THE BEST OF 2011 AWARDS.

•January 6, 2012 • Leave a Comment

With no mention of Skyrim guaranteed!

The entirety of the internet has made a list, and I’ve decided this is the year I won’t be left out. Two things to note: I am making the award categories up as I go, and my opinions are fact. Also for the sake of brevity, I won’t be putting much more than a sentence per award. But that format is subject to change at any time during this post. If none of this puts your bum in a rift, let’s get this show on the road.

BEST XBOX 360 EXCLUSIVE:

This is actually unrelated to Tron and that Daft Punk album.

 

Outland (Arcade) – 2011 was truly the year that exclusives died, with Xbox 360 only having three notable exclusive retail releases (Gears 3, Forza 4, and Dance Central 2), and the biggest out of those three being overwhelmingly disappointing (Gears 3), the award goes to an arcade title. Outland, a metroidvania clone with an Ikaruga twist.

BEST PS3 EXCLUSIVE:

 

Gamers had to turn to the community to pick up Sony's slack.

TIE Little Big Planet 2 and Infamous 2 – PS3 had pound for pound better exclusives than the 360, but they all suffered heavily from sequel-itis, with every one of them just being bigger versions of their predecessors. LBP 2 and Infamous 2 just happen to be the most enjoyable out of these creativity absent products.

 

BEST WII EXCLUSIVE:

 

Skyward Sword was plagued with game design choices that were dumb as that bird looks.

Skyward Sword – There was no choice, but let me say this: Skyward Sword wasn’t very good. The entire game felt like it was made on a shoestring budget as Nintendo forced the player to re-visit several areas and fight an uninspired boss three times.  In fact, I would call it the worst 3D Zelda to date. Bravo Zelda, by winning every single Wii award at every site, you manage to silence any Nintendo fan boy who would otherwise argue that the Wii isn’t dead.

GAME BREAK!!!

Before we continue with video game awards, let’s stray away from the hobby I am becoming increasingly less passionate about.

TOP 5 MUSIC ALBUMS OF 2011:

1)      M83 – HURRY UP, WE’RE DREAMING

2)      BON IVER – BON IVER

3)      DESTROYER – KAPUTT

4)      THE ANTLERS – BURST APART

5)      DAS RACIST – RELAX

BEST TV SHOW –

If you haven't read the books, this guy right here is all you should care about.

Game of Thrones – Basically on the merit that didn’t mess that shit up. Seriously, read the books, it could’ve gone south fast.

MOST BORING THING TO HAPPEN IN 2011 (ALL CAPS TO KEEP YOUR ATTENTION)–

Claire Danes is actually a cow, and ironically enough, I believe she played the part of one in some HBO special.

 

THE TV SHOW HOMELAND –  RUNNER UP: THAT ONE TIME I WAITED IN LINE FOR FIVE HOURS TO GET ON SUPERMAN IN SIX FLAGS. BIT MORE EXCITING THOUGH BECAUSE I GOT A SUNBURN WHICH KEPT ME AWAKE. AND FOOTBALL.

BEST FOOD –

 

If you were expecting NOMNOMNOM, go stick your head in a deep fryer.

Sesame Chicken – Twenty Three years running, too GDLK.

 

BEST ELECTRONIC DEVICE –

 

My baby.

iPad 2 – Skinny is sexy and fast is sexy, so taking the already super fit iPad 1 and making it sexier causes it to be a shoe-in for this award.

BACK TO GAMES.

Let’s kick off the return to games with a bang, this game earned not one, not two, but three awards!

BEST MMO, BEST STAR WARS GAME, BEST GAME RELEASED 5 DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS –

 

Be warned, that hot chick on the cover is actually a grandma in the game. False advertising indeed.

Star Wars: The Old Republic – Pretty fun game, it’s basically World of Warcraft with cut scenes and dialogue choices ala Mass Effect.

MOST OVERRATED GAME –

 

Nate is as lost as everyone with good taste when searching for the fun in UC3.

