deluxe version? Or two different books for each event, both of which  you must buy to play it? Also, the "premium and essential editions" will be supported by three supplements (or accessories) - each "in a similar format to Marvel's own trade paperbacks." I'm also not sure what this means. What's the purpose to the supplemental materials? how do they fit in with the "premium and essential editions?"

If you do the math, 16 books - that could only be three or four events, depending on how they're counting the premium and essential editions (as one book or as two different books?).

The press release found at does say that original characters may be played so that's good. It also says that the rules are easily explainable so that's also good.

Let's hope this thing is good. Marvel fans deserve a good RPG after the last two stinkers.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dungeons & Dragons To Enter the Toy Hall of Fame?

Dungeons and Dragons is one of twelve finalists that may enter the toy hall of fame. You can check them out at in the National Toy Hall of Fame.
First, let me say that this whole National Toy Hall of Fame is a little suspect to me. Why? Let me list a few ways:
  1. What's the definition of "toy?" They inducted a stick and a cardboard box into the toy hall of fame. Really? Why not dirt, sand, and rocks. Those make pretty awesome "toys" too. Aren't toys manufactured by humans for the express purpose of play?
  2. They've only be inducting toys since 1998. The order in which they're making it in is a little suspect. I mean, The Game Boy was inducted before playing cards into the hall of fame. Tinkertoys beat out a baby doll. Really? I think babydolls are kinda timeless and universal while nobody plays with Tinkertoys anymore!
  3. It seems a lot of the toys inducted are focused on 50's nostalgia. View Masters and Erector sets were early inductees along with Raggedy Ann and the rocking horse. What about more modern, cool toys such as Laser Tag or Bakugon? 
  4. There are likewise some notable omissions. How about, I don't know, the toy sword? Or a cap gun? Not in the hall of fame! 
Now, that being said, I always like to see roleplaying get a little recognition. Even though I don't consider a roleplaying book to be a "toy" I'll still support this endeavor to recognize roleplaying for its cultural significance! Make sure you check it out. There's a section where you can add your own D&D stories (or stories for the other 12 nominees if you wished to) which is pretty cool. 

The nominees are: Dollhouse, Rubics Cube, Hot Wheels, Jenga, Puppet, Remote Control Vehicle, Jenga, Twister, Transfomers, Star Wars Action Figures, Transformers, and, of course, Dungeons and Dragons. Do I think Dungeons and Dragons has a shot of winning? No, probably not. Only two can get in this year. How can you NOT put Hot Wheels and the Rubics Cube in let along the Dollhouse? That's some pretty stiff competition.

I did find it interesting what book they chose to visually represent Dungeons and Dragons. It isn't the 4th Ed. Player's Handbook. Instead, they chose the Dungeons and Dragons Basic Set (2nd Edition). Perhaps they chose this version because of the nostalgia factor or perhaps because this was when the game really exploded into the mainstream.

Good luck, Dungeons and Dragons! 1LR is supporting you!

LEGO Star Wars: Padawan Menace Trailer

My friend (and 1LR fan) Bill has told me about the Cartoon Network LEGO Star Wars: Padawan Menace. Sounds pretty funny! The concept is similar to the Robot Chciken Star Wars specials - short sketeches that jump around Star Wars continuity making fun of Star Wars. Man, I'm glad George Lucas has a sense of humor! I'm sorry I missed the original showing of this... I'm sure there will be more in the future! I'll have to catch it on DVD.

Check out the trailer:

There are also a whole bunch of video clips and a game at

Archie Meets KISS (WHAT?!?)

What could be more natural?
Maybe eating sardines with grapefruit juice?
Some crossovers are natural such as Batman and Captain America. Then again, some are not. Superman once fought Muhammad Ali. And the Punisher once visited Archie in Riverdale (seriously). Now, Archie and the gang are going to be hanging out with the band KISS for four issues starting with Archie #627. Seriously? Wow. I never saw that one coming! The Archie creators have had a real knack for drawing headlines recently but I think they may have lost their way. Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD. Perhaps the next stunt the Archie gang will pull is joining a Satan worshipping cult... Now THAT would attract headlines!

