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Diabolical Plots is a Sci-fi/Fantasy zine that covers virtually every media related to the genre from books to movies to video games. This site also features regular content related to the craft of writing. Take a look around!

01 March 2010 ~ 1 Comment

Interview with a Game Developer: Matt Kempke

Well, we decided to publish a relatively long demo, which consists of the first of four acts and makes up about 10 percent of the full game. This way gamers get a chance to play a bit and get into the game and the story – and if they are interested to see how the story continues and then at some point ends they will hopefully buy the full version. Greg does a great job building our website and also creating a streamable version of the demo, that people can play online in their browsers, while he is still programming for the game and doing his fulltime job. I am sure we will come up with some more ideas to spread the word, but from the experience of the release of WMYT back in 2007 I know that sometimes the news on the internet can travel much faster than one might expect.

21 February 2010 ~ 3 Comments

David Sale #6–What Makes You Tick reprint

Sale #6 today! It will be a reprint of my story What Makes You Tick (which I sold for the first time to the upcoming War of the Worlds: Frontlines anthology). Brain Harvest is an online magazine which specializes in very short, strange stories (up to 750 words). It’ll be posted there for free some time after the anthology is printed, so if you’d like to read what sort of stories Schnarr bought for the antho, you can look at it as a free sample.

18 February 2010 ~ 1 Comment

Niche Game: Earthworm Jim 1 & 2

The stages and villains of the game are weird and varied, Psy-Crow being the least interesting of the group. “What the Heck?” takes place on a Hell-like planet called Heck, which is ruled by Evil the Cat (we all knew a cat was behind it, admit it). The background music for that one involves elevator music and tortured screams. The level is patrolled by briefcase toting lawyers who use their briefcase to block your blaster fire, and also snowmen. In the end you face off against Evil himself. Then there’s Major Mucus, a being made entirely out of phlegm. You have a bungee jumping battle where each of you try to knock the other into rock walls to break the other’s cord.

15 February 2010 ~ 16 Comments

Review: The Golden Compass and His Dark Materials trilogy

But starting with the second book, The Subtle Knife, the anti-religion message began to coalesce even as the quality of the story declined. The third book, The Amber Spyglass, has an anti-religion message as subtle as a club with nails in, which I might’ve been able to overlook with great effort except that the story was weak as well, serving only to provide the framework with which to hang the message. Major characters constantly take a 180 degree turn in traits without any warning or provocation, even including our protagonist, Lyra! They spend embark on quests with no clear goal and much of the time is spent with secondary characters in other worlds that end up having no appreciable effect on anything!

11 February 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Niche Game: Super Smash Bros.

Enter Super Smash Bros. (SSB), released for the Nintendo 64 by HAL Laboratory in 1999. The most unique feature of the game is immediately obvious: the fighters are all Nintendo-licensed characters from other games. Mario throws punches and fireballs. Samus Aran fires charged-up plasma shots, missiles, and drops bombs from her morph-ball form. And others, including several that characters that you can unlock. If you’re a Nintendo lover like me, it’s a lot of fun sending Donkey Kong in for a wind-up punch against Fox McCloud.

08 February 2010 ~ 4 Comments

Walking the Tightrope: Tad Williams

Tad Williams is a science fiction and fantasy author who has written many excellent novels, including the Otherland series and the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series. Shadowmarch is his current series in progress, with the third of fourth books scheduled to be released in early 2010 with the title “Shadowrise”. He is also writing a young adult series called Ordinary Farm with Deborah Beale, his wife, with the second book scheduled for 2010 titled “A Witch at Ordinary Farm.”

04 February 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Fiction Sale #4–Turning Back the Clock to Bull Spec

The story: Turning Back the Clock, a time travel story about a man trying to prevent his wife’s death.
The publication: Bull Spec, a brand new market. Their premier issue is scheduled to come out in the next couple weeks. They’ll have both audio versions and print versions. http://www.bullspec.com The date: Not sure yet. Not Issue #1, but perhaps #2 or #3, Summer 2010

04 February 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Niche Game: Grand Theft Auto

The original Grand Theft Auto, the game that started the memorable series, was released by DMA Design, now known as Rockstar North. This is just one in the long list of ingenius games this company is capable of, with such varied gameplay that you never get bored. This game is similar in some ways to its descendents, but has many unique traits of its own.

01 February 2010 ~ 1 Comment

Wheel of Time Re-read Review: Crossroads of Twilight

I’ve long proclaimed that Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time fantasy series is my favorite fantasy series of all time. The characters are great, the magic system is detailed and interesting, and the worldbuilding is just extraordinary. Jordan strikes just the right balance between style and substance, hitting a medium that flows easily but still reads in an appealing way.

But, since 2007, I have been dreading picking the series again. The reason for my dread is not anything that Robert Jordan did, but rather a change in my tastes, leaning towards the critical.

28 January 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Game Review: “Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier” for the PS2

As in previous installments, through the course of the game, Jak acquires weapons and abilities that bring a lot of variety to the gameplay. Instead of just retreading old territory with eco-based powers from previous games, however, this game brings a whole slew of new toys, including a weaponized ball of energy you can throw at enemies, temporary eco-crystals you can grow to change your environment at strategic locations, an ersatz jet-pack, and the ability to slow time (okay, that one was from previous games).