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Goodbye Legion, We Hardly Knew Ye

Or, more accurately, we knew ye way too well and we didn’t like what we saw. So 7.2 or 7.3 will bring about Legion flying, however it’s going to require an INSANE amount of grinding required to unlock flying. Basically, beat the ENTIRE expansion, in every way possible, THEN you get to enjoy a basic 2006 feature. I get that they want us to really feel the sense of accomplishment for unlocking it, and they want us to see every grain of sand on the continent – but this is just asinine.

Having said that – I’m done with the expansion. I haven’t logged in for more than 20 minutes in the past three weeks and I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything. Granted, if I had better latency I’d at least try the raiding and PvP – but I still don’t think I’d be doing it every night.

Instead, I’m still playing Dying Light! Yay! I beat the core game and now I’m replaying it with two friends on co-op. I absolutely love this game. I’m playing the expansion solo, and I’m most of the way done with it. It’s a really good addition to the game. While some reviewers bemoan the lack of parkour, I think having a dune buggy really shakes up the game play style – and parkour is still immensely useful in tight situations. I really can’t help it but I’m a fan of the Bayou Billy “ten games in one” style of gameplay, where a game encompasses many play styles. I’m not keen on the “same level as last, but harder, and with palate swap textures” shit that most games stick to.

My friends and I are also playing HELLDIVERS here and there. I think I enjoy it more than my friends do though… not sure why. They LOVE super hard games, except Magicka and HELLDIVERS. No clue why they see games that are top down as being “harder” than first person “hard” games. I really don’t. They don’t like friendly fire in Magicka or HELLDIVERS, but they love it in FPS games. Really confusing to me. <shrug> Still. This is a fantastic game … my only real complaint is I wish the coop system allowed for each player to have the screen focus on their character, rather than the super obnoxious arcade-style shared screen, where you have to play screen tug-of-war with your friends. It forces players into a very narrow box in order to see enemies that would otherwise be “off screen”, greatly reducing the usefulness of some longer range weapons, and forcing players to squash each other if someone is using a vehicle or mech.

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New Years 2017 Update

Dying Light and Far Cry Primal – first person lovelies. I bought both games on sale and I’m extremely satisfied with both. I beat Far Cry Primal, which is honestly somewhat of a short game but definitely worth the purchase price. As a big fan of the series I am probably not able to gauge the game from an unbiased standpoint, but it’s an original take on the format. I don’t know any other games in the modern era that let people play as a early human, hunting mammoths and riding saber-tooth tigers. And yes, it’s as cool as it sounds.

Dying Light is a bit longer of a game, and feels like what Dead Island should have been. The combat is very similar to Dead Island (but more refined) and the parkour makes gameplay and world exploration infinitely more interesting. I can tell that this game wouldn’t be as enjoyable for /most/ gamers but it checks a lot of my boxes. I really like first person (versus third person), I like parkour a LOT (big Assassin’s Creed fan), and I like zombies. One thing in particular that I really enjoy is the variation in gameplay style and pacing. Depending on what you are doing, you could either be fighting off swarms of basic “biter” zombies (Dead Rising style) or you could be gunning down a base full of well armed human assailants (CoD style), or sneaking through abandoned hotel for supplies (almost Resident Evil or Silent Hill style), or weaving between super zombies trying to hunt you at night (stealth game style), or you are running and jumping over roof tops – for fun, to evade an enemy, or to get somewhere before dark (Assassin’s Creed style). Apparently in the expansion (which I haven’t even touched yet) there’s some driving element as well.

I also bought two other zombie games during the winter sale – Dead Rising 3 and State of Decay. I already have Dead Rising 3 on XBone and I’ve put some time into it, but I get tired of bringing out the XBone to play games anymore. Unless a game is a system exclusive I think I’m done with consoles. They are neat and I still greatly prefer them for party games or multiplayer shooters; overall I enjoy PC gaming more for a number of reasons I won’t get into right now. State of Decay is a game I’ve been really excited about since playing the demo on XBox 360 /years/ ago.

Speaking of zombies, I’m still playing 7 Days to Die with my friends. This is a must-play for PC gamers that like LAN games or multiplayer Minecraft. As I said earlier, don’t play alone, it’s not fun… but with a few buddies it’s an absolute blast. I think we are close to being “done” with the game, but since we don’t have an equivalent to jump into (as my friends are not really into Dying Light) I think we might be stuck with this one for a little longer.

