The 30 Plus Gamer

Team Red-Eye

There are a lot of us gamers that either have just past the thirty mark or will be soon enough. I thought back on my earlier days of gaming and the difference between then and now on a variety of subjects, but for this one let us explore what we use to do or tolerate that we no longer can in our advancing age.

24 Hour + Gaming Sessions

In my twenties, I could go to a LAN party and game all night. The truth was I was just as tired then, but somehow I got a gamers second wind allowing me to plow through those nights of Action Half-Life and Quake 2 Rail Arena. When the Everquest days came, the crack head mentality took over and though I was dead in my seat, I could perform the necessary tasks to play the game.

Now, I find myself laughing at the idea of losing good sleep over a game. It does not mean that a good gaming session won’t kept me up, but I would prefer going to bed at a reasonable hour and starting again the next morning than burning the midnight oil. I have also become immune to coffee and sugar free Red Bull.

Stupid Gamers

I never tolerated stupidity, but I would deal with it because I wanted to keep playing. In games like Counter Strike and Rainbow Six we would come across a ton of ass hats, but unless they were really detrimental to the team we would let them stay.

Today I can’t stand them. Everyone acts as if at any moment they will become the next internet sensation and so you have the people trying to be funny in Ventrilo constantly. You have the internet pimp who hits on anything with a female sounding voice. My favorite is the fake drunk or high gamer who pretends their lack of game is due to intoxication. This is where having the ability to kick someone comes into play. I have banned so many people I have a mastery skill in it. Gaming may not be serious business, but if you act like a five year old in my group you get a time out.

Bad Food

Sadly, I was a big guy long before video games, but at least I use to split my time between the NES and baseball, football and basketball. Once I hit my twenties all the activity outside went out the window except trips to fast food restaurants and the door for the delivery guy.

It was so easy back then. Even though we could see each other getting larger, it did not matter. I mean what beats Smothered Cheese Fries and an all nighter of Shogo? FPS and RTS games were made for pizza and finger food and if you could get your hand on some Jolt Cola you were ahead of the game like a low ping bastard.

Today your doctor shows you your stats and you’re encumbered with a D.O.T. that could kill you in ten years. Most of us will not give up games, but if we want to continue to play, we have to replace that Hot Pocket with a grilled chicken breast and a sweet potato. The Mountain Dew has to be replaced with water and say goodbye to smoke breaks of the wacky and non-wacky variety. In addition, you might need to use that treadmill for something besides a clothes rack, but you can play Angry Birds while working out the doctor says.

Aging Gracefully

There are a ton of more things we’ve had to change or give up and we will cover this and more in the next edition. For now, what have you changed or given up from your early days of gaming to now?

 

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Episode 8

Build vs Buy PCs
Build vs Buy PCs

The topic of building a pc or having it built for you is not new, in fact I wrote about that very subject earlier this year. However we wanted to ask some of the people who make a living offering custom built systems what they thought of the building versus buying debate and so we reached out and ended up having three great conversations on the subject.

We began the show with my recounting my first showing up at the Red-Eye Lan party with my Compaq PC and being almost laughed out of the building and from there learned that being a real gamer meant building your own PC. Then I began working at Alienware and from that side I saw how having a great team put together and support your own rig is pretty awesome in itself. Both Ignacio and I agreed that while it is true that almost anyone can put together a system it takes a little bit more to build a great gaming or high end PC and if you can find a good company who will offer you support and a reasonable price then why not go for it.

We wanted to get our guests take on it and were happy to be joined by Chris Morley, chief technical officer for Maingear PC, Justin Melendez, co-founder of LanSlide PC and John Blain, consumer public relations for Dell/Alienware.

Each company has a different way of doing things, but the overall goal is the same and that is to give the customer the best computer they can at a price they can afford with a support staff they can depend on. In fact they will tell you that if you have a love of building a PC then go for it. However, it is not for everyone and if you decide you want a well-built system then do you research and be informed before you make your final choice.

Obsolete Gamer would like to thank our guests for coming on the show and we covered much more than just PC building and buying. So have a listen and tell us what you think.

Click here to listen to the podcast on the OGS page

Or download our podcast from Itunes

State of the Lan Party II

LAN Party 2
LAN Party 2

In case you missed it you can read part 1 here

Originally posted on Direct2Dell Blog.

Thousands of led lights flashing and blinking illuminate the otherwise dark room at the LAN party. At first glance you might think everyone is playing on a uniformed system, but with a simple question; what kind of rig do you have, you will find out how special and unique LAN goers systems are.

