Friday, April 22, 2005

I feel dirty

I’ve put it off and put it off, but today I finally took the plunge and went crawling back to Decipher.

Decipher is the company that manufactures the Star Trek card and role-playing games. Like many other gaming companies, they have a program that allows players to become official representatives of the company in their areas.

I originally signed up for Decipher’s one a couple of years ago. In those days it was called the Product Champion program, and you were able to choose precisely which game you wanted to represent. Naturally, I chose to represent Star Trek CCG.

It’s not a job… as a Product Champion you don’t get paid, but since you’re essentially performing the function of a sales rep, selling the game to players and retailers, it’s necessary for Decipher to compensate you… which they do in the form of a box or two of free cards every time a new expansion set comes out.

I was a good Ambassador (that’s what the Star Trek Product Champions were called). I ran regular tournaments and demo games, and built relationships with the local gaming retailers, as well as made an effort to show the game to other retailers around the town. I wasn’t particularly successful, but that was due largely to the fact that the South African gaming community is very small, and somewhat strapped for cash. Few of them are interested in taking on a new game. But it wasn’t for lack of effort on my part.

Then Decipher decided to move the goal-posts. They renamed it the dAgent (Decipher Agent) Program. They also insisted that we start representing all Decipher games (as if I have any interest in BeyBlade or Megaman) and we were restricted to only one store. Plus, they decided to make our compensation performance based… so if our retailer sold lots of stock, we would get more free cards. This obviously gave the US dAgents a considerable advantage.

When the change came about, there was an exodus of former PCs leaving the program in disgust, and I was one of them. I no longer felt that it was in my interests to devote my energy to it. My whole reason for getting involved in the first place was so that I could use Star Trek CCG as a vehicle for spreading the gospel of Star Trek through the gaming community. If I suddenly had to devote my energy to Lord of the Rings and .hack//ENEMY there wouldn’t be much left for Trek. So I quit. That was about a year ago.

It was a difficult decision... I'm not the kind of person that quits. But it seemed like the logical thing to do.

However, upon reviewing my financial situation this week, I’ve come to realize I don’t actually have the disposable income available to support 2 games along with the rest of my lifestyle… something has to give.

It seemed the only way out was to organize a way of getting free cards again… and the only way to do that is by signing up with the dAgent program again. How embarrassing. Especially after the long, nasty resignation letter I wrote.

I am a Star Trek whore.

Please click this link

Clicking this link will give me soldiers in Kings of Chaos... remember, I'm fighting to protect you guys! Do your part!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

What religions think about Jesus Christ

What religions think about Jesus Christ

A very interesting page... especially for me right now. I'll write a long post about my recent spiritual developments soon.

Missile Bases :: 20th Century Castles, Unique underground properties.

Missile Bases :: 20th Century Castles, Unique underground properties.

OH MY Q! This is the coolest thing I have ever seen!

Now I can buy myself a lair, from whence I can launch my plots of world domination/destruction!

This is almost cooler than an Aircraft carrier!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Kings of Chaos

Kings of Chaos :: Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game

I'm hooked... drop me a line if you're keen to join, you can come in as one of my Officers.

Blackbeard Pirate Action Figure

Blackbeard Pirate Action Figure

Need I say more? (Ok, maybe I do... for those who don't know, Edward "Blackbeard" Teach is an ancestor of mine, on my paternal grandmother's side)

Take a look around the site while you're there... some of the other action figures they have are brilliant... from "Benjamin Franklin" to "Jesus".


Replica Space Suit

Replica Space Suit

For those of you getting an early start on shopping for my birthday gift:

My size is XXL.

Attention fellow IT Ninjas

Why end-users don't like you...