Moto Grand Prix - Gaming Notes #2

Once again, a bunch of guys got together at Kevin's house and we played Moto Grand Prix. Food and good conversation about restaurants, movies, and technology were enjoyed by all. In the racing game Moto Grand Prix, Chris, Sam, Kevin, Stacy, and myself each had two bikes that we raced around the track making a total of ten bikes! We laid out track #6 from the rulebook - Free Speedway. We raced for five laps. It turned out to be a nice track to race on. Just the right level of difficulty.

The game started out with Scott's #1 bike in the pole position. The race started out in a tightly packed field but it soon stretched out as the bikes raced around corners. In turn six of the first lap Scott's #19 bike blew it's engine and he was out of the race! 

Lap 2 passed uneventfully. Both of Kevin's bikes and Scott's one remaining bike were battling for the lead while everyone else fell behind in a pack. Both of Sam's bikes struggled to keep up as he remained in last place.

In Lap 3 Stacy's #62 bike blew its engine trying to pass on the big straightaway. Kevin and Scott remained neck and neck. Sam made up some ground, battling Chris and Stacy to see who would be left in the dust.

Lap 4 saw a clear leader pull ahead. Scott's only bike took a sizable lead on everyone else when Scott rolled a 10 and Kevin was forced to slow down from a 12 to a 7 in a no-drafting situation to avoid his engine blowing up. After that point, all the rest of the racers saw of Scott was his taillight. Chris blew the engine on bike #52 on corner 8.

The final lap, lap 5, saw Scott cruise to victory while the rest of the pack fought over second and third.

The final standings were as follows (with seasonal points earned):

1 - Scott #1      (30 pts)
2 - Chris #39    (27 pts)
3 - Kevin #9     (24 pts)
4 - Sam #8       (21 pts)
5 - Kevin #14   (18 pts)
6 - Stacy #68   (15 pts)
7 - Sam #27     (12 pts)
8 - Chris #52 (burnout, unable to finish - 5 points)
9 - Stacy - #62 (burnout, unable to finish - 5 points)
10 - Scott #19 (burnout, unable to finish - 5 points)

Seasonal standings after the first race were:

1 - Kevin -    42 points
2 - Scott -     35 points
3 - Sam -      33 points
4 - Chris -     32 points
5 - Stacy -    15 points

Everyone had a great time. Even Stacy who lagged behind with his only remaining bike managed to stay with it and beat Sam out to not come in last place in the race. All agreed to meet again sometime in October and race again! Next time we'll have to use a different track...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Jedi Lies? - Intro

Special thanks to my friend Sam who helped me flesh out this idea.

Some aspects of the Jedi Code are very well defined. As powerful beings, there are rules a Jedi must follow to stay on the "pure" path of the Jedi. Jedi that don't follow this code risk drifting to the dark side of the force. But is the Jedi Code merely a set of rules or does it reflect a fundamental morality? Han Solo called the Jedi a "religion." Most religions have a moral code that members attempt to adhere to. Specifically, what does the Jedi Code have to say about falsehood, deception, lying, and trickery? Is this okay for a Jedi to engage in or is it against the Jedi Code? All major world religions here on Earth preach against lying. "Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor," says the Bible. I suppose I always assumed that Jedi, being the "good guys" were held to a similar standard. But then the prequels proved much of what Obi Wan says in Episode IV to be false. So that got me thinking... According to the Jedi's own code, is it okay for the Jedi to lie?

I will be going film by film looking for evidence that helps us answer this question. We'll go chronologically through the series from Episode I to Episode VI (including the Clone Wars movie).

Creature? What Creature? I Don't See a Creature!

Creature, a movie released just the other weekend on over 1,500 screens, has set a new distinction. It's  the lowest grossing film per screen on its opening weekend. How low? It only made $220 per screen! For a film that cost somewhere around $3,000,000 to make that's got to be a disappointment!

Friday, September 23, 2011

RPG Crafting #5 - Character Definition

For our simple fantasy RPG for beginners, Sam and I wanted to stay away from most of the conventions of a traditional RPG. In most RPGs you define yourself by your class, "I'm a fighter," "I'm a wizard." Once you've selected a class, you are then restricted in what you're able to do. A rogue can backstab and move silently while a druid can commune with nature. What ends up happening is rogues all end up being very similar to one another and the same for fighters, wizards, and clerics.

