ACTION MOVIE WORLD: First Blood is out
About a year and a half ago, I got the bright idea to make a game with the Apocalypse World engine. Apocalypse World, for the uninitiated, is a well-regarded and somewhat revolutionary pen and paper roleplaying game which came out a few years ago. Its system is open source, with only a logo as price of use, and pretty remarkable both for setting up interesting player choices and hooking deeply into specific types of fiction.
I wanted the game to be about action movies. My original thought was a world where all the action movies were real. Where dinosaurs and terrorists and ninjas all existed side by side. My good friend and sounding board, Bret Gillan, said no, that was a bad idea, and that what I should actually make is a game about action movie actors playing roles in lots of different movies. A circus of game ideas, rapid fire. Ninja movie one week, barbarians the next, with a lead actor role which both rotated around the table and guaranteed that there would be an invincible hero.
So I did that. It's out now, with links below. It is, if I can be academe adjacent momentarily, a deconstruction of what action movies are about. Because they're not about violence and patriotism, or not just that. Primarily, action movies are about the physical expression of emotion, all emotion. Love, hate, desire, fear. It's all physical and extreme. And action movies are about friendship, about the idea that friends, even if they're not present, are the bond of modern adventure stories.
Where those ideas of friendship and physicality intersect, you'll find ACTION MOVIE WORLD: First Blood (ACTION MOVIE WORLD is always capitalized). Don't be put off by the intellectual stuff here; AMW is a very dumb, silly game. Those are the games I love best. So please do check it out if you like action movies, RPGs, or both. It even has a preface by a real live professor.