Hand of Fate – This is my favorite “card game” so far. It’s the closest thing to table-top style gaming I’ve played in a long time (the other closest experiences were Baldur’s Gate and something more recent that I forget… o.O ). I love the replayability, of how I can go back and unlock more cards and how some cards that you unlock are part of a story or a series. Very neat.

WoW – Mid expansion doldrums, latency issues, alt-itis and grind fatigue, and some Suramar design complaints. So we are officially mid expansion, since 7.1.5 is being released tomorrow, and this expansion will probably end with 7.3.0. The second of three (or four?) full raids is coming out tomorrow, with a new faction and a few goodies. Overall I’m not that excited about it mostly because I am not raiding or PvPing due to my latency at the camp, and how little I play at home. That’s not WoW’s fault, but it’s just a fact that keeps me from really being able to enjoy upcoming content very much. Meh.

Because leveling doesn’t require good latency I’ve been trying to get some of my alts leveled up, namely my DK and my sham. I’m already finding it all very grindy and needlessly repetitive. Heirlooms don’t work past 100, so the leveling process seems really slow to me. I’ve even read a guide on how to go from 100 to 110, and I just can’t seem to do it in that time span. I’m lucky to get half way there in 10 hours. Very lucky. And by then I’m super bored anyway, ESPECIALLY with how laggy I am. Doing just about anything takes about 50% longer due to my lag. With my backlog of AAA titles I’ve started to veer away from anything grindy, including getting my alts up to level cap. Shame really, as I was enjoying my DK quite a bit – it’s just really, really grindy. I can only push the same five buttons over and over for so long before I want to do something else with my life.

Even if I do get them up to level cap, then what? What would I do with them? In the past it was mostly to do holiday stuff. But I don’t use the holiday rewards (toys, pets, etc), and I don’t even do the holiday events anymore… even with the new holidays I just don’t do them. What else is there then? As a laggy player, I can’t PvP, raid, do dungeons, or anything else – so it’s Suramar. Boy oh boy. Not sure where to start. It’s a gorgeous city, and the night born are a stunning race to look at – but the gameplay design of the Suramar area is a joke. It has way too much of a vertical element between the inner and outer city (it’s almost impossible to get around easily), the quasi-stealth element is neat at first but it wears me down VERY fast and seems unfair at times, and it all becomes grindy. Again. Too many fetch and kill quests (I know, I know, that’s 99% of WoW), too much having to “stealth” through poorly connected areas of the city, too much back tracking, too much farming for the stupid Ancient Mana… I’m so f-ing done with Suramar at this point – I hate that city. The last mission I had was so frustrating that I dropped ALL my Suramar quests. A guildy told me that I had to get through them in order to unlock the new raid and some other content, but I found myself just not giving a shit. I was more interested in playing my other games at that point and I really wasn’t invested at all in the fate of Suramar. For all I cared the city could be leveled like the Vale of Eternal Blossoms or Theramore and I just wouldn’t give two shits. Really. Whoopty Doo.

I will say that the soldier training scenario thingie is a new twist on things, but I feel awful for anyone not playing a tank class. It’s designed for tanks – clearly. Healing does NOT work on our minions (WHY!?), and DPS classes will have to be much more creative in how they play that scenario. As a bear with 20 guys I maxed out the score on my second play through. My first was a fail because I only went in with 5 and didn’t know wtf I was doing, and went in as heals / DPS, and didn’t spec out my tank form correctly. Anyway… yeah. Interesting, but I’m moving on. I’d really like to get that fox mount, but not that badly to keep grinding through that Suramar shit.

Speaking of WoW, my Surface Pro 4 does really well with it. The default resolution of the SP4 is WAY too high (2736×1824) and has an awkward resolution (3:2). I really wish they had gone with 1080p, since that is a gaming standard. Many games scale very poorly and the SP4 performance is VERY sensitive to resolution – for instance WoW runs poorly (20 fps or less on lowest settings) at the native resolution, but runs butter smooth when I halve the resolution. I don’t get that kind of performance bump in my other computers when I reduce screen resolution. Likewise with other games – it cannot play Hand of Fate /at all/ (<10 fps!?) at the native resolution, but taking it down a bit makes the game really playable. Yet it smears the pixels quite a bit – which gives me a headache after a while and is just ugly to look at. :/

STILL, it plays it way better than any other TABLET I’ve ever seen, and the SP4 is definitely much more of a computer than my iPads, and is overall a better media player since it’s a Wintel machine with VLC. Really, there’s nothing I can’t do with the SP4 that my iPad or laptop can’t do, minus the App store’s wide selection or my big laptops horsepower.