Originally you were only cool if you had a self build custom computer. Still today many who build their own system will swear by it and turn their nose up at anyone with what they call a stock system. When Alienware came on the scene this all changed. It can be debated which one prefers, but once Alienware systems started showing up at LAN parties it became clear that you did not have to be a computer building whiz kid to have a sweet rig.

When I was introduced to Alienware I had already built a system with the help of my friends. I was proud of my system and it was pretty awesome. I have to be honest that when I saw the original hydraulic case in purple my jaw dropped. Here was a system just as powerful as mind in a custom color that looked like it was built by its owner. I later came to realize this was because Alienware employees did indeed hand build their own systems.

To be fair, there were those who compared prices and specs in an attempt to validate their own systems, but for the majority it was accepted as a LAN worthy rig. This may seem silly to those on the outside, but to the LAN member our PCs are as important to us as a powerful engine is to a mechanic.

A lot of time and effort was put into system building. Often one would spend days just building it and then do all sorts of tweaks and fixes to it to get it just right for game day. While it was a badge of honor when you did build your own system it was not for everyone. I never bothered anyone about having a store bought rig considering my first LAN system was store bought. This did not stop others who believed you had to build a gaming system and nothing else was good enough.

Today we have systems that can run most of the games we want to play. Many people still build, but with high performance options at reasonable prices like, Alienware this allows gamers of all ages and economic statuses to own a powerful system. Back in the late nineties this was still not the case. The 3D video card market was just taking off and newer games required quite the system resources.

The downside was that to keep up with the newer games and products you had to upgrade pretty frequently, but to the hardcore LAN and gamer this was all part of the process. Alienware allowed those who could not build or did not have time to troubleshoot the opportunity to have a system that had the power to play their games and the ability to upgrade whenever it was necessary. It was no wonder as time went on that you saw more and more Alienware rigs at LAN parties.

Many who built their own systems also owned an Alienware because of its unique look and upgradability. In the end some will always swear by their own hand built rig, but custom company systems have earned their place among gamers and LAN attendees alike.

In part three of the series we will explore how games and game play have affected the LAN party.

You can read part 3 here and part 4 here

State of the LAN Party I

LAN party
LAN party

Originally posted by me on the Direct2Dell Blogs

A good friend of mine asked me what would become of LAN parties with so many people having access to high-speed internet and online games like, World of Warcraft. To answer his question I thought back to when I first arrived in Miami.

I did not know anyone my age, so I asked my mother for a computer; this led to me buying Warcraft for the PC. I did not know much about online gaming so I did an Alta-Vista search and found a site called Dawango.

Dawango, called that because it stood for, “Dialup Wide-Area Network Game Operation” allowed people to dial in and play with other people over their network. The big games at the time were Doom and Duke Nukem 3D.

It was in the Miami channel that I met my first real online friends. Over the next few weeks we played a ton of games together and then one day they told me about a LAN party they were going to start called Red-Eye.

Now I had never taken my PC out of the house and with all the warnings about giving out information to people you meet online the idea of going to some warehouse with my PC to meet people I never had seen in person was just crazy. However, I decided to give it a chance and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

The LAN party allowed me to meet great new people and make lifelong friends. In fact, if it was not for the LAN party I would not have become an Alienware employee. It was at that LAN that I learned how important a person’s computer is to them and where I saw my first Alienware. It was a jet black hydraulic case and had everyone there asking about it.

The LAN however, is more than just gaming and competition. I thought of it as a fraternity for gamers. Often you had people who were more seasoned in gaming or had been with the LAN group longer and so they were looked upon as elders.

You earned your place not only by how well you played, but your rig (computer), your knowledge of gaming and computers and your overall personality. When I showed up I had a small computer I purchased from a discount store and knew little about the inner workings of a computer. Less than a year later, I knew how to build my own PC and how to connect and troubleshoot networks without ever stepping into a classroom.

In part 2, I will talk about how personal a person’s computer is to a LAN member and the debate between buying and building your own. Also I will cover the evolution of the LAN and the friendships created within.

Free Stuff – Hamachi, virtual LAN VPN program

hamachi
hamachi

If you need a free program that lets you play games online with your friends as if it were a LAN then Hamachi is the program you are looking for. This is very useful because there are games that play better over a LAN and many old games DO NOT support internet play but they do support LAN play.

The program creates an additional network device/layer with its own IP address that you can share with you friends and invite them to join your network session almost as inviting them to a game/chat room (slightly more complicated but it’s the same concept almost).

You can download Hamachi here: https://secure.logmein.com/US/products/hamachi2/default.aspx