Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Let's Go Down The Rabbit Hole, Part I

I don't know if this is pathetic, sad, funny or all three. Pathetisad might work, but it leaves out the funny (which might be more accurate). For the most part, I've been ignoring a lot of Mykal Lakim's activities aside from a snarky G+ post here or there. But he's hit my threshold of, "Wow, I really have words and things to say about this." Having that happen twice in one month isn't necessarily something I'm proud of, either. So I've wrapped multiple digital pontifications of his, plus a couple other choice tidbits, into a couple of posts.

Mr. Lakim, of Dark Phoenix Publishing (in case you didn't know already), was prodded into a flurry of activity over this past weekend. Part of it appears to be due to these three reviews/critiques that appeared on GeekParty. Being questioned mercilessly by +Ryan Good and +Nathaniel Hull seems to be another part of it - most of it in response to his whinge about Werewolf that I posted about last week.

Most people who have fallen need LifeAlert. For the rest of us, there's Mykal Lakim.

There's a lot going on here with this wave of Wikia entries and his other responses, so in this post I'll tackle the Wikia entries and save the other commentary for Part II. As an aside, I suspect he decided to go with Wikia because Wikipedia spurned him. Besides, Wikia has multiple auto-playing video ads per page. That'll show Wikipedia how they're a tool of those big-city folks.

Most of the Wikia entries are supporting fluff for his setting, but there's a few things that stand out. Both posts are predictably condescending. See, we've "fallen short of understanding" and need our hands held by having character creation explained in a different format that's just the same thing that was in the book. He's just a really helpful guy like that!
Because, you know, if the book wasn't clear...
Those aren't as interesting as the list of Dark Phoenix Publishing's books. For the most part it reads off as a production schedule that puts entirely new meaning to the saying, "You can get it fast, cheap, or good - pick two". If HBO could get GRRM to work this fast, the old guy would probably have a heart attack. For certain, Lakim's [ctr], [c], and [v] keys are going to be worn out by the time this thing is done. You know there's some good stuff going on here, because I was able to squeeze in three jokes one right after another. And the best thing is, the Shapeshifter game that he was whinging about having ideas stolen from isn't even on the list.

Prince would be proud
But take a look at the "Playtest Year" column. Every single one of them says 1999 as the original date.Which got me to thinking...where had I read before about the humble beginnings of Dark Phoenix Publishing's game lines? That's right...their Tumblr! That paints quite a different picture of the shake-out of these dates. Vampire: Undeath didn't even exist until 2005 - not 1999.
The Internet never forgets. Even if you do.

Of course, fleshing out an entire Wiki in the span of a day to make it look like stuff and things are happening is a complex task. Any discrepancies are just oversights - with so many balls in the air, it's hard to keep a few from hitting you in the face. He just totes needs to finish updating everything, and then proof that his games arose out of the primordial ooze without any White Wolf influence will be rock-solid. If a detail changes here or there, it's not like wikis have some kind of change history or anything...

I'm pretty sure some of this is going on too
Stay tuned for Part II - I'll delve even further down the rabbit hole and have a bit to say about Lakim's other commentary, as well as try to patch together a history of how his highly original games came to be so sought after by "other companies" that they had to steal from him.