Also, I've just come back from seeing SKYFALL, the latest (and almost greatest?) James Bond movie.
|Bond, overlooking London, in SKYFALL (2012)|
Bond blasted his way into my life when my parents took me to see The Man With The Golden Gun. Scary to think that was waaay back in 1974. I don't think I'd have seen it upon immediate release, it would probably have been the following year and I'd have been around seven years old. I didn't really follow the plot, but I loved the car chases, and the end fight in Scaramanga's little theme park shooting alley had me mesmerised.
|Corgi Stromberg helicopter!|
|Pan Paperback edition, '60's|
In the meantime, however, Star Wars came into my life and Bond was a sort of side-pleasure. It wasn't Sci-Fi, but it was still cool. I still watched them, through the silliness of Moonraker and Octopussy. However, the franchise really got back on track with Dalton's The Living Daylights. Dalton was easily my favourite Bond, at least until the Daniel Craig movies... I know, controversial choice, huh?
But Dalton did get me back into Bond in a big way, and it lead to gaming again with Victory Games' James Bond Roleplaying Game.
It was an odd one, a great game with really good production values that had some minor problems with not being able to use SPECTRE or Blofeld, but their substitutes (TAROT and Skorpios) were pretty cool.
|Cover of the Victory Games James Bond 007 RPG|
- Although most copies in the UK had the tagline
"Enter the Victory Games World of..." blacked out.
(You do know if she was real, the woman on the
cover would be about 8 or 9ft tall?)
But it was the supplements that really showed off how cool the game could be. Sure it did its own stories, including Goldfinger II - The Man With the Midas Touch, and You Only Live Twice II - The Back of Beyond (written by future Bond novelist Raymond Benson), but the adaptations of the actual movies were genius. Instead of just presenting you with the same plot and story as the original movie, things were slightly different.
For example, Goldfinger wasn't about irradiating the gold in Fort Knox, so if your party of novice agents or your cocky 00 agent decided "Oh, I know how this is going to go," and tried to skip to the end, they'd be in for a serious surprise.
|The insides of the rather awesome "A View To A Kill" adventure.|
Add to this the amazing level of production that went into each adventure. Each adventure (barring a couple of them) came in a boxed set, with a whole host of cool extras. Most came with a "For Your Eyes Only" envelope to put things in, usually a set of nicely painted "photos", some cool maps, as well as props, letters, invoices, and other excellent items that gave the players a great insight into the adventure ahead.
I ran just about every adventure there was for the game, some I'd even GM more than once for different agents to see how they'd do. I wasn't a great GM, and some of my players would say I made stupid decisions (even worse than some of the decisions the players made) but it was great fun, and I enjoyed every game.
Even though I had a period when I didn't really game, Bond seemed to follow me. While working in Bournemouth at the Odeon, I worked their lavish charity premiere of The World is Not Enough. It was pricey for the time (£10 a ticket, £25 for premiere seats) and a boat like the one Cigar Girl was driving at the beginning of the film was parked outside the front of the cinema. I didn't see the film that night, I was an usher, and I spent the entire film cleaning up the vomit on the stairs outside the main screen before the glamorous attendees in their tuxedos and cocktail dresses came out and staggered through it. (Some people shouldn't eat take-away before attacking the free booze at a cinema event!)
While I enjoyed the Brosnan films, it wasn't until Daniel Craig took over as Bond that I re-discovered my love of Bond movies. I bought the complete Bond DVD set, and when Sir Roger Moore signed his book (My Word is my Bond) at the bookstore where my wife works, I managed to get him to sign the DVD set. One of my prized possessions!
After Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space came out, I'd hoped to continue the success by trying to get one of the other two "Holy Grails" of gaming - Harry Potter, or James Bond (both things I'm a huge fan of). I even got as far as getting a particularly talented graphic designer friend of mine, Will Brooks, to put together a mock up of a "pitch" for a possible Bond RPG. (You should check out his publishing site http://www.pageturnerpublishing.co.uk).
|Sample Layout from the Licensed to Kill: Roleplaying in the World of James Bond RPG pitch.|
All content is (c) 2012 David F. Chapman / Autocratik / Will Brooks design
Nothing's come of it of course... maybe one day... if the guys at Eon see this, I'm very keen (hint, hint). There are many more pages already set out as a sample!!
So, that brings me to SKYFALL. How awesome was that? I don't want to spoil it for those of you who haven't seen it yet, but it's excellent. I did have a slight problem with them making Silva slightly camp. It could be seen as the typical "make the Bond villain have something wrong with him", like they did with Blofeld, but being gay isn't a defect. Silva was scary enough as he was, and the bit with the teeth... ew! If they'd played him more like No Country For Old Men then I think it would have worked better.
Other than that, it was genius. Amazing set pieces, brilliant action scenes, really cool characters, brilliant finale. The best Bond? Possibly... I do love Casino Royale, but I'll reserve judgment as to whether it's the best one after I've watched it a couple more times.
Meanwhile, happy anniversary Bond. May there be another 50 years of your adventures!