The Last Word

Daniel Wilks re­mem­bers the days when we did the things

PCPOWERPLAY - - Contents -

The

first game I ever re­viewed for money was Myth: The Fallen Lords. David Holling­worth (who is about to be­come the ed­i­tor of PCPP), who was work­ing on PC Author­ity at the time (the mag­a­zine that would go on to be­come PCPP’s sis­ter pub­li­ca­tion, PC & Tech Author­ity) was the per­son who com­mis­sioned me. Small world, huh? I was an em­ploy­ment agent at the time be­cause, af­ter a failed stint as a play­wright in res­i­dence for a theatre com­pany, I didn’t think that I would be able to make a liv­ing writ­ing, at least not out­side of ad­ver­tis­ing or copy­writ­ing, two ca­reer paths most of my fam­ily fol­lowed. Two years later I was the tech ed­i­tor for this mag­a­zine, and for nearly two decades I have made my liv­ing with words, ei­ther in print or writ­ing scripts for TV dur­ing one of my brief stints away from Next­media. It’s been a hell of a ride.

I started my ca­reer in one of the great­est years for gam­ing ever. 2000 saw the re­lease of Bal­dur’s Gate II: Shad­ows of Amn, Deus Ex, No One Lives For­ever, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, Sac­ri­fice, Counter-Strike, Di­a­blo II, Thief II: The Metal Age, Home­world: Cat­a­clysm, The Long­est Jour­ney, The Sims, Shogun: To­tal War, Es­cape from Mon­key Is­land, and more. As the new kid on the block I didn’t get to re­view any of the good shit. That changed in 2001. I can’t re­mem­ber ev­ery­thing I re­viewed that year, but Wiz­ardry 8 cer­tainly stands out, as do Bat­tle Realms, Gothic and Ar­canum: Of Steam­works and Magic Ob­scura. 2001 also saw me cut­ting a hole in the back of my case so I could fit a new (well, rel­a­tively new) video card. Re­leased in 2000, the 3dfx Voodoo 5 5500 was a surf­board of a card, but at the time it was ex­tremely pow­er­ful. Pow­er­ful enough that it trumped the first gen­er­a­tion or two of GeForce cards re­leased around the same time. As pow­er­ful as it was it wasn’t com­pat­i­ble with all en­gines, but it served me well for a while, and taught me a lot about deal­ing with prob­lem­atic hard­ware.

Af­ter the Voodoo 5, there was a brief flir­ta­tion with Ma­trox (I think it was ei­ther the Parhe­lia or Mil­len­nium P750), then maybe an nForce (Nvidia mo­bos with a built- in GeForce 4 GPU), a few years with ATI (bought by AMD in 2006) when the Radeon Cards left the equiv­a­lent GeForce cards in the dust, and then an about face to Nvidia when ATI fell by the way­side. Sim­i­larly I’ve di­vided my time pretty evenly be­tween In­tel and AMD CPUs, spend­ing an in­or­di­nate amount of time us­ing a pen­cil to over­clock AMD chips, and equally as much time over­clock­ing In­tel CPUs through the bios. It’s been quite the ride.

Now that I’m leav­ing, for what I think will be the fi­nal time (un­like the mul­ti­ple other times I’ve left the em­ploy of Next­media) I don’t want to be maudlin or sad. I’d rather look back upon my years with the com­pany and the two mag­a­zines I’ve writ­ten for and helmed, PC Pow­er­Play and Hy­per, with a mix­ture of joy and pride. I’ve made mis­takes, sure, but I’ve had some great suc­cesses. I’ve had the plea­sure of com­mis­sion­ing and pub­lish­ing some truly fan­tas­tic work rang­ing from joke fea­tures through to in-depth in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism. I’ve worked with a cav­al­cade of fan­tas­tic peo­ple, many of whom have gone on to have in­ter­est­ing ca­reers of their own. I’ve had a num­ber of in­terns that I have men­tored who have gone on to be­come great jour­nal­ists, stream­ers, me­dia re­la­tions and more. I’ve met and talked to some in­cred­i­ble peo­ple, I’ve been the good guy, and I’ve been the vil­lain (es­pe­cially in the minds of a few PR peo­ple). I’ve had a blast.

If there is one thing I’ve learned in my years work­ing on gam­ing mags, is that things change, of­ten very quickly. Tech­nol­ogy evolves, as does the cov­er­age of tech­nol­ogy in me­dia. And now it’s my turn do evolve and go off in a new di­rec­tion. For nearly two decades I’ve made my liv­ing writ­ing about games and the tech­nol­ogy used to play games. While I still will be dab­bling with games writ­ing for the fore­see­able fu­ture, I think it’s time to try some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. I don’t want to give much away about my fu­ture plans in case I fail dis­mally, so I can pre­tend it never hap­pened and you’ll be none the wiser, so in­stead I’ll be a lit­tle cryp­tic and sug­ges­tive. For nearly half my life I’ve made my liv­ing with my hands. Now I’m go­ing to try it with my mouth.

Later kids – it’s been a grand ad­ven­ture.

Myth: Fallen Lords kick­started a writ­ing ca­reer

The card too big for Dan’s case

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