For as long as I can remember, my computer has been on the very edge of technology. It has always been just a few steps away from being obsolete, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
That’s a lie, I would have it another way and I intend to very soon, but it’s a convenient lie that makes me feel special, or at least that it’s on purpose.
I remember being very excited about the release of “Lemmings 2”, not really because it was an amazing game; it wasn’t, they tried to improve the original’s purity by adding in more pointless skills in what was to become my first experience with something suffering from feature creep, but it was a game that would run on the family computer. This was a time where every (very large) game box I picked up had the words “requires a 386 or higher” that disheartened me so much to the point that I believe “386 or higher” became a running joke with my parents because it had become one of those stupid borderline meaningless phrases that I thought might have more meaning than it did.
I’ve always bought and built middle of the range PCs (because to go for the most technologically advanced is a fools errand for anyone that needs their money to eat) and always found myself very quickly having to trick it in to playing certain games, but lately I’ve found a few titles manage to run below the recommended specifications that they list.
What this boils down to is a very roundabout and drop-in-the-ocean love letter to Blizzard and Starcraft 2, which has listed on the back of the box “2.6 GHz or Higher” and yet runs perfectly well (with perfectly meaning all the graphical settings reduced to zero) on my barely-scraping-2.3GHz-if-I-had-the-guts-to-overclock-it-but-last-time-I-tried-something-like-that-there-was-fire-so-closer-to-2.2 machine.
The game itself is fantastic (the description “chess on steroids” is apt), the design is near flawless, the multiplayer is fair and challenging, and the single player storyline has accurately been described as “something a twelve year old would enjoy” which makes me feel guilty for enjoying it so much, because I suspect they’re right. The fact that Blizzard have spent the time to ensure that it will run smoothly on a machine that is now pushing six years old is unbelievable and a testament to their professionalism.
The first thing that popped into my head when I got Starcraft 2 working however was “I wonder if Sim City 2000 WOULD have worked on the 286 after all and why didn’t I at least try?”. Maybe the lesson here is I should stop believing everything I read. Maybe it’s that the more things change the more they stay the same. Maybe it’s that I ramble about things nobody is interested in when I’m hungry. Regardless, technology is ever evolving, but it’s refreshing to see that not everyone is trying to dismiss everything that’s for the most part considered obsolete.