Uncharted 3 – Runner Up: Bastion. Uncharted 3 is the game for graphics whores who can’t afford a PC and wish that George Lucas was capable of making a good Indiana Jones sequel. Instead of complaining about 8.0 scores, fans should’ve been thankful that this fraud of a game received any praise. Bastion is the runner-up because it’s about somewhere between 2 hours and 10 minutes long. It’s also a pretty generic twin-stick shooter with leveling and progression.

WORST COMPANY THAT MAKES GOOD GAMES –

 

I found this on a Russian site, so blame them for the lack of wit.

CAPCOM – Between Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition (Aka Apology Edition) having to be patched because it was so badly balanced, the blatant trolling of their most dedicated fanbase (Megaman), and releasing a sequel within the same year of release (Marvel Vs Capcom 3), Capcom has nothing to be proud of. But I’ll still be playing their games.

WORST COMPANY THAT MAKES BAD GAMES –

 

Right you are, girl from one of SE's BAJILLION spinoffs!

SQUARE-ENIX – Final Fantasy 14. Enough said. No? Well I just received word that the pathetic cash-in attempt FF13-2 is doing abysmal in Japan. Here’s hoping the company goes under sooner rather than later.

Wow, all this negativity is making me look like a hater. Let’s finish up on a positive note.

BEST BAND THAT I DISCOVERED IN 2011 –

 

This is actually my first time seeing these people. They look cool, if not a bit bored.

LOS CAMPESINOS  – Thanks Spotify. Everyone should check out the album to Death to Los Campesinos, it rules.

GAME OF THE YEAR 2012 THAT I PLAYED IN 2011 –

 

Yeah, I'm pretty good. If you need some tips I do lessons, paypal 15$ an hour.

DOTA 2 – I’ve been in the beta for about 2 months now and it’s glorious. Like my “why you should play LoL” post, I’ll be making one for Dota 2.

 

And the award you’ve all been waiting for…

GAME OF THE YEAR –

 

Do not stare for too long, lest you risk getting spunk everywhere.

DARK SOULS – It might not be for everyone, and it’s certainly not without its faults, but Dark Souls was the game I found myself enjoying the most. Everything from the game’s art style to its gameplay just completely outdid the competition. If your good at video games pick it up immediately, otherwise stick to Skryim (shit!).

 

Thanks for reading, and here’s hoping that 2012 is as good of a year. Looking at the upcoming release schedule I can’t see myself playing that many games, but I’m sure I’ll make some time for a special few. Until then, stay happy.

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iTunes Match – What Works, and What Doesn’t

•November 17, 2011 • Leave a Comment

(NON-GAMING POST INCOMING)

Initial impressions on Apple’s new cloud-based music streaming service.

Back in June Apple announced its new service, iTunes Match, allowing users to stream their entire music library from the cloud to any iOS device they owned. The service was greatly aniticipated with the price being comparatively low to the competition ($24.99 a year versus Spotify’s $119 or $4.99/$9.99 for Napster depending on which devices you use), and knowing that Match would have the ability to automatically detect and “match” music in your library (including pirated songs). However, the service finally came out this week and the reactions are mixed.

Works:

-The Price. $24.99 for a year works out to be just over $2.00 a month, skip the soda once a month and you’re in there.

-The ability to stream across all devices. Anyone who owns an iOS device should be interested, from the Dad who just wants to stream to the new iPhone he got for Christmas, to the technology aficionado who wants to be able to listen to his library on his iPad, iPod touch, and laptop.

-Songs on the Cloud already are automatically found. With most of the other cloud based streaming services you are forced to buy storage and then manually upload the songs yourself. With iTunes Match this is not the case, as the service will find your songs on the cloud and give you permission to stream it. Sometimes even upping the quality of your version if you happen to have a bad rip of it (cough, pirates).

Flops:

-Many of the Songs aren’t matched. My own personal experience with the cloud was that about ¼ of my 12,500 song library was matched. Granted, I have a lot of foreign music on there but there were some weird omissions like the White Stripes. Really Apple?

