News and Stuff – 30th April 2010

It’s Friday! Surely Michael must be doing another news thing?

Of course I am. Even though my school is being visited by OFSTED next week, it’s time for the news!

Unfortunately, it’s a sad piece of news that opens this week’s update. Reiver Games, publisher of top games such as It’s Alive! (which I proudly own a first edition of) and Carpe Astra yesterday announced that they are to close their doors. In a post on his blog, Jackson Pope – the guy behind the whole shebang – has said that there simply isn’t the money for the company to continue trading, and that his only option is to wind the company up. It’s a very disappointing development, and I’m sad to see Reiver go. As one of the true independent games companies out there, I wish Jackson the very best. After sending him a really poorly-timed email yesterday inviting him to come on the show, I hope that one day he’ll be willing to tell us the story of Reiver Games – I’m sure that it’ll be an interesting tale.

Next up – what do you get when two doctors come to the glorious realisation that games actually make learning a bit more entertaining? Well, first of all, you get Nerdcore Learning – their online home. Second, you see that they’ve decided to develop a CCG that runs along the lines of Magic: The Gathering called The Healing Blade that helps medical students through the rather tricky world that is infection control. The Apothecaries and The Lords of Pestilence battle to take each other down by hurling disease or medical brilliance, along with not a little violence. They’re currently organising a second print run after the first set quickly sold out, as well as calling in developers to come up with an iPhone version. Who’d have thought that microbiology could be so… well, fun?

The UK Games Expo takes place on the first weekend of June in Birmingham, and tickets are on sale now. From small beginnings, it’s grown to dominate every inch of the halls where it takes place and covers the whole gamut of gaming. There’s something for everyone, from wargamers to fans of card games and everything in between. Game demos of new titles are also on offer, as well as panels on board game design and writing. There are plenty of vendors too, as well as a bring and buy (so you can get rid of a pile of tat and buy shiny new stuff). What’s making me geek out the most is the appearance of (the other, non-Munchkin) Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone – the guys who set up Games Workshop back in 1975 and taught many a child to cheat through the medium of Fighting Fantasy books. Also on the subject of expos, if you’re near Milton Keynes next week (May 8th and 9th) there’s the annual Campaign event – while it’s primarily for wargamers, there’s plenty of stuff there for all types of players. More information can be found at the MK Wargamers site.

Finally, in stuff even closer to home, I wanted to say thanks to everyone who has listened to the first episode of The Little Metal Dog Show – it’s currently sitting solidly in the Top Ten on the Games & Hobbies section of iTunes thanks to so many people subscribing. So many people have sent me loads of great feedback, comments and messages saying they’ve enjoyed it (someone even compared it to the excellent A Life Well Wasted, which to me is insanely high praise). There’s also been a lot of suggestions as to what kind of things they’d like to hear on forthcoming shows. Little Metal Dog is driven by the people who listen, so if you have any suggestions get in touch on Twitter or send me an email: littlemetaldog@googlemail.com

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