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June 30, 2000: The Best Site Since Sliced Bread

Illuminated Site of the Week: Sanitize your egg or the bird that laid it. Drink from your hairbrush or preserve your dead aunt. If modern technology doesn't meet your needs, don't get bent out of shape (the nose shaper will fix that up), go retro and try one of the...unique...inventions for which people have gotten patents. Patent attorney Michael J. Colitz, Jr. trots out some of the strangest innovations on the Wacky Patent of the Month site. He deserves a pat on the back...and the site has a device for that, too.

-- Andy

June 29, 2000: Break the Stalemate

The Knightmare Chess Web pages have lacked an online assistant editor for some time. As a result, they're horribly out of date. We're looking for a volunteer who can bring the Knightmare Chess pages up to date and then keep them current. This position will require reliable Web access and a basic knowledge of HTML. (It also requires a love of Knightmare Chess, naturally.) Duties include adding new links and purging dead ones, making sure the FAQ and errata lists are accurate, and working with the Promotional Writer to find new content to keep the page fresh. We're also looking for a Web editor for the Tile Chess page. If you have what it takes, please let us know!

--Andrew Hackard

June 28, 2000: Welcome To My New Headquarters, Mister Bond

Got an extra $78 million burning a hole in your pocket? You could buy a personal luxury sub, the Phoenix 1000, from U.S. Submarines. They also build underwater habitats and small military subs. Lovely, lovely toys.
-- Steve Jackson

June 27, 2000: Steve Jackson Games, Electronic Arts, and FIRAXIS Games Announce GURPS Alpha Centauri

Steve Jackson Games is proud to announce that it has acquired the rights to produce a GURPS adaptation of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri®, a computer strategy game developed by FIRAXIS Games® and published by Electronic Arts. Alpha Centauri is an Origins Award nominee for Best Strategy Computer Game of 1999. Octagon Entertainment, representing Electronic Arts and Firaxis Games, arranged for Steve Jackson Games to produce this adaptation.

Set in the 22nd century, Alpha Centauri begins as a group of colonists sets off for the Alpha Centauri star system with the goal of saving humankind from extinction. As the ship nears its destination, an uncharted meteor strikes it, awakening the travelers from cryogenic sleep. The ensuing chaos results in the formation of seven factions, each with differing goals and agendas. The separated leaders and their crews crash land on a lonely planet orbiting Alpha Centauri and must begin the monumental task of survival on an alien world and of forging the future of mankind. Players can take the role of one of the seven faction leaders, each working to further its own agenda, and all vying for control of the infant colony. GURPS Alpha Centauri will work within and expand upon this framework, while maintaining the fun and flexibility that have made Alpha Centauri a world-wide hit in the computer-game industry.

"It's exciting to know that people outside of the computer game industry will be able to experience the intriguing world of Alpha Centauri," said Sid Meier, Chairman and Director of Creative Development at FIRAXIS Games. "It's a deeply fun and challenging game on any platform."

GURPS Alpha Centauri is tentatively scheduled for a first quarter 2001 release. For more information, contact Andrew Hackard at (512) 447-7866.
--Andrew Hackard

June 26, 2000: Big Sister Is Watching

Just imagine . . . Barbie in your computer . . . watching you . . . Through shuddering? Now read Simson Garfinkel's story in Salon Magazine, and share his adventures with Mattel software . . .

June 25, 2000: Bad Law Alert

Those wacky, way-out Congresscritters are at it again - this time with a couple of proposals that would (1) criminalize certain speech on the Net and even leave it up to police to decide what sites to shut down, and (2) to allow SECRET searches of your computer if the police decide you're dangerous. Read the EFF article in the newest (June 23) EFFector for more detail . . . then write your Senators, your Congressmen and whichever Presidential candidates you want to see take a position on this. Do it today. I'm going to.
-- Steve Jackson

June 24, 2000: Real Men Discovered

My thanks to everyone who pointed me in the direction of the "Real Men" (etc.) creators. The assembled multitude of Illuminator readers is truly a wonderful (and somewhat spooky) resource. I could have asked "Anybody know where those Los Alamos hard drives are?" and twelve people would have responded "Behind the photocopier."
-- Steve Jackson

June 23, 2000: The Toughest S.O.B. in the Valley

Illuminated Site of the Week: Beware, for the Nephilim still walk the Earth. The Bible says they're giant fallen angels, and if The Nephilim Resistance Task Force has its way, they're going to fall again - hard. If the prayer doesn't get you, the HK-91 will.

