About this blog

This is the official blog of Phoenix Roleplaying, a multi-genre simming site, created in August 2010.

Run by the players, we hope to achieve great things.

Where our journey takes us, who knows.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Krista Bäckman RIP

We have received the sad news of the death of former AJJE and Phoenix member Krista Bäckman, who died peacefully early in the summer.

Krista, who hailed from Finland, was a member of Phoenix from August 2010 to January 2017 and AJJE from its inception in 2005. She was the creator of a number of sims, including World War Three and Starbase 222.

A fuller obituary post will follow, but I am sure all Phoenix members will express their condolences to her loved ones at this time.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Yongary

This dubbed 1969 Korean Godzilla rip-off is very tepid; the action is not good but there isn't enough truly bad stuff to make it a classic riff field. Jonah et al do what they can with what they have, but it's not a brilliant episode by a long chalk. 

Great song at the end though. 

7/10

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Jodie Whittaker is the 13th Doctor

Came running up in the odds in the last couple of days - and it was clear that the people putting bets on knew what they were talking about. Does the BBC have rules about insider trading?

Anyway, a very good choice - it was definitely time to have a woman in the TARDIS - and a very good reveal. Kris Marshall would have been bored.

So, come Christmas, it will be time for 13... and she looks very intriguing.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Loves of Hercules

This is a very silly swords and sandals movie dominated by two stars' chests. The SOL crew have a lot of fun and there are many chuckle inducing riffs, although none truly brilliant. 

The vocalising at the end is superb but the rest of the episode is merely very good. 

8/10


Saturday, 1 July 2017

Doctor Who: The Doctor Falls

More of an emotional episode than an action one, this very much gives some good closure to many of the characters, while leaving the door open for returns. The Cybermen are again great here and there's some nice tying together of all the different origin stories, so to speak. Capaldi's Doctor is a bit moany through much of this, but as a way to 'die' – although he hasn't quite gone yet – it's a superb one. Two Masters were pretty good fun, but not as much as it could have been.

 

Another great ending though; Christmas will be very interesting indeed.

 

8/10

 

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Doctor Who: World Enough and Time

This review is later than usual as I've been away in Vienna, Austria and was unable to watch the episode until today. I made sure that I avoided spoilers though.

 

As we heard towards the end of Steven Moffat's time as show runner, this episode frankly knocks it out of the park. As well as great acting all round – it took me a few minutes to spot one key twist – he's added a whole new level of horror to one of the show's most iconic 'monsters'; going to levels that were only hinted at when RTD handled them.

 

A brilliant episode from start to finish and next week's finale is something not to be missed.

 

10/10

 

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Doctor Who: The Eaters of Light

Rona Munro, who wrote the final story of the original run back in 1989 has been away from this show for far too long – her return is a triumph with a great story, a brilliantly realised creature and lots of great gags.

 

This is also the first story of the 12th Doctor's era to be set in Peter Capaldi's native Scotland and it works really well.

 

9/10

 

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Doctor Who: Empress of Mars

Got to say that I didn't enjoy that one at all. Looked great, but the guest characters were all very broad stereotypes, the plot twists were silly (dropping one big one without warning suggested something important got lost in the edit) and the new Ice Warriors weapon seems like an excuse for the effects people to show off..

 

Also, that was one of the most out of left field reappearances by a character I've ever seen. I didn't even know that voice actor was still alive...

 

3/10

 

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Doctor Who: The Lie of the Land

A strong episode, with Capaldi at his cold best... also, a very different episode for Missy... There were certain elements I wasn't overly keen on though, with the resolution being a bit too 'Power of Love' for my taste.

 

Great central idea, could have been executed (no pun intended) a bit better.

 

8/10

 

 

 

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Doctor Who: The Pyramid at the End of the World

An episode with an epic scope and yet still relatively small-scale, this features one of the best plots we've seen in a good while with a great cliff-hanger. The special effects are also great and it's really good to see an actor with dwarfism playing a human instead of an alien.

