As you may have read, a certain US satellite is heading back to Earth rather faster than expected. Some people are worried that when the satellite crashes back to Earth, the hydrazine fuel cell within may cause chlorine-poisoning-like symptoms to anyone nearby. That two thirds of our planet is water and that the size of the effect isn’t much than a few acres doesn’t seem to matter. The US have decided to blow the satellite up in orbit before we get the chance to play satellite crashland lottery, in a move that many analysts see as retaliation for China shooting down its own satellite last year. At least we might get to see some pretty effects, if someone manages to capture the missile on video.
Online video game magazine The Escapist, home to the hilariously funny animated review column Zero Punctuation, has the theme of space for its 136th issue. They talk about why the starfighter genre appears to have died down since the heyday of X-Wing vs Tie Fighter and Wing Commander and about how science fiction is, although often set in the future, a commentary about now.
Although the space combat genre is in a lull right now, space strategy and so called ‘4X’ civilisation games are enjoying some underground success thanks to the efforts of indie games publisher Stardock, which produced the critically acclaimed Galactic Civilisations II last year. Its latest release, Sins of a Solar Empire, came out this month and combines Real Time Strategy elements of controlling fleets of spacecraft as well as exploration and colonisation. Currently holding a very respectable 87% average on Metacritic and impressing this writer enough to squeeze it into my schedule, games like this and Will Wright’s forthcoming evolutionary Spore are showing that maybe there’s a future for space in video games after all.