THE NEW JOURNAL OF JOE JUNKMAN

Wannabes, losers, shysters, and gamblers! Lend me your ears!

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The name’s Joe Junkman. I’m kind of a big deal around the Mo-Javi. If you haven’t seen my name slapped on a Junkman Caravan Co. caravan cart, you’ve probably seen it on Junkman brand spoons, Junkman brand refurbished boots, or more likely The Wasteland Survival Guide (written by Joe Junkman).

Now I know what you’re thinking. How in Kass’ name did a know-nothing wastelander without a single dog-tag to his name, come to have his own caravan company, market, and refurbishment factory, you ask? One word. Persuasion. See, when you use the right words, you can convince people of anything. That rusty old spoon? Give it a coat of chrome spray paint and you can convince wastelanders it’s real silver. It also helps when you’re not afraid to ask for more than you’re worth.

It wasn’t always this easy though. I started small time. It took me years to claw my way to the top of the Wasteland ladder: to amass a scavenger’s horde greater than James Gray’s, to build a work force bigger than the Blacksmith’s guild, and to have as many shiny toys as General Kass. A lot of people don’t give me credit these days, they think I just sit behind my desk and count money while “exploiting” my refurbishers. While that’s mostly true, people tend to forget that I used to be one of the greats, a real wasteland adventurer.

I didn’t start my business right away. I wandered the Mo-Javi for a long time, picking up odd jobs and meeting the wackos of the wastes. Yet no matter how many times I contracted radiation sickness, caught bubonic plague from Undying gamblers, or got my arm ripped off by a gooey, half-formed super soldier, I knew that someday I’d end up here. Here’s the secret: If you can make it in the Mo-Javi, you can make it anywhere.

Listen to my story, follow my advice, and most importantly buy my book so that you can learn what it takes become a living legend…

-Joe Junkman

Judge Dredd vs Zombies: Cynical

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Should gamers and games journalists take mobile games seriously? I think so. After all, the Pokémon series began on mobile and continues to enjoy its popularity by adapting to new mobile outlets. Mobile games hold a special place as being easy to pick up, fast to play, and most importantly, addictively engaging. That brings us to 2012’s Judge Dredd vs Zombies, a game which never really hits the mark on any of those three elements.

I almost feel guilty because I love Judge Dredd, (I even made a Typing of the Dead mod for Judge Dredd), but I’ve never really liked the official Judge Dredd games. Countdown to Sector 106 is OK in that it relied more on text and story than gameplay and while Dredd vs Death had a great opening, tone, and made you feel like a judge early on, its late game petered off into a generic sci-fi shooter. Meanwhile, Judge Dredd vs Zombies hardly feels like a Judge Dredd game at all. Before we get into that, let’s talk about the gameplay. Continue reading

Deconstructing Fallout 3: Blood Ties

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When I first played Fallout 3 on my Xbox 360 way back in 2008, I found myself drawn to the hubs and the quests. Exploring the wasteland was fun, but ultimately I was looking for structure and a story. I’ve recently booted up Fallout 3 again, but this time on the PC. With extreme (but lore friendly) modding, I’ve found the exploration aspect far more enjoyable and the quests frankly lackluster. I want to deconstruct the quests in Fallout 3 to think about how they work in relation to an open world map and the player character’s development choices.

Let’s start with the basics. Not counting the three childhood quests, Fallout 3 has a total of 66 quests in the base game: 10 story quests, 18 side quests, 22 unmarked side quests, and 16 repeatable fetch quests. Again, I want to briefly break down each of these to see how they’ve made use of the new environment and the RPG elements. We’ll start with the story quests.


I LOVE “Blood Ties.” I think it’s the best quest in Fallout 3. I think the reason for that is because it’s the closest thing to a Fallout 2 quest in the entire game. The premise is a bit silly, but meaningfully fleshed out through dialogue and written exposition. Still, “Blood Ties” has a great sense of progression and discovery; this ensures that the more you learn and investigate, the better your chances of reaching the best ending. Story aside, it succeeds as a great, traditional RPG quest; combat is completely optional, the ending has a lasting impact on the game, and “Blood Ties” has (in my opinion) the single greatest skill check in all of Fallout 3. Continue reading

Wastelands: Salvage

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As stated on Twitter, I recently picked up Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse an anthology of post-apocalyptic shorts. The series includes many notable authors, some of whom were recommended to me. With this series, I want to look at each story to get a better grasp on the plot, characters, and the apocalypse itself. This promises to be one of the few times The Rad-lands will be breaking away from specifically post-nuclear fiction.


MV5BODU4ZTczOGUtOWMyZC00MDQzLTkzOWItMWQ2NmM0YzZjMDEwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDUzOTQ5MjY@._V1_UY317_CR34,0,214,317_AL_“Salvage” is one of those stories that just makes me roll my lips and go “brrrrrtttt” until I run out of air. I had to read this story twice because the first run just didn’t stick with me. It’s purely subjective, but something about the prose or the way characters talk gave my internal narrator an uncomfortable southern drawl that made the words feel slow and sticky, similar to Willem Dafoe’s performance as Rat in Fantastic Mr. Fox. While hunting down illustrations for this piece, I noticed that discussion on this story is pretty scant. Frankly, I wasn’t surprised to find “Salvage” has a 2.5/5 average on Goodreads. That having been said, if you can get past the thick dialect and the lack of context for the surrounding world, I think you’ll find something worth salvaging from the murky depths of The Mormon Sea. Continue reading

WASTELAND WEEKEND VIII IS LIVE

Wasteland Weekend VIII is LIVE! And we’re right in the action!
If you’re at home, you can follow the action with James Gray on Twitter!
If you’re at the event, keep on the look out for a slouch hat decorated with bullets and a backpack reading “Such is Life in the Wasteland”

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Cult Classics: Wheels of Fire

Following the success of Mad Max 2 was a handful of post-apocalyptic B-movies. Among those was Wheels of Fire (also known as Pyro, Vindicator, and Desert Warrior), a surprisingly decent take on the post-apocalyptic genre which takes a lot of inspiration from the perfectly hammy Warriors of the Wasteland. Despite some mediocre cinematography and acting, Wheels of Fire proved to be a fast paced, action packed, and overall interesting movie. If you follow our cult classics section regularly, you know how this works by now, we’re going to break the movie into four parts.

  1. The plot
  2. Interesting concepts
  3. Cinematography
  4. The ending

The Plot: First of all, this story is massive. Warriors of the Wasteland was just as long, but most of the movie was overextended fight scenes. Wheels of Fire always has something new happening. The scale is massive and so is the synopsis.

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Our story begins with a typical not-Mad-Max archetype called Trace entering a merchant village. Here we’re introduced to his sister, Arlie, and her annoying, controlling boyfriend. In the first 5 minutes, Arlie’s boyfriend fights in a gladiatorial arena where contestants wear car keys around their necks and beat each other with PVC pipes. Don’t think about it too much. It doesn’t matter. Continue reading