 

Next week looks really interesting, even if a bit of a remake of "The Last of the Time Lords", which was nearly a decade ago now!

 

8/10

 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Extended Phoenix downtime

The management of Phoenix Roleplaying is aware that the site has been down since yesterday, but is currently unable to give a time for restoration.

This annoys us just as much as it does you and we hope to be operational again soon.

Sir Roger Moore 1927-2017

It was a matter of time, with three of them as old as they were, before we lost a Bond actor. The 007 fan community knew this and it is likely that many of the obituaries posted today were written in advance. 

While not my favourite Bond, Sir Roger Moore's seven films in the role contain some of my favourites, most notably 'For Your Eyes Only' - a major influence on 'Covert-81'. His 'Jimmy' Bond could handle terrifying and ridiculous situations alike with aplomb - defusing a nuke dressed as a clown is a hard job to play seriously but he did it - while his raised eyebrow will go down in legend.

Getting a knighthood without being a Shakespearean actor is a huge achievement but he was a man of them.

Rest in Peace, Sir Roger. May many a vodka martini be raised in your honour tonight. 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Doctor Who: Extremis

Explaining just what the Doctor has in that vault, this is a very dark episode, literally and metaphorically. The pay-off when it arrives makes the journey worthwhile, but if we're being honest, it's a bit of a slog at times.

 

There's some good humour (although it's rather limited) and the performances are again stellar, but there have been much better Steven Moffat episodes over the years.

 

What this does do is set up the next episode and kick things up a gear... what happens next will be very interesting.

 

7/10

Friday, 19 May 2017

Phoenix Roleplaying wins its tenth Tournament of Simulations award!

The results of the 2016 Tournament of Simulations are now out and Phoenix Roleplaying's The Kestrel sim has won the award for Best Firefly Sim.

This marks the tenth win for Phoenix Roleplaying, making it the third most successful club at the awards. Previous wins were in 2013 (Four awards) and 2012 (5 awards).

Well done to all involved!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Land That Time Forgot

This 1974 fantasy movie based on the 1924 novel is not a bad film, but it is definitely cheesy and the imperialist overtones of the original work are pretty clear to see. The most memorable character for me is Dietz, played with relish by Anthony Ainley, who later played the Master in Doctor Who against Doctors Four through Seven.

 

I have to say that while this episode (which I watched in two parts separated by over a week) was enjoyable, it doesn't stick in the memory like some of the others have. Not bad at all, but certainly not a classic.

 

7/10

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Doctor Who: Oxygen

A strong episode throughout with a strong horror quotient and some very dark humour – especially Velma, the AI voice of the suits. What is basically a lot of corridor action is done very well, although it does get a bit preachy at times.

 

Great ending though... There's a spoilery joke that I won't make.

 

9/10

 

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Doctor Who: Knock Knock

Now that was a nice 'base under siege', or rather 'house under siege' episode with a lot of creepiness throughout and an excellent villain in the form of David Suchet. Bill was again superb.

 

Not overly sure about the resolution, but you can't have everything.

 

9/10

 

 

 

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Starcrash

Who wrote this dog's breakfast of a movie? It's like someone decided to let a 7 year old plot a science fiction movie... no a 7 year old could do a better job. Plot elements turn up with no notice whatsoever, the acting is atrocious, the effects are ridiculously cheap. There are better movies with Caroline Munro wearing a bikini for no good reason, that's for sure; namely The Spy Who Loved Me, which was not actually scored by John Barry (Marvin Hamlisch did that one), whose music is pretty much the only good thing about this. Also, who calls a character Stella Star? It's almost as bad as Luke Skywalker...

 

Bad movies often make for the best riffing and this is no exception. Servo and Crow – it's very odd seeing the latter standing up on his own legs in the theatre – throw some real zingers, as of course does Joel. I laughed a lot at this, although they did miss a couple of obvious riffs... and I have to say that the riffs do sag a bit in the middle of the film.

