Its been awhile. Over a year, in fact. I know I've been neglecting you. All I can say is life got in the way. I'm sorry. But things are different for me now. Its hard to say this...but....
I've Met Someone Else...
That's kinda how I've felt, gaming wise, this last year. I haven't written anything on here for a long time. I (shockingly) have a life outside of games. Not much of one, but one nonetheless. Until about a month ago I was the primary health care provider for my Grandfather, and was giving guitar lessons on the side. A few weeks ago all of that changed. I won't go into details, but lets say, I'm not having to do most of that any more. I have a good bit more free time. Not to just play more games, but more time to write about them, as well.
Video games and guitar are really 2 of the things that have gotten me through the last 2 years of my life, which have been less than idyllic, to say the least. Taking care of an old man that is constantly accusing you of stealing his silverware for drug money(?!) is not how I wanted to spend the last 2 years of my 3rd decade on Earth. And teaching guitar to twelve year olds, while occasionally awesome, also made me realize how old I am. I'm going to sound like my Gramps (which is rather ironic), but, fuck, kids nowadays are lazy! I never thought I'd be the guy saying that, but after teaching a couple, I can't help it. I'm generalizing, of course, but man. Bitch bitch bitch. Although, teaching them Tenacious D songs was sweet! But I digress...
I quit playing 360. I also quit playing PS3. I never had a Wii(for good reason). I sold both my consoles. I sold all my games. I had a modest collection. Definitely more quality than quantity, but I worked for an Evil Gaming Conglomerate(TM) ( You know who I'm talking about.......no? Here's a hint: "Is there anything you want to pre-order today?") for awhile. Purely for the employee discount, of course. Well, that and so I wouldn't starve. You know, because food cost money, and stuff. So I had a decent sized collection.
Unfortunately, food still cost money. :(
And close to a year ago, I had neither food, nor money. So when a friend offered to buy my consoles and games for a ridiculously reduced price, my hand was somewhat forced.
Wait....that guy wasn't my friend. Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure that person worked at a pawn shop. The same pawn shop where I sold my whole collection for a pittance. I felt rather violated upon exiting the store, but I had saved the 120 gig hard drive from my 360. " One day," I vowed, " I shall have a NEW 360, and it shall be one of the thin ones, with Wi-fi, and less noise. And it shall be good!" Besides, I had my profile, gamerscore(a decent 40k, but well earned), and saves, so all i had to do was save up the money and buy another one.
Unfortunately I had one slight problem after I sold my consoles. I live in the country, so to speak. More accurately, I (currently)live in a small town, but the whole "town" is in the country. Its a 45 minute drive to the nearest Wal-Mart. Same distance to Best Buy, McDonalds, H-E-B, a decent hospital, or Evil Gaming Conglomerate(TM). So.....yeah. Not a lot to do. And one man can only play guitar and be accused of silverware theft so many hours a day.
The rapidly expanding event horizon of the Xbox singularity was threatening to devour the galaxy as a whole. Nothing to be done. Just sink into the front seat and drive for the heart of the bastard. Downshift and punch it to the red-line, praying to whatever mutant god that would listen: "Please, please....... just a bit more sensation before this whole fucking thing collapses into itself!"
I could tell by my tendencies to channel the late Dr. Hunter S. Thompson in times of extreme duress, that something had to be done. The only answer was a difficult one.
I needed to play some games. But, alas, I had just pawned all my games. Whatever was I to do? I borrowed some PS2 games, and don't get me wrong, several still hold up pretty damn well. Resident Evil 4, Devil May Cry 3, and several others(Unfortunately no Persona 4, none of my friends around here are that awesome. :( ....jk!) are still great games. They just look shitty on a big HDTV. Especially when you don't even have the component cables. Rather hard to live with after my 360 at 1080p.
But then.....(cue 40's film noir music) someone new, unexpected, and, sad to say, too long underestimated, stepped into the murky corner streetlight that is my gaming obsession. She was more mature than my last, but in a good way....... Not in a YouPorn way...... She offered a lot more, too, but unfortunately the dame had never fully caught my eye before.
I'd had a PC for awhile. I bought it roughly 3-4 years ago when my laptop died. I've always loved RTS games. I played Company of Heroes and Dawn of War quite a bit. And when Dawn of War II and World in Conflict came out, and my already shitty laptop died, I decided I would buy a decent desktop to play them on. After being fairly disappointed with frame rates, the only logical conclusion was to upgrade. A bigger PSU and a Nvidia 9800gt later and I was playing those 2 games at decent resolution with solid frame rates. A 9800gt was a decent card, but after playing those 2 games, I went back to consoles.
And when I sold my consoles, I went back to those 2 games....... at first.
