Skip to main content

Third World Gaming, Firsthand

My desktop computer's broke.  I'm currently using a Toshiba Satellite A205-S6808, and the system specs include an Intel G965 graphic card, 2 GB of ram, and a Core 2 Duo 1.66 Ghz processor.  Replacement parts for my desktop are in the mail, and (I mention out of respect to an actual third world country denizens) I acknowledge I am fortunate in that regard.

Until then, modern games are out.  For the most part, I find myself limping along with titles on DosBox because, if there's one thing this rig can handle well, it's games made years before it.  Although there are a few recent games that work fine as well, due to low graphical requirements.  Some of the better games currently at my disposal are:
  • X-COM: Apocalypse.  I didn't like this game much when it first came out because I was expecting turn-based strategy and this game has a rather poor implementation - real time mode simply plays better.   Today, however, I find Apocalypse to be the best of X-COMs released yet: the equipment management is better, the game flow is smoother, and the environments more detailed than before.  About the only thing that the previous games did better was convey the idea of being woefully under-equipped to handle the alien invaders: this X-COM takes place in the future, the invaders are actually a lot closer to being equals, and your squaddies aren't so hopelessly doomed this time.
  • Fortune Summoners.  Hey, if I can like My Little Pony for being a clever cartoon despite it being somewhat targeted to little girls, I can like Fortune Summoners for the same reason.  Don't let its cute exterior fool you: the game is a challenging side-scroller with an advanced combo system that is intelligently staggered with additional moves and magic as you continue to play.  The story is somewhat novel in that it does not deviate far from grade school, but other than that is fairly standard JRPG stuff.  (Blah blah, four elements elemental spirits, blah blah, cast of characters, blah blah, save the world.)  While restricted to my single-display laptop, I actually have a unique opportunity to enjoy the game, as it has slowdown issues with many users who have a dual-monitor setup, including me.
  • League of Legends.  The best "multiplayer online battle arena" game out there, bar none.  Well, okay, I like to qualify the word "best" when I use it, and in League of Legends case it comes down to a tight balance that rewards skillful play while being a moderately easy to learn game that is tough to master.  DOTA is comparatively much looser balanced, is even tougher to learn due to its massive item inventory, and the power curve gives good players too much leeway to stomp newbs.  About the only bad thing I can say about League of Legends is that their huge online community has far too many asshole kids who like to chew your ear off for jeopardizing winning the match (even if the problem is simply that the other team is better) or just playing in ways they don't understand.
  • Legend of Grimrock.  For awhile, I was thinking about installing Wizardry 8 but, when I failed to hunt down my installation disks, I realized I had a pretty good indy-made alternative in Legend of Grimwall.  Granted, Wizardry (like Might and Magic) eventually took its quasi-turn-based, party-based, RPG out of the dungeons, but there's something to be said for a well-designed dungeon crawl.
There's also a few games that surprised me by not actually being runnable despite not looking like they require all that much computational firepower:
  • Minecraft - I have to run it at "tiny" view distance to get a decently playable FPS out of it.  I had thought that Java did most of its work in the CPU itself, thereby waiving the necessity of the GPU, but this processor is only 1 Ghz slower on the one core the game allows itself to use, so I guess it does actually make a lot of use of the GPU after all.  Technical issues aside, I miss the procedurally generated fun of Minecraft and wish I could start playing it again, but I'm afraid the burnout runs too deep.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light - Mind-bogglingly, considering I can play some 3D games on this laptop, I only get about 1-2 frames per second when I try to play this wholly 2D game.  A low framerate would be playable, but unfortunately this lag slows the very game logic, too.  My guess is that the developers used some kind of GPU-driven engine to create FTL. Tough break!  FTL is one of the few games I really want to play right now.
Technically, I've got a dusty old Playstation 2 and a Nintendo Wii over here, with some games I haven't played a whole lot of, but I'm sort of out of the habit of playing console games; I'm really more of a PC gamer.  Don't ask me why: most of the big name talent has jumped ship from this platform years ago.