 

Also, "Live from New York, it's the torpedo sketch!" is a superb line.

 

9/10

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Doctor Who: Thin Ice

Can't say that this one overly struck me; well it certainly held my attention for the whole episode, it didn't exactly thrill me. Bill Potts is proving to be a superb companion and Twelve has got his character down pat. However, the rest of the episode left me cold (pun intended) – there were no real standout guest performances and the street urchins... well, this show has done them a lot better

 

Just how many people of colour were there in London in 1814? That's what I'd like to know.

 

6/10

 

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Beast of Hollow Mountain

Much of the movie here is actually a bit boring; the titular beast is not actually seen until the third act. When he does appear, things get massively cheesy. 

The riffing - in which Tom Servo and Crow are now easily distinguishable - starts slowly but is rolling along brilliantly by the end, even going meta.

Another great episode. 

9/10

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Doctor Who: Smile

Not exactly the most original story in the show's history  - the overall plot is one that has been told before, including one more than one occasion by this show itself.

 

That said, it's a highly enjoyable episode, helped particularly by Pearl Mackie who manages to steal scenes from Peter Capaldi on a regular basis – she says the really obvious things that a regular person would say... rather than a science fiction writer would have them say. Bill is taken us on an excellent adventure, If you know what I mean...

 

I'll get me coat...

 

8/10

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Mystery Science Theater 3000 11.3: "The Time Travellers"

The 200th episode of the show is an excellent one. The movie itself is suitably of its time (no people of colour at all!) to be a rich target for jokes and they're very good jokes indeed.

 

The skits in the breaks were just as good – in particular the bit involving Rocket Number Nine's welcome return...

 

Near perfect.

 

10/10

 

Mystery Science Theater 3000 11.2: Cry Wilderness

A very strange movie but (or rather and) the riffing is consistently solid throughout. A lot of laughs to be had.

Not as good as the previous episode (no memorable song) but still great fun.

8/10

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Doctor Who: The Pilot

I am going to be doing mini-reviews of the current run of this show – as well as the new Star Trek series and Mystery Science Theater 3000 from the second episode on. I will try to do them shortly after I've watched them so impressions are fresh in my minds and I'm not too swayed by others.

 

Took a little while to get going this – 50 minutes was arguably too long for the episode. However, once it did get going, it was very good. Bill is a different sort of companion in that she asks the obvious questions that others haven't always asked in the past. Also, they're very upfront about her being a lesbian, aren't they?

 

A lot of good humour and the Doctor-Bill-Nardole team works well. Also, the trailers for next week and onwards look very interesting.

 

7/10

 

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Sir John Hurt 1940-2017

When an actor's death is the top story on the BBC, you know that they were something special.

And John Hurt, who has died aged 77, was definitely something special.

His roles across his long career were legendary. The Elephant Man. Alien. Harry Potter. The dragon in Merlin.

Then most recently, the War Doctor. His appearance in Doctor Who in 2013 and later three Big Finish audio box sets, with a fourth due for release later this year, gave him yet another generation of fans.

His rich voice was truly memorable and I chose to use it as the one for Beeching, the computer on Alycidon.

His death was a surprise - he had beaten pancreatic cancer previously - but I am not that distraught about it. We all have to go at some point and hopefully he is in a better place now, swapping anecdotes in the green room in the sky.

He had a good long life. In fact, a spectacular one.

Rest in Peace, Sir John.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

The Burning Question #30 is now out

Hi, after way too long a silence (and the tragic death of Carrie Fisher) issue thirty is finally out!

In this newsletter you'll find articles about Atlantis, one of the oldest active sims on the site, as well as Of Knights of Blood and Steel, one of the newer sims.

Silent Hunter has once again contributed an outstanding background article, this time on the Tupolev Tu-22 'Backfire' bomber.

 - mlb38
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