PC Gaming - Insert Carlito's Way reference here..

Posted by XavierD (9 posts) -

I orignally posted this on IGN back in April of 2003. As it often does, life got in the way of me making this a regular feature, but I do have an Ivy Bridge based partial rebuild coming up, so who knows...

Back in 2003, during the first semester of my first year of university, I made a promise to myself, one I upheld for the better part of a decade. 'FUCK PC GAMING!' I declared, as the sparks flew from the third dead motherboard of the day. And as I heaved the PC's blackened chassis above my head, spewing expletives in tongues and dialects previously thought forever lost to mankind, I... blooming well meant it. Not long after that I went out and bought myself a laptop. From Dixons or Curry's... Nothing fancy; just a 14 inch laptop, with Intel integrated graphics, with a little black mouse with a little red light underneath. When I was feeling nostalgic, I could load up Quake 1 and play it with FULL OPEN GL GRAPHICS! Ten, maybe eleven minutes later, I would switch back to my consoles...

And I managed quite well there, thank you very much: I had my PS2, which later - in a ground breaking, mountain-top scream of defiance from student convention - got traded in for an XBox one (Halo, PGR, Xbox Live, better graphics and no need for a multi-tap = WIN!), where my gaming itches were scratched quite sufficiently for a man trying to eat, drink, party AND game on a eight grand a year budget. Half Life 2 was pretty enough and the story kept me interested even through the lengthy loading times and frequent bouts of non- G-man induced super slowdown, Grand Theft Auto looked as sharp as a white suit and you could even put your own music on the radio - suck on that PS2 fan boys (even if you had completed every GTA of that generation twice over, six months before I had even started playing it)!

Then the day came when I finally (just about) graduated, and was hurled, kicking and weeping into the soul crushing pit of never-ending evil that is full-time employment... AND I GOT MONEY, BABY! I could afford... things! Not many of them, mind, but things, nonetheless! Things like clothes, and soap and more than one brand new game a year! And so one day, whilst out shopping for organic toothpaste or whatever other superfluous tat had taken my fancy that day, I stumbled upon a shiny new laptop with an RRP of £950, on sale for £450. As the little three-eyed aliens said to the claw: 'Oooooooo...' It sure was purrty...

It had a 16inch wide-screen, a Blu-Ray drive, and most importantly; A 512MB GeForce graphics chip. 'Oooooooo...' I picked up a copy of Command and Conquer Red Alert 3 - sequel of one of my most played childhood Real Time Strategy games, and entrant in a genre I had long since abandoned, when I hung up my mouse and keyboard and picked up two analogue sticks. It ran, quite competently and I enjoyed playing it through to completion. But by this stage, I had a PS3 and an Xbox 360 to occupy my massively diminished spare time, and two friends lists worth of Halo and Call of Duty players to divide it amongst. My 'super computer' had become a type writer. Until last year, when Star Craft 2 came out.

I read the minimum specs mockingly, and laughed triumphant all the way to the Point of Sale. 'Pentium 4?' I thought. 'Ha; try a Core Duo baby!' Then I got home, sat through the epic installation process and made my way to the display options screen:

'Recommended Settings = Low. Trying to run this game at any higher setting may cause Internet Trolls throughout the galaxy to explode in fits of water-cooled, quad-cored, SLI-ready laughter.'

£40 chugged along at about 25 frames per second, with the very base, bare minimum graphical flourishes available. Shoddy, even by lazy, first time console developer standards, but when I started reading on forums and talking to friends about the experiences they where having, about how pretty it looked and how many multiples of 60 they very able coax out of their custom-built rigs; I shed a tear, as my geeky little heart broke.

I'd been living a lie all this time. With my Xbox Live parties and Blu-Ray home cinema, I'd been living a lie. None of that mattered because at the end of the day, in my heart of hearts; I was a PC gamer, who not even wouldn't, but simply couldn't play PC games. Gutted.

So I put a plan together; Due my chronic fear of being crippled by an even more pointless and embarrassing debt than the one a degree in Creative Writing will leave you with, I wasn't going to buy a machine on Hire/Purchase. I would have to save up for it. I'd build it myself, both to save money and to ensure the exact specification I wanted. I'd have to do some research... Lots of research as it turned out, as computer architecture had changed quite a bit since that fateful day my first year uni rig took its first and last flying lesson. And then there was the Sandy Bridge Crisis, and then the new Bulldozer tech-demo, which supposedly blew the Sandy Bridge out of the water, and I failed my driving test, and sorely I needed glasses, and...

Thanks to the charity of one of my more, shall we say 'affluent friends', I'm now playing through Crysis 2, in 1080p with the graphics whacked up to the max. Star Craft 2 is silky smooth and Dirt 2's Direct X 11 implementation makes Gran Turismo 5's quarter resolution shadows look like Rock N Roll Racing.

I've got my stripes back, kid; I'm a graphics whore, a PC elitist and a mouse and keyboard purist all over again! And by god does it feel great! Apart from then one of the LP4 cables broke in transit from my friends house. Or when the graphics driver keeps crashing mid-game. Or when I have to mess around with Games for Windows Live, or DRM, or...

#1 Posted by XavierD (9 posts) -

I orignally posted this on IGN back in April of 2003. As it often does, life got in the way of me making this a regular feature, but I do have an Ivy Bridge based partial rebuild coming up, so who knows...

