Who Ya Gonna Clone?

Ewen Cluney through his Yaruki Zero Games small press has quietly pulled off a little coup. Realising that the odds of the classic Ghostbusters RPG being republished any time soon is mininal, and further realising that precisely because that system was so delightfully light the number of integers you’d need to change to avoid copyright infringement would be limited (indeed, by avoiding direct references to Ghostbusters itself the job is mostly done), it would be entirely viable to make a retro-clone of the old game and unleash it on the world – which he has done in the form of Spooktacular.

Interestingly, though one of the various hands that West End Games’ corporate carcass passed through post-bankruptcy put out the D6 System on an OGL basis, Cluney does not seem to have seen any need to do the OGL thing here – possibly because the full-fat D6 System would be overkill for the purposes of reproducing Ghostbusters.

Continue reading “Who Ya Gonna Clone?”

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I Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghosts (Five Out of Six Times)

The Ghostbusters RPG from 1986 was a major step forwards for West End Games – as well as being their second RPG after Paranoia, it was also their first major foray into producing RPGs based on a licensed franchise and the first game to use their D6 System, which would go on to power their Star Wars RPG and a whole host of other games besides. It also came out at a golden time for the Ghostbusters franchise – the original movie had been out for a couple of years, the Real Ghostbusters cartoon series was just kicking off, and Ghostbusters II hadn’t yet emerged to take the shine off of things. It was a magical time when it felt like everything Ghostbusters was gold, and fortunately the RPG was no exception.

Unusually for the RPG market it was produced as a collaboration between two different publishers, with Chaosium along for the ride. Based on the fact that Chaosium’s Sandy Petersen, Lynn Willis and Greg Stafford are credited with design whilst various West End regulars of the era were credited with development, it feels like the basic principles of the game system were cooked up by Chaosium, whilst West End Games handled the presentation of those ideas, writing them up and offering a swathe of introductory adventures and adventure ideas and referee advice. In particular, the text of the game is written in that highly readable and very funny style that West End had perfected in its better Paranoia releases.

Continue reading “I Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghosts (Five Out of Six Times)”