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Bill Loguidice's picture

The Last of the Power Personal Computers?

My, how plans change. I was all but dead set on waiting for Windows 8 to come out and then getting a new kick butt PC, but the more the Windows 8 story has publicly evolved, the more I realize that that's probably not a direction I want to go. This led me to go on a search for a new PC now, one that I've decided may end up lasting me until it no longer makes sense to have the type of PC we traditionally consider "killer." Let me explain why I think this is an inevitability...

Bill Loguidice's picture

Some Truly Miscellaneous Collection Photos (PC, MPT-03, C-64, Atari 2600, Mac, Vic-20, Stonekeep)

Woot! recently had a deal on an 8GB Eye-Fi memory card that I took advantage of for the express purpose of no-brainer automatic photo uploads from my digital camera directly to my Flickr account, which I thought would provide a smoother and higher quality workflow than using my iPhone 4. As such, I set the Eye-Fi up last night and took some very casual photos. While the transfer process really didn't go well (I'll need to experiment a bit more), transferring only two photos correctly and requiring me to manually transfer the rest, the end result was still some photos of recent items in my collection that also happened to be in my staging area, which I decided to share below with some minor commentary so the initial work wouldn't be totally wasted. Enjoy:

Bill Loguidice's picture

Back in my day we used something called a "desktop computer" that stayed in one place, and we liked it!

I had recently written about what I perceive to be the false notion of console gaming holding PC gaming back (and, frankly, with a recent release like L.A. Noire and future releases like Skyrim, again, it's hard to make that argument outside of a purely superficial (audio/visual) - not contentual - standpoint). Perhaps, as this new article puts forth, it's not consoles, but tablets, that the traditional PC industry has more to worry about?

Of course, as far as I'm concerned, we're actually still at least a few years off from that happening, at least until Apple breaks the required link between their iOS devices and a computer equipped with iTunes (and that's a question of "when", not "if"). Android devices are of course close to completely breaking free of the computer tether, but there are other issues for those classes of devices to overcome first. Other tablet OS's, present and future, are probably somewhere in-between the two.

Interestingly, there's a girl here at my day job who had bought an iPad 2 about a month back and then recently got an iPhone 4, but was frustrated that there was no way to copy what was on her iPad 2 (purchases) over to the iPhone 4. You see, she considers her computer horribly outdated and really didn't want to go through iTunes on her rickety old PC! Obviously, very flawed thinking, but it's very interesting what the non-techies have in their thought processes (and in this case how she wants to basically compute outside of work exclusively on the iPad 2 and iPhone 4)... Definitely a paradigm shift of some type! In any case, it's the old argument that it's not so much computers that are being challenged, it's the limited generalized definition of what a computer is that is being challenged. Does a computer really mean that desktop or laptop many of use a good portion of the day? Sure, but that's not all it means. As an iPad 2 user - outside of the tethering restriction for the occasional iTunes sync - I can argue that my tablet is as much of a computer as most desktops and laptops, with strikingly similar functionality (and in some cases, then some).

Ultimately, I think it's clear we're all headed to a connected eco-system of devices, where a lot of stuff is in the cloud, with minimal need for local storage. You'll simply use whatever device is handy or whatever is best suited to a particular task (say a touch screen or a keyboard). We even already have brilliantly functional cloud gaming services (and of course, VOD, like Netflix), so, outside of artificial bandwidth restrictions by ISP's, there's little reason to think that the future has anything to do with increasingly more powerful traditional computers. For some of us who have been in love with technology since our earliest memories, this is a tough sell, but it's hard to argue that's not where we're headed, and perhaps it's just as hard to argue that it's even a bad a thing. I'm sure even the most hardcore among us have tired of the upgrade/incompatibility/instability cycle at some point, if only briefly.

Bill Loguidice's picture

In what ways are console gaming holding PC gaming back?

