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Himeji Castle

Back in the Saddle

I've always been a PC gamer. Sure I've enjoyed consoles (I've owned an Xbox in the past, and own a PS2, PS3 and a PSP now) but PC gaming has always seemed so much more like home. It probably says something about my personal hygeine or lack of social skills that my gaming of choice is done alone, hunched over a mouse and keyboard, but it could just be that I'm a fan of shooters and real time strategy games. Whatever the reason, having to give up PC gaming last April was a bit of a kick in the spuds, even with gaming on the PS3 to tide me over.

During that dark time I did actually build a new PC, mostly to prevent me having to cart a laptop to and from work every day. The new rig had plenty of juice, but I made sure the video card was very limited. This was mainly to avoid temptation, but also to ride the technological wave as far as I could. Six months is a long time in tech, particularly in video card hardware. I ended up grabbing a Gigabyte 8500GT for about AU$80, and it turned out to be a solid performer. It can run up to 1920 x 1200 nicely, and this particular model is cooled passively, so there's no fan to add to the system noise. I also figured it would be perfect for a media PC when I threw down for a proper gaming video card.

Well, that day finally came. The 8500GT is now wrapped in a static bag on my desk, looking lonely. In its place inside Bunk is a Gigabyte GTX285, a totally ridiculous piece of video hardware. The damn thing didn't fit in my case at first, but I was lucky enough to get some help from my girlfriend's dad, who did an extraordinarily thorough job in removing part of the drive cage to make it all fit. It booted up first time, and I was blessed by... well, the same desktop as before. This was to be expected, so I downloaded Bioshock from Steam and gave a whirl. My socks instantly blew off in a shower of sparks and flew across the room. Yup, all systems were go!

Since then I've polished off Bioshock and Mass Effect (both excellent) and have run around a bit in Crysis, Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead. L4D is the standout - it isn't super amazing graphically, but fighting off hordes of zombies with shotguns and automatic weapons is simply irresistible fun. Absent from the list for now is World of Warcraft, even though I have plenty of friends demanding that I resub immediately. Soon guys, soon.