Friday, November 13, 2009

The Prisoner

I'm sure I'm not the only one in the blog-o-verse that watches TV, and so I'm sure at least some of you have seen the ads for the new The Prisoner television show that will be starrting Ian McKellan ("Gandalf," "Magneto") beginning Sunday night.

Personally, I'd never watched a single episode of the original series until recently (specifically last night...thank you On Demand!), but I've known all about The Prisoner since high school circa 1991 or so. And not just because I'm a big fan of Iron Maiden.

GURPS The Prisoner introduced me to the show without ever introducing me to the show. I mean, The Prisoner originally aired in 1967 (and let me tell you, it is some psychadelic mind-f**kery if you are into that kind of thing) and was British to boot (watching it, you see a lot of the inspiration for Austin Powers "Man of Mystery"). So, not being a great fan of PBS or late night Canadian TV I would have missed the whole thing if not for the GURPS.

I remember picking up a copy of GURPS The Prisoner back at my then-usual game shop in the University District. It was so weird and strange that I read the thing near cover-to-cover, though I refrained from purchasing it. Why? 'Cause I didn't play GURPS and had been spoiled against it by my 7th grade experience. ALSO as a 15 or 16 year old at the time I remember thinking "um...where's the action?" I was the age where Rifts seemed like a good time, and where if I HAD picked up a copy of Call of Cthulhu the game would have probably turned into a running gun battle with cultists and Deep Ones.

Too bad really...on several different levels. I mean, TODAY (in the present) I have matured past the combat-centric gaming of my youth so I could probably get more out of such a supplement. Not that I would be entirely tempted to purchase GURPS for The Prisoner alone, but I might well use it as a guide to a more streamlined rule system like Over The Edge. Now there's a game that's all about the mind-f**kery.

Now that Mad Men is over for the season, I might just check out Gandalf's latest greatest. And maybe I'll wander across the street to browse Gary's used section for an old copy o The Prisoner.


  1. I'm a big fan, I visited the village from the original - Portmeirion - Italian architecture on the Welsh coast - I'm amazing a Gurps version was done and I never heard of it

  2. OMG! Dude, I just was making a post on this. I hit submit, an went to view it on my blog, and I saw your update. LMAO!

    Anway, sorry if it looks like I ripped ya...I sure didn't do it on purpose. Ha!

    Also, I have a feeling that we aren't the only two thinking about this topic, as the new reimagined miniseries approaches.

    Ah well, again, sorry man. Really was a coincedence.

  3. @ yoyo: Great minds think alike man...I was actually thinking about this post all morning (after the Beags got me at 5:50am) but didn't have a chance to toss it up till 10 or so. No makes me feel like I'm not the only one with crazy meandering thoughts.
    : )

    @ Sean: I have yet to find someone whose actually PLAYED GURPS' The Prisoner (though I haven't read yoyo's post yet...) though I've known many fans of the original series.

  4. Back in '89 or '90, we actually *did* play using GURPS "The Prisoner", but using characters/system from a previous game of Top Secret SI. The adventure inspired was by DC Comics' 4 issue "sequel". So the adventure was set in what was a rundown, abandoned Village, and the characters had woken up on the beach. The Village is also being visited by a small team from 'The Opposition' (for some action) and clues were available that gave them two goals: destroy what remained, and find the means of escape: high speed rail system underground that ran between the Village and... ah, but that would be telling! ;)

    It was railroady, but that the PCs (3) were being railroaded was part of the plot. We ran it over two evenings and occasionally popped in the Silva Screen Records CD soundtrack. I even made numbered buttons for the players. I *think* it was fun, I guess it doesn't sound like fun when I recount it. I suspect I could do a lot better today. Perhaps the AMC film will inspire me to try again.

  5. I have all the Prisoner episodes on DVD. I really dug it for the simple fact it was one of the few shows with a beginning and ending, even if it was so weird some parts were undecipheriable.

    And man, if you can find a copy of the GURPS Prisoner you have scored well. I've played GURPS for years and have a large shelf full of their books, but that one is missing. I've been looking for a copy of that for a long time. Good hunting.

  6. I've played in two "the Prisoner" based RPG games, both using the GURPS sourcebook.

    Not surprisingly, neither used the GURPS system. Like most of the GURPS sourcebooks in that genre (Lensmen, Prisoner, Discworld, Alpha Centauri), the book is more about how to make the game work in the genre and as a sourcebook of the show/series/game than as a rulebook.

    Awesome book.

  7. Huh...does anyone really play GURPS? Does the game simply lack soul?