Back in 2003, during the first semester of my first year of university, I made a promise to myself, one I upheld for the better part of a decade. 'FUCK PC GAMING!' I declared, as the sparks flew from the third dead motherboard of the day. And as I heaved the PC's blackened chassis above my head, spewing expletives in tongues and dialects previously thought forever lost to mankind, I... blooming well meant it. Not long after that I went out and bought myself a laptop. From Dixons or Curry's... Nothing fancy; just a 14 inch laptop, with Intel integrated graphics, with a little black mouse with a little red light underneath. When I was feeling nostalgic, I could load up Quake 1 and play it with FULL OPEN GL GRAPHICS! Ten, maybe eleven minutes later, I would switch back to my consoles...

And I managed quite well there, thank you very much: I had my PS2, which later - in a ground breaking, mountain-top scream of defiance from student convention - got traded in for an XBox one (Halo, PGR, Xbox Live, better graphics and no need for a multi-tap = WIN!), where my gaming itches were scratched quite sufficiently for a man trying to eat, drink, party AND game on a eight grand a year budget. Half Life 2 was pretty enough and the story kept me interested even through the lengthy loading times and frequent bouts of non- G-man induced super slowdown, Grand Theft Auto looked as sharp as a white suit and you could even put your own music on the radio - suck on that PS2 fan boys (even if you had completed every GTA of that generation twice over, six months before I had even started playing it)!

Then the day came when I finally (just about) graduated, and was hurled, kicking and weeping into the soul crushing pit of never-ending evil that is full-time employment... AND I GOT MONEY, BABY! I could afford... things! Not many of them, mind, but things, nonetheless! Things like clothes, and soap and more than one brand new game a year! And so one day, whilst out shopping for organic toothpaste or whatever other superfluous tat had taken my fancy that day, I stumbled upon a shiny new laptop with an RRP of £950, on sale for £450. As the little three-eyed aliens said to the claw: 'Oooooooo...' It sure was purrty...

It had a 16inch wide-screen, a Blu-Ray drive, and most importantly; A 512MB GeForce graphics chip. 'Oooooooo...' I picked up a copy of Command and Conquer Red Alert 3 - sequel of one of my most played childhood Real Time Strategy games, and entrant in a genre I had long since abandoned, when I hung up my mouse and keyboard and picked up two analogue sticks. It ran, quite competently and I enjoyed playing it through to completion. But by this stage, I had a PS3 and an Xbox 360 to occupy my massively diminished spare time, and two friends lists worth of Halo and Call of Duty players to divide it amongst. My 'super computer' had become a type writer. Until last year, when Star Craft 2 came out.

I read the minimum specs mockingly, and laughed triumphant all the way to the Point of Sale. 'Pentium 4?' I thought. 'Ha; try a Core Duo baby!' Then I got home, sat through the epic installation process and made my way to the display options screen:

'Recommended Settings = Low. Trying to run this game at any higher setting may cause Internet Trolls throughout the galaxy to explode in fits of water-cooled, quad-cored, SLI-ready laughter.'

£40 chugged along at about 25 frames per second, with the very base, bare minimum graphical flourishes available. Shoddy, even by lazy, first time console developer standards, but when I started reading on forums and talking to friends about the experiences they where having, about how pretty it looked and how many multiples of 60 they very able coax out of their custom-built rigs; I shed a tear, as my geeky little heart broke.

I'd been living a lie all this time. With my Xbox Live parties and Blu-Ray home cinema, I'd been living a lie. None of that mattered because at the end of the day, in my heart of hearts; I was a PC gamer, who not even wouldn't, but simply couldn't play PC games. Gutted.

So I put a plan together; Due my chronic fear of being crippled by an even more pointless and embarrassing debt than the one a degree in Creative Writing will leave you with, I wasn't going to buy a machine on Hire/Purchase. I would have to save up for it. I'd build it myself, both to save money and to ensure the exact specification I wanted. I'd have to do some research... Lots of research as it turned out, as computer architecture had changed quite a bit since that fateful day my first year uni rig took its first and last flying lesson. And then there was the Sandy Bridge Crisis, and then the new Bulldozer tech-demo, which supposedly blew the Sandy Bridge out of the water, and I failed my driving test, and sorely I needed glasses, and...

Thanks to the charity of one of my more, shall we say 'affluent friends', I'm now playing through Crysis 2, in 1080p with the graphics whacked up to the max. Star Craft 2 is silky smooth and Dirt 2's Direct X 11 implementation makes Gran Turismo 5's quarter resolution shadows look like Rock N Roll Racing.

I've got my stripes back, kid; I'm a graphics whore, a PC elitist and a mouse and keyboard purist all over again! And by god does it feel great! Apart from then one of the LP4 cables broke in transit from my friends house. Or when the graphics driver keeps crashing mid-game. Or when I have to mess around with Games for Windows Live, or DRM, or...

#2 Posted by Ravenlight (8011 posts) -

Sounds like someone wants the Ferrari but doesn't want/know how to properly maintain it.

Regardless, welcome back to PC gaming.

#3 Posted by XavierD (9 posts) -

Nobody WANTS a FIAT Panda... You get on handed down to you, or because you feel like a dog with a chemistry set.

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