Tales from the Dark Side (not a SW:EP3 post)

Discussion in 'Third party hardware, software and accessories' started by vicicasas, May 19, 2005.

  1. vicicasas

    vicicasas Active Member

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    Well, I did it. I’ve sold my soul off to eternal damnation.

    Ever since earlier this year, I’ve been fighting the urge to partake of some next-generation gaming goodness. I’ve never considered myself a truly hardcore gamer, but videogames have always been a part of my life ever since the khaki-shorted grade school days of my Atari 2600. Ahhh, the halcyon days of Missile Command and Night Driver. And nowadays, for videogaming fun, I rely primarily on an Xbox (that found its way to my home by way of Adel Gabot) and endless sessions of World of Warcraft on my Powerbook, not to mention frequent games of Scrabble on my Treo with Cyn.

    But then Gran Turismo 4 came along, and I was sorely tempted to buy a PS2. Sorely, sorely tempted. But I convinced myself otherwise. Then the PSP came along, with Ridge Racer and NFSU:2 and Wipeout, and I thought, well, well, here it is, the one I’ve been waiting for! And then after the red cloud of temporary insanity had lifted, I said to myself: Do I really want it? I honestly don’t know. And just recently, the Xbox 360 was announced, and the video clips and screenshots hit the Internet, and rather than feel the familiar bloodrush of temptation, I felt ... nothing.

    What was it I was really looking for? What was the elusive machine that would sate my gaming lust? Would I ever find it?

    And then, last weekend, I bit the bullet and admitted to myself I really knew what I wanted all along.

    I’m still trying to grasp the reality of it. I now own a Windows PC.

    In hindsight, I should’ve seen it coming. In a previous thread I started on the Mac Arcade forum, I expressed my anguish at the fact that what has been critically acclaimed as one of the finest racing simulations of all time would never find its way to a Macintosh. I also found myself biting my upper lip in envy when browsing the net and happening upon stellar reviews for PC-exclusive games like Half Life 2. And (in a situation familiar to most of you, I’m sure) I absolutely hated the feeling of walking into Data Blitz, past the rows and rows of NEW!! and EXCITING!!! and JUST ARRIVED!! PC games, to the lonely shelf in the back with the tattered “Mac” sign, where the same row of dusty, second-rate games stared forlornly back at me. Nope, nothing new this week. And then I’d turn and slink back out, imagining the salesladies tittering behind me and whispering, “Hihihi. Mac user.”

    It took me a bit of time to muster up the courage to even hint at the idea to my similarly Powerbook-toting wife, but when I finally, hesitantly broached the topic, I was surprised at her total lack of rebuff. In fact, she even expressed a little excitement, saying “Oh good! Now I can finally play Sims 2! When is that game EVER coming out for Macintosh, anyway?” Gotta love that wife.

    So armed with a decent, wifey-approved budget and a sheaf of research from the Internet, I started canvassing for the best deals. Shopping for a Mac system is a relatively simple affair - pick a model, then opt for additional RAM, or Bluetooth, or perhaps a larger hard drive. (And then, accessorize to death.) By comparison, I learned after surfing a few PC-centric sites, a serious PC shopper will go as far as to handpick a specific motherboard, and casing, and video card, right down to a specific power supply, for crying out loud. Sure, you can walk into any computer store and point at a prebuilt PC system and say “What’re the specs on that? I’ll take that one” but I relished the thought of knowing that if I wanted to, I could have total control over every component that was going into my new machine.

    Eventually, I managed to come up with a blueprint for a system that could manage even the most demanding of today’s PC games, while at the same time ducking under my modest budget. This system would be powered by an Athlon 64 2800+ processor on an MSI motherboard, with a 350W dual fan power supply, 1GB of RAM and a GeForce 6600 128MB video card. I would be using a smallish 80GB drive onboard, since 160GB seemed like overkill for something that would not be my primary machine. I also sprung for a Logitech MOMO Racing force feedback wheel, since driving games are my main vice. By now, I had a passable gaming rig with adequate specs and promising horsepower, and yet this system wasn’t too far off from the cost of a launch-price PSP plus about six or seven game titles. Since I was still under budget and I found a nicely discounted price on the package thru a friend, I added a Samsung 17” LCD monitor for good measure.

    So, it’s been a couple days now, and I’ve loaded up quite a few of the latest titles (mostly borrowed from my younger brother, who’s a hardcore gamer). And all I can say is that the quality and the experience of playing games on a current generation PC is unlike anything I’ve seen outside of an actual video game arcade. My beloved World of Warcraft is now much more enjoyable with all the video settings turned up to the max, the GTR driving game is extremely promising (there was a delay with my steering wheel order, so I will only be picking it up from the store today) and Cyn spent a full afternoon with Sims 2 and enjoyed it thoroughly (though we always seem to come back to WoW).

    And then there’s Half Life 2. This deserves a paragraph to itself. I’m barely an hour into the game, but I can already say that playing this game is like being the lead in a Hollywood action movie, and it rightfully deserves the title of Game of the Year. The graphics are jawdroppingly realistic and immersive, the sound design is stunning, and well, I’m running out of adjectives to describe the sensation of computing awe that I haven’t felt since ... well, since I first tried using OS X, actually.