In the RPG we are creating, those artificial lines have been erased. Who is to say that a fighter wouldn't know a healing spell? Who's to say that a wizard wouldn't use a sword? In our game, the answer is - nobody. Any character can pursue any skill set so, for example, you could have a character that can cast a magical attack spell, move quietly, wear armor, and uses a bow. Such a jack-of-all trades character wouldn't have the mastery as a strongly focused character but it is possible. If you wished, you could select skills to build a traditional fighter or rogue or wizard or cleric. Or you can have a primary focus area but pick up one or two other abilities from what would be traditionally considered another class. A rogue that knows an invisibility spell? A fighter with Magic Missile? Look out!

But what about character advancement? I promised to address that issue in this post but I'll put that off until the next post... I promise!

My "How I Met Your Mother" Summer

Last summer was "Battlestar Galactica" and "Firefly" but the summer of 2011 will be forever remembered as the Summer when I watched every episode from season 1-5 of the show, "How I Met Your Mother."

What a great show! AMAZING writing drives this show. This is definitely a case of the sum of the whole being greater than the parts. This show features actors you recognize - Neil Patrick Harris from Doogie Howser and Dr. Horrible, Jason Segel from Knocked Up, and Alyson Lee Hannigan from Buffy and America Pie. This cast makes magic together. What's odd is that Ted, the main character, is actually the most boring of all of them. Harris, playing the womanizing Barney, often steals the show. It's nice that the writers aren't afraid of letting the characters grow and change.

What seems like a very simple, limited concept is brilliantly drawn out over 6 seasons (and counting - two more seasons coming!). The narrative is primarily linear, being told as a story to Ted's kids in 2030. I like the fact that episodes and events are firmly linked to time periods. Each season represents one year of Ted's life. The writers have fun with Ted as the storyteller, sometimes causing him to tell stories unreliably (once he tells the story of his birthday with a goat, only to realize that it was his NEXT birthday that had the goat). Hints and clues about future events are sprinkled all over the show. As you watch the show, you see glimpses of the future that tease you. Part of the interest in the show is guessing who "The Mother" is but that isn't really even possible since she hasn't been introduced as a character. My guess? "The Mother" is the woman who Robin is talking to in the first episode when Ted narrates, "And there she was."If I'm right, remember I wrote it down on 9/22/11!

It's also nice that the show has very tight continuity. Jokes continue from episode to episode (Have you met Ted? or "Major Pain." References are often made to events that took place in other episodes. And things that are hinted at are ALWAYS delivered on later. It's touches like this that make the show more enjoyable for the fans. I don't know if I would have picked up on all of these little details if I had watched the show over six years instead of one summer, but it is nice to know the show's creators care so much about the integrity of the show.

The show is very consistent. There are no bad episodes or seasons (except the intro to season 4 - that's a little rough). I am constantly intrigued by how this story will unfold. Because, really, it's no the story of how Ted meets his children's mother - it's the story of how he matures and grows as a person so he can be the right person for his future wife.

1LR Review: 19 out of 20 - A Solid Hit!

What's Next: Lone Wolf Multiplayer

Now that Marvel Super Heroes is wrapped up, I'll be running a Lone Wolf Multiplayer campaign. This game is based on the solo adventure books by Joe Dever from the 1980's. There was another Lone Wolf RPG that used a DnD D20 system but the Lone Wolf Multiplayer is very, very streamlined and simple. Look for a comprehensive system analysis and gaming notes from our adventures in the weeks to come!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Battlestar Galactica Summer (2010)

The summer of 2010, I watched the 2003 Sci-Fi (or SyFy *shudder*) Battlestar Galactica television show at the prompting of my friend, Bill. That is, I watched ALL of it. The miniseries. All four (or six, depending on how you count) seasons totally about 75 episodes. The movies, The Plan and Razor. And the multiple series of webisodes still available online. I watched it all. In one summer. If you do the math, I watched about an hour a day on average.

As you can guess, I was instantly hooked. What a FANTASTIC show. I can't recommend it highly enough to any fan of science fiction.