-No music hoarders allowed. Anyone with more than 25,000 songs is not allowed to use the service and will be forced to create a miniature library just to check it out. With worry I checked to see if I fell in that category and was surprised to see that I was well below the limit. So this probably won’t be a problem for most of you, but it still is a setback.

-Match is slow. It may be because the servers are getting hammered at the moment but even matched songs take a while to upload with unmatched songs expectedly taking longer. It’s not a real problem for that initial major upload if you can plug in your device and live a few hours without it, but when wanting to add new songs on the go (like the new Drake album, eh eh?) it can be a setback.

So, is it worth it?

Unless none of the cons seem to affect you and you desperately want to stream, at this time I would say wait a little bit. Otherwise, go ahead. Just keep in mind that the service has only been out for less than a week so it is possible Apple may make some adjustments.

What’s Wrong With Gears of War 3

•October 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Why the last in the Gear’s trilogy might be remembered as a flawed great instead of a masterpiece.

Brothers to the end...which might be sooner than later.

(NOTE: This is a post that I originally wrote for Bitmob’s Gears callout.) Let me start off by saying Gears of War 3 is a great game, one of the best in the already-crowded shooter genre. That being said there are some flaws with the game, some of these problems are serious while others are just plain annoying. At the time of writing this I am currently level 35, have beaten the campaign on hardcore with three of my friends, and have several years of gears experience under my belt. In my opinion the following are Gears 3’s biggest problems.

  • The map selection is pathetic and ironically crippled by Epic’s DLC plans.

On a recent episode of Inside Xbox (which can be found on your 360 dashboard) Cliffy B says that Halo 2 was the original Xbox’s defining experience and he hopes that the same could be said for Gears 3 on the 360. Halo 2 which shipped in 2004 came with 12 maps on the disc and another 2 maps as free DLC a few months later. Gears 3 will definitely have DLC with three new maps already being found on the disc as locked content, but the chances of it being free are slim to none. When Gears 1 was first released and it was time for a Title Update, Mark Rein and Cliffy B were guests on 1UP Yours and took a staunch position on fighting for free content and not charging players for DLC. Back then when Unreal Tournament was still fresh in everyone’s minds with new content being regularly released for free, it was easy to believe the guys from Epic that pricing was out of their hands. In the day and age of forty-five dollar weapon skins, not so much.

Both Gears 2 and 3 featured 10 maps for their multiplayer components but Gears 2 included 5 old maps for all new copies of the game, bolstering its total map count to 15. One of Gears 3’s few maps is yet another remake of Gridlock, a map that has been seen in every iteration of the Gears franchise. So Gears 3 is a downgrade in quantity from Gears 2, but that’s okay as long as the quality is there. Unfortunately it’s not. In my honest opinion, the maps found in Gears of War 3 are the worst in the series yet. The low points of these maps are Overpass, a map that features only one entrance to the high ground that practically decides the game and encourages camping in every way possible. The other is Sandbar, a map way too big for Gears and feels like something you would expect to find in a Halo Big Team Battle playlist. Epic has made some blunders with their multiplayer map choices and as a result there’s not a doubt in my mind many players will quickly drop the game for something else in the busy fall gaming season.

  • The starting weapon balance is non-existent.

New to Gears of War is your choice of starting with one of three rifles and one of two shotguns. Out of the three rifles only the normal lancer is somewhat balanced with the Hammerburst decimating anything at long distance and the Retro doing the same at close range. And while the screams of the crowd shouldn’t always be believed, type Gears 3 Sawed-off shotgun into Google and the first suggestion is SOS Overpowered. Being a Gears 1 and 2 vet I’ve been an advocate for the Gnasher shotgun, but losing over and over to mindless players who just rush in and are rewarded with a kill for aiming slightly in my direction has caused me to jump ship. You’ll hear message board jockeys scream all day about why the SOS “isn’t that bad,” or “not that overpowered,” but challenge your friend to a 1 on 1 duel of Gnasher versus Sawed-off. Even if you’re much better than him chances are he’ll take a few rounds off you, and in a competitive game rewarding an inferior player is just unacceptable.

