Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Life could be so simple and cheaper… (UPDATED!)

…if I could only let go of PC gaming. I bought my previous PC a week after viewing the demo of Half-Life 2 at E3 2003 and believing their promise of release later that year. It still ran near perfect when it did ship in September 2004, but there were games released at the time that I already could not run at the maximum setting.

The last game I tried to play was the expansion to Dawn of War and it was an extremely painful process. I gave up gaming on my PC altogether after that, which was a shame since RTS games are my fav on the platform and I could only guess at the goodness that was Company of Heroes, the second Dawn of War expansion, and C&C 3 (well not so much the last one because of the 360 version).

My new PC plan was airtight - sit back till Crysis ships. By then, Vista will be better, there should actually be DX10 cards readily available, and I’ll reap the obligatory CPU gains. That plan got shot to hell in recent weeks. MY PC is experiencing a start-up problem that not even re-installing XP will fix. It doesn’t happen all the time, but ultimate death can’t be too far behind. I started scanning current deals and Sunday circulars and the outlook was bleak. To get something that could stand a chance of running Crysis at this point in time is damn expensive. Minium 2K, but really it would be more, much more. That is simply out of the question. I’ve got 120k miles on my car so that would take priority.

Do I even need to play PC games anyway? I haven't gamed on my PC for almost two years. I can play a dozen games like Crysis on the 360 and PS3 as well as RTS on the 360 and the DS (Heroes of Mana looks really good and it’s only a matter of time before we see more RTS action on the Dual Screen...I know I'm really reaching here).

If I settled for a graphics card that was just good enough to unleash the fancy Vista features, I could still run a number of games I missed out on (Company of Heroes, Titan Quest, etc) and only spend $600-900 tops.
And then a scarier thought cropped up – If I can let go of PC gaming, why not get a Mac? Those new MacBooks are pretty nice and I can still run XP at least. Then again, all the software and RAM upgrades I want would cost more on a Mac driving up the costs back closer to mid-level PC gaming rig.

I have no clue what to do at this point. Just have to wait and ride this PC till the wheels fall off.

I decided to dig through some older PC games to see what I might still actually play if I were to get a new rig soon. First game cases I flipped through were StarCraft and Diablo II plus their expansions. I know I would re-install either at a moments notice if the mood struck me. Ooh what do we have here…Myth I, II and III. I had always meant to go back to these (hmmm maybe not III). They were darn hard if I recall correctly and I never finished any of them. It was tough to stop my grenadiers from blowing up my own troops. I wonder if the games hold up though?

What else do we have here, ah Rise of Nations. I think this could still be good. Next. Oh man totally forgot about Rome Total War. I remember being into it for a few days and then wanted to restart because I had messed up so bad. I’m sure this could be fun still too.

Ha, well if it isn’t Emperor Battle for Dune. I doubt this would be that great. It got mixed reviews back in the day. I remember Sean playing it and marveling at the hilarious live action clips. Maybe it is worth looking at again.

Hmm Age of Mythology. I already tried to go back to this one after Dawn of War. It didn’t have enough personality to make me overlook how tediously old school it is.

Looks like stores are finally getting in copies of C&C for the 360 (none I checked had them yesterday). We’ll have to see if it helps me in this decision.


Ujn Hunter said...

I recently ran into a similar situation, my old XP machine would blue screen after about 10 mins of turning it on. I bought a new Vista machine, not to play games mind you, but ended up getting Titan Quest and a couple other games I'd missed because my old computer couldn't muster up the playing power. I'd say either hold off on the gaming rig, and buy a $500-800 rig that you can still play all those games you missed out on.

ryan said...

I totally had the same "screw PC gaming" thoughts, but I would hate not to be able to play Diablo II or Deus Ex if the need arose. Not to mention new keen PC games that might never hit a console.

Be careful with those cheap rigs though, after my Alienware starting having "issues," I ran out and just bought a Gateway at Best Buy and a nice video card. Until that machine gave up the ghost six months later. Then I bought another one, and it lasted a year.

Lately my gaming rig has just been my Macbook Pro, which is my "computer for everything." It's good enough to play Stalker on Medium settings, but I fear for my ability to partake in the future of PC gaming.

Wataru Maruyama said...

Hey what's up Ryan!

Looking at known future PC exclusive releases, there's really just Crysis and whatever new game Blizzard announces in Korea. If it's a Starcraft RTS, I would plan my PC purchase around being able to run it well. Blizzard makes sure their games can run on fairly old hardware so it's not a huge concern.

If they make another MMO, well, count me out then.

ryan said...


Yeah, that's one thing I love about Blizzard, that and the fact their games are Mac compatible in the same box.

Your update got me thinking, I need to dig up my Myths - the second one kicked all sorts of ass. Mainly mine. But at least I died in a bloody and exciting fashion.

I'm really, really hoping Crysis comes out on consoles. Rumor has it the PS3 and 360 versions will fundamentally be different games though. I just hope it's not as bad as the PC to Xbox journey Farcry took, as it lost most of the feelings of open-endedness to the battles and exploration. Dammit.

Then again, I'll likely pick up Crysis on PC anyways, just to see what the "very low" settings look like. :)

Wataru Maruyama said...

I have a deep belief that whatever version of Crysis that eventually hits the PS3, totally brand new or revamped PC, will look really great.

Crytek has a golden opportunity to establish Crysis as a premiere fps franchise on the PS3 console. They have a much better chance than Killzone I think to be the Halo for that system. I hate using that tired analogy, but it's very fitting in this case.

I'm no tech wiz, but their new engine could be just the thing to bring out the power of the cell.