Better than Star Wars?
It's action packed. As you're watching, you never get the feeling that these characters as "safe" because in some metacognitive way you realize that they're the main characters and they can't die. It's got you on the edge of your seat the entire time. What's going to happen next? You just have to check out the next episode to find out. I was glad I didn't have to wait to find out because that would have been torture! There are quite a few ninety degree turns in which the show goes in a completely new direction out of the blue. They always kept it fresh.

It's gritty and mature. Star Wars and Star Trek are both very sanitized worlds - Star Wars is meant to be accessible to children and Star Trek represents a Utopian society. No so in BGS. The "heroes" are often forced into choosing between the lesser of two evils. Sometimes well meaning characters come into conflict with one another when they're both trying to do the right thing. The characters swear, drink, and, well, frak. Quite a lot of fracking, actually.

And last but not least, the characters. FANTASTIC characters brought to life by a fabulous cast. In numerous flashbacks, these characters (and there complex interrelationships) are detailed. Every character is distinct and unique. The cast is quite large (20 or so primary characters) and throughout the series characters that first appeared in the background become quite significant.

Some fans have expressed disappointment at the series finale but I thought it was a fitting end to the series. Perhaps my perspective is different than fans who watched it live on television, but I loved Battlestar Galactica from beginning to end. The only problem? The series is so great, no matter how hard you try your BSG role playing game will never be as cool.

1LR Review: 18 out of 20 - It's a Solid Hit!

Marvel Officially Takes Over Disney Comics Publishing

In a move that surprises absolutely no one, Disney has moved all of its comic book licenses over to Marvel Comics. Disney recently purchased Marvel Comics for for $4 BILLION dollars so it makes sense that they'd want to get the biggest bang for their buck. Boom had been publishing a bunch of Disney titles but that will all come to an end in October. I'm guessing we can look for more Disney properties turned into comic books in the near future!

Guillotine: Gaming Notes

As you may be aware, my wife and I recently welcome a new baby into the world - Mary Elizabeth. But what does one do when you're stuck in the hospital for days on end with nothing to do? Well... game! We brought along two very portable games... Settlers of Catan Dice Game and the card game Guillotine.

When my wife and I played Guillotine, I ended up winning. The goal is to get the highest score. My strategy was simple - avoid all negative cards at all costs and collect Palace Guards which grow in value the more of them you have. Final score? 50 (me) to 36 (my wife). So, I got to name the kid. Just kidding, of course. About the naming rights, that is, not about winning. =)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

RPG Crafting #4 - But What Dice?

In our rules-lite fantasy RPG for beginners, Sam and and I have decided to KISS - Keep It Simple, Stupid.

But how do you do that with dice? Aren't dice the lifeblood of RPGs?

As a gamer, it's hard to mentally break away from all of the dice RPGs traditionally use. Percentile dice and the D20 system are so universal. Plus, it's a lot of fun to swing 20D10 in a World of Darkness game or Oz: Dark and Terrible.

Ultimately, we decided to go with the humble six sided die. Why? Well, because everybody's got them. Monopoly, Risk, Yahtzee, and, heck, even Mouse Trap all use a D6. The rest of the dice are specialty tools - 99% of people have never heard of a D12 and have no idea where to get one. So if we want our game to be for new players we're going to have to make sure they can readily get the equipment needed to play.

To make it even EASIER we're going with a SINGLE six-sider to resolve everything. As a function of game design this is a bit of a challenge. To succeed, the character must roll under a target number. That essentially limits an action's chances of success to the following results, depending on what the target number is -

0 - 0% (For example, the chances of someone who doesn't know any magic casting the "Invisibility" spell)
1 -  17%
2 -  33%
3 -  50%
4 -  67%
5 -  83%
6 - 100% (This would be an auto-success)

While you don't want characters to have automatic successes very frequently you certainly don't want them missing 67% of the time because they have to roll a 1 or 2 to hit. That would put most target numbers in areas the character is proficient in around the 3, 4, and 5 range.

But what about character advancement? How can this system show that a character can improve over time, especially since it is so limited in range? We'll explore those questions in the next installment in this series.

