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There have been many memorable times in my life that have involved games. Here are just a few of them:
Getting my very own PC in 1995: It was a Gateway with a 1.6 Ghz Pentium and I still use the speakers it came with as my primary speaker system. It was great to play the games that I had enjoyed in college on their PC s on my own (and not have to worry about being caught
Playing my first multiplayer game of Quake on the Internet: No more blowing away monsters; I was shooting at “real people” from all over the world. It was laggy over my 56k modem but I didn’t care. I was rocket jumping and blowing up players in glibblets. Good times.
Attending my first E3 in 1997: E3 was held in Atlanta in 1997 and 1998 which meant it was only a few hours away from where I lived in Morganton NC. I attended the Sierra press conference where the CGI intro to Starcraft was first shown and got to play a very early version of Half-Life. I went behind closed doors to see an early demo of Prey and Max Payne and saw games that never got released (the Babylon 5 space shooter; so sad)
Installing my first Voodoo3D add-on card: Nowadays putting in an add-on card to your own graphics card sounds crazy but lots of people like me were hooked on GLQuake and had to have it. It started a revolution in graphics that in many ways hasn’t stopped.
Hearing about something called an “Xbox”: The late and very lamented Next Generation magazine broke the news months before that fateful GDC press conference in 2000 about the launch of Microsoft’s first game console. I can remember being shocked that this company was going to enter something that it had never done before and indeed many people felt for a while this was all a big put on by Microsoft to scare Sony. It wasn’t, however, and for the first time I became interested in owning a game console.
There are tons of things that I could mention that are memorable to me that relate to games (getting my first big news scoop; interviewing game devs, etc) but as I said in the beginning reaching a 40th birthday isn’t just about looking back but looking ahead to the future. To that end here are my very humble and very off-the-top-of-my-40-year-old-head speculations on where video and PC gaming will lead us.
Console and PC hardware will eventually merge: With consoles getting web browsers and the ability to download movies and TV shows and PCs becoming more user friendly its only a matter of time before the debate between console and PC gaming will become moot. Sooner or later someone will create a device that blends the ease of use of consoles with the expandability of PCs and that will become the one-size-fits-all media center for games, movies, music and more.It may not happen in 5 years time but maybe in a decade it will occur….and it will be a good thing.
Displays will get bigger for everyone and become interactive: In about five years time there will be a ton of households with at least one TV display that’s at least 42 inches or bigger and when that happens expect to see a lot more attention being placed on games that look good on that TV, even from Nintendo. In 10 years time we will see those screens become more interactive with touch screen controls and we could see a true revolution in how we control our games.
VR Tech is still a long way off: We may see improved virtual reality technology in things like theme parks within a decade but in the home I don’t see anyone hooking up some glasses to play a game like that in your living room even 10 years from now.
Portable gaming will get a huge boost: As PC technology concentrates more and more on the portable market I think we will see portable PC gaming as a huge way to sell new products. Being able to play a game that looks as good as Crysis on a slim PC with high speed wireless Internet access for multiplayer action anywhere you want is something we will see happen within 5 years.
The indy game developer will still be around: While we will still see the big publishers crank out the massive budget games it’s clear that with the Internet and the promise of true digital delivery and payments we will continue to see innovative small games from small teams get made. Microsoft’s plan to bring that kind of game to Xbox 360 via XNA Games Studio Express will just be the tip of the iceburg in a few years time as all the console makers will make their consoles friendly to indy game developers.
Now that I am 40, I have realized that being my age isn’t just about looking back or looking forward. It’s also enjoying what I have right now and it’s very good indeed. I hope to continue to write about games and the industry for many years to come.
Elemental: Fallen Enchantress Preview Elemental: Fallen Enchantress is a standalone expansion pack and follow-up to developer Stardock's previous game in the series, subtitled War of Magic. That 4X strategy game was highly-anticipated and slated to compete with games such as Sid Meier's Civilization V for your turn-based strategy play-time, but was released in an incredibly broken and unfinished state that it never fully recovered from. Lead designer Brad Wardell apologized profusely to fans and set out with his team to go back to the drawing board and try again.
Almost two years later, the result of that proverbial mulligan is currently undergoing closed beta testing. In today's article, Will reports his thoughts on how Fallen Enchantress is shaping up, and will tell you whether or not you should be keeping an eye on it as it nears release later this year.
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ANNO 2070 Review
The year is 2070. The majority of life on Earth was devastated when global sea levels surged after the melting of the polar ice caps. Swaths of previously habitable land are now deep underwater, and sovereign nations are a relic of the past. But there is still hope...
This city-building RTS/simulation game from Ubisoft tasks you with re-colonizing what little land areas are left on the planet following a global warming apocalypse. Does it have what it takes to be worthy of your time and money, or should it be cast out to sea with the rest of civilization? Find out in today's review!
Hear that? It's the sound of the largest computer chip manufacturer in the world churning out new processors to power your gaming rig. This week, Intel is launching their next generation of Core CPUs, code-named Ivy Bridge. Like last year's Sandy Bridge chips, they're low-power, quad-core powerhouses that also feature integrated graphics processors. Want to find out more? Maybe check out a whole bunch of performance benchmarks on both the CPU and graphics sides of things? Well you can, in today's review!
Intel Z77 Chipset & DZ77GA-70K Motherboard Overview
Looking forward to those new Ivy Bridge CPUs? In anticipation of their release later this month, Intel has already unveiled the new Series 7 chipsets designed especially to take advantage of what will be the 3rd-generation of Core processors. In today's article, we take a look at the architecture of the enthusiast variant, the Z77, and how it's used in the Intel Desktop Extreme DZ77GA-70K motherboard. Even if you're not particularly interested in the motherboard itself, you'll probably want to see some of the new features that come along with it, so read on!
Mass Effect 3 PC Review
This latest release from EA/BioWare is the final entry in their trilogy of sci-fi action RPGs, putting you in a dire situation: rally the troops to save Earth at all costs. There was a lot of hype surrounding the final act of what has been a vast and highly-customizable story-telling experience, and the reception among many hardcore fans has been less than stellar. Even people that haven't played the game have probably heard about all the nerd rage going on over Mass Effect 3's ending...
If you want to cut through all the crap and find out whether or not the rest of ME3 is worth playing, come check out Will's spoiler-free take on the first blockbuster game release of 2012.
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Saints Row: The Third PC Review Saints Row is one of most unique series of games to build upon the open-world action template forged by Grand Theft Auto, and has met with plenty of critical and commercial success since it began on consoles back in 2006. This latest iteration, titled Saints Row: The Third promises the most outlandish fun and freedom of customization of them all, and in a much more PC-friendly package than its predecessor. Does it live up to those expectations and, more importantly, is it worth the price of admission? Find out in Will's latest review!
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The PC version of the game promises enhanced graphical fidelity, standard RPG trimmings such as hotkeys and quick-save, as well as unbridled mod support, something we’ll all be thankful for once they release that SDK. Skyrim has already sold millions of copies and set records for play-time on Steam... Find out why in today's review, which happens to be one of the biggest and most in-depth articles on the subject out there!
L.A. Noire Complete Edition PC Review L.A. Noire, as the name clearly states, is a video game built on the tropes of one of the greatest periods of American cinema: film noir. Developed by the now defunct Australian developer Team Bondi and published by Rockstar Games, this title has been out on consoles for a full six months before finally making its way to the PC. This “Complete Edition” of the game features improved graphics, keyboard/mouse controls, and every bit of previously-released DLC for free. But was it truly worth the wait? Read on and find out!