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Month: February 2009

How I Began Street Fighting

With Street Fighter IV out this week, those that follow along here on the site and podcast should (rightfully so) expect a lot of talk about it coming your way. Before I even get to talking about the new game, I thought it might be interesting to take a look back and figure out just how exactly I got here. When did I first play a Street Fighter game? Why did I stick with it? What are some of my earliest memories? Why does it continue to enthrall me to this very day?

First off, let’s be honest: very few of us actually played the first Street Fighter until we loaded it up in MAME one day. I simply never saw it in arcades or convenience stores, and if I did, I dismissed it without a thought.

sf1_arcade

I should start off by saying that I don’t think I got “into” fighting games until Mortal Kombat came around. I don’t know what it was that I was so busy playing instead, but the first round of Street Fighter II in the arcades (and even on the SNES) just totally flew by me. Even then, I didn’t get interested in playing them until the first Mortal Kombat was already out on the home systems in late 1993, nearly a year after it hit arcades. I was vaguely aware of it, but that awareness was the extent of my interest. I first remember seeing the game at a local kid’s house (wasn’t really a “friend”, especially since I kicked the crap out of him later that year for being a jackass, but boys will be boys). I have to imagine it was the prospect of doing fatalities that really drew me in, though I don’t remember all that much. I just remember seeing it, and being hooked from there on out.

mk1_snes_gameplay

Around that time, Mortal Kombat II was already hitting arcades, and I was ready to jump in head-first. Everything about the second game was better. The fighters were more realistic, the amount of moves increased, the number and types of finishing moves increased, and the game had a fantastic tongue-in-cheek sense of humor about itself. While the game certainly bumped it up a notch in terms of skilled players being able to fight effectively, all of the characters ultimately still played exactly the same with the exception of their special moves and finishing moves. Additionally, let’s continue to be brutally honest: we were still all playing the game just to see the fatalities. In the case of Mortal Kombat, the “end-game” was far more interesting than the actual game, itself. I played the ever-living-Hell out of the SNES and even Game Boy versions (the latter of which actually let you pause the game, which is the sole reason I purchased it… in addition to wanting to play against everyone else at school…), but something was lacking.

mortal_kombat_2_fatality

It was around this time and with this realization that I became more aware of Street Fighter. I was enjoying fighting games, but the fighting games I was playing (really only Mortal Kombat) felt more like brief competitions to see an end show rather than focusing on the fighting itself, which I was truly interested in.

I don’t know what went off in my little head, but I decided it was time to pick up a Street Fighter game.

I had my dad drive me down to the local video store, and I purchased a used copy of Super Street Fighter II for the SNES. Yes, by this point in time, we were already on the third revision for SNES, and I hadn’t even played the game before. I was initially confused by the lack of an “end” after the fight, which was to be expected coming from the Mortal Kombat camp (I don’t have a source on me, but I do remember the MK creative team noting that fatalities even came about in the first place because they wanted to move the mid-fight dizzies from other games to the very end so you could get one more hit in). Regardless, though, it was a love affair from there on out. Instead of mastering the art of B, B, LP, I suddenly became a master of F, D, DF, P. Two-in-ones became second nature. The clumsy juggles of Mortal Kombat became more skill-based than I could imagine.

ssf2_snes_char_select

It’s interesting to note that, despite becoming totally involved in the world of Street Fighter, I kept up with Mortal Kombat for a little while. I was all about Mortal Kombat 3, and will tell anyone who will listen that I was the one responsible for unlocking Ermac in my local Wal-Mart’s arcade machine of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. I rented a Sega Saturn more than just a few times for the sole purpose of playing UMK3 (though Sega Rally was nice, too). I was running around with my crazy-ass Kabal and Nightwolf combos, and proving that Smoke had more to him than just a teleport punch -> spear -> uppercut.

umk3_snes

By now we’re into 1995, and I’ve still said more about Mortal Kombat than the supposed topic of this post. Here’s where it begins to shift, though.