Rocketman (The William Shatner Version)

If you've never hear of this, you need to check it out. It's brilliant. My friend Bill showed me this some time ago  and I couldn't believe what I was seeing. William Shatner and this song were made for one another. If you have to have it explained to you, you'll never understand.

The video quality is a bit rough but than, it was 1978. Enjoy.

Later, this was parodied by The Family Guy. Brilliant!

Netflix says, "I'm Sorry!" and, "Goodbye!"

Well, it seems that when people vote with their wallets, companies listen. Sort of. Kinda. Or, not at all. Whatever, Netflix.

After the price-hikes it appears that hundreds of thousands of customers have cancelled their Netflix accounts. This doesn't even account for the hundreds of thousands who have cancelled either streaming or disk rentals! Well, this doesn't make shareholders happy! The stock has tumbled from just under $300 to lower than $170. OUCH!

So, I received an e-mail from Reed Hastings, co-founder of Netflix. He says, "I messed up." What he DOESN'T say is that he'll take back the price increase. According to Dr. Randy Pausch of Last Lecture fame, there are three parts to an apology: I'm sorry, I was wrong, What can I do to make it right? It seems that Mr. Hastings forgot about that last one. Simply explaining your business plan isn't going to make us forget about paying more each month and not getting anything extra in return!

What is the brilliant business plan? To split Netflix streaming and DVD services into two groups. The DVD service will be renamed Quikster and will be totally independent of the streaming service. Wait.. say WHAT? That's right - the two services won't communicate at all! So when you're looking at a DVD you won't be aware that it is also streaming on Netflix. Ummm... Stupid.

The comments are the best. Clearly NOBODY is happy with this move. Netflix would have done better to just shut up and stick with their guns instead of offering this fear-induced, half-hearted apology/explanation. Here's a sampling:
Cary J Hill
Excellent....I enjoy watching an entire corporation suicide itself! 
Ben Cornue · Chicago, Illinois
Well, after 7 long years enjoying Netflix, this appears to be the end.
Kile Golder · The Walt Disney Company
Dear Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO, Netflix,

I am a little unsure what exactly it is that made you so angry at me. For so many years now, I sent you money and you sent me DVDs in the mail. I felt our relationship was going well. At one point, you offered the opportunity for me to watch movies instantly online, and later, directly on my television. In turn, I felt it was right to send you more money, and I gladly continued to do so. And again, we both seemed to be quite happy with our relationship. But recently, you've changed. Sure you are still happy with taking my money, but now it seems like you want me to give you more, while in return you give me less.

Well, I guess Netflix isn't as important as I thought it was. If I want to be entertained I can just read the responses to Mr. Hasting's blog post here.

Oh, and here's his worthless video explanation:

Is it me or does Mr. Hastings look like he's smirking?

A Future Gamer is Born...

I am pleased to introduce another future gamer... Mary Elizabeth. She was born September 15 weighing 9 lbs. 13 oz. at just under 21 inches long. She definitely rolled an "18" for charisma...

I can't wait until she's slinging dice...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

1000 Pageviews!

1LR has reached 1,000 pageviews! 1LR is definitely gaining steam -  we were at 500 pageviews just on September 5th! Thanks for checking us out! And don't worry - I won't post again about pageviews until 2,500!
While I'm thinking Spider-Man cheated to get to 1,000 - I assure you, 1LR did not.
KGS - 9948

Keystone Gaming Society: KGS Podcast - Episode 00029 - Classic Marvel RPG R...

Keystone Gaming Society: KGS Podcast - Episode 00029 - Classic Marvel RPG R...:

Listen to the podcast review of Classic Marvel Super Heroes D100 RPG at Keystone Gaming Society!

Life-Size Monopoly

I hope this lady moved two more spaces.
You know, no matter how many board games are produced, it's hard to beat Monopoly. There's a reason it has been in production since 1935!

That's why it is cool that Bally's in Atlantic City created a life-sized Monopoly board, complete with dice, hotels, houses, silver player pieces (such as the car) and even stacks for Community Chest and Chance! Why go through all of that expense? Well, of course it is to get customers through the doors of Bally's. They're having a special $500,000 giveaway for club members who collect game pieces.

Now, when are we going to see a life-sized Settlers of Catan?