Streaming didn’t work as smoothly at home as I thought it would. With my desktop on a wired connection and my SP4 on 5 Ghz wireless I get game-breaking stuttering in Dying Light. It’s not all the time, but it definitely happens frequently enough that I haven’t bothered streaming much anymore. I’m not sure if dropping the resolution down a bit would help or not – it sends out a signal at 1080p, the native monitor resolution of my gaming computer… <shrug> I mostly used it for browsing the web and playing WoW, since playing with keyboard and touch pad is totally doable with WoW and works great on the SP4. In fact, that’s 90% of the reason I played as much WoW as I did while I was home – because I was often on the floor with my son while he watched YouTube videos, so I kept myself entertained with the SP4, reading news, watching videos, and playing WoW. I tried playing other games but WoW seemed to work the best since it was the easiest to put aside (stealth as a druid, or hearth, or whatever) and was the most playable without a mouse. I did buy a decent bluetooth mouse, but since streaming was kind of a PITA and didn’t go as well as I had hoped I just kind of gave up on that for now.

Game movies. Everywhere I look someone is ranting about video game movies. Be it Warcraft or Assassin’s Creed. As usual, it’s very hip to hate on game movies. I mentioned the AC movie in my last post – and I haven’t seen it yet – but I will soon. I’ve heard mixed opinions about it… The trailers looked fantastic. I’m not expecting Citizen Fucking Kain, but it looks like a fun action movie that is based on the lore of a game I like. Same thing with Warcraft. I liked Warcraft – it was good fan service, it was a fun fantasy action / adventure flick, and the CGI was not bad at all. Granted, I think the movie was way too lore thick for casuals that don’t play the game, and it took a LOT of liberties on the original story, but it wasn’t bad at all. Yet, it has ALWAYS been hip to hate on game movies, so, people are piling on both movies to be hip. Granted, game movies have historically been AWFUL, but I think it’s more that gaming still doesn’t have the cultural clout that other mediums do. Hell, even comic book movies were mostly a bad joke, until Superman – even then it was more that Superman was a universally recognizable cultural icon that represented American virtues and ideals, more so than it was a good movie or that many movie goers were actually fans of the comic. At the time, you’d be a dick to hate on Superman or Christopher Reeves. Over time, comic and superhero movies came into their own, especially in the last decade – Spider-man, X-Men, The Dark Knight, Hulk, Captain America, The Avengers, Deadpool, Wolverine, and so on… it’s now HIP to like comic book and superhero movies. In the 80’s anything related to comics had the stigma of being geeky or nerdy, right in the same pool as video games and anime. While gaming has come a long way in terms of gaining cultural legitimacy and recognition as an art, it’s still got a LONG way to go in order to not be readily dismissed as child’s plaything.

<shrug> When the baby boomers are all gone, and Gen-Xers are the oldest generation, gaming will likely see a surge in cultural acceptance and relevance. The stigma has faded over time, as older generations have passed on. Hell, newspapers, rock and roll, television, and even phonograph music were all deplored in their age. It didn’t help things that gaming was targeted towards children in the 70’s and 80’s, and it really didn’t help that game makers jumped on the ultra-violence bandwagon much earlier than TV. But, everything is kind of starting to homogenize. TV, movies, music, games – they are all fairly over-sexuallized and hyper-violent by this point if you look hard enough. Yet like those other mediums, video games have a very wide range of content for all audiences (which is a good thing). If someone has /any/ sense of taste at all then it doesn’t take long for someone to find something enjoyable in any medium. I think that’s one of the things that held video games back – was that people without any taste whatsoever handily lumped “video games” together as one thing, as one object. Just because Mortal Kombat had violence and Tomb Raider had polygonal boobies it didn’t mean that all games were violent or sexual. That’d be like basing all movies on Robocop and Strip Tease, or basing all books on the Anarchists Cookbook and 50 Shades of Gray, or all music on Cop Killer and Baby Got Back. If you have NO taste at all, yes, Sir Mix Alot’s Baby Got Back and Ice-T’s Cop Killer can very easily represent ALL music to you, and you’d think: “Gee, let’s ban all music!” But, if you have any sense at all, and any level of personal taste, then you’d say “Those songs aren’t for me, so I’m going to listen to something else” and it wouldn’t take you very long at all to find Pink Floyd, Bach, The Beetles, Miles Davis or something else that better suits your tastes. Just because older generations “didn’t get” the medium and some of the more vocal idiots had no sense of taste doesn’t mean that the medium should be banned, or even heavily controlled. I DO believe that the sale of sexual or violent art of any kind should be regulated such that minors aren’t exposed to improper material – but I don’t think that video games should be subject to extraordinary controls which other media aren’t being held to.