I became very adamant about checking out my local arcade and playing not only against other people, but completely new games, as well. It was a big year for fighting game fans. I may have skipped over Super Turbo (other than some brief play on my friend Jason’s 3DO), but the series received a reboot with Alpha. The Mortal Kombat series had just gone Ultimate, and Virtua Fighter 2 was shocking players with how far polygonal fighters had come in a single generation of games. I took notice, too. In addition to playing the first game on my 32X, I was pretending to be good with a little Kage action in Virtua Fighter 2 in arcades, myself. I was still mostly ignoring Street Fighter, though… which I don’t really understand. I preferred the gameplay of that series more than all of the others, but I found myself leaning towards these others. Maybe it was because those arcade machines were actually free of crowds? Was I still trying to figure out exactly which game series interested me the most? Who knows?

virtua_fighter_32x

Things shifted for good the next year, though. My arcade got a gigantic, large-screen, sit-down Street Fighter Alpha 2. The combination of the music, the characters, the animation, and the grand scale of the thing won me over. I still vividly remember seeing that pre-match character layout (which zips into the profiles) for the first time and being amazed at just how slick and refined the whole thing felt, and I even remember that it was Adon that I first went up against.

sfa2_arcade_gointofight

I think “refined” is the perfect word to describe what I found missing in all of the other games. Mortal Kombat 3 brought the series into more offensive territory with the Run button, but it still felt clunky and imprecise. Virtua Fighter was a great first step into 3D, but the ridiculous floaty jumps were very off-putting (though 2 did an amazing job cleaning it all up). I only briefly dabbled with Tekken until Tag, and only the second game on PS1 (thanks to a demo pack-in with my system). SNK’s games were getting to a fantastic level (despite the hardcore fans problems with the striker system, I’m a huge fan of King of Fighters ’99), but I couldn’t find anyone else to really play them with (at least until college). Here was Street Fighter, pulling everything together so nice and clean. It just… worked.

I never seemed to get around to picking up any additional home console versions for a couple years. I think I just rented them enough that I felt like I owned them. Once 1999 came around, though, I wasn’t about to miss out on Street Fighter Alpha 3. I emptied all of my change bowls and scrapped together enough right there to purchase the game. Everything about it was magical. Despite finally dropping the classic tunes for the characters, Alpha 3 just oozed fresh style. Takayuki Iwai & Co.’s new musical score was both instantly memorable and catchy (and was actually one of the first game soundtracks I ever purchased). The new “-ism” styles let you play Alpha 2-style if you so desired. The home version’s inclusion of even more characters from “Upper” (the Naomi board version) flesh out an already-gigantic cast of both familiar and new faces. It may not have been the most balanced game in the franchise, but that was hardly enough to keep a player like me away from the controller. In fact, aside from Super Mario Bros. 3, it is perhaps my most-re-purchased game of all time (PS1, PS2, GBA, PSP… nope, never owned the Saturn or Dreamcast versions, myself).

sfa3_ryu_gameplay

You’ve heard Andrew and I talk about Alpha 3 enough on the podcast, so I’ll leave behind one of our all-time favorite games behind.

During this time and over the next several years, we were treated to an array of crossover games that complement the main (numbered) series quite well. Whether it was dropping quarters into X-Men vs Street Fighter or playing the import Dreamcast version of Capcom vs SNK 2 day in and day out, we played them all. Marvel vs Capcom 2 also immediately jumps to mind, with all of us having college buddies that, despite having absolutely zero interest in fighting games, couldn’t resist throwing down for a few hours with us.

We’re missing a game series, though. It seems like a lot of people forget about Street Fighter III. I think like the majority of the more mainstream Street Fighter fans (those of us who thoroughly enjoyed the series, but never got up to tournament level or anything like that), something just didn’t sit right with me. Perhaps it was indeed the overall lack of returning fighters. Maybe it was the more Darkstalkers-esque characters that felt out of place (don’t get me wrong; I enjoy that series, as well!). Maybe it was yet another drop of any and all classic tunes. I played here and there in random arcade machines, but then again, maybe it was the death of arcades that was hurting my ability to even play the game in the first place. I was excited to see a III machine on my college campus while visiting the summer before school, so you can understand my sadness to see it gone when I returned later that year.

Things have changed over the years, though, with regards to III. Like a fine wine, it actually seems to get better with age. I appreciate more and more about the game as I get older. I now find the soundtrack to be one of the most fitting (if not silly) in a fighting game. I love a lot of the new characters, and even found my quasi-Fei Long in Yang. I like to pretend I’m a solid technical fighter with my parrying of simple fireballs (don’t ask me to use it in general gameplay up close, though). The animation is fluid and eye-popping. The general presentation is just as slick and streamlined as any Street Fighter game before it. It’s a very technical fighter, but it’s not as intimidating as something like the Guilty Gear series. I’m incredibly glad to have a copy of the game sitting around, and while we don’t revisit it as much as I otherwise would like to (Alpha 3 and CvS2 seem to be the default go-to games), it’s always a damn good time when we do.

sf3_char_select

It seems like there is so much more to talk about, and so many other fighting games to compare and throw into the mix (nevermind all of the assorted merchandise like anime and action figures). Alas, this is only supposed to be a simple reflection on how I came to be the type of Street Fighter fan I am, and it still ended up being a stream-of-consciousness plop of text. Here we are with IV finally in our hands, and like Ono wanted us to do, we are rediscovering what it is about the series (and these characters) that we love so much. Forgive me, but I think I need to stop typing and get back to the game, now!