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Trailer

I wish I could say I was optimistic about the chances of this being a good movie... but I saw the first one. If this ends up being good, I'll be very pleasantly surprised!

STILL, it IS a Marvel movie so I WILL see it in the theaters.

Look for a MAJOR announcement coming from 1LR this December! BIG NEWS!

Game Defeated! - Wii Play Tanks!

Ever do something exceptional that absolutely nobody cares about? You want to pick up the phone and call somebody but nobody would even know what you're talking about?

Well, I beat the tank mini-game inside Wii Play the other day. That's right - FIVE HUNDRED FORTY tank kills, 100 levels, and over an hour later I beat the game! Now that wouldn't be that big of a deal except this game is HARD. I mean, this game took longer to beat than any Metroid or Zelda game I've ever played. Wii Play has been out for YEARS. See, on Metroid or Zelda when you die, you just restart from the last save. But I can't tell you how many times I got to level 88 or 91 on tanks only to die and have to start all over again from level 1. Ugh.

So I'm overjoyed that I finally beat this game! I want to shout it to the world, but I'll just settle for blogging about it. =)

I have the Platinum metal in almost every Wii Play mini-game. On to ping-pong and (stupid) bubbles!

Now I can never play tanks ever again.

RPG Crafting #3 - The Rules Conundrum

Now that Sam and I had decided to create our own RPG game, we had determined that it was to be a traditiona swords-and-sorcery fantasy game created for people who have never played an RPG before. But what about rules? For sure, the rules needed to be simple and streamlined if they were going to be for players new to RPGs. But how?

The trick is to balance realism with ease-of-use

Take weapons, for example. What's the difference between a dagger, sword, and two handed sword in battle? Most RPGs have the weapons listed with different critical threat ranges, fumble results, damage results, strength requirements to use, and proficiency requirements. Not to mention special feats, combat tactics, and abilities. And that's just swords! How does a spear act differently than a sword in combat? What about a quarterstaff or a club? What about ranged weapons?

Some RPGs go for utter realism which is complex and involves a lot of charts and tables. Endless modifiers stack up for each and every combat move. It can become overwhelming quite quickly for someone new to RPGs. So we decided to use the KISS method - Keep It Simple, Stupid!

Take weapons, for example. All weapons and spell effects do a fixed amount of damage - either one or two points - so that means no damage roll! Characters will have to have a proficiency skill with the weapon they are using or will suffer a simple -1 penalty to hit. It'll be that easy! Combat should be swift and decisive!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Keystone Gaming Society: The Climatic Final Battle of Our Marvel RPG Campai...

Keystone Gaming Society: The Climatic Final Battle of Our Marvel RPG Campai...

Listen to the end of the final battle!

Full Dark, No Stars - Book Review - Summary

To summarize the reviews of Full Dark, No Stars, Stephen King's latest collection of short stories...

Overall, this book is worth reading, especially if you're a Stephen King fan. It's has been rare that he produces something truly worth reading lately.

Of the four stories, Fair Extension is the best but A Good Marriage is a close second. It's a shame that A Good Marriage is so similar to the prior story, Big Driver, because Big Driver is inferior. 1922 only stands out because it is the only story without a "happy ending. What's with all of the happy endings in this book? King, give me good old fashioned univeral justice! When somebody does something bad, bad things happen to them - that's how the world works!

Full Dark, No Stars - Overall Rating
1LR Review - 14 out of 20 - It's a Hit!

Strahan Visits Riverdale

Is this kinda creepy to anyone else?
Archie Comics has tried some sales gimmicks recently that have gotten a lot of attention. Awhile back, they had Archie "decide forever" between Betty and Veronica. That didn't last long! Then, they did a series of stories that showed two alternate futures for Archie - one in which he was married to Veronica, the other in which he was married to Betty. After that, they introduced the first gay character to Riverdale, Kevin Keller. Finally, both Barack Obama and Sarah Palin visited Riverdale. Now, former NFL great Michael Strahan is visiting Riverdale! Look for his appearance in Archie #626. The solicitation says that Moose doubts himself because he's about to break the all-time high school record for most sacks in a single season which was made by his football hero. Does this imply Michael Strahan went to Riverdale High? Perhaps. Read the issue to find out!

