Thursday, January 13, 2011
Breast Fire, Rocket Punch, Form Blazing Sword
I find it surprising, and not for the first time, that the tags for some of my favorite subjects have but one or two entries on them after all this time. One of the items that struck me as being especially under-discussed in one of my all time favorite RPGs, R. Talsorian Games' Giant Robot Anime classic, Mekton.
As with numerous other aspects of my time with the hobby of gaming, it would seem my exposure to Mekton's original source material was somewhat atypical. By the time the original white box Mekton and the later book version was released I was already an Anime fan. Yes kids, before the 'R' word*, before Power Rangers, Toonami and every Best Buy in America having Japanese cartoons, I was already familiar with the 'Japanimation' phenomenon.
A good friend of mine in Junior High School, 'Buzz', was originally from Burma and clued my friends and I in on the fact that Battle of the Planets was really Gatchaman and robots could get big. Really, really big. This same fellow would later introduce me to a club that met one a month in Manhattan to view episodes of TV shows currently running in Japan which had been recorded on VHS tape. You could record a TV show on a machine and play it back later like a cassette tape? The mind boggled...
A fan of anything with robots, super fast action and a cool story, I was immediately in love with Anime and Manga. I collected tapes, bought magazines I couldn't read and put together plastic model kits that towered above my friends' measly miniatures.
When Mekton came out my good friend Nelson purchased it right away and we played it constantly...well...on and off. See there we're only a few of us who were keyed in to this 'underground fandom' and we still spent most of our game time on Star Trek, Star Wars (homebrew before West End's D6), Villains & Vigilantes, Champions and other supers games and pretty much anything else we could get our ravenous creativity on.
Mekton would stand the test of time however as my purchase of Mekton II in 1987 would renew my interest in the game and the subject. I ran several successful campaigns between 87' and the release of Mekton Z in 1994 (and have run several since). The vast majority of these campaigns have been rather limited in duration however, averaging between six and a dozen sessions. I do recall two long term campaigns however; World Guard Tri-G'Kura which ran for around 24 episodes and Distant Soldier Herakles (and its follow-up/finale Be Forever Distant Soldier). The nature of the original material seems to lend itself to keeping the story short or, for longer term campaigns, running a number of short interconnected mini-campaigns (like OVAs).
Anyway, this brief trip down mecha memory lane has me wondering if they'll ever give the game a reboot. I would certainly support a Giant Robot Renaissance.