Next time around, we’re going to take a look at the “Collector’s Edition” pack-ins. How does the new anime stack up to previous efforts? Does that headband fit? Are the extra costumes worth downloading? What’s on the soundtrack? Stick around…

Lack Of (Modern) Literacy On YouTube

The title should come as absolutely no surprise, but I’ve rofled enough to myself in the last couple of minutes that I figured I would share these with you. No, this is not a follow-up to my viewpoints on my own feedback/responses/criticism on YouTube, so don’t worry that I’m bombarding you with more of that nonsense.

YouTube has a post up on their own blog talking about devices and services that enable a consumer to view YouTube directly on their television. Makes sense, right? I mean, we know about Microsoft’s partnership with Netflix to get that service on the 360, and PS3 owners have no doubt seen the YouTube link right when they launch their browser. There are plenty of other set-top boxes and new televisions coming out with integrated services like these, as well. For those of us that live the modern, technology-based lifestyle, none of this requires any explanation.

Remember that the majority of the world doesn’t think the same way we do, though. Plenty of people are quick to point out that you can also hook up a computer to an HDTV, but most appear to be completely clueless. These two quotes stuck out to me (from what I could stand reading through):

great stuuf what is the channel number in the unite kingdom

… and…

what the number of the channel it’s gonna be on? will it work on cable

What I think this really proves is that general consumers still think of “TV” as meaning “a channel I flip to”. It’s easy for us to make fun of or at least chuckle at these types of responses, but for those of us trying to reach new audiences (ones that still don’t understand what it is we’re doing), seeing these types of comments is incredibly frustrating.

Xbox Live Experience: Classic “TMNT” With Friends

Yesterday, our buddy Kevin coordinated a cross-country gaming date for the evening over Twitter. Myself, Andrew, Kevin, and our buddy Ryan all joined up for a little play-through of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles classic arcade game over Xbox Live (10:30 pm eastern time, 7:30 pm western time). Seems like an easy enough recipe for a good time, right?

Well, mostly!

tmnt_arcade_4players

What we quickly found ourselves doing instead of just playing the game was fighting with the Xbox Live service to simply allow all four of us to join up. We initially started with Kevin creating a “Party”, and then he invited the entire party to a private match in the game. No matter which order people joined in, who tried to set up a match next, inviting through the party system or one-by-one manually, we simply could not get all four of us into the same room. The fourth person would always get the “Game session is no longer available“-style message, even if they just got in on the previous try. We even all tried joining into a “quick match” together at the same time, and ended up with the same problem (only three of us able to join in, though it was a hilarious miracle and testament to the game’s play-drop-off that we all ended up in the same random quick match).

Around fifteen minutes into this epic struggle against Microsoft’s back-end, Kevin randomly suggested that we try signing off and back onto Xbox Live. Andrew and I did so, and we were magically able to all immediately connect to each other in-game. This proves that it had nothing to do with our ISPs, our firewalls, any port-forwarding in our routers, or any nonsense like that. It was nothing more than random nonsense on the Xbox Live side of things, and nonsense we typically only expect from the free PSN, as opposed to a service we pay ~$50 a year for (and therefore, rightfully so, expect a near-flawless experience with).

Once we got into the game, we sufferred little in the way of hiccups (with the exception of some minor lag problems on the “Come on guys, we gotta save Splinter!” stage). We managed to make it up to Krang, and while Kevin survived long enough to get him blinking, the rest of us succummed to his mighty kicks with the measely amount of lives we had left at that point. We all made a couple stupid mistakes, but now that we’ve played again… I fully believe we need to set up another session so we can not only complete the game for that achievement, but also make sure that Andrew doesn’t get himself flame-throwed in the face so we can all get that achivement, too!

Conversation 006: We’re Back With A Discussion Of The Games We Played In 2008

Surprise, surprise!

The three of us got together this weekend and recorded episode six of the show, had a blast doing it, and are extremely happy to bring it to you so quickly. We are easing our way back into a normal schedule, and while we don’t have a standard Top 10 list this episode… it ended up being a normal length, anyway!

