Daily Archives: August 29, 2009

We are all special cases

Listening to the latest Limited Edition podcast (now with a new feed, if you haven’t caught up), there was a bit of chat about Champions Online. Being a big comic fan you’d expect co-host Shuttler to be into a new superhero MMOG, but one of the problems he pointed out is that superheroes, by definition, should be out of the ordinary, a special case, whereas in Champions or City of Heroes you can’t throw a kryptonite rock without hitting a dozen flying super-strong ice-shooting magically-empowered alien science experiments. Though all MMOGs suffer this to some extent (the 2006 Azerothian census broke down employment in the region as: 0.4% – Farming (livestock & dairy); 0.5% – Farming (arable); 0.8% – Innkeepers; 1.4% – Retail; 97.9% – The Chosen One Who Will Rid This World Of Evil), suspension of disbelief is particularly difficult in a superhero game. There is a comic precedent, though (probably loads, but one springs to mind): Alan Moore’s Top Ten, a book that follows the story of a police force in a city where everyone has superpowers. As you’d expect from Alan Moore it’s a great story that looks at some of the issues that would unfold in such a situation, not always with a totally straight face (my favourite bit is a little side-plot of the problems of pest control when you have an infestation of Ultramice). It also reminded me that there are a few spinoffs that I must get around to picking up sometime; might be a few more ideas for Champions costumes in there too!