Robot Viking couldn’t really call itself a blog without doing some kind of “year in review” article, right? Actually, I never call this a blog, because I hate that word. So here is a look back at some of the many things that did not happen in 2009.
Wizkids is revealed to have been destroyed by evil clones/shapeshifters. 2008 ended with quite a cliffhanger, as gaming company Wizkids died tragically, leaving fans of prepainted click-base miniatures nowhere to turn (get it?). Months later, we all found out that the Wizkids that died was actually a company of evil clones and alien shapeshifters who had taken over the company, putting the original employees into suspended animation at the bottom of Jamaica Bay. The new Wizkids that emerged this year has a strange, powerful new form and calls itself NECA. The company announced that their plans for 2010 will primarily involve dealing with all the alternate universe versions of Wizkids screwing with their continuity.
Magic: the Gathering turns out to be real. A leaked internal email proved something we all suspected for years — Wizards of the Coast has access to dimensional portals, which they use to visit other planes. All the creatures, races, places and characters in Magic are real things from the places they’ve visited. Indeed, Aaron Forsythe, Mark Rosewater and the other Magic bigwigs are actual Planeswalkers. They party with Liliana Vess and have summer cottages in Lorwyn. This amazing bit of news was somewhat marred, however, by the controversy surrounding “The Zoo.” This is a huge warehouse where WotC keeps hundreds of creatures from other planes for art reference and scientific research. But no one ever visits the Hall of Thrulls.
17-year-old Jeremy Czarnacki wins D&D World Championship. The Hamtramck, Michigan native was drafted 1st overall by the Legionnaires of Unavoidable Violence in 2007 and toiled in the minor leagues for a few years, working his way up from kobolds to hobgoblins and gaining levels with an alacrity that left even seasoned D&D veterans stunned. A true role-playing prodigy, Czarnacki set monster-killing and gold piece records each year he played before joining Major League D&D for the 2009 season. He lead the Legionnaires to their first playoff berth in five years, knocking off the Order of the Greatsword +5 and the Brotherhood of Former Bards before eliminating Copious Dragon Blood in the semi-finals. After two weeks of near-constant media coverage on gamestalk radio shows and web sites (Czarnacki’s trip to Wales with Megan Fox caused a stir), the MLD&D Championship was held in Columbus, Ohio. The Legionnaires took defending champions Insane Cleric Posse to overtime, with Czarnacki earning the winning kill in storybook fashion. In addition to being named league MVP, he also took Rookie of the Year honors and was named team captain after the Legionnaires signed him to a 5-year, $32.7 million contract.
White Wolf unveils World of Lightness. Famous for their horror-themed role-playing games, publisher White Wolf expanded their product lineup in 2009 with a new series of games and supplements. The best-selling World of Lightness core book was soon joined by the Book of Hugs and a storyteller adventure called, “Baking Cookies with Grandma.” Even White Wolf was unprepared for the popularity of their next two releases, however. After quietly acquiring the licenses, they put out “Care Bear: The Carening” and “Return to Dream Valley: A My Little Pony Sourcebook,” breaking all prior sales records and winning the praise of fans and critics alike. While Internet message boards simmer with the age-old “unicorn vs. pegasus” debate, the upcoming “Rainbows and Puppies” expansion promises more sales success. Pre-orders will come with actual rose-colored glasses.
Robot Viking is launched. Clearly, no other event in the world of gaming had the same massive, world-shaking impact of Robot Viking’s entrance to the World of Man in January of 2009. Perhaps nothing exemplifies this as well as the Google buy-out bid, tendered just a week and a half after Robot Viking’s launch. Asked why he rejected the $3.1 billion plus stock bid, Robot Viking publisher Ed Grabianowski cited the “need to maintain an independent journalistic voice.” The World Premier party was held in multiple locations around the multiverse, including the Justice League’s orbiting hq, Mann’s Chinese Theater, Waterdeep, and Yawgmoth’s Citadel in Phyrexia, and was simulcast via satellite (the pay-per-view take alone exceeded $120 million). Luminaries spotted at the event included Urza, Mordenkainen, the current head of the Camarilla, Tony Stark and Megan Fox.