  • The campaign makes arbitrary decisions that serve as nothing but to annoy the players.

    Who the hell is this guy?

Want to play on the game’s hardest difficulty? Well you’re going to have to beat the game first before you can do that. A good trick to artificially lengthen games without replay value but with Gears’ extensive multiplayer it’s just unneeded. The bosses in the game also have way too much health and it seems Epic’s design motto for them was “length = difficulty”. There are also numerous occasions where you’ll be asked to take a branching path from your AI or CO-OP partners in which you’re reunited no more than a minute later. It’s just confusing and not needed.

Like I’ve said the game is still great, it might just not be remembered as a classic because of these issues. Looking at Epic and Gear’s past though we will certainly see more maps and title updates that will hopefully correct some of the existing issues. Many competitive games need frequent patches before they hit that point of balance where there aren’t any huge glaring problems, the fact that my friends and I will be playing Gears every night says something about Epic’s initial shot and just how fun the game is. Let’s just hope that they don’t let greed get in the way of turning their game into something that will be played for years (or until the next inevitable game is released).

 

Final Thoughts: 3DS

•June 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

This is sort of what I thought the 3DS was going to be like.

A few months have passed since the 3DS has been released and I think it’s safe to say the launch goggles effect of ogling over the 3D has finally diminished to a point where it’s possible to critique the system without bias. My take on the standard stuff like the make of the system and the OS: Great, the system itself is very sturdy (minus the wobbly top screen hinge) and the circle pad works wonderfully. The Wii-esque interface is a more advanced version of what we saw on the DSi, with an online store (which has Link’s Awakening, most underappreciated Zelda game ever) and a friend’s list that is a step in the right direction for Nintendo in the online space (Friend Codes are still here but we actually have a friend’s list with usernames on it! We’ll have to wait until a real popular online game comes out like Mario Kart just to see how well it works). Really any problems I had with the interface since launch have either been addressed or just little nitpicks that aren’t too big of a deal. Moving onto the 3D I can say this: It’s annoyingly cool.

That it does.

I had no idea what to expect from glassless 3D. Was the image going to pop out from the screen like a holograph from Star Wars? Of course not silly, that would be too cool. Instead it makes the screen appear deeper as if you’re looking into a world and once in awhile an object will fly toward you and look like it’s actually coming out of the screen. If everything worked perfectly with no consequences then it would be great, but unfortunately we can say that for many things in life and the 3DS is no exception. First off, if you’re not looking STRAIGHT-ON at the 3DS then the image becomes headache inducing, and I mean straight on. This might sound like a silly complaint but don’t forget that we’re talking about a handheld that we hold with our hands and I assume I’m not alone in that my arms don’t remain perfectly still throughout an entire play session. Next, the 3DS’ 3D greatest asset is also its greatest weakness in the 3D slider. Every time I start playing a new title on the system I have to spend thirty minutes figuring out where the optimal spot to put the slider, not the biggest deal but still an annoyance. The 3D also comes at a cost in that many games it takes a toll on the 3DS’ power and becomes the inferior way to play. In Street Fighter 4 the game drops from 60 Frames Per Second to 30 when the 3D is enabled, Ocarina of Time the graphics become jaggy and there’s often a nasty ghosting effect. Still the 3D is a neat addition that sets the system apart from its competition. Like I said before, it’s annoyingly cool.

Pictured: An old man bitching about something.

I know games are somewhat of a separate affair when critiquing a system but it needs to be mention: The 3DS is severely lacking in this department. Two of the best games on the handheld are console ports (Street Fighter, Zelda), and when looking at the upcoming titles one has to worry if the 3DS is going to be a repeat of the Wii with the only worthwhile games being first party while other Developers lazily port their games over while adding a forgettable 3D effect. Unsurprisingly the best use of 3D comes from the new Pilotwings title but unfortunately the game itself is too short and shallow to warrant the $40 admission. In fact I can’t think of a single game that is worth the steep price tag although I have not delved too far into the highly rated Ghost Recon, which lends itself best to the idea of 3D by making the top-down turn based strategy game look like a miniature board game. Still, with nothing on the horizon but a handful of first party Nintendo titles and a minigame on the consoles stretched into a full priced experience that lacks the ability to save (Resident Evil: Mercenaries), 3DS owners have every right to worry if their money may have been spent in haste.

