Creepy Countdown: Spooky Scary Skeletons

Part of AddAltMode's Creepy Countdown series

Part of AddAltMode’s Creepy Countdown series

Well hello, internet! This post is part of AddAltMode’s Creepy Countdown. Cue bat (on the right):

Today I’m going to talk about skeletons; specifically, I’m going to list some of the more interesting ambulatory skeletons in geek culture. Skeletons are a necessary thing for vertebrates like ourselves, dear reader. (If you’re not a vertebrate, then please don’t be offended.) They stop you from being a pile of meat flopping about on the floor, or having to leave a trail of your own mucus on which to glide. No offense to snails, but their preferred method of locomotion is less than dynamic, and it makes a mess on carpet.

The problem with skeletons is what happens when black magic gets involved, and they get uppity and decide to claw their way out from that itchy overcoat of suffocatingly warm meat that they’re covered in and feel the moonlight on their skulls.

So, on to the list…

Even scarier is that they dnace like this to dubstep. Wubwubwubwub.

Still from “The Skeleton Dance“, © Disney 1929

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When Physics Grads Overthink Video Games

Time for some maths! Who likes maths? That, or “Who likes math?” anyway was a question that Jonathan Coulton asked the crowd when R and I saw him in Bristol a couple of years back. It was, of course, a prelude to his song ‘‘Mandelbrot Set” but it was a surprise – to me, and I think to JC – to find that I was almost the only person in the crowd to call out an enthusiastic ”yeah” in response. But I like maths a lot, which occasionally leads to trains of thought like this…

Game Spoilers ahead: when the players beat Skullmageddon in Double Dragon Neon, they knock him off a ledge where he falls for a long time (3 minutes, 32 seconds), singing the end credits song. The question occurred to me: how far does Skullmageddon fall?

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Play With This Too!

So, I recently wrote an article about Generations Skullgrin, but since I published it, I’ve got an addendum to make: Play With This Too, a third-party transforming-toy company are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to produce an number of action figures in their “Lost Protectors” toyline. One of these figures is named Desolataur, and he looks kind of familiar…

Desolataur! Image © Play With This Too.

Desolataur! Image © Play With This Too.

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Toy Review: Generations Skullgrin (Hasbro 2010)

Way back in the mists of time (1988), when Marvel Comics produced a merch comic for Transformers, they needed to create a story line for the Pretenders – transforming robots hidden in “organic” shells, disguising their robotic nature within a meat-suit. Mostly, the Autobots wore human-looking shells, and the Decepticons wore “strange and terrifyingfurry covention-goer alien forms. (I suspect Longtooth (a bizarre walrus/furry) and Stranglehold (a shirtless”wrestler” dude) might have swapped factions somewhere in the design process.)

Scorponok devises the Pretenders - because the Autobots will never realise they're under attack when charged by a group of organic monsters brandishing guns and swords.

Scorponok devises the Pretenders – because the Autobots will never realise they’re under attack when charged by a group of organic monsters brandishing guns and swords. Image from The Transformers (Marvel US) #40, “Pretender to the Throne!” (lifted shamelessly from

Whilst shilling the Pretender toys advancing the plot, they devised a plotline starring one Decepticon Pretender who pretended to be an organic, non-transforming alien – and ended up a Hollywood career in monster movies – Skullgrin. Continue reading

Game Review: Choice of the Deathless

Type of game: Text / interactive fiction
Written by: Max Gladstone
Published by: Choice of Games
Year: 2013
Played on: Steam

Choice of the Deathless Cover Art

Cover art by Ron Chan:

Thanks to Choice Of Games I’ve already been able to cross off “marry a robot” from my 2015 to do list. My love affair with that game – the first of its kind I’d played – inspired me to begin exploring the Choice Of back catalogue, which brought me to Max Gladstone’s Choice of the Deathless. And now I’ve been able to  draw a line through ”become an become an undead skeletal lawyer at a demonic law firm” too.


To be honest, I hadn’t actually realised that item was on the list, but hey, you’ve gotta try these things once, right?

Wrong! The beauty of these Choose Your Own Adventure games is that it doesn’t need to be only once; you can try everything, replaying the game as much as you like to explore different options and pursue different paths. This definitely appealed in Deathless as the game’s primary strength is undoubtedly its world-building. The story made me want to explore and discover more of the interesting setting Gladstone has created, a world that takes the “law is an evil business” cliché and runs with it all the way to its necromantic conclusion.

What’s it all about?

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Video Game Review: Double Dragon Neon

Skullmageddon's goons abduct Marian.

Skullmageddon’s goons abduct Marian.

Last december, at the start of the *snort* Primary Gifting Period, I was generously given Double Dragon Neon by my brother. It is, of course, a remake of the classic 80s beat-’em-up Double Dragon.

Billy Lee sets out to rescue Marian

This vehicle must be a time machine, since it came directly from 1987.

The plot goes thus: The villainous magical skeleton Skullmageddon has kidnapped Marian, girlfriend of martial artist Billy Lee, who (aided by his brother Jimmy if 2 players are available) must slap, kick and wrestle through Skullmageddon’s army of goons to rescue her. Continue reading