About SFG

What is SFG all about?

Sugarfreegamer.com is a gaming blog looking at all that is fascinating with the games I play. I’ve been a keen gamer since a very early age, and have put in over 30 years of gaming to date. I enjoy tactical action games, roleplaying games, strategy games and even boardgaming.  I am often most enthusiastic about independant games that push the envelope and try to take a genre to a new level, or introduce unique features and novel ways to game.

The hook with this blog is that its about my gaming, a personal view on the panacea that is rapidly becoming one of most interactive and sought after entertainment forms. A few years ago I found out I was diabetic, and its had a profound change on my life, so I thought what better way to put a positive spin on the condition than incorporate it into the theme of my gaming blog. Since gaming is a major part of my life, and diabetes has become a major factor in my life, why not forge a new online identity combining the two. And so sugarfreegamer.com was born.

I use the term ‘sugar free’ to not only confer my inability to handle sugar within my bloodstream, but also as a metaphor for a more laid back mature “thinking mans” approach to gaming, as opposed to the sugar fuelled hyper charged gaming most youngsters do. So welcome to the site, and I hope I can bring some measured amount of glucose free gaming discussion to the sucralose enriched table.

The logo was designed to represent three sugar cubes, but stamping their visible sides with the initials of the blog, SFG, to symbolise a Dungeons and Dragons 3d6 roll, and the red ‘G’ to stand out, because Gaming is what this blog is all about. When I first started thinking about branding for the site I really wasn’t sure how to approach melding in the ‘Sugar’ aspect to the gaming. I think the sugar cube substitutes for gaming dice worked quite well, and the single cube as an avatar icon looks visually appealing.

Who is this “spelk” guy anyway?

My internet handle ’spelk’, is a North East English slang term for a sliver of wood embedded in your finger. Essentially a splinter. However, it can also mean a person who is bodily very thin, like a splinter. I adopted the name when I rolled a rather rotund ogre in the original EverQuest game, and I was amused by the idea that this grotesque porky shaman would parade around Norrath with the slang name that conjurs up skinny folk.

My real name is Ian Bowes. I am a type 2 diabetic and an aging gamer, juggling a job and a family. I’m from the UK. I’m an IT man by trade – you’d have never have guessed it. I’m also an aspiring writer of gaming reviews, opinion pieces and even some fiction. In addition to SFG, I currently write pieces for The Claw and UKGamer.

I’ve been known to frequent a number of community sites: Wargamer.com – wargaming, Legends – roleplaying, GameGeezers – console gaming, Quarter to Three – international gaming, and Flash of Steel – a strategy gaming blog and weekly podcast.  I monitor a whole slew of gaming news sites (both mainstream and indie) and I am also a part of a long term mailing list, known as UKGamer, where I’ve been conversing daily about gaming since around 1995 (it was originally a Playstation – PSX – mailing list and sort of grew into a family of gamers, developers and industry people from the UK).

My one game development achievement is a very rough Visual Basic implementation of a japanese card game called “Hanafuda”. If you’re interested, it can still be downloaded here.

I positively love discovering off the beaten track “gaming gems”, that the majority of the gaming public pass by, and I’m always on the lookout for that niche game that delivers strategy, and abstraction at an affordable cost in gaming time.

My gaming life began on a Vic-20, graduated to a Commodore 64, and then I was lost in the wilderness of teenage angst till the end of the 80’s when I started to play the early crop of PC games.. by about 1995 my life was changed forever with the advent of the original Playstation (I have to admit I missed out on all that Nintendo loving that Mario had to offer – I was too busy courting ladies and swifting beer at the time). One blast on the console and I was totally hooked and converted to pursuing a multi-platform hobby in gaming.

I like the usual, fantasy, sci fi, comics and super heroes, plus a healthy fixation with military history and some casual archery. I play all games from handhelds, casual stuff through MMO’s to mind bending operational strategy stuff.. I also have a secret hobby of collecting board games, but never seem to have anyone to play them with..

  • Djflippy

    I can’t seem to find where to submit feedback, so feel free to nuke this while it’s stillborn, if you like.

    Just wanted to mention, as a first-time visitor, that you have quite a nice blog here; wonderfully focused, impactful where it counts, presented in a pleasingly spare fashion, and most importantly, your writing is enjoyable to read. The fact that you also have great taste in games and the diligence to share them via after-action reports really locks it down. Nice work, mate.

  • Zjelco

    Have you tried TripleA? Great Open-source Game-engine built by gaming enthousiast with many user created maps and scenarios, many ww2 but also ancient, Sci-fi and Fantasy.
    http://triplea.sourceforge.net/mywiki/Forum