I recently tweeted - to some degree in frustration after reading the same tired complaint yet again - "For all those who insist console gaming is holding PC gaming back, I'd like to know what that might be other than slightly nicer graphics." In other words, we continue to hear talk that this almost six year old console generation is responsible for holding back what the state-of-the-art in PC gaming can be. But really, keeping in mind that both the Xbox 360 and PS3 are capable of 1080p and full surround sound, and have default controllers with lots of buttons, how exactly are consoles holding PC game designs back? Sure, PC's have more memory, storage and polygon-potential, as well as more buttons thanks to its default keyboard, but really, what game designs would be getting exactly if consoles didn't exist? Flashier versions of current games don't count.

What games would PC developers be giving us if they weren't "held back" by consoles? How much more power is really needed given the designs currently being unleashed? I can't think of one game released where I thought, "boy, more processing power/memory/storage would really make this game so much better". If a dev said, "I have this really radical idea, but I can't do it because consoles are holding me back," THEN I'd listen and maybe even agree. Wanting more polygons is not a design issue.

Valentin Angelovski's picture

Flea86 Retro Gaming Project - Finally! Improved VGA support added...

Hi all,

After a few distractions (including a bout of flu), I managed to get back to seeing to what extent I can transform this minimal hardware into a real PC...

Chip Hageman's picture

Three for the Road: April 17th, 2011

Three for the Road[ APR . 17 . 2011 ]

Three for the Road: 03.27.2011

Greetings folks! Welcome to the April 17th, 2011 edition of Three for the Road. This week we take a look at a few more indie PC gems that are sure to entertain you for a while. This edition also marks the first time I am posting the games with GigaTribe download links in addition to the standard web-based download links. For years I've been trying to find a file sharing (P2P) package that I liked and GigaTribe comes closest to what I've been looking for.

Ultimately, I'm thinking of getting a P2P network established for fans of indie/classic gaming. So if you'd like to join, send an invite (from GigaTribe) to Mythran42 and we'll see if we can turn this grass roots effort into something larger. :-)

Note: The GigaTribe links download straight from my laptop PC.. so whether it's online or not will dictate the availability of the files.

Chip Hageman's picture

Three for the Road: March 27th, 2011

Three for the Road[ MAR . 27 . 2011 ]

Three for the Road: 03.27.2011

Greetings folks! Welcome to the March 27th, 2011 edition of Three for the Road.

This week we take a look at a retro style platform game where you try to save the dinosaurs from extinction.. a shoot'em up where music plays an integral role in the gameplay.. and a recent scene re-release for the venerable Commodore 64.

Chip Hageman's picture

Three for the Road: March 20th, 2011

Three for the Road[ MAR . 20 . 2011 ]
 03.20.2011Greetings folks! Welcome to the March 20th, 2011 edition of Three for the Road. Sorry for the lack of updates the last couple of weeks but my schedule has just been crazy.

Anyway, I'm back this week with a few more indie games for you to check out. First up we have a new port of a shoot'em up- this time for the venerable Amstrad CPC. Next, we take a look at a new Atari 2600 game with possibly the most horrid storyline since Custer's Revenge. Finally, we look at a shoot'em up that takes on the sensitive topic of bigotry as portrayed by squares and circles.

Great stuff!

Chip Hageman's picture

Three for the Road: February 27th, 2011

Three for the Road[ FEB . 27 . 2011 ]

Three for the Road: 02.27.2011Greetings folks! Welcome to the February 27th, 2011 edition of Three for the Road. This week, I take a look at an eleven year old DOS based BBS door-game which has only recently been released to the public.. albeit, reworked as a single-player or local multi-player ANSImation RPG. We take a look at a minimalistic platforming game with destructible environments which turns out to be much more fun than it first appears. Finally, we take a look at a classic point-and-click style adventure game with a high attention to detail. If you're a fan of classic Sierra or LucasArts adventures then this may be just what you're looking for.
Chip Hageman's picture

Three for the Road: February 20th, 2011

Three for the Road[ FEB . 20 . 2011 ]
 02.20.2011Greetings folks! Welcome to the February 20th, 2011 edition of Three for the Road. This week I take a look at a couple of new releases for the Commodore 64, with a remake of a fantastic Pac-Man clone.. as well as a brand new action / platformer, set aboard various star ships in the depths of space. Wooo! We also take a look at a unique arena / tube shooter which has been taken off active sale and is now being given away for free.
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