I’m hopeless as a human, pathetic as an alien, but it seems I’m cut out to be a predator

I’m on a mission. To learn to play. Computer games that is.

The activity that has taken the world by storm, ensnared the minds of both young and old, even the very young and the very old, has somehow passed me by. Until now that is. Since purchasing my gaming notebook [this thing is a behemoth and should more correctly be referred to as a desktop replacement], I’ve been intrigued to find out what it can do.

It boots up superfast because of the one solid state drive and renders high-definition video superbly with the aid of the high-end graphics card and quad-Core CPU. It does exactly what I purchased it for; editing video amazingly well. I’ve watched Blu-ray movies on the full high-definition display monitor. Stunning! Connected to a set of external speakers, the THX audio system is mind-blowing.

It came time to see why the manufacturer Asus, labelled it a gaming notebook. So I purchased a few PC games about a month ago, which I was led to believe would really test my systems performance and graphics capabilities. It was a frustrating month of starting up the games and then being able to do nothing else, because I’m video-game challenged, practically illiterate. Sure, I’ve played pinball before, but that didn’t require the almost superhuman finger dexterity and hand-eye coordination that modern electronic games demand. And you could kick the pinball machine in frustration, quite safely without doing any damage, when it went into TILT mode. Try that on your modern games console or computer.

Over the last month, I managed to create a SIM, which looks nothing like me, no matter how much I fiddle with the options. I also managed to buy a house and a couch. And that’s where my attempt at playing SIMS 3 came to an end, not knowing how to proceed any further. Yeah, I’ll try reading the instructions some time, if someone could tell me where it is. Next came CIVILIZATION 5. The opening introductory sequence was great. Superb, realistic graphics. I managed to choose a historical figure and establish a city. Alas, that’s where my great adventure ended, not knowing how to proceed further.

After these failures, I turned to Aliens vs Predator. I’d heard about first-person-shooter (FPS) games at some point; I think it was at that gaming Expo I attended, RAGE. The game had a cool opening sequence, stunning graphics, great sound. It looked promising. First I tried the single-player Marine missions. Ugh! I sucked at being a Marine. I did figure out how to use the mouse and keyboard, and actually got to move around – albeit in constant circles. I also managed to get a few shots off. Okay, I killed some drums that were lying around, and I think I killed that dead guy lying in a heap on the floor…again. After giving up, I tried the Alien Mission. It was easy walking around in circles, but after killing the guy in the lab-coat (after considerable effort I must add), I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do next. Yep, I’m no Alien either.

Then yesterday I made a concerted effort to get somewhere. The only thing left to try was the single-player Predator Mission. And finally, I actually made some progress. I completed two missions, by following the instructions on-screen more attentively and with more patience. Off course, I got killed almost immediately on my third mission, but I was coming to grips with the whole gaming thing. And I was starting to understand why this is so addictive.

So now, I need to get Call of Duty – Black Ops…

Will I ever complete playing any game in its entirety? Who knows? Is that even possible? I do know that I need more help though, and I’m not about to ask some 8-year old kid!

Beautiful Black Dream Machine

I placed my order today for this beautiful, black, behemoth of a dream machine inspired by the F-117 stealth bomber. It’s wiped out my bank balance, and probably consigned me to being as tight-fisted as Scrooge for the coming months, but it’s worth every penny. Really!

What am I rambling on about? No it’s not the latest sports car from Lamborghini (I’m an Aston Martin kinda guy, anyway) ; it’s the latest extreme gaming notebook (laptop, to you South Africans) from ASUS. You didn’t figure me for a gamer, did you? Well, you’re right; I don’t have the requisite skills, or inclination for such a, err pastime. I’ve opted for this model because of its processing power and HD graphics card which will come in handy for HD video editing, which is a more, err worthy pastime.

I did look at a custom-built Alienware machine, but the prices made my eyes water. The specification on this beauty (the ASUS G73JW is the latest release in the G73-series that is available to South Africa) is comparable, and at a lower price; not that much lower, but so-so:

  • Intel Core i7 Quad Processor i7-740QM (6Mb cache, 1.73GHz) with Turbo Boost up to 2.93GHz
  • 8192MB DDR3-1066MHz SO-Dimm Memory (4 x 2048MB)
  • 1 TB (2 x 500GB) SATA HDD 7200rpm (Hard Disk Drive)
  • 17.3″ Full HD LED display (1920 x 1080)
  • Blu-ray ROM/DVD Multi Writer optical drive
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 460M graphics processor with 1.5 GB GDDR5 dedicated memory
  • 2.0 MP built-in webcam
  • All the other bells and whistles such as Wireless LAN, Bluetooth, backlit keyboard, microphone and headphone ports, 3 x USB 2.0 and 1 x USB 3.0 ports and 1 x HDMI port
  • Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
  • 2-year collect and return Warranty

I have opted to fork out the fairly hefty additional cost to replace the standard boot-up HDD (500GB) with a Corsair 256GB SSD (Solid State Drive), which ASUS-SA will do for me, before shipping. All of this makes the beast weight in at around 3.85 kilograms, so lugging it around is going to be somewhat painful. Fortunately, the cool-looking ROG (Republic of Gamers) back-pack they’re throwing in, should make this task a little more bearable, for when it is absolutely necessary to take this baby along for the ride.

As you can imagine, I can’t wait to get my hands on this beaut and caress that lovely back-lit keyboard with those oh-so-spaciously-placed keys, gigantic touch-pad and rubbery black finish. Just two more weeks, and this baby will be all mine…