Flights of The Electribird

Through Games, Events and Multimedia

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Laptops + Gaming = Slap in the Face

As most people should know by now, laptops are not really suited for games, even if the stores and manufacturers beg to differ. Sure, a laptop can handle some games, but a good gaming laptop from today will probably not be able to handle the games of 3-5 years from now. The glorious day, when laptops become easier for the consumers to upgrade, is the day I’ll make out with a guy who looks exactly like Tobey Maguire, because that would be a blessed day indeed!

Why I’m mentioning this, is because my desktop computer’s ready for its retirement after 7 years of good use. Because of this, I haven’t been able to play games with my poor darling, so little Tiny’s all I’ve got. Unfortunately, Tiny’s a laptop and is therefore not suited for games that require plenty of graphic memory, like The Sims 2. Sure, The Sims 2 doesn’t demand much alone, but if you install every single expansion and stuff pack for it along with it, you get a really massive game that requires more than the required performance requirements say on the box. It’s a miracle that I can run the game at all, I tell you. It’s using up around 50-100% of the CPU!

After some searching, I think I’ve found a solution to this problem. As every laptop-owner should know, every laptop has a PCPMCIA-slot (or ExpressCard-slot) on its side. PCMCIA-cards and ExpressCards are used to add hardware that the laptop may not have built into it, like soundcards or modems. Even graphic cards can be created to use this slot, but those cards have not been manufactured for years and it seems like they won’t be manufactured again any time soon. But a company called Magma has a different solution to the problem, even though it may not be the best solution for a person who takes the laptop everywhere. It’s an external expansion box with PCI Express-slots, which you can connect to the computer via the ExpressCard-slot. Inside the expansion box, you can install any card that fits into a PCI Express-slot and then use it with the laptop! Unfortunately, this expansion box doesn’t seem to exist in Swedish stores, which makes it harder for me to order it and try it out. Oh well, with time comes new technology. Who knows, someone might try to make a graphic card that fits into the ExpressCard-slot someday. In the meantime, I’ll have to run my games with what I’ve got. They won’t run the way I want them to, but they work – well, most of the time…


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The Luxury of Having a Laptop with Vista

You know how people enjoy taking a hot bath or relaxing on a comfy couch with a good book? Ever since I got my laptop as a birthday gift not long ago, I’ve been getting more of those comfy habits. So far, my favorite one is to sit on my remote-controlled bed (I have a back problem) with my quilt over my legs and the laptop on a wooden tray in front of me. I have never in my entire life done my homework in a more comfortable way! If anything convinced me to install The Sims 2 on my laptop, that was it!

Speaking of games, I tried to install Spore on my laptop a few days ago. The installation went great, but I was still unable to run the game! I tried everything. I upgraded the drivers, I checked several knowledge bases online and even looked up the system requirements for the game. Nothing! Because of that, I tried to install an older game, thinking it would probably work better – Nox. I know, this game’s pretty old and wasn’t made for Vista (heh, it wasn’t even made for XP) but I still decided to give it a shot. To my joy, Nox worked! Unfortunately, the videos for the game kept freezing. I have no idea how or what could have possibly happened, but after the next few days, the videos for Nox began to work properly! Yesterday, when I was bored after class, I checked out the game menu on my laptop and discovered to my surprise that Spore was still installed, so I gave it a try. It worked! I couldn’t believe it, but it worked! I don’t know what happened before the videos for Nox began to work properly, but I think that has something to do with it. Perhaps Windows Update might have fixed something behind my back. Either way, I have 2 great games on my laptop and both of them work splendidly!

While we’re still in the subject of games, I discovered something else yesterday that I’ve personally never noticed before. Vista has a grading system that showes how compatible the computer is for the games that are installed on it. That’s brilliant! It showed me how compatible Spore was and if I could run it properly, both the required limit for running the game and the required limit for best performance. I’m glad Windows finally has a system for this, because it helps a lot if you’re unsure of how much the computer can handle or if the game would run properly. Spore passed pretty well on my laptop, but my laptop needs 0,5 points more to run the game with the best performance. Too bad I don’t know how to upgrade the hardware on laptops. But that’s irrelavent. Spore works and I can play it wherever I want now!