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Link Media Games (2002-2005)

January 25, 2012

A Fairietale Tabletop Gaming Series

In 2002, I was semi-retired from doing graphic design, which I’d only been doing as a favour to my sister anyway. I wanted to write and draw graphic novels, you see. But that dream, as with so many others, was not to be.

What I got instead was a phone call from my old school mate, Rod, who was living out in the cold wastes of Saskatchewan. See, Rod was getting the bug to do some gaming again. He’d been involved with some players out in Saskatoon, but I guess something was missing, and for some reason, he came to see me and told me what he was looking for: He asked me to create a fictional town that he would run an adventure in for his players back in Sask. He missed my crazy concepts and gonzo environments and such, which I guess is pretty flattering, considered I had thought most of them had gotten tired of that schtick.

Anyway, I can’t remember what was eating up my time, though I suspect it was a temp gig I had at the time at Olivieri Pasta. I said I’d do what I could, but promptly set the notes aside and more or less forgot them. I suppose I didn’t see the point in getting involved in RPGs again. What I didn’t reckon on was his persistence.

In 2003, I was knee-deep in design work for my sister (who could teach a thing or two in persistence herself), when Rodney started IMing me with plans to make that town I was working on into a gaming manual. It was going to be western-themed, but it would be a Link adventure, too, and he wanted to know how far I was with it. I asked him to give me a few days to finish up a couple of things, but wound up in protracted discussions over the next few weeks, late night discussions, and I even wound up winning a bet about how good the classic LINK logo would look in a western motif.

What eventually came from these endless sessions was a gaming manual called LINK: West, which was a sort of hodge-podge of our differing ideas on how to stage an Old World-meets-New World gaming concept. The mere accomplishment should not be marginalised, and I certainly have no desire to impugn our achievement. However, it was less than successful, and I’d feel dishonest if I didn’t tell you that. We sold out of the first print run in pre-orders, which was nice even for an indie publishing group. But when we went back for the second printing, in order to satisfy the rest of the pre-order demand, we over-calculated and wound up with a surplus. And then the book came out, and it wasn’t what people thought it ought to be, and it died an ignominious death.

You can still find sellers for it on Amazon.com. If you buy one and want me to, I’ll gladly sign it for you some day (if we ever meet; otherwise, postage is your problem, I regret). But please, don’t ask me to refund you for it, because I lost more than you did; I spent eight months working long distance to create it, and I didn’t make a dime off of it either.

But I’m not bitter. I mean that. The book really was a bit of a dog, all things considered. We poured our guts into it, but in the end, it really was just Rod and I sending files back and forth via ICQ, improvising this idea we were trying to make fit with a gaming system and publishing company that were a very bad fit for us, and because we were so new and untried, we had no choice but to man up and take it as it came. We took a lot of criticism, and it actually damaged our friendship more, to such an extent that we had trouble continuing with the bigger plan to put other books out after West was released.

We did get back together to work on other books, but thus far, the LinkWorlds series has been floating in Limbo, while I’ve quietly tinkered with the basic premises to make them a little more water-resistant in my spare time. I’d tell you about them, but really, I’ve devoted space to that in the LinkTales series, which might be a better place to discuss the nuts and bolts of the series, I suspect. As well, Rod and I are once again making overtures about doing something with the LinkWorlds franchise, so who knows, you know?

That very nearly proved to be the end of my lengthy foray into roleplaying games, and of game development as a whole, until I came across a gentleman on the internet who got me thinking about medieval gaming again…

© 2012 Lee Edward McIlmoyle

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. werbeagentur blog permalink
    July 3, 2013 11:26 am

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