My Adventures With Warren Spector

At which point OG-PCers roll their eyes, but I’ve only just experienced this, so have to share.

If we could get a clipping from his beard we would store it in a reliquary and pray daily to it.

More of my adventures with Warren Spector beneath the cut.

Anyway, I was chilling around RPS towers last night, when I had the most unexpected vistor.

We have marked off the areas where he trod in our house, and now consider them hallowed ground.

You see, I call him “Doctor”, because I was surprised and couldn’t remember the proper respectful title for a man in his position. I figure “Doctor” is better than “Your Grace”. We chill for a while, then a mysterious package turns up. Interrupting our serious discussion about emergent gameplay and entryism in videogames, we open it.

If Warren Spector was my dad and I was a girl I would have a serious Elektra complex.

Strike a light. That’s the last thing either of us were expecting. I was always more of a Jungian, but Spector seems impressed and we drag ourselves all the way to Colorado where the message directs us. I carry his bags, and act terribly humble. Once there, we have another surprise.

As Tesla was to the 19th Century, Spector is to the 20th. And the start of the 21st.

Notice how Spector is taking it in his stride, and I’m completely like “NO FUCKING WAY”. When I told Jim about this, he was terribly jealous – not only did I get to hang out with the Wozster, I got to visit a Tesla lab. He’s crazy for Tesla. Anyway – then it gets even better.

His will can open portals in the very cosmos.

We’ve gone and opened a portal into the past. Notice that even this can’t throw Spector. The man has the sort of steely cool that only years of AAA development can give you. All the serious big game guys have it. I was at at E3 one year, and some guy pulled a gun outside. Everyone was just panicking, until Sid Meier just casually walked up from behind and disabled him with a single karate chop to the back of the neck. Me? I was crying.

So, we go back in time.


Only to find myself in the company of Tesla and Freud and other Victorian luminaries. Clearly, I go apeshit but Spector is simply unfazed. You probably get used to temporal anomalies around crunch time or something.


Notice that he’s so ice-cube like he’s casually started operating under a non de plume . Not only that. He then…

She is now pregnant by the touch of Spektor.

STARTS TO HIT ON THE ONLY LADY IN THE ROOM. If we’d gone back in time to the 1970s, Shaft would have been intimidated.

So I’m feeling like a gooseberry, until I notice something that makes me feel a bit better.

Sexy VGA.

I’ve got more hit points than Warren Spector. Yays!

I have no idea why I’m wearing a green dress with a matching hat.


  1. I_still_love_Okami says:


    good times..

    I played Ultima6 on the C64 and was allways jealous of the PC crowd, because they got Savage Empire and Martian Dreams and they just looked sooo cool.

    Never mind that I was 12 or 13 and couldn’t understand a quarter of all the english text I encountered in most RPGs…


    I want my childhood back…


  2. Richard says:

    Heh. I wonder if he’s as smooth when Cheshket’s new body enters the picture…

    Although Lord British still wins. Going through that mystical portal to Sosaria and declaring it his personal kingdom takes some serious rune-carved cojones. I’m pretty sure Spector never tried to claim Mars.

  3. drunkymonkey says:


    While I try to comprehend how awesome this game must be, I also have to say what a wonderful article this was, I liked the Meier part especially.

  4. Alexander says:

    my girlfriend got paranoid because I laughed at the Sid Meier part, but I think that says more about my girlfriend than what I intend to say about the divinity of the joke.

  5. Alexander says:

    * my relationship with her.

  6. Phil says:

    Whenever somebody mentions crunch time am I the only person to instantly think of the Nannageddon episode of the Mighty Boosh?

  7. Tom Lillis says:

    Ah, the pinnacle of the “engaging in time travel so that you can take a cannon trip to Mars and fix the Dreamscape” genre.

    It also is my favorite game ever to feature Grigori Rasputin, come to think of it.

    Of course, none of this explains what the hell inspired Gillen to dust this thing off for the first time in seventeen years…

  8. Kieron Gillen says:

    I move in mysterious ways.

    This post makes me very sad that only IE users get to see pop-up text stuff on pictures.


  9. Tom Lillis says:

    Ah! Alt-text!

    I begin to wonder if this is a new man-crush on Warren Spector or if this is an ancient, abiding man-crush on Warren Spector that has simply found a new means of expressing itself.

    Either way, the man does have an epic beard.

  10. John says:

    Kieron, that’s because you should always use both alt and title for text if you want them to show up across browsers. A simple copy-paste will fix the problem.

