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.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Phoenix needs your help to spread the word!

If you're involved on a fan site for any of our games - or generally role-playing sites - please advertise Phoenix Roleplaying, something you can do just by putting a link in your signature or you can go further.

We could do with every bit of publicity that we can to grow our community. If you just contact or post on one site you frequent, it could attract another player and improve the site for everyone.

So, what are you waiting for?

Saturday, 14 January 2012

D'ni sim now open at Phoenix Roleplaying!

D’ni sim* now open! If you’re as big a fan as I am of the Myst series of games and books, then you’re sure to love this sim!

D’ni: Infinite Ages is not one sim, but a collection of active and prospective sims based in the Myst Multiverse on Phoenix Roleplaying.

Currently D’ni: Infinite Ages – Prison Break is open and accepting new character applications (for a list of all proposed D’ni: Infinite Ages sims to date, please visit this thread)

Prison Break

Criminals, undesirables, and other evil sorts were often imprisoned by the D'ni in Prison Books - books designed to hold an individual indefinitely, giving them no ability to leave. Suddenly and inexplicably the D'ni vault containing all of its prison books was found open, books scattered across the floor, and their occupants no longer visible in the Linking Panel. Where did they go? How did they escape? What will they do now that they're free?

Phoenix Roleplaying is a multi-genre, international simming community. We welcome new players and invite you to play a part of our growing community. Want to see a genre or sim we don’t yet have? We welcome your ideas! Sign up now!

*Sim/Simming: See Simming League

Disclaimer: Content on Phoenix Roleplaying may include adult themes. View our rules here


Saturday, 7 January 2012

Some have greatness locking onto them (Grand Review, 'Area 88' 2005 TV Series)

This might just be the best £4.99 I’ve spent so far in my life. I’ve got to thank Kevin “Zuzutoo” Diamond for it as well. For less than the cost of a lunch out, I bought a wonderful Japanese television series, which I will now proceed to discuss.


The twelve 23-minute episodes of Area 88, set in the late 70s/early 80s, are the second television adaptation of a manga of the same name – which I can’t seem to find to buy… There are plot differences between the three versions, but the gist is such: Shin Kazama, Japanese pilot gets himself shanghaied into a mercenary air force by a man who wants to steal his girlfriend (now that’s a plot that goes back a while – all the way back to 2 Samuel, Chapter 11 in fact). He can only get out three ways – complete three years’ service, raise $1.5 million dollars via the missions (he has to pay for his fuel, weapons and aircraft…) to buy himself out – or desert with all that entails. So, Shin has to fight to survive, flying his F-8 Crusader[1] and later an F-5E Tiger II against the MiGs of the rebels. At the same time, war photographer Shinjo (also Japanese) arrives at the secret Area 88 base, on a mission to take one particular photo…

The DVD comes with Japanese (with subtitles) and English audio – I went with the latter.


The anime has an array of wonderful characters – many of them putting Shin into their shadow. From arms and information dealer McCoy to short-tempered Greg to woman in a man’s world Kitri (whose introduction is up there with that of Merlin’s Morgause in the “how to make an entrance” category), they’re all memorable and distinctive. This includes the “one-shot” characters. I think watching this in English was the better choice as the characters came out more easily for me – I’d have had to focus on the actual dialogue on the screen otherwise.


From the opening shot of either of the title sequences (it changes from episode 4 onwards), you’re in for a visual treat. The jet combat alone is worth the price of admission, but there’s other wonderful imagery and the animation is superb, even if it does contain the most unusual location I’ve seen the words “Isle of Wight” on screen.

I mentioned the jet combat and I’m going to do so in more depth now. There is a veritable smorgasbord[2] of turn of the 80s aircraft, from A-4 Skyhawks to MiG-23s to Saab Drakens – even a Blackburn Buccaneer of the sort that graces the banner of the Phoenix Roleplaying blog, all wonderfully drawn. If I was a squeeing man… The combat is within visual range (clearly McCoy can’t get Sparrows) and certainly spectacular – got to mention the use of Harrier as SAM platform in one episode.


The music is superb. The opening theme tune is certainly hummable and complements the title sequence perfectly, although after several re-watches it gets a bit too long.


While certainly a high-octane jet on jet action series, the twelve episodes of Area 88 are also a deep explanation of war and its effect on a person. Shin gradually gets sickened by the death he sees and causes. There’s one episode that has a wonderful discussion on snipers and the loss of pilots is fairly frequent. There’s another episode where a pilot is reluctant to pull the trigger on a former comrade who is now flying for the rebels, although it’s arguably the weakest of the twelve.

The overall plot arc of the twelve episodes isn’t that fully integrated into the story, but where it emerges it does well – particularly in the final dénouement, where the whole story is partly, not entirely resolved.


It’s by no means perfect, but I’d say it was one of the best air combat stories I’ve ever seen, certainly on the small screen. I aim to get another Japanese series in the next few months – recommendations can go in the comments. Well worth getting hold of – even for more than I paid for it.

It’s also given me some ideas for Fighter Ops


[1]Which I initially mistook for an A-7 Corsair II…
[2] Speaking of Scandinavia – yes, I’m planning a Grand Review of Borgen.
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