Sunday, August 30, 2009


My main gaming PC died yesterday. Awoke from a nap to find that it had locked up hardcore. Refused to respond even to a hard reset. Switched it off from the main power switch, and now it won't start up at all. Checks the system RAM and then dies whenever I try to power it up. It should still be under warranty (it's only a few months old). I'll call the manufacturer tomorrow. However, I have already resolved that if it costs me more than $100 to get it working again that I simply won't.

I'm typing this from my old PC. It runs WoW and Wizard 101 just fine. I can run LoTRO and some other older MMOs tolerably. However it won't run Champions Online at all ($50 down the pooper...yay), and runs many other MMOs that I enjoy (e.g., Runes of Magic, Warhammer Online, Free Realms) at such poor frame rates and at such low settings that I can't enjoy them.

In the last twelve years, three out of the four PCs I have owned died seemingly at random. One overheated when a cooling fan died and fried the processor (Win 95), one glitched out and forced me to reformat the hard drive to get it going again (Windows Millennium Edition), and now my latest PC has apparently died an equally random and horrible death (Vista). Unfortunately, I can't afford to replace the latest one.

In that same time I have had exactly zero consoles die, out of a half dozen I have bought. I have also had zero installation and set up issues with consoles. The main reason I've stayed on the PC for so long is that the three MMOs available for consoles; FFXI, EQOA, and PSU; are not to my tastes (to put it politely).

In the next month, one of two things will happen. It will turn out that I can fix my PC inexpensively, either because the damage is under warranty or because the bits I have to replace are cheap. Or I will abandon PC gaming as a serious hobby altogether, at least until competent gaming PCs go sub $300.

Just in case this is my last post for a while, I don't want to leave on a total sour note.

I still believe that MMOs as a genre are taking the first tentative steps. To be alive to witness the transition from MUDs to MMOs was imo akin to the transition from silent film to "talkies." We have only begun to see what is possible. It's been only ten years since EQ and UO. Did film reach the heights that are possible by 1940? How many films from the 40s and 50s do we even watch as students of history (much less because they remain compelling today)? Adoption of MMOs is still low (considering humans as a species), but steadily climbing worldwide. Eventually, I expect that virtual worlds will be as commonplace as e-mail and facebook. Twenty years from now, we will realize that the salty foam that gathered around our feet was the start of a wave that altered society forever.


  1. Yeebo, that sucks so bad. I hope this is inexpensively repairable for you. Keeping my figures crossed.

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