Gaming helps me balance out

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, June 13, 2023, 1:10 AM | comments: 0

My recent messing with old school PC gaming has made me realize that I used to really enjoy losing myself for a few hours at a time playing games. For a long time, I've realized that one key to feeling content is to spread my time around, and especially in things that let me escape the less fun, more serious parts of life. Games do that.

The thing is, while I've owned a mess of consoles, I haven't really played much beyond the shooters and LEGO games that I knew I could rely on to be enjoyable. I've not taken a lot of chances. I'm out of luck with the LEGO stuff, for now, as the developer Travelers Tales lost the license. They had a solid formula, for sure. We've been without a new Halo shooter for some time. I liked the Tomb Raider reboot, but it's not clear when exactly that next title will be out. I liked the previous Star Wars third-person game, and the new one has solid reviews, so maybe that's one.

What I am completely neglecting is that I have Game Pass Ultimate, which means that I can play everything in that catalog, for Xbox and Windows as applicable. There are a few newer games that require the newer Xbox Series series (dumb names), but I'm not sure if I'm ready to spend $500 on a console that's already a few years old. And I stubbornly want the disc-based console because of the huge library I have of games that I'm sure I'll never play again.

While I've moved to the Mac Mini as my daily driver on the desktop, the Windows computer is still under the desk. Despite being 4-years-old, it does a pretty solid job with a lot of games in the Game Pass catalog. I played through LEGO Skywalker Saga again to 100% with all of the graphics settings up. While not a graphically demanding game, it helped to have spent $450 on the video card those years ago.

Mac support for games is getting better, and if this DirectX to Metal (Windows to Mac graphics API) bridge under development really works, that could be a game changer in bringing more games to the Mac. Make no mistake, the GPU power in all of these M1/M2 Macs is insane, and without huge power demands. That means legit laptop gaming. For now, there are a bunch of classic games that run great on the Mac, for a few bucks each, on GOG.

But what I should really be leaning into is the Game Pass stuff. They have so many huge games that I just need to try. There should be years worth of stuff to play there, and there's no risk in case it sucks. Some of it even runs via the cloud, which graphically isn't as clean, but it does work. There are so many RPG's, shooters, puzzle games and such. I tried Forza on my "old" computer, and it ran really well at a solid frame rate.

Of course, I'm not sure that I want to upgrade that computer, but I'm intrigued as ever by the new handhelds. Steam Deck is cool, but the game selection doesn't include a lot of things I would already have access to. This ROG Ally looks pretty amazing, since it's essentially a little Windows computer. That means Xbox Game Pass and EA I already have access to, plus a few Steam games I own. I have some from other stores as well, and it will run them all. And of course, you can plug it into your TV. It IS a console, too.

I'm playing through Dungeon Keeper on my MacBook Pro (runs on Mac), and Dungeon Keeper 2 on my old desktop (does not run on Mac). I'm having such a great time with those. I know I have one or both in the garage on a CD-ROM (which I need to throw away). Totally worth the ten bucks for both, even with the blocky graphics in the first one.

I just gotta stop playing them so late at night!


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