It’s Official: I’m Hooked on PC Gaming

The Witcher 2Last night I played The Witcher 2 for several hours by accident.

I’d just re-installed the game on my Mac Mini’s Bootcamp partition after realizing that I could free up space by reformatting a spare external drive. I sat down at the computer to make sure everything was up to date and running properly and ended up getting sucked into the game.

Freeing up disk space was actually kind of a huge deal because until recently I could either have The Witcher 2 installed (it takes up most of the partition with its 21gb install) or I could install a handful of games in Steam. When your hard drive is always about to run out of storage space it definitely puts a damper on things.

Now, however, I have more than a dozen games installed – most of them purchased during the 2012 Steam Winter Sale – and I’m starting to get excited about the possibilities of PC gaming. The best part is that a significant number of the games I’ve bought recently are compatible with Macs and actually play quite well on my Macbook Air (even if it does tend to run hot and loud the entire time I’m playing).

A number of factors have combined to pique my interest in PC (and Mac) gaming. Right now we’re in a lull between AAA console game releases, so I’m already on the lookout for something new to play. However, I’m not really that excited about the inevitable next generation consoles. The Wii U landed with a thud, and I’m having a hard time believing that Sony and Microsoft are going to come up with anything particularly impressive, especially considering the fact that they’re probably betting on Kinect and Move more than I’d like.

Dragon Age: OriginsAdditionally, it seems clear that digital distribution will become more and more prominent in future console generations. I find myself buying more and more digital content, and I could definitely foresee a future where I buy all of my games digitally.

That said, what I really want to see on consoles is a business model similar to what Steam already delivers today – deep discounts and regular sales. Steam’s pricing makes it more than competitive with both used games and piracy.

Unfortunately, I have a feeling that Microsoft and Sony will never quite catch on to the Steam model, so why wait? Instead, why not hitch my wagon to Steam wholeheartedly and invest in a full-fledged gaming PC instead of a next-generation console? The initial investment will probably be slightly higher, but a well-built system should hopefully have more flexibility and longevity.

I’m already impressed with the results I get running games on my current systems. I’ve played several hours of both Dragon Age: Origins and The Witcher on the Air, and when I want to play a Windows-only game, I switch over to Bootcamp on the Mini (there is a Mac version of The Witcher 2, but it claims the Mini’s specs aren’t good enough). It only stands to reason that a dedicated gaming box would improve my results.

I will admit that I am hesitant to pay full retail price ($59.99) for a digital game, but that might change over time, especially with a dedicated system. Until then, I can always just wait around for the next crazy sale on Steam.

A Belated Best Of

Floral HeadphonesIt’s a bit late, but I’ve decided to finally throw together my “best albums of 2008” list. I spent too long thinking about it, and then spent some time procrastinating after that, and now it’s March of 2009 and I feel a bit silly. To make up for that, I’ve dug up representative videos for each album, some of them offical and some of them fan made (but interesting). All of these albums are still in heavy rotation on my iPod. 2008 was a good year for music.

2008 was also a good year for buying music on Amazon Mp3, which has become my digital music destination of choice simply because of the daily deals they have. For example, the newest Lily Allen album was $3.99 on the day it came out. I’ve also bought several pretty great albums for $1.99 a pop when they were on sale. Everything in the list below is available on the site, and a decent number of the albums are less than $10 to purchase.

My list and a collection of music videos follows after the jump…

Continue reading “A Belated Best Of”

Tasks: 1) Bend. 2) Cheese it!

My mom has politely requested that I update my blog more often. I’ve been letting down my faithful readers, apparently. Hi Mom!

!{float: left}/images/chair.jpg! Tonight Beau and I went and saw “The Puffy Chair”:, which is a little indie film directed by two brothers from Austin, Mark and Jay Duplass. The basic premise of the movie is that Josh, a 20-something former musician, has bought a big, puffy chair on eBay, and has planned a road trip to pick it up and deliver it to his dad as a birthday present. Apparently his dad had the same chair years ago, and Josh thinks it will make a nice present.

Initially, he plans to make the trip by himself, but the night before he is going to leave, he has a fight with his girlfriend. To make it up to her, he invites her along on the road trip so that they can spend some time together – she had already said that she wanted to come along for the ride. Things start off well enough, but when they stop to visit Josh’s brother, Brett, he invites himself along, too.

This just makes things more complicated, but because this movie is anything but formulaic, Brett is not the sort of character who causes conflict by being wacky – he’s just another person along for the ride, someone who gets in the way when the couple is trying to be intimate, or asks questions about what is going on when they’re fighting.

…And fight they do. One of the best things this movie does is unflinchingly portray a couple dealing with some pretty serious issues and constantly picking at each other or fighting. Somehow it manages to do this while still being funny, but it’s definitely not a “romantic” comedy. It’s, well… a relationship-roadtrip-nightmare comedy/drama.

The stylistic choices made in the movie really help it all seem that much more _real_. The movie was shot on digital video, like many indies nowadays, and that combined with the handheld camera throughout most of the movie makes it seem like a documentary. The characters really felt like people I know.

You can check out a trailer for it at “the Duplass brothers’ website”: I’d recommend it, but I don’t know if it would make for a good “date” movie…

well, fuck.

so… remember how i was all excited that i can edit video on my computer now? well, today i turned on my camcorder – i occasionally use it to take still photos – and got nothing but a black screen in the viewfinder and lcd. i fiddled with it, tried different batteries, the power cord, whatever i could think of, and then i looked it up on the internet.

turns out that canon zr-series camcorders, especially ones about as old as mine, tend to have CCD failures. as in my specific problem. apparently this can be fixed… for around $170 or so.

for which price i could just buy a nice new digital still camera and make stop-motion movies.

i’m starting to feel like – two years later – buying this camcorder (which i only just paid off in November of 2004) was one of the stupidest things i’ve ever done.