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Editorial

So much has been happening lately in the magazine's life that we decided to split the editorial this time. This first section will be devoted to updating you on all the big changes around here, with the second being a more standard editorial.

Magazine News

Well, where do we start? It's been one hell of a two months!

I guess the biggest news is that we are moving - well, haved moved. If you're reading this now, the address running across the top of the page should look very different from the last time you logged on, or even from the one you typed in but a few seconds ago. And while you're busy studying this strange occurrence and wondering what foul conspiracy is behind it, you may also notice that our new address is now a lot shorter and easier to remember. (Thank God!) You can now find us at ptgptb.humbug.org.au

So why are we moving? Certain events transpired since the last issue which has resulted in us losing our home at the Maths Department of the University of Queensland. But we quickly found a new home here, as hosts of the very nice people at HUMBUG, so thanks a lot to them. Particularly observant people will spot that we borrowed our first background from them as well! Our new background is once again courtesy of the artistic stylings of Daniel Beeston.

This move hopefully marks a big step for the mag, and indeed these past two months have been a time of maturing for us. In addition to getting a huge groundswell of supportive email and subscriptions, confirming that we were providing what you want, our magazine gained some presence on the internet. We were reviewed by a few other fanzines, including one from Denmark, and a glance at our front cover probably informed you that we have joined an Aussie RPG ring called ROARING. We have also struck up a mutually beneficial relationship with the team behind the new Brisbane convention, Conjure. Check out the Local News for more on this.

But even bigger than all of that is this: Gary Gygax, Supreme Overlord of Role-Playing, read our magazine and sent us his comments! Unfortunately, he was a little tetchy, due to a misunderstanding, but we'll take what we can get. Some of his comments are included in the letters section.

And the last, but most important piece of news was the safe and easy arrival of Alexander Nathan Matthews, second son of Brett, one of our editors. We all wish his growing family the best of luck and many congratulations. Now if I could just get the bastard to stop cooing and start working for us again...

Editorial

Computers. Computers, computers, computers. They seem to rule my existence at the moment. I spend days and days sitting in front of this bloody machine. I tell you, if it wasn't for the money, I'd quit this job like a shot!

Oh, bugger.

Yes, the job of running this mag can be quite stressful sometimes, and indeed we may need to address the workload in the future. But I do get paid, in a way. In the last two months, you have flooded us with emails, and almost all of them were very positive. You raved again and again about our high quality of articles and our supremacy among the gaming zines. Sometimes the comments were so heartfelt they almost brought tears to my eyes. To hear how much our work has touched you was wonderful for me, both as an editor and a writer. It's all the pay I'll ever need.

But I mustn't get sentimental. I'm supposed to be discussing computers. And what marvellous things they are indeed. Changed the world, they have, especially in one area: games. Indeed, computer games are now the second biggest entertainment industry in the world, after movies. We are overrun with these games; already state of the art, yet every day they get faster, smoother, prettier, ever-improving as technology gallops on into the future. Incredible graphics, brilliant interplay, amazing new ideas in game design...computers continue to add so much to the world of games. It is indeed an exciting time for a gamer to be alive.

Most of these games involve role-playing at some level. Some of them practically are RPGs. Others give us new ideas and inspiration for the design and play of our RPGs. In so many ways, computers help us role-play, but they do this most of all by training us in the chief talent a role-player needs - using the imagination.

Yet despite all that, there are gamers out there who are prepared to curse computers as anti-role-playing demons, poised to destroy RPGs as we know them. I should know - sometimes I am one of those gamers.

But as crazy as these people are, you can see where they are coming from. For more than ten years now, computer games have been bragging as loudly as possible that they provided the ultimate, authentic role-playing experience. As this was usually an exaggeration, if not completely false, some role-players got defensive. Especially since computer games didn't cost much extra, and required much less setup to play. Terribly afraid that the claims might one day be true, and table-top gaming would disappear, these gamers took an extreme position in the hope of saving their hobby. The computer freaks meanwhile, did nothing to disuade them from this point of view.

In the end though, this divisive attitude gets us nowhere. It's time both sides faced the facts. Computer games are good things, and do indeed often involve role-playing. How well they do this is a matter of taste. Likewise, the computer evangelists need to realise that to some people, a computer game can never replace the table-top RPG. And the sooner they shut the hell up about them, the better.

In short, computers are better at somethings than humans, and vice versa. This means that the way they run games will always be different. Note I said different, not better.

So hopefully we can keep this issue from erupting into a holy war over the place of computers. We hope the articles here will spark your interest, make you think and even generate some discussion. But it should be remembered that they are opinions, detailing personal tastes rather than absolute truths. Murray K, a new writer on our team, starts the ball rolling with a thorough summary of CRPGs as they are now and will be in the near future. Next, I've taken a more philosophical approach about the purpose of role-playing and how computers can fulfill this. Brett then looks at the combination of role-playing and computer games - the MUD. And once again we wrap up with Part III of the mighty History of Role-Playing.

So I hope you enjoy it. Me, I'm exhausted. For weeks I've been sitting in front of this little black box, writing articles, editing articles, coding html, playing Discworld II, surfing the net, composing email and designing a map for my campaign on Campaign Cartographer. So yes, computers have been very helpful to me lately. But as of now, I'm bloody sick of the damn things.

Besides, with the World Cup on, there's another litte black box out there that deserves my attention right now. Gooooooaaaaaalllllllllll!

Till next time,
Steve Darlington,
Editor.


Have a question for the editor? Mail him here.

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