No One Can Get Over Gollum’s Terrible UI

Gollum, Gollum… Gollum. He’s finally out, but like his precious ring, maybe he should stay in the cave. It’s already the worst-rated game of the year, helped by our own features editor Ben Sledge, who earned it 1.5 stars and simply stated that it’s “not a good game”. These words ring true as no one can beat its basic user interface.

The initial “pre-alpha” trailer showed Gollum awash with stylized options fluttering across the screen. Ideas like “Don’t hurt us!” and “Calm down! Quiet! The orc will hear us!” danced through his mind as he considered what to do in an understandably stressful situation.

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It looked pretty good, but the final build has a much lower quality Gollum crouching next to the two options listed to his left with everything plastered over a dull brownish background. Options are also used by Calibri, making it look like a complex PowerPoint presentation.

That’s not the only thing people make fun of the UI for either. In a situation where Gollum is face to face with an Orc, you have three quick options, “(Give Bread)”, “(Threaten)” or “(Beg)”, all of which use the same standard. Calibri font over some transparent gray blobs.

Former features editor Andy Kelly pointed out as much, but also went so far as to change the font and add a subtle drop shadow to emphasize how barebones it really is.

Interestingly, while both of the UI examples above use very simplistic, modern fonts to convey dialogue options, subtitles do not. Instead, they use a fancy font that is much harder to read, which defeats the whole purpose of subtitles.

Elsewhere, others are simply amused by what the user interface actually says. (Escape) became an overnight meme, while goals and reminders are a lot of fun.

Gollum is a bit of a mess to say the least, and the UI is just one of the many things that didn’t catch on with that many people, but at least we got some gems out of it.

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