Since people seem to agree that talking about the games we have recently been playing is an integral and interesting part of the show, we definitely kept it in there. We have some pretty diverse gaming experience going on with Jeff focusing on the iPhone, Andrew dabbling with some sports games, and Mike playing a few games of yesteryear. For our topic portion, we decided to turn the previous discussion on its head and talk about the new games we played in 2008. We concluded the show picking our favorite game(s) of the year, and gear up for another batch of blog entries and podcast episodes coming your way.

Big special thanks to everyone out there sticking with us while waiting for a new episode by contributing your responses on the blog posts and continuing to drop us a line.

Top 10 PS2 Games I Own And Have Never Played

I promised this way back on episode two of the podcast, and haven’t gotten around to tossing it together until today. I have finally put up my “Top 10 PS2 Games I Own And Have Never Played” over in the Top 10 Games section. I was thinking about also doing a similar list for the DS soon, too (though it might be a Top 5). How about you all? Got any large collections with stuff you haven’t touched?

Search Referrals Across The World

Following up a little bit on my post about rankings on Google a little bit, I just wanted to share another behind-the-scenes doo-diddy with Daizenshuu EX. I have always touted the site as a “global fandom” resource. The Japanese version of the DragonBall series is the sole version that can be (and is) appreciated throughout the entire world, and that is our audience. As a testament to that, what I specifically would like to share is a list of the last twenty search engine referrals’ origins by country as I’m looking at them right now, with 15 of the 20 specifically looking for a variation on either “daizex” or “daizenshuu ex”:

  • Brazil
  • Japan
  • Croatia
  • United States
  • Japan
  • United States
  • Australia
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Netherlands
  • Australia
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • United States
  • Netherlands
  • Spain
  • Denmark
  • Italy
  • United States

That’s just beautiful, and I feel like we’re actually accomplishing something…! Let’s get Daizenshuu EX as a household name in Uzbekistan, and I think I could call it a day.

“Portal”: Best Multiplayer Game In Years…?

Yes, you read that title correctly. Is Portal one of the best multiplayer games to come out in years?

I know, I know. Portal is a single-player game. There is no “versus” mode and there is no co-operative campaign. How exactly is the game “multiplayer”, then? Let me explain how I played through the game, and the answer should be pretty obvious.

portal_first_area

With the exception of test chambers 17 and 18, there was always at least one person in the room while I was playing through Portal. My first playthrough of the beginning dozen or so test chambers was with my wife in the room, somewhat paying attention as she went about her own business. There were questions here and there along with the occasional chuckle at GLaDOS, but that was about it.

I decided to show Jeff the game one day, and figured the best way would be to just start at the beginning. Anyone who has played the game knows how fast the first few levels fly by, so I very quickly made my way back to where I had left-off (I think somewhere around test chamber 12). From there, it seemed like there was no stopping us. While I was in full control of the game (personally having my hands on the mouse and keyboard), the two of us figured out the puzzles in each chamber to get Chell onwards through the Enrichment Center’s test. It was getting pretty late that evening, so we left off at the beginning of test chamber 17.

From there I dropped the game for a while (though for no particular reason other than that… well… that’s just how I roll). A few weeks back (OK, the end of November) I finally decided to play the game some more. I was home by myself for the evening and played through test chambers 17 and 18. It was a very different experience. “Lonely” is perhaps the best way to describe it, and probably more along the lines of how Chell actually felt (were she, ya’ know, a real person). That’s not to say it was a bad experience; it was simply different.

I began running into chugging problems with the game, with later levels throwing more and more “stuff” on the screen and my GeForce 7900 GS having a tough time keeping up. I again “dropped” the game for a little bit, right at the start of the final level.

Fast forward a couple months later, and the new GeForce 9800 GT is all installed and running things silky-smooth. It was time to beat Portal.

portal_final_area

That evening, with not only Jeff right by my side, but his girlfriend and my wife hanging out in the background, we returned to the multiplayer version of the game that I knew so well from the earlier sessions. It was exactly what I was looking for, and I can’t imagine not having (finally) experienced that ending level and battle solely by myself.

What did I enjoy so much about it? Those moments where we would all go, “Oooooooooohhhhhh!” upon figuring out the deceptively-simple key to a puzzle. The collective laughter at GLaDOS’ increasingly-desperate antics (the “reverse psychology” tirade was brilliant). The chuckles at hilarious things in the background (like the PowerPoint-esque presentations in the meeting rooms in the final level). The random shout-outs of things to try or places to look.