    I know this post may seem like flamebait to some, and I expect a few violent reactions. But I’ve always been appreciative of the diehard PC users who are still willing to open their minds and admit the myriad advantages of a Macintosh (and yes, for anything but gaming, I still maintain that the Mac is a superior, more elegant, more user friendly, more stable, and more advanced machine). So in the same fashion, I’m trying to be open minded by conceding that in order to find computer gaming nirvana, I’ve had to force myself to look a little further than I expected ... and you know what? I’m pretty happy I did.

    POSTSCRIPT: And now, before you flame me: It's a GAMING MACHINE. The only time I ever see Windows is the couple of seconds between starting up the PC and clicking on the game's icon. So calm down before you lynch me :winkgrin:

    [Edited on 5-19-2005 by vicicasas]

    [Edited on 5-19-2005 by vicicasas]
     
  2. Adel

    Adel Moderator
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    Ready. Aim...
     
  3. sascoordinator

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    Fuego! :laugh:
     
  4. Dave_D

    Dave_D Active Member

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    It's ok Dude...

    I'm all for the hardware, it's MS stuff you gotta control. Just keep XP on it and install Firefox and Thunderbird. It should help keep it virus/spyware free.

    But the moment you buy MS Office for it, I'll round up the posse' to get ya...:angel:
     
  5. vicicasas

    vicicasas Active Member

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    Oh, no danger of that :winkgrin: Remember, I work in a recording studio, and there's very few pieces of PC audio software out there that I don't have a better Mac equivalent for.

    In other words: the PC for games, and Macs for when I need to make money!
     
  6. sascoordinator

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    anyways, just remember to put necessary apps for spyware or virus protection if you're using it for online games...
     
  7. paparazzi

    paparazzi Well-Known Member

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    Kelan ba birthday mo Vic? We'll just give you a collective gift: Norton Anti Virus! Hahahaha. Kidding.
     
  8. vicicasas

    vicicasas Active Member

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    Hahahaha!!!

    Thanks for the concern, folks, I really appreciate it. But like i said, it's a gaming rig. I don't check mail on it, I don't keep photos on it, and I will only occasionally surf on it. If a virus does hit me, the worst that can happen is I have to reformat and reinstall a bunch of games.

    No blood, no foul :winkgrin:
     
  9. Eric

    Eric Member

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    "Twisted by the Dark Side, young Skywalker has become."

    Sorry, just watched Revenge of the Sith last night. :D
     
  10. Dave_D

    Dave_D Active Member

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    My only advice to keep your gaming machine as good as when you first install it...

    After you install all the necessary security patches and drivers for all the hardware is to make a image of your pristine windows setup using Norton Ghost. Think of it like Virtual PC wherein you have an "image" of your OS.

    I need to stress this because doing an XP install takes almost the whole day (download, reboot, download, reboot.. you get the picture).

    This way, you will have a restoration CD for your PC like the restoration CDs that come with Macs.

    Good Luck.
     
  11. vicicasas

    vicicasas Active Member

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    Solid advice, and I am still trying to withhold my mirth at being offered such sage wisdom on a forum dedicated to Macs :laugh:

    Thanks, Dave. BTW, when Hoho learned I was canvassing for PC components, he told me to look you up but he wasn't sure if you were too involved with the retail side anymore.
     
  12. sascoordinator

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    or try Norton GoBack instead of Ghost. GoBack simply "revives" your system from a save point.
     
  13. lamski

    lamski PhilMUG Addict Member
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    Its the games that make the PC more popular. If Apple creates a mac gaming rig that could somehow play PC games, their sales would probably go through the roof.
     
  14. Carlo

    Carlo Active Member

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    Tsk. No wonder you declined your nomination to the Board of Directors. PC Boy ka na pala. :laugh:

    [Edited on 5-19-2005 by Carlo]
     
  15. Dave_D

    Dave_D Active Member

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    I've been out of the retail side of things for awhile now...

    I'm sure some of the past switchers will also chime in...

    You can probably ask them which video card to get since that's what really defines the game experience in the PC World.

    I didn't get into PC gaming coz I suffer from vertigo (and throw up) if I play those 1st person games.

    Good Luck.
     
  16. Carlo

    Carlo Active Member

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    Same here. 1st person shooters (Doom, Unreal, etc.) make my head spin. It gets bad especially when the graphics involve corridors with ceilings.

    I'm fine with the rest of the genres.
     
  17. booblanco

    booblanco Active Member

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    Expect more dual users in the months to come, especially when Tiger matures some more from its not-exactly-worry-free state. There's totally nothing wrong in getting the best of both worlds, keeping an open mind and thinking differently.
     
  18. Gomi

    Gomi Active Member

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    i also have a pc bought specifically for gaming purposes, for the simple reason that mac games are, well, a little lame and very delayed. vic, you should avoid norton, all their products ssssssslllllllllllllloooooowwwwwwwwsssssss down everything, i mean everything. go get yourself avast or AVG from grisoft.com for your virus protection, theyre free and wont give you a noticable performance hit.
     
  19. hoho

    hoho Member

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    I said it when you first told me about it, and I'll say it again...

    "BOOOO!"

    "Hissssss! Booooo!"

    :laugh:

    Next thing we know, you'll be touting the benefits of having a Hotmail account (which I know you do, or at least used to).

    :laugh:

    H
     
  20. mgd

    mgd Member

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    If ever I do start gaming and decide to get a PC it might as well be this. :devious:

    [Edited on 5-27-2005 by mgd]
     

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