I’m rambling, so I’ll just wrap it up in saying: I hope that game-based movies and TV mature and I’m also hopeful that video games will receive more cultural acceptance and recognition in my lifetime.

Surface Pro 4 and WoW Streaming

This is my pre-Christmas update. I splurged and bought a Surface Pro 4 – mostly to play games on while I’m sitting with my son. He likes family to sit with him while he watches YouTube videos; but being 3 he likes to watch the same few videos over and over – which becomes a bit fatiguing for an adult after a while. I figured if I had a tablet then I could sit with him and still game or brows the web. <shrug> I did some research and the Surface Pro 4 is capable of running WoW well enough – so I bought the i5 8 gb ram 256 gb ssd version when it went on sale.

It was kind of an impulse buy (I wanted to get it before they ran out). After a short while I was suffering serious buyers remorse once I saw that the Surface Book (with nVidia GPU) can run WoW at double the frame rate. I couldn’t justify spending an extra $500 for a netbook that has the same stats, but it still bugged me that it could play WoW (and other games) so much better.

I don’t have the Surface Pro 4 in my hands yet, but I’ve did a bit more research and it looks like I can stream games from my GT72 gaming laptop to the tablet. Hooray! Last night I did an experiment and I set up my GT72 and my old junker laptop on the same network and successfully streamed Skyrim at +40 fps on highest settings, streamed WoW at 47 fps at max settings. The only caveat was that I had to put both computers on the LAN to keep the games from stuttering… but at home I have a MUCH better router that won’t struggle at all to let me stream. In fact I’ve already streamed at home between two computers and didn’t realize it – it ran so smoothly that I didn’t know I was streaming.

That’s really good news for me, since 99% of my gaming on the Surface Pro will be done on the same WiFi network as my main computer, which has good hardware and my now-playing list of games. Yippeee… I’ll update this post later once I get it in hand and have a chance to try it out.

 

November Update

I just posted a bit about NES classic. I figured I’d keep that in it’s own tidy box since I don’t actually own one, nor will I for a while, so it’s not really what I’m gaming on… Anyway.

7 Days to Die. I really, really like this game. It’s easily my favorite MineCraft clone. It’s basically something of a mix between Minecraft (base and world building), Dead Island (crazy weak weapons that you craft – that eventually become less shitty, character leveling system is similar) and Fallout 4 – where you build your base using crap you scavenge from across the land. On my old computer the game was barely playable and looked absolutely hideous on low graphics settings – but it was fun. On my new laptop the game looks good (not gorgeous, but good) and it plays so much better. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone that likes Minecraft style games and have a group of friends to play with. Solo the game is creepy and very lonely – just not worth playing alone.

Assassin’s Creed, everywhere I look. I’m actually really excited for the movie. Most of my friends think it’s absolute trash – but the trailer definitely felt like the game. Of my friends, I’m the only one that has played the majority of the actual titles – most of my friends have barely played a few missions. So, Meh to them. Abstergo, the parkour, Animus, genetic memories, hidden blade and rooftop assassinations, melee combat -all of this just screams Assassin’s Creed. The trailers (first one here, second one here) indicate this may be the first game-based film that is true to the source material. There’s also apparently a TV show in the works. That has a lot of potential I think, since much of the AC series story is based on continuity that would be hard to convey in a 1.5 hour film. It’s unlikely that it’ll have a long run on TV – but it’s better than nothing. :p

Red Dead Redemption 2 is for real! Oh thank God.

No Bliz remasters of the original Warcraft. Bummer. I think that’s a missed opportunity. I think they are making remasters of WC3 and SC1 however…

WoW. Again. So yeah, I cancelled my account, deleted my game, and quit. Entirely. That lasted about a week. I’m almost sad to say that I reinstalled and signed up again for a monthly fee … but, I usually enjoy myself. I’ve avoided most of the grindy shit, and I won’t get sucked into that if I can help it. But some parts of the game I genuinely enjoy, at least in small doses. Right now I’m leveling up my Shaman and doing Legion stuff with him. I’ll be working on my Warrior, DK, and Hunter soon. Probably the Pala too since apparently their class hall stuff is awesome.