With the exception of a couple little platforming acrobatics to perform at certain points, the pace of the game is “slow” enough for anyone around to really become absorbed into the story and flow right along with it. It gives you enough time, but also provides just enough of a sense of dread that you need to hurry up and move on… and everyone is right there with you.

Andrew mentioned to me that when he played through Portal: Still Alive on the 360, he typically had one of his roommates there with him (who had played through the game before). What were your “multiplayer” experiences like with this game? Did you just blow through it all by yourself in one sitting? Did you later replay to show friends and family? Were you that “friends and family” being shown the game?

(Blah blah blah, “Welcome to 2007″…)

Prince of Persia: PC, DRM, DLC, ROFL

You may have heard on the podcast several times that Andrew and I… well, we like easy games. We’re busy people, and hard games take up too much time in our crazy adult lives! To be fair, I don’t think either of us actually want complete cake-walks for games; rather, we want a gaming experience that we don’t have to fight with. Games have progressed a long way over the decades, and the shift to 3D has finally gotten to a point where we’re not constantly rotating a camera around ourselves (see: Super Mario 64… which, don’t get me wrong, I love!).

With all that in mind, it should come as no surprise that the latest iteration (and incarnation) of Prince of Persia is thoroughly intriguing to me. You can’t die? You’re not severely punished? You can get right back into the swing of things quickly after messing up? Sign me up.

prince_of_persia_pc

(Related side note: Don’t you just hate fighting games that don’t offer a “quick continue” option when you lose in story/arcade mode, forcing you back to a character select screen, rather than just click-and-replay…?)

After tossing in my new GeForce 9800 video card, I’ve been looking for things to show me beautiful imagery on my computer screen. Not really wanting to go the FPS route any further (sorry, Crysis), the consideration you should obviously see coming would be the newest Prince of Persia. While it is also available on PS3/360, since I won’t have an HDTV set up until we move in the next couple months, the only way to see the game in its high-def glory right now would be over on the PC running at 1600×1050 with the settings turned all the way up.

This particular game has been a curious case for me. I am fully capable of running it, and Ubisoft announced prior to the game’s release that the PC version would be shipping without any DRM on it (the retail version, anyway; Steam’s would still have its own DRM integration). Being able to install it right onto the hard drive without needing to keep a DVD in the drive (or otherwise cracking it to do so) is one of my current obsessions, and partly why I’m often found playing PSN / Xbox Live games more than anything else (you may call it “laziness”, but I call it “comfy convenience”).

As many pundits and general gaming “observationalists” (yes, I’m coining new terms) were quick to point out, Ubisoft’s “No DRM!” decision was not necessarily a case of freebies, giving back to the gaming crowd, or any other type of selfless act. There may be a bit too much conspiracy theory at work, but it’s not beyond a reasonable doubt to assume that using such a high-profile game to later claim, “Hey, look how much it was pirated, despite us giving the gaming crowd exactly what they asked for with no DRM!” gives them an easy out to revert back to typical destructive measures.

Fast-forward to this week’s announcement of new downloadable content for the game (including a playable epilogue to the story and new outfits based on the original character designs) for the 360 and PS3… but not the PC version. Wait, why no PC version content? The current official word from Ubisoft is that it is due to “business reasons”.

Am I too far off to see this conversation going something like:

– “We have released the game DRM-free just like everyone asked!”
(game gets pirated as it normally would have anyway)
– “We have new downloadable content coming for the 360 and PS3!”
(asked for clarification on no PC DLC)
– “Due to the low sales figures and overwhelming piracy rate for the PC version, we have decided not to support DLC in this particular version of the game.”

…? What do you think? Does this make you second-guess picking the game up if you haven’t already, or drive you more towards a console version? Were you not even considering the PC version in the first place?

Problem Solved: Main Rig Working

This was a happy weekend.

You can review the situation for yourself in the blog post from last week, but long story short, I accidentally flipped the surge protector off with my main computer hooked up to it, and it wouldn’t boot after that. Thanks to a flurry of recommendations from personal friends as well as all your blog comments, I had a few avenues to go with in terms of problem-solving.