At least he likes it.

I may sound like a hater but I actually like my 3DS. That might be more because I’m absolutely enamored by all video games though and not because anything of quality is being produced here. Unless you’re absolutely stoked at the idea of 3D or really value your Nintendo games, then I can’t recommend picking up the system at its current price. And I’m guessing if you don’t have one yet then you’ve been able to manage holding out just fine. Besides, with the system already out for a few months you’re that much closer to the 3DS lite coming out.

Games that I have been completely wrong about: Part 1: Positive Edition

•June 25, 2011 • Leave a Comment

With a magnitude of resources available to consumers to research products before purchase, it is rare for us to ever go into a new product without knowing a great deal of what we are buying into. This is even more true for someone such as myself who does more research on the topic of figuring out which games I am interested in than my senior thesis paper. With such exposure rarely does a game come that I am completely wrong about. Here is a short list of a few games that I was wrong in having less then stellar expectations for them only to be pleasantly surprised.

Yeah...I know.

Portal 2

Before you go “Really?” and close your browser’s tab let me explain myself. I was a sophomore in college when the original Portal came out as a part of the Orange Box and with only an 8:30 AM class that day I decided to try and tackle all the new games in the collection. I started with a short marathon of Episode Two managing to beat the game before my roommate ever awoke. Before tackling Portal I wanted to sample Team Fortress 2 (which as of yesterday is Free to Play if you have yet to check it out) for an hour or so which turned into about three hours that were only interrupted by my gurgling stomach. I emerged from my room to go to the dining hall with a friend who had also been playing the Orange Box and was on the verge of beating Portal. We shared our initial impressions of TF2 and the other games and returned to our rooms with haste so I could begin Portal, the last game for me to conquer in the Orange Box after a long day. At first I thought Portal was great and thought Glados’s lacerating quips were a refreshing change in video games that I had always wanted to see. It wasn’t until I reached that last third of the game that my suite mate had finished playing and came into my room to watch over my back and yell out solutions to puzzles when I failed to nail them on my first try. Being constantly berated by him along with a desire to just see the end of the game really ruined the entire experience and left me not wanting to play another Portal game ever again. Yet with the amazing critical reception Portal 2 received I decided to give it a try and boy was I glad that I did. With no annoying suite mate over my shoulder I was left alone to witness some of the best writing and one of the most memorable endings in anything ever. Here’s to you Portal 2, I was wrong.

Much better than Oblivion.

Fallout 3

In one of my earlier, poorly written blog posts this was one of my anticipated fall release games. Even though I was anticipating the game I was still extremely skeptical since I had bought all the hype surrounding Oblivion (see: Skyrim) and could not get into the game no matter how hard I tried. Still the universe was intriguing enough for me to try out the game and I don’t know if it was the idea of traversing a wasteland where bottlecaps were the currency that kept me hooked or just the fact that guns are more enthralling than a clunky fantasy-based battle system, but I was obsessed. I would drive back to my house in a trip that took over thirty minutes just so I could play in the two hours that were in-between my next class, that’s how much I loved Fallout 3. I never did get any of the DLC’s but two years later I’m enjoying New Vegas which inherits all of its foundations from this gaming classic. Hopefully I won’t have to include Skyrim in my negative edition of this post as I think it looks absolutely incredible.

Best mech game this gen no doubt.

