APAGear II Archives Volume 2, Number 1 February, 2000


The House Organ

Words of Questionable Wisdom from the Distribution Manager

Hi, folks! Welcome to...

Whoah. It's Volume 2 of APAGear II. We made it. We made it! By the prophet's beard, we're here!

I'm quite pleased with this fact, if you couldn't tell. For more than a year now, a small group of people has been busting their butts to practice the fine art of writing (and drawing in some cases), and the overall result is quite fine. Take a moment now and applaud the members of the APA, would you? Good show, guys. Good show.

So yeah, welcome to Volume 2, Number 1 of APAGear II: "How I Spent My (Terranovan) Winter Vacation."

This month's title refers to an assignment I gave the members of the APA: For the February issue, they were to write a 500-word (minimum) essay about how a character in Heavy Gear spent his, her, or its "Winter Vacation." The only catch was they were to write in the first person, in the voice of that character. The character could be anyone: It could be an existing official character, one of their own existing characters, a new character drawn up just for this purpose, or whatever. I left the exact interpretation of "(Terranovan) Winter Vacation" up to the authors.

Why? Why the assignment?

Two reasons: First, I think it's a good exercise, getting in the mind of a character and writing in first person. In my college years (egads, ten years ago!), I took a few creative writing courses in order to stay sane during the process of earning my degree in Physics. We had a fairly even mix of free-form writing assignments and particular assigments. In the end, I think I got more out of the assigned writing styles than the free-form ones. Since I view the APA as a creative writing class, I think it's a good idea to hand out such assignments from time to time.

The second reason for the assignment was to light a fire under the butts of the members. You may have noticed a steady decline over the past several months in the amount of participation. There might be all kinds of reasons, being busy with ones real life probably being the strongest. Another might be that some members just can't come up with any ideas for what to write. It seemed like a short, simple assignment would help get some of the guys going. For the most part, it worked: We have seven contributors this month, which is a recent record. (We'd have more, too, except that I and at least one other member of the APA are currently working on other writing projects.)

Overall, I'm quite pleased with how the assignment worked out. You'll note that two of the boys (Jason and John) didn't quite stick to the assignment, but that's okay. What the hell is the point of creative writing if you can't be, you know, creative? I'm a little disappointed that there's still several members who didn't write; we had two months this time to write 500 words. Hm. Time to get out the ruler and start whacking knuckles, I think.

See you next month, folks!

Your Vaguely Humble Servant,

Christian Schaller
APAGear II Distribution Manager

Keener Awards

This month's Keener goes to Scott Blow. Scott got his contribution to me a week in advance of the January 31 deadline. Good going, Scott. New member Josh Peters got his contribution to me shortly thereafter, making Josh the runner-up. Nice work, Josh. (Now what the heck is going on here? Janne Kemppi, Keenist of the Keen was the second-to-last contributor. Something's not right here... Though John Guilfoyle maintains his personal "just under the wire" trend; he got his contribution to me about two hours before the absolute deadline.)

Where Are They Now

A few months ago, I mentioned that Jeff Mackintosh, the founder of the original APAGear, was the new Art Director for Guardians of Order, a small game company in Canada that publishes the Big Eyes, Small Mouth game. I can't recommend BESM enough; it's really easy to play and is extremely open-ended as far as setting goes. For crazy anime action, it's hard to beat BESM.

Well, the Guardians have licensed out a few anime settings for their game system. The first was their Sailor Moon setting, followed by Dominion Tank Police. They have Tenchi Muyo! lined up to come out in the next few months, and Demon City Shinjuku just recently came out.

Which brings me to Jeff, aka whisper. Demon City Shinjuku is whisper's first full Guardians of Order product. (I think he contributed to a couple of other ones in the Sailor Moon setting.) Holy Mamoud! Shinjuku is beautiful! The layout is gorgeous, the fonts are exceptionally well-chosen, the character sheets are gorgeous, and so on. Everything about the book's look is simply wonderful. Nice work, whisper!

Folks, run, do not walk, to your store to pick up your copy of Demon City Shinjuku. It has everything you need to play (except dice, paper, and pencil), including the full set of relevent BESM rules, background information on Shinjuku, an overview of the plot of the (88-minute long!) movie on which the game is based, sample characters, sample baddies, everything you need. (Even if you already have BESM, Shinjuku will be well worth your money. It adds a skill system to the rules, like Dominion Tank Police did, plus it gives some good examples of mystical powers and such, in the way that Dominion gives good examples of mecha. Get it! Get it now!)

Back to APAGear II Archives

APAGear II Archives Volume 2, Number 1 February, 2000