Sunday, August 14, 2016

How Galaxy Zento got started

Galaxy Zento has been a long running project for me and the stories have been in my head for decades. Today I'm going to tell you how it all got started. It started as my "do it yourself" role playing game that I developed characters for. But it goes even deeper than that.

In my Junior High years art was my great escape and the one thing that actually made the bullies give me a break. It was the one thing I could do well that impressed others. I was also something of a cartoonist. Crazy Harry was my first character and he was a parody of Dirty Harry from the  movies. CH never used a gun, and he really is quite nuts. I gave him a superhero kind of vibe and made him a private detective. It used to be, when he went crazy, his hair would stand straight up on end, and that was how the bad guys knew it was all over for them.

Harry did things I wanted to do to get even with the world for my bullying. Harry was my outlet and no one ever realized it.

Years go by and as some people know, I ran away from home to escape abuse from my step mother. I really had no safe haven except for times when I was neither at home or school. While I nearly got myself killed, my running finally took root and I didn't have to go back. But then I had new problems that aren't for this entry. Eventually it all let to me going to Job Corps in Clearfield, Utah. Job Corps is a place for young people (mostly troubled) to learn a workable skill and grow up for lack of better terms. It wasn't a very nice place, but I did make friends. It was there, in 1987 that Galaxy Zento was born. I created a crew of heroes called PAC and started drawing mini comics of them.

There was a lot of DnD playing going on at the time and it was still in a controversial stage. I couldn't afford the books for DnD so I followed my Godfather's old advice from when I was a kid.

An OLD pic
"Make your own games."  And so I did. I started making a role playing game of my characters and the stories in my head. It wasn't called Galaxy Zento back then, though. It was called Galaxy Wars.

The immediate problem I had with the name was that everyone associated it with Star Wars. I didn't want that. I wanted my universe to stand on its own. Even though I had no idea what directions I would be going with it at just 17 years old. But there it was and I had some friends playing it with me regularly. Eventually I renamed it Galaxy Zento based on the Japanese word for "journey".

My friends enjoyed it enough that they wanted to play it quite often. There isn't a lot of exciting stuff to do during down time in Job Corps and it made for more colorful time spending. And it grew.

I really had no idea how to make a role playing game and my beginning stats were quite laughable. I actually made life points depend on what you had for weaponry in the very very beginning. That's not the case now, I assure you.

That's basically it, how the idea got started and eventually became the books and games it has now. There is more to the history of GZ and I'll be sharing more of those stories soon.
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