Armored Core 4

I think I had some birthday money or something because I remember rolling up to Gamestop and buying this along with Tony Hawk Project 9 and Call of Duty 3 (which both turned out to be absolutely awful) even though I had never played an Armored Core title in my life outside of a Playstation demo. When I got home I saw that the game was bombing critically but the guy at the store (Steve) had assured me that game was “sick and the robots were really sweet”, and he wouldn’t lead me wrong right? It turns out Steve was right as once I picked up the game I couldn’t put it down and to this day I listen to the Armored Core soundtrack. You might not believe me but take my word and make a 10$ gamble and pick up Armored Core: For Answer to try it for yourself. The game itself is complex with each of the Mechs being widely customizable and filled with action akin to what you would find in Zone of the Enders 2. If that doesn’t make you want to try it then listen to one of the many excellent songs from the game’s soundtrack:

 

Don’t worry my more cynical readers, my next post will be a bit more negative as I share experiences covering the other side of the coin.

Why Everyone Should Play LoL

•June 24, 2011 • 13 Comments

League of Legends is a Free to play PC game that can be acquired here. If I had to assign the game to a genre I would call it an action/strategy game as it’s faster paced then your usual RTS and more reliant on reflexes than planning ahead.  This blog post is my attempt to make both my friends and anyone looking for an amazing game to play aware of LoL’s existence. Shoutouts to my former roommate Brian for getting me hooked on the game during my time in DC when I initially had written it off, and to Jeff, who kept me playing even after I came back to NJ. Anyway, hopefully after reading this you’ll be slightly more compelled to check it out then you were prior to.

The Barrier for Entry is Extremely Small (Free!)

I assume if you’re reading this that means you’re on a computer which means you’re eligible to start downloading and playing League Of Legends for free right away (if you’re on a phone or iPad boo, hiss!). The game itself is free and the system requirements are not the least bit demanding ensuring that anyone with the least bit of interest can start to play. With a streamlined interface and a plethora of website resources such as LeagueCraft and Mobafire, the game is also much easier to get into then its predecessor DOTA, so if you have bed memories of that game put them aside. Unfortunately a Mac version is not officially released yet despite Riot Games saying that it was due for release almost a year ago. And be warned, while the game itself is free, the toll the game will take on your restraint to not hit that Buy Riot Points button can be taxing once you are addicted.

The action can be fierce.

It’s both rewarding and deep.

I’m writing this at 4 AM, my good friend who has never played a game of LoL before has only left a little over an hour ago after an extended play session (with each game ending with the classic “one more!”). Being a team based game makes League perfect to play with your friends both online and in real life, and by being rewarded just for playing with Influence Points (IP) to unlock other characters with there’s also an incentive to play on your own. The game itself can remain interesting on just this level for many (a year plus for me personally), but if you ever want to take it to the next level there are plenty of streams and competitive tournaments that are worth checking out (this past weekend the official Dreamhack stream surpassed 200K in viewers, which as far as I know is more then any eSport stream out there).With both normal and draft-style ranked games you won’t be finding yourself burned out anytime soon.

It really is.

It’s fun!

I can tell you about the time I was playing as Caitlyn the Sniper and was having a back and forth battle with Ashe the Frozen Archer in the middle of the river only to have her pop ghost and run away with it coming down to the last moment when I managed to snag the kill by getting a clutch snipe. Or I could tell you about the time I was playing as Vladmir the blood mage and was about to be annihilated by a meteor from Veigar (think Vivi from FF9) when at the last second I turned into a pool of blood nullifying the attack. But you’ll just have to take my word on it, this game is really fun.

Don't hold this against the game, think of it as sandwich making time.

Everyone’s doing it.

As I mentioned earlier the Dreamhack stream this previous weekend had over 200 thousand viewers, that’s insane.More and More people are playing League of Legends and unless you want to turn into that one guy who thinks he’s super sweet because he doesn’t understand what Twitter is, there’s no time better then now to jump on the train.  With more players starting every day that means you’re more likely to be matched up against other newcomers who are of an equal level making for a more fun match for everyone and creates a sense of camaraderie between newbies in which you can help one another become better by exchanging tips and tricks.

Are you really going to pass on Bunny Teemo?

It’s better then HoN and all the other DOTA clones.

