Monday, November 07, 2005

What's On First

No, not "who's on first" - although I am a big fan of Abbott & Costello! What's on first. What?!?

I just got a new computer - and it is a whopper! A Dell XPS M170 (they've dropper the Inspiron attachment with this latest generation), fully decked out - 2GB of RAM, big hard drive, the latest Pentium 4M processor (2.26 GHz 'EE', not directly comparable to std. P4), and in particular a 256MB vNidia GeForce 7800 GTX video card mapped to a 17" widescreen 1900 x 1200 screen. Like I said, it is a monster.

So I got is all set up, on our wireless network, all protected, then started setting up various applications and web sites and so on. Finally, I was ready to more on to games, and halted for a minute ...

What should I put on first?

For a very long time - more than 3.5 years now - my 'install first' game has been Jedi Knight II. I got a nice Dell Inspiron 8100 a month or so after getting JKII, and quickly installed and replayed the game through - and this time Yavin Swamp wasn't quite so choppy. That continued as I continued to get new laptops - I always get the top of the line, so they perform pretty well for a while. When the Mac version of JKII was released in late 2002, I installed and started to play and then got a new G4 Powerbook within a month - JKII was first on that system, and I was treated to the most beautiful and best performing Yavin experience to date. My last new PC system was a high-end Inspiron (non-XPS) in late 2003. I already had a nice Dimension desktop, and have just upgraded that to keep up. The Inspiron has managed to keep up pretty well - but I have had to scale back details and resolution to handle newer games like Doom 3 and Half-Life 2. More recently I have upgraded the video card on my Dimension to a GeForce 6600GT and been pretty pleased with performance for F.E.A.R. and Quake IV.

But what should I put on the new PC first? Well, one thing for sure, I don't want to take the 'install loads of stuff' approach I've done with other PC's - there is too much junk left behind with the constant install/uninstall cycles. So I only want to put stuff there that I will absolutely play and really want.

So what was I thinking about:
  • New games - I could definitely have put on F.E.A.R., Quake IV and Serious Sam 2. But Quake IV I've played and don't know when I'll play again, Serious Sam 2 I'm almost finished with and will most likely never play again. That leaves F.E.A.R., and I don't know when I'll replay that. So that wasn't it ...
  • Classic RPG's - I've been playing bits of some classic games like Arcanum, Baldur's Gate II, Planescape Torment, and so on. I could certainly install them on this PC, but since they all run great on my work ultra-portable, why bother? Same goes for Geneforge 3 from Spiderweb, which I've played some of but still have a *long* way to go. Still not the right fit ...
  • Gothic 2 - I was replaying this when Fable: The Lost Chapters came out, and am looking forward to getting back to playing. However, the 'Gothic 2 Gold' is coming in the next couple of weeks, and includes both the original and 'Night of the Raven' expansion, which was released in Germany in 2003 but unavailable thus far in the US. So that will wait.
  • Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines - tempting, but I have a game mid-stream on the Dimension, and if I re-installed, I'd want to restart with a new character. So not quite yet.
  • Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords - I also have a game mid-stream on the Dimension ... same reasoning as Bloodlines.
  • Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic - I just started replaying this one the Mac. Falls into the same basic RPG restart/replay rule as the others.
  • Soldier of Fortune II - I recently replayed this, and am not really itching for another run quite yet.
  • No One Lives Forever I & II - very tempting, and they will be installed soon enough - I *have* been itching for more Cate Archer action ... terribly under-rated games.

    So that left me with a couple in the front of my mind - Jedi Academy and JKII. I had pretty recently played the whole Dark Forces series, but these are always good for a go. I like Jedi Academy in terms of customization and character development, but JKII is a better story and overall game. But in the end it came down to the fact that JKII is one CD, and I have it in my 'game CD carrier' ... Jedi Academy would have required a 'trip to the vault'.



    So JKII was once again 'first installed'. It is clearly not a game to show off the power of this system, but it remains one of my all-time favorite games.

    But ... what about Half-Life 2?!?! Brilliant though it is, it just isn't one of my favorites. I played it again recently, and am quite satisfied for a while. When the expansion comes out, it will no doubt go on the new system ... and we'll see what else I play on it before then.
  • 1 comment:

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