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The Rant: Upgrade Required

By Guest Writer on January 04, 2011 | Columns | Comments

Upgrade Required

I have something I need to confess to everyone: I think I may be a whore for free trials of MMOs. Feels good to actually say it out loud finally, it feels right. Seriously though, I don't think that there is anything actually wrong with the world's oldest profession. At least when it comes to MMOs. As it turns out, my opinion on being an actual "sex worker" doesn't really matter right now. My problem with being a "free trial MMO prostitute" is this: my PC sucks. It doesn't completely suck but it sucks enough where I can't even play some games. I attempted to download and play Age of Conan via the free trial. All I succeeded in doing was the former. My machine wouldn't run it at all. After all the downloading and patching was complete, my computer decided the best course of action was to just kick me in the junk, give me the finger, and laugh at me for wasting all that time. Yes, my computer does have a tiny leg that comes out of it to kick people. Looking back I should have opted for a better video card instead of that particular feature.

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The reason that my computer's failure to run AoC has me worried is because that's not really a "new" game. It's beautiful visually (from the screen shots I have seen) but I don't understand why I can't just put the game into "running blobs" mode and at least play the damn thing anyway. The idea that I might not be able to play some of the games I'm excited about this year because my machine is weak genuinely bums me out. I'm going to refrain from mentioning by name the games I'm looking forward to because I'm really not trying to be a labeled as a "game racist" as some of you branded Bill Murphy in his previous article. Shame on those of you who did by the way. Just because Bill likes to keep his gaming "pure" doesn't make him a bad person, it just makes him right.

2011 is looking like it's going to be a big year for MMOs. There are a lot of games coming out that look so pretty their shiny polished exteriors they're almost hypnotic and I want to play them based on that fact alone. I don't care if that's shallow, it's true. In addition to striking good looks, the gameplay experience that these games are claiming to offer is more that I can resist. We have MMOs coming out that are declaring a reinvention of the genre (or at least that's what the buzz is saying). I don't want to be left behind when MMO history happens, just because there isn't a "look like crap" option for newer games.

I think studios should have to, by law, release "ugly" versions of their games to appease those of us who aren't particularly gifted in the graphics card department. I already talked to the ACLU and their lawyers have my back. It's time we take a stand as gamers and say enough! We need to tell theses game companies that we want incredibly average looking MMOs that will run on any machine! They can keep their stupid "graphics so good you'll sell your family into slavery to see them". We have to show them we won't be bullied into buying better PCs just to play their stupid games. No longer shall we live under the boot of "Big Developer." Tonight we make the streets run red with their blood! Who's with me?

Anyone?
No one?

Wow, really? How about this, we could start a petition or something, get a bunch of signatures together and show them... No? All right, I tried.

Obviously, developers aren't about to start putting out hideous versions of games just to appease me or anyone else for that matter. They would be stupid if they did. As much as I would like to take the Milli Vanilli route with my graphics problem and just "blame it on the rain," I cannot. Mostly because I don't think that everything should be blamed on the rain. The rain never did anything to me, but then again, I don't live in southern California. Times are changing, technology isn't going to regress. It's only going to keep moving forward and developers are going to get as much as they can out of whatever technology gives them. Which is a good thing, unless you happen to be me.

Bottom line is: I need a new video card or just a new computer. I cannot hide from it any longer. Part of the experience of playing MMOs is immersion into a fantasy world and I feel like that sacrifice of quality for game play is hindering the overall enjoyment I can get. Until recently, I haven't had any problem with playing some games on a low video quality setting if it means the gameplay will be smoother. Textures were once a luxury for me. I could be happy playing a game even if it meant that graphically my experience would be that of someone with an extremely bad case of cataracts and glaucoma. Maybe this is because I have matured as a gamer and now need a more enthralling gaming experience. I think a more reasonable answer is that running around a Rorschach test just seems to be a waste of my so very precious gaming time.

I can hear you shaking your head the entire time you were reading this (you should probably see a chiropractor by the way, necks shouldn't make that much noise) and saying: "Why don't you just go out and buy a new video card or build a new PC? Everyone could use a new PC."

I wish it were that simple, really I do. I honestly cannot justify upgrading my PC financially. More to the point, I can't justify it to my wife and let's face it, she is the boss. If any of you have any suggestions I'm more than willing to consider them, assuming that they don't involve selling off my first born (I'm kind of attached to him).