NES Classic: thoughts

So the NES Classic went on sale today, and promptly sold out everywhere. I’ve already read the reviews on it, and I’m happy they did what they could to emulate the original experience of playing the games – bugs and all. I also appreciate that they added different display options. I’ll definitely be buying one at some point. Having said that though, I still believe I will spend most of my retro gaming hours playing emulated games on my PSP slim or on my PC. The reasons why: convenience and catalog.

About convenience: nothing beats the conveience of having just about every major console on a PSP while on a 3 hour flight. I get the sales point of the nostalgia baked into the system Nintendo built – but I believe they really could have made a bit more money selling it as a portable system that plugs can plug into a TV, like their next gen console (the NX) is promising to do. Instinct tells me that’s coming as well, but not until after Nintendo has aggressively milked the holy shit out of the NES Classic – like they do with every single IP, ever, ever, ever. Plus, everything Iv’e read about the console reads as supremely inconvenient. Super short cables? No bluetooth / wireless controllers (or even an option for that? Save menu is accessed on the CONSOLE? Holy crap! You’d think at least one person at Nintendo had played an emulator, at least once, where save/load was a mapable function on a keypad. I guess not.

About catalog: I have an inventory of classic game ROMs to last me the next three world wars if I was locked into a bunker, and immortal. More importantly, many of my true favorites were more esoteric titles that wouldn’t be included in a collection of “top hits”. Being locked into playing only the absolute top hits kind of sucks.

Anyway, I like the idea as a whole – and I will be buying one when they aren’t sold out everywhere, but I’m still going to do 95% of my retrogaming on a PC or hacked PSP.

New Computer, hooray! [Updated: I still love it]

Update:

I absolutely love my MSI GT72. Easily the best purchase I’ve made in recent memory. Dollar for dollar it’s the best computer I think I’ve ever bought. I don’t know exactly how many frames per second I get in Fallout 4, but on max settings, 1080p it plays very fluidly, even during intense firefights. The lighting effects are fantastic. WoW plays at 30 to 72 (the max the monitor supports) at all times – usually above 50, on all settings to Ultra except Shadows were are only on High. Oh, and that’s with MSAAx8. Absolutely mind blowing. Some zones in WoW are stunning – almost Skyrim level of detail and atmosphere, namely Azsuna, Val’sharah and the city of Suramar. The other zones look good too – but those three are absolutely jaw dropping on maxed out settings and +60 fps. On the GT72 7 Days to Die is a very attractive game. It’s not stunning the way Fallout 4 and WoW are, but it is actually a decent looking game. On my last machine I was getting 5 to 15 FPS during the zombie horde invasions – absolutely unplayable, on bare-ass minimum settings. It was awful. Now, I have most of the settings on max and I rarely dip below 40 FPS, ever – and when wandering around I’m usually around 60 FPS. I went from having the lowest zombie kill score of my group (by about HALF the total kills) to being the top zombie slayer, by a good margin too. I attribute most of it to the difference in how well the game plays on the GT72.

Normal windows tasks on a fast processor and quick SSD is nothing new to me – so all my daily stuff is still just fine (as it was on the ASUS GL771) – but the gaming performance on the MSI GT72 is truly amazing in comparison.

Thankfully my family is getting great use out of the GL771 – it’s blazing fast for daily tasks and web browsing, which my family appreciates. The computer it is replacing used budget processor and 5400 mechanical hard drive – so it was awful in comparison. Moreover I made the mistake of updating from Windows 8 to Windows 10 on that computer, which basically broke it. It would bluescreen and randomly reset on a regular basis – and often wouldn’t even start up. It was hard to live with before Windows 10, and it was just broken after Windows 10. <shrug> I’ll fix it and use it as a media player or emulation arcade / party machine. <shrug>

Original post:

I finally pulled the trigger on replacing my P – O – S ASUS GL771 with a computer that works. I should rephrase that, the GL771 works just fine, it just can’t game. It overheats like a fat elephant in a sauna, and will downclock to an amazing 800 mhz. I literally have a coaster that is faster. I use a 2009 ASUS 10 inch netbook as my coaster at home* and it never downclocks and runs at a native 800 mhz.

I had already shopped out my somewhat affordable “dream computer”, which was the MSI GT73VR. I liked it enough that I had already convinced a friend of mine to buy one for himself. It’s an awesome computer, but after his arrived and I got a chance to see it I was disappointed that it still stuttred a bit in WoW, and I wanted to spend a bit less than $2400.

