Sunday, August 17, 2008

...A Galaxy Far Far Away

Gene Roddenberry............. George Lucas

Captain Kirk .................Luke Skywalker

It behooves me to remind that this blog is about Star TREK, not Star WARS. However, one of the reasons AOL Star Trek Simming Sucks is because of the many individuals, unfortunately a good portion of them being COs that don't know the difference between the two.

The Star Trek and Star Wars universes are two separate places. And while there have been, are and will be Sims that combine the two, a Star Trek Sim is not a Star Wars Sim. There are the technological considerations to be sure. Star Wars is rediscovering technology from earlier incarnations, and doesn't use photon torpedoes. But the real problem is GMs/COs who don't know and don't police use of subject matter for themselves and for others. This leads to a confusing hodge-podge as the attempt is made to assume these two universes and their technologies co-exist. Often this is done less than masterfully.

Star Wars GMs/COs think that because they are whiz kids at Star Wars that Star Trek should be no problem. Many of these individuals don't know the difference between a "senator" and a "councilor." Star Trek uses a governing body called the "Federation Council." While Star Wars utilizes a "Senate" and "Senators."

This lack of knowledge of the subject matter sends Simmers and Sims spinning off in all directions, leaving loyal Trekkers confused at best. After all, they signed onto the Sim to play in the Star Trek Universe, not the Star Wars universe. However, never let it be said that COs/GMs are not opportunists as well. recruiting is, after all a full time job. Many of these individuals switch to a Star Trek Sim from Star Wars as it is a more popular genre in the AOL Live Sim Community (at least for the past 10 years it has been.). This only does a disservice to the Simmers and the Star Trek genre itself.

I am not on any game company's payroll. But for over 20 years now, Paramount has awarded a license to such companies to put out the "Star Trek Role Playing Game." Several companies have had the license since it first came out. But what the RPG has always done is come up with sourcebooks. These sourcebooks, generally used for D&D type roleplayers, but adaptable for any genre, provide a framework.

These sourcebooks always provide good information, basic information and updated (creative) information. They are an excellent resource and are licensed by Paramount Studios, who own the rights to Star Trek. They are officially licensed for RP use. It is a shame how many actually seek out these resources. It is an even worse shame how many COs/GMs/ have no idea, or simply don't care that these sourcebooks exist. That does a great disservice to Simmers.

Bottom line, for COs/GMs especially, but also for players. If you are going to Sim in the Star Trek universe, take the time to learn the Star Trek universe. Study. Read. Research. Plan.

And if you want to run a Star Wars Sim, then go for it. But don't masquerade as a Star Trek Sim.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Dating Game.

To continue on the subject of personal storylines let's just say that Bob Eubanks never envisioned this. AOL: The New Hookup Spot!

Perhaps this is a phenomenon of the internet. People hooking up with other people in a cyber (take that however you want) sense of the word. Online dating has become a phenomenon, some say a curse. But who would have thought it would come to Star Trek.

We are all familiar with Captain Kirk. And even those who have never actually watched an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, we all know that Captain Kirk was quite the ladies man. Well in the 21st Century, the ladies have started to catch up. Some say it is about time. But Captain Kirk is a fictional character. AOL Simming "hookups" involve real people.

Unfortunately one of the unfortunate side effects of AOL Simming and "chatroom etiquette" has been internet "hookups". This is not new, true, but before this was an strictly an online phenomenon. This was accomplished through cybersex and in "virtual", pardon the pun, anonymity. Now it has gone from online to Real Life.

The old adage about women being treated like a piece of meat has come to AOL Simming. Writing partners have evolved into potential partners in real life. And more than a few, I am afraid to say, intending hat from the beginning of their writing partnership. The familiarity that AOL provides providing a better avenue to break down the barriers of internet anonymity. In society this is called predatory.

When you have individuals calling and harassing people on the telephone, in real life, because of "online relationship issues" there is a serious problem. This phenomena is not just a male problem. Women have the same problem. Women, for example, making up screennames to "sneak" into a chatroom or onto a board to "stalk" a former writing partner/simming partner to force them to "be" with them again. As stated earlier, yes it is possible for women to stalk men as well.

Is this the symptom or is the problem? Who can say? Are there a lot of lonely people out there who need to get out from in front of their computer and find a real relationship? Yes, to be sure. Are individuals who have just been captivated by the"power" the internet has given them? That may well be part of it. But yes there are people who try and twist other people's arms. When they are rebuffed, this leads to the next problem I will discuss: Internet Assaulters.