I use an iMac computer. I know, I know . . . it’s a Mac. Of course, now days that doesn’t really mean much since I run Windows Vista on it anyway. I might have well said I use a Dell for all the difference they have.
My computer isn’t the newest or the greatest in terms of computer hardware, but it gets the job done and looks good while doing it. Eve Online runs great, Call of Duty 4 looks and plays spectacularly, and Crysis makes kittens cry while the CPU bursts into flames.
In cleaning out my basement last week, I found my old collection of video games. Some of these games are classics, and are genuinly some of the best ever made. When I originally bought them, I was running a 500MHz AMD K6-II with a GeForce 2MX. Most of these games would not run smoothly, or needed to have all options turned off, and even then would barely squeak by.
But now . . . >evil laugh< I have a machine that can not only tame them, but teach them a thing or two. A dual core, 64-bit CPU, 2GB of RAM, and a video card that can average 5GFLOPS? I don’t think those things had even been conceived when the games were built. It’s sort of like becoming an adult, and finding the nearest 6th grade bully and just beating the snot out of him, just because you couldn’t do it when you were in 6th grade.
So how did the games fair?
Mechwarrior 3 – Wouldn’t run
Mechwarrior 4 – Not only ran, it was excited to do so and automatically turned all options up to “Ultra High” (not kidding there, that’s an actual setting). Of course, I have long since gotten rid of my joystick, so I hooked up my xbox controller. It met with mixed results.
Starcraft – little did I know that the original was limited to a 640*480 resolution. There is no way to turn that up. I have a 24″ screen, so Reavers looked like they were 2 inches long and made of 4 Lego bricks. Still great game play though.
Deus Ex – Still the greatest game ever made. Keeping in mind how old the graphics are, no shaders, no physics, and no mocap it’s still a good game. Even better when I’m not waiting 10 minutes for the next level to load or my game to save. Heck, it didn’t take 10 seconds!
Daikatana – Still the worst game ever. Despite the fact I was running it on a machine that was a quantum leap beyond what it was designed for (and even then, it was 4 years behind the curve), it had issues: it wouldn’t load all the time, textures were missing, characters voices came from inside the walls, and ambient sound would occasionally forget to start with the level, only to blast at you half way through as if it were trying to apologize for being late.
If you have a computer built within the last year, you really owe it to yourself to go back and play some of those old games. There’s a certain sense of pride you get from being able to play what was cutting edge from a standard family PC, and you can finally understand what all those game reviewers were talking about years ago.