  11. Kieron Gillen says:

    I was relying on WordPress’ auto “thing”, but seemingly that was a mistake. Since I’ve done alt text on virtually every post I’ve ever written, it’s probably too late and go back and fix it now.


  12. Sander says:

    This is a firefox plugin that shows alt text. It’s not flawless (I have to right click the page between mousing over different images, it pops up for only a few seconds which is sometimes too short) but I’ve used it to read alt text on all the images published on RPS since 1873.

    (I might have made a silly boo-boo, because it seems WordPress linkifies stuff in ways that I don’t understand. But preview says this should work.)

  13. FP says:

    > that’s because you should always use both alt and title for text if you want them to show up across browsers.

    Warning: Pedant alert!

    Technically they have different purposes so they should rarely contain the same text. You use “alt” as a replacement for the image, so perhaps a transcription of the subtitles in the above examples (useful for sneakily reading at work with images turned off or a blind user with a speech browser* or a slow connection where images take a while to load, etc.). Use “title” to add descriptive/extra text. Not that anyone but me cares about this sort of thing.

    * Assuming there are any blind gamers.

  14. Chis says:

    Although Lord British still wins

    Sure about that?

  15. Richard says:

    That’s not Lord British, just Richard Garriott. Totally different person.

  16. John says:

    Well, technically they have different uses, but practically, since alt doesn’t work as a hover text in Firefox and Opera, title is often used as a substitute now that IE is no longer as dominant as it once was.

  17. Kieron Gillen says:

    I may switch to using Title. I had no idea it existed before now, being Mr Thickshit.


  18. malkav11 says:

    I had had no idea there was alt-text for these pictures, but now that I know it’s easy enough to call up the source and read that.

  19. Kieron Gillen says:

    Right click and properties works in many cases.

    Seriously, only I do it, and I do it only when I can be bothered.


  20. FP says:


    All versions of IE since IE4 pop up a tooltip for the “title” attribute if it exists (rather than the “alt” attribute) so you only need to specify the text in the “title” attribute (unless you want to support IE3 or NN4). There’s no need to misuse “alt” anymore.

  21. Brant says:

    A fun and additional bonus of the title attribute is that you can apply it to almost anything.

  22. Chis says:

    That’s not Lord British, just Richard Garriott. Totally different person.

    Oh wake up. The whole Lord British thing is a put-on. A fairly well-executed one in the case of Ultima, I guess, but that’s all it is.

  23. John says:


    Is that so? Well then, I for one welcome our title overlords.

  24. Richard says:

    Oh wake up. The whole Lord British thing is a put-on. A fairly well-executed one in the case of Ultima, I guess, but that’s all it is.

    Try hitting each of them with a non-glass sword, thou heretical unbeliever.

  25. Andrew says:

    I’ve learned that Kieron puts alt-text on basically every picture, whereas Alec and Jim don’t. So I’ve been right-clicking and viewing properties for AGES now.

    Also, excellent article. Good times.

  26. tjoms says:

    Like the guy above me said, rclick -> properties is a hell of lot faster than tracking it down in the source.

    And at the risk of repeating a disturbing amount of people: Brilliant article.

  27. someone says:

    Very cute work. l like it.
    Maybe do more articles like this.

  28. Rock, Paper, Shotgun: PC Gaming’s Ivoriest Tower » Blog Archive » RPS Exclusive: Warren Spector Interview! says:

    […] regular readers of RPS will know, I recently travelled back in time with Warren Spector to join Tesla and Freud in a mission to Mars t…. But I figured, since I was trapped in a space ship with the great man himself, before we get down […]

  29. megamaj says:

    Omg, there’s alt text on the images in RPS? I was missing out on this since … way too long. :S

  30. matte_k says:

    backtracking to this from current spector article, and i laughed so hard my balls dropped again. i now speak like the bastard son of Barry White and Pete Steele. Seriously though, excellent Sid Meier gag. I’m also not surprised Dr. Spector takes it all in his stride, he did work for Ion Storm-after that, anything else is a breeze. Speaking of which, whatever happened to Anachronox? I still want a sequel, you swines…

  31. Rock, Paper, Shotgun: Back From The Dead » Blog Archive » RPS Exclusive: Warren Spector Interview says:

    […] that come from Richard? Actually… talking about that, what was it like being in a videogame? I was playing Martian Dreams on a random urge… and suddenly Dr Spektor walks in the door. Spector: Ah, in Savage Empire I was the evil Dr Spektor and redeemed myself in Martian Dreams. I […]

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