I’m just kidding, Heroes of Newerth is just as good as LoL. As long as you would enjoy an experience similar to being dragged into a back alley and mugged by three dudes while your friends and family scream at you “NOOB! WTF ARE YOU DOING NOOB!”. Not to say LoL doesn’t have it’s fair share of pricks, but HoN and other games make them look like saints. I would tell you to try HoN and see which you like better, but you have to pay for it and if you already played DOTA then you’ve pretty much have played HoN.

Just found this on the web, would be a shame not to use it right?

I could go even further but I think I’ve hit all the points that I wanted to. That, and despite it being 4AM, I really want to play now. Will this post be useless after DOTA 2 is released? I don’t think so, many people will undoubtedly play it including myself but tons of League players are committed to a game they have spent countless hours playing and we won’t drop it just because of some new hotness. If you do decide to start playing, do not hesitate in adding me to your friend’s list so we can play together. My summoner name is Spruchy and I look forward to seeing you in the Summoner’s rift.

Edit: Played Rammus for the first time in my late night game, went 2-8 but got a whopping 41 assists against an all tank team. Fun stuff but I prefer DPS.

Afterthoughts: Building a Computer

•June 22, 2011 • Leave a Comment

All the components lined up ready and waiting.

I need a new computer, badly. My last PC had served me well, but considering that I had gotten it when I was a sophomore in college, it was time for us to part ways. I had always wanted to build my own PC, with all the saved money and the comfort of knowing your rig inside out, who wouldn’t? My first PC was a Gateway that I had gotten for my birthday after much kicking and squealing to my Macintosh parents who refused to believe a machine running Windows was anything but a Virus Dumpster. Four years later I got a custom gaming computer from a company called Nutech and four years after that I got another custom but this time from Ibuypower. Both computers got the job done although they were riddled with small problems like the motherboard BIOS had locked OC’ing for some reason and the ram timings would often be incorrect. Having nothing to do with those processes when the machine itself was built made for some infuriating days when I had no idea why my machine wouldn’t boot, and don’t even get me started on the time the “recommended” power supply blew and the guy at the repair shop laughed at me for using something so underpowered. Always I would claim “my next computer I’m going to build myself!” only to never follow through, but this time I did it.

The Motherboard, otherwise known as Homebase.

Thanks to this very helpful thread on Neogaf, I watched a few tutorial videos and ordered the parts right for my budget. Despite never building a computer before, it looked nothing more then LEGOs for adults and I had a head start by being familiar with all the parts. I was only partially correct, but here’s the specs of the beast:

As you can see, Maximus is a pretty capable machine :). The actual process of building it was pretty easy thanks to having some help from my dad and following along tutorial videos on the web. The hardest part was probably installing the custom cooler onto the CPU as it actually had to go on both sides of the Motherboard and you were esentially balancing a small brick onto a very expensive microchip with the only thing between the two being a dab of thermal paste. The fact that the directions were seemingly written in an undiscovered language that is only decipherable by the gods did not help either. My temperatures have been fine even during an overclocked stress test, so I guess we did it right.

Dad helping with the confusing installation of the cooler.

From there it was just more screwing in, connecting of cables, and plugging parts into other parts. The only other slightly problem was these small little blocks that you attach onto a cable inside the case and onto the motherboard. These blocks have different features listed on them, some clearer then others such USB1, LEDPOWERON, etc. Some are written in complete gibberish and the only way to find where they went was to consult the motherboard’s manual that contained no rhyme or reason to what information it did or didn’t possess. This turned out to be the only problem once we were done as everything was in working order except the two front USB ports, it was a problem that was quickly remedied and I’ve been using Maximus for two weeks now without any problems.

The finished beast, Maximus.

To anyone thinking about build a computer, watch some videos(such as this one), and if it seems like something you can do, then do it. If the whole process seems to be too daunting I would check out sites like NCIX which allow you to order all your parts and then they put them together for a fee of $50. Otherwise I know a few friends who have been getting Alienwares as of late, and while they may cost more, everyone seems to be pretty happy with them. If you have any questions feel free to ask.

 

To keep this somewhat gaming-related, I’ve been playing Shadows of the Damned, and it is awesome.