Gaming – Epilogue
Weesh, man I like to talk…err…write don’t I? Ok, last article on Gaming (aside from spooging or reviews on games I get going forward). PC gaming, ah how I love thee…sort of. Back in, oh, 1995 I got a student loan, they gave me 6000 dollars, and since I went to college (in Canada) my tuition was only about 2500 (books included) so I used to remaining 3000 dollars or so to buy my own first computer. As a rambled on (and on and on) about, consoles were my big gaming platform, so at the age of 21 my only experience with PC gaming was playing the Wing Commander games (oh so awesome) at a friends house. My first PC was a powerhouse back then, it was a Pentium 90 with 32Mb of RAM and a 400Mb hard drive. I also got Windows 95 with it and boy was it a powerhouse. The first year or so I played a few games, mostly the AWESOME LucasArts adventure games (Sam and Max, Curse of Monkey Island, Full Throttle), Wing Commander 3: Heart of the Tiger and the X-Wing series of space flight games. That first while I was all about space flight sims, it was like a sickness…but the new horrible sickness was around the corner. Quake was announced and launched, I didn’t really care too much as I had never got on the Doom Bandwagon, but the 3dfx announced their 3d accelerator cards and the programming God John Carmack announced GL Quake and the geek in me HAD to have both of them. A 3d accelerator card was now a must buy proposition for me, so to wet my appetite for the genre I got the shareware copy of Quake (downloaded via my bleeding fast 36.6k modem), all I can say is WOW. The gameplay, controls, even un-accelerated graphics killed me with their sheer awesomesness. I started playing multiplayer very early and threewave capture the flag with it’s grappling hook became my muse to wreck havok on my enemies. See in Quake capture the flag I was the chief capturer, on every map I had at least 5-6 techniques that allowed me to enter, kill multiples, grab the flag and literally fly out. My clan mates (yes I was in a clan), would cover my retreat if they could or I would quickly zip in and out avoiding fire. Life was good, very good.
During this time I was researching (of course) my soon to be acquired video card. I eventually settled on the 3dFX (the only real name at the time) Diamond Monster 3d video card. This lasted a short while (year and a half) and I eventually upgraded my processor to a 200Mhz, my RAM to 64Mb and my video card to a Riva TNT, this card was blazing fast and my computer was like a mini-god. Quake become my online passion, Quake 2 came and I played it like mad and then Half-Life/Counterstrike dominated my world. My last big foray into online PC gaming was Quake 3 Arena. this game and all it’s mods was my online life. I never reached the high level of play I had with Quake, but I loved it. In between my fits and shocks of FPS games I played mostly PC Roleplaying Games (Baldurs Gate 1 & 2, Fallout 1& 2, Icewind Dale, Planescape Torment, Neverwinter Knights, have I mentioned I love Bioware?) and RTS games (Starcraft, Warcraft 1-3, Command and Conquer series, etc…). Over the years my PC was overhauled and upgraded over and over again, and therein lies the problem. Before consoles in the very recent time frame started scoring all the major (formerly exclusive) PC games like BioShock, Unreal Tournament, Fallout 3 I never knew if a must have game would work. What started me really moving away from PC gaming was Half Life 2 and Quake 4. I have a decent PC – Athlon 2400+, 1.25 GB of PC3200 RAM, and a Nvidia 9600 pro video card. It is a good system, but Half Life 2 runs OK, and Quake 4 runs OK, don’t get me started about load times. But on my PS3, PS2, Xbox, PSP, I drop in a game, it runs, loads decently well and looks GREAT. Also Bioware except for the upcoming Dragon Age (which I am hoping becomes their PS3 exclusive game) has basically abandoned the PC. Consoles are so powerful and so connected (hell, Unreal Tournament 3 will support USB or Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, so I can play with the controller or old school) that they are the focus for the majority of triple A developers for the next foreseeable future.
Having said that, there is still something intimate about sitting 12 inches from your monitor fragging anonymous players online or playing a deep RPG that (at this time) has not exactly been accomplished on the PC. But times are-a-changin’ NCSoft just recently announced that they will be making MMO games exclusively for the PS3, this is HUGE, this could open the door for World of Warcraft on the consoles, and millions of console players can be addicted as well. The one thing a console can’t do easily is replicate the LAN party feel. Over the years I have been to many LAN parties, some huge (30+ players) some small (5 players) and every one of them have been a blast. 5+ friends in a big room, all with PC’s and Monitors yelling and hooting playing the hell out of the FPS or RTS flavour of the month is something that can’t be described. It would be kind of hard to lug my 37inch TV, receiver and PS3 to a friends house =-)
I swear this is the last Gaming post for a bit…maybe…tomorrow analog vs digital signaling! Woot!