Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Friday, April 10, 2015

Responsible Gaming?

So last year I wrote my newbie gamer guide which was basically a codification of everything I said to my Mom when she was hoping to hook my little cousins into an Xbox 360.

But as I said with my Fallout review... thing my gaming sabatical is over. For a while now I've been thinking how to economically get back into gaming and I'd be lying if I didn't say its part of my overall life plan as pathetic as it sounds.  Hey I want to be able to walk into a Best Buy without feeling like a Dickensian urchin.

All the same there is no way I'm going to be able to get back into the habit the way I did when I was a teenager. I've got bills to pay and stuff to do. So how can I do this responsibly, without the impending feeling that my life is crumbling around me to feed the beast.

With that in mind I know I'll say things in here that are going to make hard cores angry. Hell after some thought I've decided on things that would make the me of 10 years ago kick my own ass.

PC First
You know dispite the truth that console gaming is no longer as plug and play as it was in the NES days it's still a lot easier to get Xbox 360 games than PC games for the simple reason that my P.C. is hitting the edge of its lifespan.

But I need to have discipline and deal with the bigger problem rather ignoring it in favor of cheap quickie fixes both gaming and not.

Apart from the fact that I am a PC gamer at heart I really should focus my efforts on getting a new computer for productivity reasons. Sure part of my larger economic plans is to do a whole technological overhaul but even that has the stain of "Do I really need a new cellphone and tablet? Is that the best use of my money?" on it. But without hesitation I can say I NEED a new computer. If I don't get one soon this blog is going to look ... very different.
But the purchasing calculations for that have so many asterisks attached to them that it might as well be a whole new post.

  • Do I wait and save or do I buy on credit.
  • Desktop or Laptop
  • Touch Screen or no, hell do I really even need to replace my old monitor at all?
  • Cost or performance
  • Do I spring for a new printer and shave it off the overall budget, the copier and scanner are both busted but it still "prints" fine.
  • I really want to spring for so external hard drives to help with transfer and backup but that adds to the budget. 
  • Do I upgrade software like Office and Adobe or just stick with older stuff?
  • Which new free software do I install that I might previously not have considered?
I think I could swing it if I had to but I'm putting it off because I don't want to spend three days locked in a room installing software but sooner or later I'm going to have to. This old heap has seen better days and I've been half expecting the blue screen of death for over a year now.

Hardware First
In that same vein I really need to focus on upgrading the hardware. Because I have an older Xbox with a small hard drive I've been using flash drives, but it's obvious that at some point I'm going to hit the point where the $15-20 I'm spending on each on is going to add up to more than it would cost to just get a new console.  Each stick lasts me about 2 months so its a long term concern but I can't keep pretending like its not a bad idea in the long term to keep doing that.

Right now I've sprung for 6 flash drives to extend the life of the thing. At $20 a pop that's at least $120 and that's an underestimate.

Furthermore flash drives suck for DLC and digital distribution which often require an internal hard drive. (I'll get to it)

7th Generation
And now for the thing that's going to make everybody mad. I don't think the 8th generation is worth the money. At least not yet.

On a personal note since I went off the radar during generation seven there are still a hell of a lot of good games for Xbox 360 and eventually PS3 that I never got a chance to play, but really want to that I can buy on the cheap. And my estimation of the eighth generation right now is the opposite of that. Most of the major games I see advertised are just bigger re-releases of stuff that already came out, or are games of which I hear nightmare tales of day one bugs and glitches.  

And since the Xbox One isn't backwards compatible I can't say that with it I am in essence buying both it and a new Xbox 360 the same way I did with the Xbox 360 and the original Xbox.

I kind of have to make a choice about which has the games I want to play and the Xbox One just isn't there yet.

I'll probably go with the 8th generation eventually but even then the prices will drop rather than increase so its hard to rush a purchase. Speaking of which.

Digital Distribution Sales
What really makes me want to get back into gaming are digital distribution sales. The realization that games that have been on my list for years can be bought for like 3 bucks with the right timing and equipment.

With a steam wishlist I literally get emails saying. "Hey this game you told us you want can be yours for the low low price of... $1.99" And it is infuriating that my PC just isn't up to it.

And while I'm at it I'll include games for gold here. Microsoft has really been going for the good stuff with that program.  It's well worth the money... if my hard drive could handle it.

All the same its harder and harder to keep with the line "I can't afford to game."

I may not be to able buy everything day one or play every game in the world but if I want to I could do this.

So in my day it was rare that a console game would get an expansion pack. Sure there were a few stand alone but those were in essence whole new games. What sort of trips me up everytime I do dip my toe back in is DLC.  For most of the recent games I played and liked, (Dishonored and Fallout) I kind of want the DLC. It's less than the price a new full game and I get to mess around in the world, but see the hardware section.

On the other hand I can also see how DLC can go horribly horribly wrong.

It's just something on my mind.

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