A few months later, though, and fall was here. We all know what that means. The Annual End of October/First 3 Weeks of November "We're Releasing All the Big Games Within A Month of Each Other To Drain Your Wallet And Make You Come To Our Shitty Store For...................... Well, Fuck You! That's What For" Extravaganza!!!!!!!!!!(TM)
The line up was strong. Batman: Arkham City, Battlefield 3, Deus Ex, Modern Warfare 3 (I just met you, and this is crazy, but I like the story of COD, so....I'm sorry, I just can't finish this horrible pop-culture reference. I just wanted to know what happened to Price and Soap, ok?! ) and king among them, mighty Skyrim. I have always loved Bethesda's RPGs. And I sure as Oblivion wasn't going to miss Skyrim! So I went ahead and pre-ordered it on this new-fangled digital game distribution service called Water Vapor(TM)....... no, wait....
Radiation Induced Agitation of H2O Molecules Resulting In A Change From A Liquid State to A Gaseous One(TM)........No, thats not it...... Origin(TM)?.....Nooooo....
STEAM!!! Yes, that's it, Steam! I pre-ordered it and waited. It just so happens that a good friend of mine, lets call him B-rad that way you'll never know his real name..........oh..........I guess you can figure out his name, seeing as all I did was put a hyphen between 2 letters.......
....Well Played!!!! :)
Anywho, B-rad had pre-ordered a copy of Skyrim on 360 from Evil Gaming Conglomerate(TM), but was short a decent HDTV to play it on. So, being the stellar friend that I am, I offered to let him use mine, seeing as I would be playing on the PC. It just so happens that my PC is in the same room as the TV. I had the unique experience of not only seeing a completely different playthrough of that massive game, but I also had a running side by side comparison of the 2 versions.
Needless to say, the PC version ran better and looked far better. After staring hypnotically at my screen for an hour or 2, then turning to see the tv with the console version, I could truly compare them. Draw distance, frame rate, resolution,etc... were all vastly superior to the console.
Then again, I already knew they would be.
In the long months from E3'11 to 11/11/11, I had my eyes opened to the swickness of PC gaming. It started with Dragon Age 2. See previous blog. With a still foul taste in my mouth from that experience, it was as if the good doctors at Bioware descended from RPG heaven, and sayeth, "Yay. We knoweth of the shittyness of Dragon Age 2. The Oppresive Regime of the Electronic Artist(TM), have grown powerful. Hark, though, for we are giving you Mass Effect 2 to soften the unjust blow dealt upon thine eyes!" I fucking love Mass Effect. There. I said it. I pre-ordered the first 2 on 360 and played both on launch night. I had multiple playthroughs with several characters, to see the end effects of all the decisions. I was foaming at the mouth for the just delayed 3rd game(that will have to be its own blog entry), and was super stoked to receive one of my favorite games for free because Dragon Age 2 sucked a bag of dicks.
Good deal to me. DA 2 looked pretty, but lacked substance. Mass Effect 2 looked pretty as well. Super pretty, actually. However, there was a problem. I hadn't played the first game on PC. I could only start with the default character, and there are some really important decisions made for you. Like Wrex being dead. I realized short of downloading a save file, or re-buying the first game, the proud leader of Clan Urdnot would never be who I wanted it to be. Oh well, thats why I saved my hard drive from my 360. But my interest was peaked. If Mass Effect 2 could look so good and run so well, what other games would look and play so awesome?
Then I saw a trailer for The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings. I purchased it shortly after, and it completely blew my conceptions of how good a current game can look. And that was on rather declining hardware, needing an update in the immediate future. Soon after that, I partook of my first Steam sale. With just a little under $60, I purchased 2 nearly brand new games, and several other older games(relatively old), a couple of which I had played on my 360. Assassins Creed 2, and Farcry 2, specifically. And they both look really good for being fairly dated. Now, deeply involved in a love triangle between the powerful and adaptable hardware of my PC, and the digital sexiness of the discount goddess Steam, that 360 hard drive faded into long forgotten memory.
Now, I have made a bold new decision. I'm selling that hard drive. If I ever buy a console again, it will be for a mind blowing exclusive title. Nothing short of that will tear me away from my new gaming provider. I've even come into enough money to buy a new gaming rig early next month. A formidable beast, with a GTX 690 pumping digital blood through a liquid cooled Intel i-7 overclocked brain. 16 gigs of RAM bristling in the maw of a salivating gaming berserker, smelling the blood of Max Payne 3 and savoring the future hunt of BioShock: Infinite.
This is a bit awkward, Xbox 360, but I've got to move on. We were good together, while it lasted. Its not you, its me. I've seen a lot since we took a break, and I've realized there is more for me out there than just you. I just can't go back to dealing with your long load times, sluggish framerate, and low res textures.
You'll be ok, though. There are literally millions of guys who will gladly spend all of their time with you. You're like a famous super model. An attractive person on the surface, but lacking substance.
My PC is like that hot nerdy girl with tattoos and glasses who owns a game store/ comic store/ music store/ headshop. She may not appear to be what everyone wants, but she's perfect for me. She does everything the supermodel does, only better.
And she looks a lot better doing it, too.
If anybody actually read all that, major props. You win all the internets!!!!!! Congratulations!!!
This was written at 5 in the morning, and I might have imbibed several different alcohols, and inhaled several lung fulls of burning psychoactive flowers. Theoretically speaking, of course. ;)