- You make more than they do.
- No one knows or understands what you do, and when you try to explain it, they think you are trying to make them feel stupid.
- You get to go out for lunch, while they sit at their desk and eat microwave vomit.
- When you are at their desk, no matter how well you think you are hiding it, the shrine of cat pictures around their monitor turns your stomach.
- Their boss is afraid of your boss.
- After explaining to you for twenty minutes what their problem is and what they think you should do to fix it, you simply say: "Reboot." And walk away.
- And of course, you can always tell what they lack in their daily dietary requirements from the food crumbs that are shaken from their keyboards. I personally like to shake their keyboard out onto a white paper and tell them they need more iron. I should probably quit doing that.
- They think we are arrogant. ; -)
- Never fix an end-users home computer, because they will never be happy with it and you will be pulling it out of their trunk for the rest of your life.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Mail & Guardian Online: Japanese town gets a real robocop

Mail & Guardian Online: Japanese town gets a real robocop

This scares me.

I've watched enough science fiction to know that equipping automated systems with potentially lethal ordinance and programming them to "search and destroy" is all fun and games until somebody loses an eye.

Call me conservative, but I believe there are some jobs that are better left to real Humans.

I'm looking forward to the day when my house will be populated by a community of robotic slaves catering to my every whim, but I would still prefer the Autoguns at my gate to be manually fired.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Happy First Contact Day

On this day in Star Trek history:

Almost ten years after World War 3, a scientist named Zephram Cochrane converted an old Titan missile into the prototype for a technology he had developed: Warp Drive.

Warp Drive would allow us to travel faster than the speed of light, puttingpreviously impossibly distant locations within reach.

On the 5th of April 2064 (exactly 59 years from today) Cochrane climbed into the cockpit of the missile he had aptly renamed The Pheonix and used its chemical rocket engines to haul him and the Warp Engine up through the gravity well where he could give it a real go.

He gave the Warp Drive a brief but successful test run before returning to the missile complex in Montana for the celebration.

Unbeknownst to him, at that time a Vulcan survey vessel was passing through our solar system on unrelated business. The Vulcans had previously not had much interest in the primative Humans, but upon detecting the warp signature left behind by the Pheonix, they decided to change course.

They tracked Cochrane's trajectory, and in the midst of the fesitivities the Vulcan ship T'Plana Hath landed. The Vulcans stepped down from their craft and for the first time Humans were greeted with the traditional Vulcan salute and the words "Live long and prosper."

Realising that the humans were in no shape to enter the interstellar community on their own, the Vulcans stayed there to help them rebuild their civilisation and guide them into a new age of deep space exploration and diplomacy. A relationship that eventually led to the formation of the greatest organisation ever devised: the United Federation of Planets.

Friday, April 01, 2005

I think I've got it

For most of my adolescent and adult life I’ve been trying to figure out how to make a living from my passion for science fiction.

When I was in high-school I was determined to publish my own comic book series… had dozens of characters and story-lines worked out. It would have been really cool. But I realised the South African comic-book market was very small… and even smaller for locally-published product. The meagre profits gained wouldn’t have offset the expense involved in publishing it. I gave up on that idea.

I’ve had several other ideas over the years, but they all involved winning the lottery… not easy to do.

But yesterday I was thinking and I came up with a pretty cool plan: I want to become a gaming retailer.

I would love to open a shop providing comprehensive gaming solutions… CCGs, RPGs, CMGs, board games and, of course, computer and console games (including the necessary hardware). I would also like to have an in-house facility for tournaments and events, as well as just chilling with fellow gamers.

I know, it’s gonna be lank expensive to organise a premises for something like that… especially taking into account the fact that it’s a very niche market that’s very close to being flooded.

For that reason I’m thinking I should start it online… a kind of mini type arrangement specifically for gaming stuff. I would have to maintain a low profit margin in order not to price myself out of the market, but since the overheads for a website are relatively low, I’d be able to do just that.

I already have most of the contacts I need to pull it off… I just have to build relationships with computer and console gaming distributors, and acquire some e-commerce skills, and I’m all set.

Once I’ve saved up enough capital I can open my shop.

It’s not a cash-cow, and it’s not going to make me rich. But maybe if I keep at it and manage it carefully, in a few years I might be able to become a professional gamer of sorts. That would be super cool.