This is Why We Upgrade (Part 2)

In the previous post, I talked about the First (Wolf 3D) and Second (Doom) epochs of PC gaming. To reiterate (or make clear for the first time), these are arbitrary. These aren’t official epochs or eras. These are just the world as we see it. Which means that it’s completely correct.

We ended the last post talking about the 486. Depending on your age, you may have very fond memories of that processor. So many people in my age group really cut their teeth on the 486/66. It was a great CPU and is great nostalgia.  However, it wasn’t good enough for the Third Epoch.

The Third Epoch (Quake)

Quake Nightmare 2
A difficulty so brutal it was hidden.
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This is Why We Upgrade (Part 1)

One of the most wonderful things about gaming on a PC is that, unlike consoles, you’re not locked into static hardware. You can upgrade to your heart’s content, swapping in new processors, video cards, hard drives…all sorts of stuff.  However, this strength also means that the system requirements for new games are always a moving target.  I would argue that this is less of a problem in modern gaming, as we’ve reached a point where monumental improvements in hardware don’t happen at a fast pace anymore.

There was a time, though, when processors and video cards seemed to double in speeds every year or two.  The shiny new computer you got for Christmas in 1987 was no longer adequate for the games of 1989. Sure, businesses upgraded because of spreadsheets and number crunching, but for gamers, each little epoch of hardware seemed to be dominated by one or two games that needed a higher performing system or a new operating system to run correctly.

Let’s go on a journey through these epochs, focusing on the requirements and, more importantly, the games.

The First Epoch (1987 – Wolfenstein 3D)

I’m going to arbitrarily start the clock in 1987.  The fastest x86 CPU of the day was the 80386.  4MB of RAM was a lot.  And the PC game you had to have was Wolfenstein 3D.

Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 5.20.05 PM
On a 386/16, I tended to run the screen smaller to improve frame rates.
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Google to enter the console business? And other related musings.

Hey all! Time for me to finally write another article! I’m going to place this one under “Brushing off the Dust” because not only will this be news, but I’m going to dig back a bit and talk about similar stories to the one I’m about to report on.

Yeti

So.. BIG NEWS folks, or that’s how everyone is spinning it. Google seems to have plans to release a console. The codename as of now? YETI. ( you can find info about this at The Information , but beware it is subscription based. Unlike a website that Yours Truly may be typing on.) I guess I shouldn’t say they intend to release a console for sure, more just that it seems very likely. What the report really spells out is that Google for sure appears to be gearing up to offer a game-streaming service that when all up and running will be accessible on at least the Google Chromecast device. That seems to leave room for there also being a more dedicated item just for the gaming, but we’ll have to see.

What does this mean? Well, it could mean anything or it could mean nothing. My personal thought is that this plan will go the same way Nvidia’s Shield platform did. Though Google recently hired Phil Harrison of Sony fame, so there might be bright glimmer on the horizon? Who’s to say? All we know right now is its supposed to be a cloud-computing based gaming service that will offer top notch content without a lot of hassle. Sound familiar? Microsoft’s Xbox division touted much the same type of technology for their dedicated Xbox One console when it first launched.

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Problems with a delayed entry to 8th gen.

So I’ve decided to take a up a quick response to my counter part. Their article, entitled: “Xbox One vs. PS4 : Out of the box experience in 2017” has some things in it I felt like nitpicking or bringing light to. The piece can be found at https://abortretryfailshow.wordpress.com/2017/10/

Now, without further ado, Let me begin. ( There was some ado)

I can’t say I’m a fanboy of either console myself. I used to be an avid fan of the Xbox brand and still have strong feelings towards the Xbox 360 and original Xbox, but that’s died off in recent years. For the most part I just have the Xbone because that’s what my connections all have. I waited a short bit to get into the 8th generation myself. I found little reason to hop on board the hype train.

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Xbox One vs PS4: Out of the box experience in 2017

By: Cody Kelly

I’m going to be honest:  I had no intention of ever buying either of these consoles.  From the moment they were first announced, I was pretty underwhelmed.  I’ve been a console gamer since the days of the Atari 2600.  I’ve watched each successive generation get more powerful and more exotic (from an architecture perspective).  I was impressed by both the 360 and the PS3 and remember well my enthusiasm for both when they launched.

My lack of desire for either the Xbox One or PS4 stems from the perception that I had that both were low to mid-range PCs.  Nothing fancy, nothing interesting.  So, I held off.  In the meantime, I purchased both a Wii U and a Switch.  I’ve had a lot of fun with both consoles and I’m looking forward to what Nintendo has in store for us with the future of the Switch.

Last weekend, however, I came across a steal of a deal on both the Xbox One and PS4 at a pawn shop.  Curiosity got the best of me.  I took the plunge.  I took them home, cleaned them up and factory reset them.  What follows is my impression of the end user experience upon firing these up for the first time in 2017.

This is not a comparison of the hardware.  I may get into that at some point, but this is primarily about the software, as that’s what I’ll be interacting with on a day to day basis.  I also want to point out that I’m not a “fan boy”.  I owned both the PS3 and Xbox 360 and loved them both for different reasons.  I’m signed up for both PS Plus and Xbox Live Gold, so YMMV with either of these consoles if you’re not.

Without further ado… Continue reading →