Being in the Main the Mouth of Olde House Rules

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Model Inspiration...

Old-school gamers sometimes face charges of NOSTALGIA!, and this just might be true.  After all, if we had happy childhoods, why on earth wouldn't we appreciate our own past?

But at the same time, there's much, much more.  Old-school games developed under a completely different set of conditions, and knowing (and appreciating) these is important because it frames how old-school gaming approached its own subject matter...

For instance, OD&D (and the very first Blackmoor campaign) was derived in part from the Dark Shadows TV series!  In fact, the whole of geekdom in its infancy was largely cobbled from scattered and varied contemporary fare, like comic books, movies, and television shows as opposed to the present day, where fantasy materials are more mainstream and coherently packaged because, after all, geekdom is now an established genre unto itself...

Even with its many subdivisions (and take your pick here)!

Not only a great movie monster,
but also a fun model and an inspiration
for gaming's flesh golem! 

Walk into a bookstore, and you'll find rows of fantasy and sci-fi books largely corresponding to some established conventions of whatever genre they represent.  Not so back in the early 1970s, and such nostalgia can also be an actual appreciation of (and genuine preference for) how things were different then. 

So now that our entire childhoods in the 1970s can be framed as inspiration for old-school gaming (clever, huh), here's an excellent bit of nostalgia: The Aurora Movie Monster Models!

In the 70s, you MIGHT call yourself a "science fiction" fan, or maybe just said that you "liked monsters and stuff".  So between all those comic books and weekly episodes of The Night Stalker, we entertained ourselves with these fine model kits depicting various movie monsters, like Frankenstein, etc.

We didn't assemble these...

These were glue-together (as opposed to snap-together) and had assorted glow-in-the-dark parts, normally, heads and possibly claws, depending on the monster in question.  And aside from providing ample excuse to snuff some glue, they were LOTS of fun!

Sitting at the picnic table, carefully gluing and painting these while grooving with Elton John on 8-track (we did it) was absolutely contemporary to those OD&D booklets.  And it represents the same basic inspirations!  This was paleo-geekdom, and hordes of us went on to become gamers owing to our interest in these things; monsters, comic books, and the stuff on television...

All the movie giants, like Dracula, Frankenstein, King Kong, the Mummy, and Godzilla counted among the fine kits available, and painting these to taste gave us our first opportunity to express our fantasy leanings within some context.  Nostalgia?  You betcha, but also inspiration for gaming?  Absolutely! 

Nostalgia?  Nostalgia?!  We're talking inspirational game fodder!   

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