So I picked up the previous generation GT72. I figured the older nVidia 9-series gaming laptops would start going on sale now that the 10-series cards are available and are substantially faster than the 9-series. Well, I caught a short-term sale on a GT72 980m with a good processor, 512 gb SSD, 1 tb HD, 16 gb DDR4 ram, 1080p with G-sync for about $900 less than the GT73VR GTX 1070 equivalent. Literally, other than the video card it was exactly the same machine. The savings is easily a PS4 Pro and a lot of games, or a few trips to Seattle with my family.

It’s on its way to my house right now – but based on the videos I’ve watched I’m going to be very satisfied. I’ll be going from 10 fps in Fallout 4 (on minimum graphics) to 60 fps with ultra. 15 fps in WoW to 60, etc. What’s not to like!?

I saw 4K gaming (on a 17.3″ laptop screen) and it’s neat but way, way overkill, and not worth the price for the screen (+$200 more than what I would pay for 1080p) and definitely not worth needing a card that is $500 to $700 more. Likewise, I don’t think I’m going to be a VR guy. I can’t see 3D very well as-is, I’m just one of those people. The thought of spending $1000 on a VR set up just to barf my guts out after 30 minutes of gaming (or to have to pound ibuprofen to alleviate the headache) is not something I am interested in. I’m sure I’ll have enough friends that adopt it that I can get a taste and get sick of it without the up-front cost.

Otherwise the price bump went to buying the “next version” of the exact same laptop. It was so similar that I could barely tell them apart. The new version lacks an optical drive – which I appreciate, but it didn’t include extra hard drive space. In fact, it has LESS than the GT72. wtfh? The GT72 (earlier versions anyway, before they neutered the new versions to be less competitive with the GT73) offered FOUR M.2 slots and TWO 2.5 HD slots – apparently THREE 2.5 slots if you ditch the optical drive. Holy fuck. That’s insane. Those M.2s could be put into a RAID array as well. I’m not interested in RAID since it wouldn’t give me an improvement that would warrant the entry fee – but the extra bays are really nice, since I do tend to keep a ton of movies and music on my computer. Expandable memory? Yes please.

Beyond the lack of memory and optical drive, and a 120 Hz display (with 4k option), I couldn’t tell you what it offered. I really couldn’t.

So to anyone that reads this, I recommend checking out clearance-ish sales of the GT72 instead of jumping on the MSI GT73VR bandwagon.You might save a grand, especially if you catch them on sale.

* How the netbook became a coaster. While I was going to college I commuted about 3 hours a day total by bus. I did most of my homework on the bus, and at the time a 15.6″ laptop was NOT an option on a crowded city bus, and the neato tablets / convertibles / ultrabooks of today just didn’t exist. My only option was a “netbook” – a long since dead market segment. 7 to 11 inch notebooks with good battery life and Meh horsepower. I picked up an ASUS Eee PC 1000 and it was easily one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. It was a legitimate computer – I ran everything on that – MS Office, Adobe Illustrator (in a pinch), Photoshop, and so on. People were amazed that such a little computer could do so much – even played my collection of movies. It could play WoW, back in the Burning Crusade era, at about 6 to 10 fps (playable! but it made me nauseated after 20 minutes). Time wore on, I replaced it with a much better 11.6″ convertible laptop, and the Eee PC ended up being our “Amazon.com impulse purchases / google fact check” machine next to the couch. After a while, it moved from there to my center arm rest (over the recessed cup holders in my couch) to create a flat, firm surface to put my mouse on – or my beer mug that doesn’t fit into the cup holder. After a long, traveled life, the ASUS Eee PC is now a coaster. Literally.

Nintendo: perpetually stuck in 1985. UPDATE: Not so much!?

While the rest of the world has moved on to digital downloads, Nintendo is still hocking cartridges. How quaint. I’m starting to sound like a Nintendo hater – but they’ve always been way, way behind the times in terms of keep up with the times. 3DS kind of broke that cycle, but their home consoles still lack much of the features found in the Sony and Microsoft consoles, and always lag behind in terms of performance and game selection.

So, yeah. Carts. Neat. I guess. Easier to emulate – that’s how I look at it.

UPDATE: Okay, okay – I was wrong. The official teaser video has changed my mind. This is very much the kind of system I’ve always wanted. It’s legitimately capable of console and on-the-road gaming (which I NEED since I commute by airplane about 70,000 miles a year). The neato multiplayer things you can do with them is interesting but mostly I’m interested in a small SMALL console that can be picked up and taken with you.

I don’t know how big the screen size is, but it’s not impressive. That is probably my only complaint. Knowing Nintendo, it’s certain they’ll release an “XL” version about 2 years after release. This may become one of my favorite toys of 2017.