-- Suggested by Larry Hassenpflug

Warehouse 23 -- Return to the Empire of the Dragon

We've unearthed a limited supply of GURPS China. With 5,000 years of history and a quarter of the world's population, China is the perfect adventure setting. Get your copy while they last!

-- Brendon Rehm

June 22, 2000: GURPS India Playtest Files Updated

For those of you experimenting with the latest offerings from Steve Jackson Games, be aware that the GURPS India playtest files have been revised. All of the playtest files have been replaced with new versions, so make sure you're on the cutting edge of playtest technology.

The revised GURPS India playtest files are available only to Pyramid subscribers. And [shameless plug] if you're not a Pyramid subscriber, then a mere $15 will rectify this deficiency for a full year!
-- Steven Marsh

June 21, 2000: Electrolasers Work Too?

At least, that's what the BBC is reporting . . . could genuine "stun guns" be on the horizon?

June 20, 2000: By The Way, Lasers Work

By The Way, Lasers Work One important unit in the Ogre world is the laser tower that shoots down missiles. Well, it's real now. See the Yahoo story.
-- Steve Jackson

June 19, 2000: Real Men, Real Roleplayers, Loonies and Munchkins

. . . is the title of a silly thing that has floated around the net for years. Lots of people, myself included, have added to it. But I'd like to find out who STARTED it. If you know, or if you are that person, please let me know. (Please don't write me, as a few dozen people did the last time I asked a question like this, to tell me that you DON'T know. Yes, really, they did.)

June 18, 2000: Silly Music and Other Things

I'm going to be at DragonCon in Atlanta next month, doing the Pirate Game and Ogre Macrotures among other things . . . one of the things I'll be sure to check out is the premiere of the new Babylon Park video. Especially since Tom Smith wrote a new song for it -- "Enterprising Man" -- and (hee hee) I got to hear it a couple of weeks ago at MisCon, where Tom was one of the other guests. I laughed. A lot. I like his stuff.
-- Steve Jackson

June 17, 2000: Emergency Backup Origins Voting

The GAMA site seems to be down. If you want to vote for the Origins Awards, go here for now.

June 16, 2000: You've Stayed Your Hour

Illuminated Site of the Week: If you hate out-of-town guests, Instructions for Meeting Time Travellers is probably just a recipe for disaster. For anyone fascinated by the possibility of being called upon by citizens of some future society, it's an open invitation to time travelers to come say "Howdy." Fish and visitors stink after three days, but these folks can leave before they arrive.

-- Suggested by Joe Kisenwether

June 15, 2000: In Nomine in the House

Warehouse 23, that is. For the next four weeks, we'll be showcasing various "packs" of In Nomine products, at special prices, to help celebrate the release of GURPS In Nomine, shipping June 19.

Our first offering is the In Nomine Player's Guide Bundle, containing the Angelic Player's Guide, Infernal Player's Guide, and Corporeal Player's Guide. In addition, we're offering a special expanded bundle, which also includes a copy of GURPS In Nomine at a special price. As an extra bonus, all bundles sold will include the cool "burning feather" GURPS In Nomine poster!

The Player's Guide Bundle is a superb resource for both In Nomine and GURPS In Nomine.

Watch Warehouse 23 for more special In Nomine deals over the next few weeks -- and look for GURPS In Nomine coming soon to a store near you!

-- Brendon Rehm

June 14, 2000: Frog Lovers, This Link's For You

I really enjoy the Annals of Improbable Research, not least because its pages blur the line between serious investigation of really unusual subjects, and Too Much Time On Their Hands. But there are much worse things to have on your hands, as this article demonstrates, and this one illuminates.
-- Steve Jackson

June 13, 2000: It's All Fun in Games

We'd like to thank the good folk at Games Magazine for two nice reviews in their last two issues! In the June 2000 issue, they reviewed Tile Chess (a quote from that review is on the Web page). The August 2000 issue (which should be on newsstands now!) reviews Chez Geek. Robin H. King, among many other great comments, says:

"Brace for guffaws . . . The droll comments on the cards, brought to life by John Kovalic's whimsical drawings, will elicit chuckles throughout the game."

Again, many thanks to Games for their support!
--Andrew Hackard

June 12, 2000: Blowing Things Up Real Good

This site, part of a PBS promotion for a series called "The American Experience," invites you to view the area of destruction or fallout after you drop a nuclear bomb anywhere you like.

