Monday, January 3, 2011

Keep On Bloggin'

Figure 1. An example of gristle by Russ Nicholson
 (from Morris & Thomson, 1996).

As an addendum to the previous post, I want to add a list of other blogs I enjoy reading. These blogs are probably not as regular in delivering content, and some of them are decidedly irregular at that, but they’re all entertaining and well worth reading in their own right. In no particular order:

1. Russ Nicholson. For any fan of adventure gamebooks, Russ Nicholson needs no introduction, but I’ll provide one anyway:
[His] style of black and white line art is at once ridiculously simple in terms of shading and lighting, but utterly over-elaborate in detail and design. He also has a fine sense of over-the-top macabre gore – you only have to look at one of the probably hundreds of dismembered corpses, shattered skulls, or risen dead, from any of the gamebooks he has illustrated, to appreciate his ideal of warped anatomy. As well as all this Russ can also draw the most baroque costumes, accoutrements, weaponry, and tattoos this side of a Terry Gilliam movie. He may not be to everyone’s taste, but there is no denying his impact on gamebooks and fantasy RPG’s during those bright-eyed days of the early-mid 80’s when barbarians were barbarians, amazons were amazons, and dead bodies were so freshly-hewn their gristle still had texture… (Wright, 2009 – and see Figure 1.)

He has recently started an occasional blog where he talks about the methods he uses in creating his unique artwork. As well as including previously published examples, Russ also posts up new and previously unseen work, including odd random doodles that show more talent than most of us could achieve in a lifetime.

2. The CRPG Addict. I stumbled upon this blog when looking for a free downloadable version of the old classic Bard’s Tale computer game. In his own words, the CRPG Addict is one man blogging about his adventure through every PC role-playing game ever released. As of this blog post, he’s currently playing through games from 1987. If you were of a certain generation during the 80’s that spent a ridiculous amount of time playing early computer role-playing games such as Ultima, Wizardry, Bard’s Tale or Phantasie, among many, many others, then this blog is for you. Best of all, the CRPG Addict writes in an amusing and engaging style that is very entertaining to read. You probably haven’t heard of many of the games he plays, and you’ll likely never play them, but you don’t have to – the CRPG Addict is playing through them for you! The least you could is stop by his blog and revel in the sense of purpose of a man on a holy mission…

3. Fighting Fantasist. I’m not sure how I found this blog by Coopdevil, but I’m glad I did. Part of the focus is on Old School gaming and also Games Workshop products from the 80’s – two things I enjoy. Also, Coopdevil has tweaked the Fighting Fantasy rules-system to produce one of the freakiest things I’ve seen it used for – an RPG based on Formula 1 Grand Prix motor-racing from the 1950’s, when it was brutal and dangerous – entitled The Power And The Glory (Coopdevil, 2010). Fascinating stuff!

4. Realm of Zhu. I found this one through the Fighting Fantasist blog above. It’s a “roleplaying miniature collecting combat world building art blog” by Zhu Bajiee (n.d.), and very entertaining. My favourite post is entitled ‘Eye of the Dragon vs. Hobgoblin Ale’ (Bajiee, 2010).

5. Fighting Dantasy. Similar to the CRPG Addict above, Fighting Dantasy is a blog where Dan Satherley revisits the Fighting Fantasy series one gamebook at a time. It’s definitely an amusing read, and although currently out of new gamebooks (the last one he reviewed was Moonrunner (Hand, 1992)), Dan has reprised his blog as a column in the Fighting Fantazine e-magazine (e.g. Satherley, 2009). If you have some spare gamebooks, send them to Dan because we need him to provide some new updates!

6. Turn to 400. This is a very, very occasional blog by ‘Murray’ that features one of the best reviews I have ever seen, namely Starship Traveller (Jackson, 1983) presented as a Star Trek episode guide (‘Murray’, 2010). Priceless!

7. Lloyd of Gamebooks. This blog is by Stuart Lloyd, winner of the 2010 Windhammer Prize for Short Gamebook Fiction, for his adventure Sharkbait’s Revenge (Densley, 2010). It hasn’t been updated in a while, but it’s a good blog to read if you’re thinking about planning and writing a gamebook adventure.

8. Jonathan Green. Jonathan Green is the only currently active writer of brand-new Fighting Fantasy adventures, such as Howl of the Werewolf, Stormslayer, and Night of the Necromancer, which are all rapidly becoming firm fan favorites. He maintains several blogs, all of which are worth reading, particularly when he talks about, and links to other writers talking about, the process and method of being a full-time professional writer. Recommended!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading some of these blogs! In the next post (I promise!) I’ll start actually looking at some specific gamebooks.


Bajiee, Z. (n.d.). Realm of Zhu. Accessed from

Bajiee, Z. (2010, June 23). Eye of the Dragon vs. Hobgoblin Ale. Message posted to

Coopdevil. (2010, October 25). The Power And The Glory RPG Bulletpoint version. Message posted to

Densley, W. (2010). 2010 Prize Winners. Accessed from

Hand, S. (1992). Moonrunner. London: Puffin.

Jackson, S. (1983). Starship Traveller. London: Puffin.

Morris, D., and Thomson, J. (1996). Fabled Lands: Lords of the Rising Sun. London: Pan-Macmillan.

Murray’. (2010, October 17). #4 “Starship Traveller” by Steve Jackson (1983). Message posted to

Satherley, D. (2009). Fighting Dantasy. Fighting Fantazine 1(September 2009), 66. Accessed from

Wright, A. (2009, March 24). Out of the Pit: The artists (Part nine: The creature artists: Russ Nicholson). Message posted to


  1. Thanks for the plug, Andrew! I haven't updated for a while. December is a busy month for me, but you've motivated me to write an update. I'm loving your blog at the moment - very informative with lots of great references. I look forward to reading more.

  2. Thanks Stu! Good to see you re-blogging - keep at it! I'm aiming for a blog post a day, but work starts back next week, so we'll see how I can factor that into the schedule... :-)