Thoughts: Lost in the Amazon and Boot Hill

Amazon is a dangerous thing.

If you go there you will find yourself lost in a time-displacement continuum searching for some lost relic of the past.

That’s where I found myself over the weekend.  With the flip of the calendar, I found myself only two months left on the dreaded Christmas list.  My list was small. I hadn’t edited it since June and even then, I just had a smattering of things on it.

So I looked to bulk it up.

I threw a few magazine subscriptions in; roughly five movies on DVD; a calendar; some guitar stuff I might use once and forget about; a couple books; and a bunch of music downloads. (Did you know that Minnie Driver made an album and is a good singer?)

That being done, I started to browse.  I don’t know about you, but I have this little evil side of me that loves to look for outrageously priced things to throw on my wish list just to shock the heck out of anyone looking at it.  (Plus, someone might be drunk enough to actually buy it for me. –Nah.) So I immediately went to Overland Journal.  It’s a five or six issue subscription to a travel magazine that costs $100. I don’t know about you, but $5 to $20 for a magazine seems outrageous to me.  Then I looked for a few DVDs that weren’t listed on Amazon.  (Got to go to their own website to order them.  Not good when you want to list them.)

And then I fell into the black hole.

I tripped into my past and looked up Boot Hill by TSR.

For those who haven’t heard of it, Boot Hill is a role playing game (RPG) made in the 80’s.  Think Dungeons & Dragons but with cowboys and outlaws instead of knights and orcs.  I’ve seen used versions go for $70 which is why I wanted to put it on the list.  That would send the viewer’s reeling.  But then I got hit with the shock instead.  Along with the used and collectable versions listed, there was one marked new. The person or company owning it is asking $1,255.58!  Let me say that again they are asking One Thousand, Two Hundred, Fifty Five Dollars and Fifty Eight cents; not counting tax; for a game that cost $20 when it came out!  The damn thing wasn’t even that good.  TSR made roughly five or ten modules or adventures for the damn thing.  It was a huge flop in the RPG world.  Hell, even Gamma World was more popular that it.

My mind triggered, I had to go in search of a more reasonable replacement.  I know for a fact that other companies made what I call pocket RPGs, minor games that came in a plastic case roughly the size of a novel so you could take them with you.  Well, not knowing the company that made them, I stated my search engines.  Before I knew it, I was linking through all sorts of unfamiliar websites in a search to find any pocket RPG that I remembered.  Hours later, I was fruitless in my search.  I did find some full sized western games, but they were also no longer in print, leaving me to think that there must be a curse on all western games.

Frustrated, there was only one thing left to do.  My mind set on the path to make its own.  I have no idea why.  It’s not like I would actually play the thing. Everyone I played with decades ago now live in various states, scattered across the country.  All I knew is that I had to do this.  My mind was so focused on it that I had to force myself to go to sleep that night. Rest offered no reprieve though. The very next morning I was up and writing down the basics of the game. It was all too familiar.  The stats, the classes, the roles, the movements, the abilities, the options.  It all flowed from my pen so easy.  Four hours later, I had eleven pages down and a good framework started and multiple ideas for various adventures.  The purge helped.  After writing  all that, my mind started to notice my surroundings again.  I could once more go on my way and enjoy the rest of my weekend.

I don’t know if I’ll jump back to my game building again, or get caught up in its web once more, but be warned!  Stay away from Amazon as long as you can, for you too could find yourself caught in its gravitational pull of curiosities and forgotten memories; losing time in hour long chunks.

Tread carefully!

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