June 11, 2000: Faster Than Light

According to London's Sunday Times, two teams of scientists claim to have achieved faster-than-light speeds . . . not with physical objects, but with light itself (or, in the second case, with energy at microwave frequencies). How can light travel faster than light? Good question . . .

June 10, 2000: First Bank of Zuul

Illuminated Site of the Week: Early withdrawal? Don't even think about it.

It may not be non-Euclidean geometry - it may not even be a bank - but whatever brisk business they do here, you don't want any part of it. These images from author and journalist James Lileks' yearly trip to New York City have caught...well, angels in the architecture aren't usually that creepy.

-- Suggested by Stefan Jones

June 9, 2000: Online Voting For Origins Awards

Our congratulations to the Origins Awards committee, which this year has placed the Origins final ballot online - go here to vote!

Everyone can vote, and we hope you do . . .

So vote!
-- Steve Jackson

June 8, 2000: Man Bites Unicorn

No doubt by now you've seen the news about WotC agreeing to acquire Last Unicorn Games; it was in Pyramid a few days ago :-)

Overall, the announcement didn't make as much splash as I'd expected, even though the Star Trek license is involved. John Kovalic's explanation may cut close to home:

"WotC buys major competitor? Been there, done that. Wake me when Man Bites Dog."
-- Steve Jackson

June 7, 2000: New Job Opening!

Have you dreamed of working for the Secret Masters? Then here's your chance! We are in need of a minion (i.e., adminstrative assistant) for the Production Manager. See the job openings page for a job description. If you think you have what it takes, e-mail your resume to me, the Production Master. Good luck, and may the best minion win!
-- Russell Godwin

June 6, 2000: Congratulations!

The premiere issue of Games Unplugged magazine contains an article titled "Top 50 Most Influential People in the Adventure Game Market for Y2000." Several of our Steve Jackson Games family members made the list, including Pyramid columnist Ken Hite at #45, former Pyramid editor Scott Haring at #38, and Steve Jackson at a cool #2!

The editors said, "Steve is a workhorse, producing quality games almost longer than anyone else on the list and he has a lot of name recognition. Our bet is [next year] Steve will remain close to where he is now."

Congratulations to Ken, Scott, and Steve, and to everyone who made this year's list!

June 5, 2000: Geek Rant

Sunday's User Friendly was extremely interesting fnord . . .

June 4, 2000: GURPS Sluggy Freelance!

Timothy C. Emrick has put up this unofficial fan page for Sluggy Freelance in GURPS terms. If you don't know what Sluggy Freelance is, you haven't been paying attention, so go look at that too . . .
-- Steve Jackson

June 3, 2000: Around And Around . . .

Around And Around . . . So there I was, back in Missoula, Montana for MisCon. This small con is always a lot of fun. This year my main event was the Pirate Game, run with the able help of Captain Derek Schin (hey, he IS a captain now. So there). We continue to knock the rough edges off the game . . . it's about time for me to revise the material online to reflect what we've learned. As always, much fun was had and much ARRRR! was shouted. We had about 30 players; almost every ship that I brought was in play at the end of the game. This photo was taken when it was all over - that's me on the left, Derek on the right, and all the surviving pirates in between.

The TV news came out and did a spot on the con, and featured our game. Their ending comment: "Whatever floats your boat . . . " Indeed! Arrrrrrr!

Around And Around . . . After the con, we visited the Missoula carousel; I had first visited it just after it opened, and I wanted to see it again. It turned five years old last Saturday, but it still looks brand new. This is a truly amazing project, conceived and built by the people of Missoula in the authentic tradition of the old 19th-century carousels. It's fun and beautiful. So what the heck, I rode it. And I got the brass ring!

-- Steve Jackson

June 2, 2000: One Jerk on One End of the Line...

Illuminated Site of the Week: If fishing is dull, it's not your bait . . . it's your quarry. Spice up outdoor recreation by going after a target with a sporting chance. Squirrel fishing pits you against - what else? - the wily squirrel. There may come a day when this becomes an organized sport, and it looks like Austin squirrels are leading the pack against Harvard University.

-- Suggested by Art Fish

June 1, 2000: Origins Nominations Announced (We Got 4!)

The nominees for the 1999 Origins Awards have been announced via e-mail. They're not up on the GAMA site yet, but they were posted to (thanks!) by Kevin J. Maroney.

SJ Games got four nominations:

Our thanks to everyone who nominated us. Since only one release can win in each category, just getting nominated is a real honor! When GAMA gets the list posted, along with voting information (everyone can vote!!) we'll let you know.

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