What's odd about this is that many of the kids who would read Archie probably have no idea who Michael Strahan is. Now, maybe if they had chosen somebody who is still playing, such as Peyton Manning or Adrian Peterson the kids who know who the guest star is... Still, they did a pretty good job on "Arch-ifying" Strahan's likeness.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Full Dark, No Stars - Book Review - #4 - A Good Marriage

The final story in Stephen King's short story collection, Full Dark, No Stars is, "A Good Marriage." Spoilers, so beware!

The biggest problem I have with this story is how similar it is to the second story in the book, Big Driver. A woman, when wronged, decides to take justice in her own hands. I would have enjoyed A Good Marriage much more if it had been before Big Driver or if Big Driver would have been in another book.

That being said, A Good Marriage is a good story. Darcellen finds out her husband is secretly a serial killer and then decides to take care of the problem herself. A pesky investigator arrives, understands what Darcellen has done, but lets her go.
Once again, I actually wish that King had taken a different angle with this story. There's a period of time in the story where Darcellen appears to go along with her husband's strange... hobby. I think that actually would have been an interesting angle to run with. A wife who is so desperate to maintain the status quo that she is willing to support her husband as a serial killer.

What's nice about this story is the characterization is so rich. The serial killer comes across as so... normal. He's a coin collector and King connects his chance finding of a very random 1955 double-die penny directly into Darcellen's scheme to kill him. The investator that comes around sniffing for clues after Bob dies is a true Columbo or Matlock - as old as the hills but still mentally sharp. It's touches like this that elevate this story above average.

1LR Review: 16 out of 20 - It's a Hit!

Crossover: Star Trek Meets Legion of Super-Heroes

Crossovers are always a little bit awkward. But I think this crossover is a bit more awkward than most. I'm a Star Trek fan but I hardly know nothing about Legion of Super-Heroes. Typically, a crossover features two properties that have some commonalities. Spawn and Batman are both heroes of the night. Superman and Spider-Man are both inspirational heroes. But the best I can think of for Star Trek and Legion of Super-Heroes is that they're both set in the future. Star Trek is in the 23rd century, Legionnaires are from the 31st century. But throw that out the window because, according to the solicitation for this comic book miniseries, both groups end up in a 23rd century that neither recognizes! This six issue story is the first crossover between a DC property and a IDW property. Could this possibly be more awkward than the Star Trek / X-Men crossover?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Thor: Tales of Asgard (Animated) Review

I recently purchased the new Marvel animated film, Thor: Tales of Asgard. I end up owning every Marvel movie, good or not.

A young Thor
Marvel animation has produced some quality work lately - Hulk Vs Wolverine and Next Avengers were both good. But sometimes they're a little off like with their recent Doctor Strange and Iron Man animated features. I was dubious about Thor - clearly this is an attempt to promote/capitalize off of the recent live action film.

I was pleased with the result. The story is remarkably similar to the live action film's plot (it involves Thor, Odin, Loki, the Warriors Three, Sif, and the Frost Giants) but it has a teenaged looking Thor and doesn't involve Earth at all - this is all Asgard. The quest involves a search for the Sword of Surtur. Characters are portrayed closely to their comic book equivalents which for me is a plus. I'm not sure if this film is supposed to be in continuity or not with the live-action movie but I think their characterization of Loki and Odin in particular are aligned perfectly.

The animation itself was very well done. The fight sequences were interesting but perhaps not up to the standards of DC animation. The effects were, for the most part, good. The style is at times influenced by anime - Loki's design in particular.

The voice acting is unnoteworthy except for Odin. They got some dude to speak normally for Odin but what I really want to hear is a thunderous, deep voice ringing out with power and majesty.

I actually enjoyed the Avengers Bonus Episode under Bonus Features more than the main movie. This Avengers episode basically tells the same story (Thor, Frost Giants, Loki, Odin) but involves the Wrecking Crew, Enchantress, and Executioner. Plus the Avengers episode has a much faster pace and is exceedingly well animated. Very impressive! I'm going to have to buy the Avengers disks for my collection.

Final analysis: 16 out of 20 - It's a Hit! Check out this animated feature for some more Thor goodness!