One of the first suggestions was that I might have blown the power supply in the system. I was perhaps a little hasty in messing around with things, but I decided to rip that sucker out before I did anything else. The problem was that once I got it out, I didn’t really know what to do with it! If it was indeed the power supply that was busted, we discovered it would be tricky to replace since it was a proprietary 1000-watt Dell power supply which they did not just sell as a standard replacement part. There were a few on eBay for purchase in the $50-150 range (which isn’t too bad), but I couldn’t really be guaranteed I’d get a solid product that way. Off-the-shelf power supplies wouldn’t be too helpful, since this one had both a 20-pin and 24-pin connector each going into the motherboard (very strange). For a better idea of what I was dealing with, and at Jeff’s suggestion, here’s a comparison between this Dell power supply and a sentinel machine from The Matrix.

cpu_alive_01

Once Jeff and I got the darn thing back into the system and amazingly remembered/figured-out how to rewire the entire thing, the next step was to check the RAM. We took out all 4 GB and planned on going through them to see if any caused the system to crap out during the boot process. Much to our surprise, we got the computer booting right up with one stick of RAM, but with no mouse or keyboard. The boot process informed us that the system configuration had changed, and to either press F1 to continue or F2 to enter the BIOS setup. Well, no keyboard was plugged in. We plugged in the USB keyboard at that point to see if it would let us continue after a button press, but no-go. We held the power to shut the system back down. We then proceeded to put the entire thing back to normal with all 4 GB of RAM and the standard mouse and keyboard combination (though a different USB mouse than I usually use, but this different one actually being the mouse that came with the system in the first place, which I typically have plugged into the Linux system). Ah-HAH! Same result as before, with it immediately shooting to about one-quarter of the way through POST, and with no beeps to indicate any kind of problem. Reusing an image here, but this is what it looked like:

cpu_dead_01

After another hard shutdown, we decided to give it a go with no mouse and keyboard, but keeping the 4 GB of RAM in the system. Much to our delight, we got through the entire boot all the way into Windows! Once we got to the desktop, we plugged in a mouse and shut it down normally. Out of morbid curiosity, I decided to try booting without the Dell USB keyboard, and a cheap ol’ PS/2 GE keyboard that I think we bought at Radio Shack a few years ago (which, again, I typically have plugged into the Linux machine).

cpu_alive_02

Bingo.

For whatever reason, the Dell USB keyboard was preventing the computer from booting.

No, it wasn’t a specific USB port. We tried different ports, and I’m using all of my USB ports for various things right now (other than that Dell keyboard, of course). The only USB issues we ran into were the back six ports not working upon those first couple reboots (only the two on the front of the machine seemed to work). I’ve had this happen to me, and whatever the problem is, it seems to resolve itself. Perhaps it’s a loose cable inside; I dunno. Speaking of loose cables, the only other small matter that we easily corrected was that the top CD/DVD drive didn’t show up in Windows; it was indeed a loose cable. We were trying to figure out what the POST process was telling us when it said “drive two” was missing, but we assumed it meant a hard drive (since “slot two” out of 0, 1, 2, and 3 doesn’t have a SATA drive in there). We quickly realized that was ridiculous, since there was never a hard drive there, and the computer would neither know nor care if a random extra hard drive was or was not there.

All of those little items were corrected, though, and rather quickly at that. With all of those minor issues out of the way (and after copying over Episode #0161 of the Daizenshuu EX podcast, which was being held hostage on one of the hard drives, to three other locations just to put my mind at ease), we figured we may as well just go ahead and install that new video card! Jeff thought it was so new and clean and pretty that we should take a picture of it before tossing it into the mix, so here you go:

cpu_alive_03

That’s an ASUS EN9800GT PCI-Express blah blah blah card. It’s $129.99 on Newegg, has a $25 mail-in rebate, and came with a free copy of Call of Duty: World at War (which I played for approximately sixty seconds in the campaign mode on easy before dying from a grenade, despite there being an indicator on the screen). Anyway, everything’s running silky-smooth now, including Prince of Persia which looks gorgeous. I was also able to finally beat Portal that Saturday evening, with the entire group huddling closer and closer to the screen during that final level and amazing boss battle. Yes, it took me a while. Yes, I’m slow at games. Yes, it was amazing.

I’ve also picked myself up a UPS to put over in the corner with this machine. It was incredibly stupid of me to not have one in the first place, and while it’s unfortunate that I had to deal with the ramifications of my own shenanigans, it at least prompted me to finally take care of it. I actually can’t remember off the top of my head which one I grabbed, but it was one of the “Geek Squad” ones from Best Buy (I’ll update and add in a link later when I’m home).

So there you have it. Problem solved, and I learned a ton of stuff in the process of fixing it all. All this nonsense due to my carelessness… and a keyboard.

… which, by the way, works on the Linux machine perfectly fine and doesn’t prevent it from booting. Rofls.

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