Truth be told, I don't feel like playing a whole lot right now.  I get the feeling that, after I fix my desktop computer, I'll do the same thing I was doing before it broke: stare at my desktop, not feeling like launching anything.  It's not a good feeling for a lifelong PC gamer to have.  Hopefully I'll get employed soon, so I'll have less time on my hands to get desensitized to everything good in gaming, and more money to afford cutting-edge games. 

Speaking of cutting-edge-games, it's no coincidence I'd been dabbling with X-COM Apocalypse: the revival of this long-dead series, XCOM Enemy Unknown, is due out in a couple weeks.  I may be burned out from gaming in general right now, but everything I've heard about this particular game suggests that it might just be deep and challenging enough to hook me for awhile.

Aside from that, it seems as though I'm good and tired of everything under the sun.  It'll be quite some time until Starbound, 0x10c, or Clockwork Empires happens.  Even if I fix my desktop computer, and once again am able to run just about anything in PC gaming, I'll still be plowing through monotonous crap in my attempts to digitally stave off boredom.

You know, after I get my desktop up and running again, I should really get back to work on my own development projects.  As I've mentioned before, once you've started making your own, settling for other people's games simply isn't quite as interesting.  Pity that making my own is hard.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Resonant Induction Really Grinds My Gears... In A Good Way

From about 2pm yesterday until 8pm today, I've been dabbling with my latest custom mod mix for Minecraft 1.6.4, which is this time very much Universal Electricity focused.
Aside from the usual GUI enhancers and Somnia, the primary contenders in this mix were:
Calclavia Core - Of course: this is the base of the Universal Electricity system.Resonant Induction - This seems to be largely focused on increasingly more advanced methods of refining ores divided across 4 ages of technological progression.  It also includes some really cool things such as assembly lines.  I'll primarily be talking about just a few blocks out of this mod today.Atomic Science - A mod dedicated to generating more of those lovely universal electricity volts via the power of splitting the atom.  Build your own nuclear reactor!  Deal with nuclear meltdowns!  You maniac!ICBM - A mod dedicated to generating more destruction using those lovely universal electricity volts (and more than a little gunpowder), it cer…

Empyrion Vrs Space Engineers: A Different Kind Of Space Race

In my quest for more compelling virtual worlds, I have been watching Empyrion: Galactic Survival a lot this bizarro weekend, mostly via the Angry Joe Show twitch stream.  What I have concluded from my observations is Empyrion is following in Space Engineers' shadow, but it is nevertheless threatening the elder game due to a greater feature set (the modding scene notwithstanding).

Empyrion is made in Unity, whereas Space Engineers is built on a custom engine.  While this does put Empyrion at a disadvantage when it comes to conceptual flexibility, its developers nevertheless have a substantial advantage when it comes to adding features due to a savings of time spent that would have gone into developing their own engine.  Examples include:
Planets.  Empyrion already has planets and space to explore between them, whereas in Space Engineers planets are in the works but still awhile away (so you just have asteroid fields to scavenge).Enemies.  Space Engineers' survival mode boasts onl…

Ancient Warfare - What Is It Good For?

The Ancient Warfare mod for Minecraft threw me for a loop.  I was looking for "villagers" that would perform useful tasks while simultaneously resolving the glut of food with a need to eat, thereby turning Minecraft into a bit of 4X game you can play from the inside.  Millenaire wasn't quite there, partly because recent updates to Forge had broken its compatibility with Minecraft 1.7.10, and Minecolony's development is not quite fast enough to keep up with the state of mods in general (they probably need to make a core API).
In comes Ancient Warfare, which does indeed provide workers and soldiers who need to eat, you can even order around a little army of them to defeat your enemies.  It has working waterwheels and windmills, something I thought was awesome in Resonant Induction.  It has a warehouse with a built-in sorting system, as well as courier NPCs that can move things from building to building, and crafting NPCs that can create things for you automatically - w…