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Wizardry: Proving Ground of the Mad Overlord (1981)

In the beginning, there was Wizardry. No, not the very beginning because someone had to come around and invent the Apple ][ first, but when it comes to home computer role-playing games, it is difficult to get older than the first Wizardry game. Richard Garriott had not written Akalabeth, the precursor to Ultima. Might and Magic and The Bard’s Tale were both half a decade in the future. No, if you wanted to find a multi-character dungeon crawl, you were stuck with Wizardry.

The amazing thing is, it has aged pretty well. It’s damned difficult, but at this point not impossible. I have played through the first level (of ten, I believe); read on for my thoughts so far.

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Coat of Many Colors: The Book of Esther and the End of Haman

Over on Coat of Many Colors, I have just posted Part 3 of my incredibly delayed look at the Jewish holiday of Purim: the End of Haman. (You might also be interested in parts one or two.) It is as close at the Bible gets to commenting on government bureaucracy gone crazy as the King of Persia is unable to countermand his own order to kill all the Jews and instead must order the Jewish citizens to fight back. A great story, no matter what time of year it is.

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Doctor Who: The Daleks, Part Five: The Expedition

You all realize, of course, we cannot succeed against the Daleks alone? – The Doctor

After an action-packed outing last time, Doctor Who switches into a different gear for “The Expedition.” This episode does a great job closing up plot threads and setting the table for the conclusion of this serial. At times, that makes this episode more like “The Exposition” than an “Expedition”, but it is fine. These classic episodes of Doctor Who do like to breathe, but I am not finding the pacing to be too far off at all. Not “modern” Doctor Who, of course– but it does not need to be.

We have some fantastic interaction between the main cast as they debate how far they should go to get home, some sensible strategizing, and closure on a Dalek subplot. On to the recap!

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Coat of Many Colors: Asaph the Psalmist, and his Son Joseph

Over on Coat of Many Colors, I have started a brief series on everyone named Joseph in the bible, in honor of my grandfather and namesake. The first of this is an obscure musician-prophet in the time of King David. I wrote a post about him, as well as his very famous (for biblical musicians) father. Read all about Asaph the Psalmist (and his son Joseph) right here.

If that isn’t interesting enough, it also features a character named “Heman” who, as far as I can tell, does not have the Power of Greyskull.

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Doctor Who: The Daleks, Part Four: The Ambush

“Make no attempt to capture them. They are to be exterminated. You understand? Exterminated.” – The Daleks

This episode was fantastic. We had two great action scenes, the Daleks did not act particularly stupid this time, and the plot came full circle with the re-introduction of the TARDIS’s “fluid link”. Better yet, this episode finally sees the Daleks getting scary. I suspect the challenge will be keeping up the tension as we have three episodes left in this arc, but I try to keep remembering that the original viewers did not know how many episodes were left.

Even more important to the history of the show, this episode marks the very first use of the Dalek catch-phrase, “Exterminate!” On to the recap.

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Doctor Who: The Daleks, Part Three: The Escape

Well, don’t you know about the Daleks? – Susan

Three episodes into The Daleks and we finally get some action! This episode also gives us the Thals for the first time, a perfect race of beautiful people that make inappropriate comments about sixteen-year old girls. Doctor Who is finding its feet still in these early stories, but I do not believe that you have to be a mature show to know that insinuating that a 35-year old man has the hots for a 16-year old woman is a bad idea.

That transgression aside, this is a nice episode that finally moves the plot forward while establishing several new characters.  On to the recap.

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Name Origin: Falmouth, Massachusetts

Falmouth_MA_highlight_largeFalmouth is a town in Barnstable County, Massachusetts and is the south-westernmost town on Cape Cod. It is to the east of Buzzards Bay and to the north of Nantucket Sound with the Elizabeth Islands extending from it to the southwest. The original Indian name for the area was Suckanessett but it was first settled by a group of Quaker sympathizers in 1660. The settlement was incorporated as the town of Falmouth in 1686.

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Doctor Who: The Daleks, Part Two: The Survivors

It’s time you faced up to your responsibilities. You got us here. Now I’m going to make sure that you get us back. – Ian

I can see already that one of the challenges facing “classic” Doctor Who will be the pacing of the serials. The adventure with the cave-people completed in a brisk three-episodes, but The Daleks will be seven when it is done. While the first episode did a great job setting the status quo of the series, the second episode tries to include the key exposition to get us hooked on this serial– and it mostly succeeds– but we realize in the end that we have not made it very far.

After a brief cameo at the end of the last episode, the Daleks are introduced here properly. They are not quite the Daleks that we know from the later series, but the introduction is done well enough. They are a deadly foe, but perhaps one that is somewhat more devious than their blunt-instrument counterparts later. On to the recap.

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