In the 80's and 90's I voraciously devoured a lot of techno-thrillers. I had started real gaming (advancing beyond Risk and Yahtzee) with old AH stuff like Panzer Blitz and Squad Leader. I attribute my dad's collection of the Time/Life WW2 hardback series on our bookshelves as my kickstart for buying these games.
So in college I was studying History/PoliSci and German and my girlfriend (at the time) and her friends dragged from the library on a Friday to go see The Hunt for Red October. They disliked it and I was so entranced I stayed and watched it again. Yup, thanks to Tom Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October" I obsessed and threw my self headlong into the techno-thriller genre. In fact in college it influenced me enough to look at applying to the CIA and I had applied to join Naval Intelligence but a childhood accident precluded my being accepted. What could have been...no regrets at all for the path chosen, just a "what if..." in the life...
Anyway, I read Harold Coyle's "Team Yankee", Col. Ralph Peters "Red Army" and every Clancy book I could get my poor college hands on. This all happened in college so it was damn hard to find time between classes and working 30 hours a week to sneak these into my schedule, but damn if I did not devour them any chance I got.
So my love of techno thrillers lead to my leaving RPG's for a few years and instead gravitating to games like Harpoon, Third World War, and even TSR versions of Red Storm Rising and The Hunt for Red October. I bring this all up as Tom Clancy recently passed away and a great article on the Escpaist discusses Clancy's view/use/value of war gaming.
Yup he had his own RedStorm video game company, the Rainbow Six video games and such, but for me his gaming influence will always be in the realm/ importance of war games.
Given current real world situations: events unfolding in the Ukraine, what if Russia secures natural gas sales with China and they abandon the US dollar for trade? Iran is building a replica of a US carrier right now...and one has to wonder why? Israel is growing impatient with Iran and Russia's no longer going to support sanctions against Iran. I really miss a good techno-thriller writer who can capture the current world complexities that seem to be popping up all over, but I can't think of one that does it as well as Clancy did.
Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks to Tom Clancy for some great stories, for inspiring a lot of great gaming back in the day.