The Ian Gibson column: no longer a legend

Comics legend (or is he...) Ian Gibson returns to the Den

Quite a lot has happened since I last blogged for the Den Of Geek. The house next door (remember the report on their quit smoking healthy regime?), well they’ve been busy lighting up the neighbourhood again. The basement this time, as some unthinking youths broke in and set fire to the downstairs bathroom for reasons best known to themselves.

So I was doing my ’emergency services’ call routine one more time as my kitchen was illuminated by the flames from their window. The following days were enlivened by visits from the fire officers and the police. But, sadly, no charming reporters this time. I guess we are old news now.

And back in September, in a rash moment of extravagance, I bought a computer magazine. Not for the scantily clad lady on the cover, because she really wasn’t very attractive at all, but for the offer of the games on the obligatory disc inside. More on that later.

I’m not sure what made me read the enclosed pamphlet on MMOs, whatever they may be. Probably because I wondered what an MMO might indeed be..? (Massive Multiplayer Online.. ) Acronyms are fascinating, if sometimes badly applied!

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But there I discovered that I am no longer a mere ‘legend’. I have now become an adjective!!! As the writer of the article used, with great economy, my name ‘reversed’ to describe one of the games as ‘Gibsonian’. I am pompously presuming myself to be the reference, as big robots and aliens were mentioned.

So now I have to decide if becoming an adjective is a step up or down from being a ‘legend’? But I do like the fact that I have one up on old Drakon, that Athenian legislator. As I doubt very much that his name was Ian. So I feel I win out in the precision of the name stakes – as if anyone was counting!!?.

But returning to the games on the magazine disc, I was quite enchanted with the distraction offered by the SOTS demo. That’s Sword Of The Stars for anyone acronymically challenged. Delighted also to be able to play as a Dolphin, which is either a tribute to Douglas Adams or Alan Moore and our Halo Jones saga. The only major complaint I have about the game is in the graphics department.

It is obvious that a lot of time and effort went into creating the ships with their flashing lights and identity decals, and the planets with space backdrops for the 3D aspects of the gameplay. But I was quite horrified to have to sit and wait for the game to compute the battle strategy while confronted with a screen of some of the worst renditions of the human form I have seen in a long time. The aliens, that is the Silicoid Queen, the Dolphins and the Swarm are rather charming. But the pitiful attempt to render the hominid species including the humans is painful to see. This is aggravated by the time it remains onscreen too. I just wish they had come to someone, naturally like myself as a preference, to get their graphics sorted.

Pay attention guys: things like that matter. And you’ll be surprised at how cheap illustrators in the real world are, compared to ‘games people’.

Apart from that it is quite dangerously addictive if you are into strategy games. So, one more time, it’s “Alright, you rock rats – get that ore moving!!” And I’ll see if I can conquer the universe. Turn it into something more….Gibsonian?

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Read Ian Gibson’s previous column for Den of Geek here.