Thursday, September 27, 2012

Featured Game: SimCity

The very first

Year: 1989
Genre: City Building
Recommend: YES
Feel like going old school? What better way to do that than playing the original SimCity? Featuring a top-down perspective and vintage graphics, it doesn't get any more classic than this, as far as city building games go.
What you'll need
The Windows version of the game was released in 1992. You have nothing to worry about.
Reviews and Awards
SimCity won a boatload of awards in 1989 and 1990, namely Best PC Game, Game of the Year, Best Entertainment, Educational, and Simulation program, and so many more. IGN ranked it the 11th PC Game of All Time in 2009. The wave of Sim games that followed this one are a testament to just how great this game was at the time.
There are many versions of the game out there. My favorite is the 1992 Windows version at Keep in mind that when saving a city, you have to follow the 8.3 naming rule, so BLUFFTOWN.CTY is not a valid name.

Ye olde Blufftown, known as Bluftown. Sorry about that.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Featured Game: Icy Tower

Fun little time waster
Year: 2001
Genre: Action, Platform
Recommend: YES
At first, I didn't really see the point of Icy Tower. "What's so fun about hopping up platforms?" Then I read the instructions, and, "Oh, if you run fast, you jump high!" Suddenly, it became a challenge to land on a platform at high speed and make sure Harold the Homeboy got to the next platform. Icy Tower has a small footprint, charming music and graphical style, and a very simple concept. This game'll stay on my hard drive for the foreseeable future.
What you'll need
Icy Tower can run on PC's from the AT motherboard days. I don't think you need to worry.
Review and Awards
This game can't be judged by its reviews, but by its popularity. The game makes the "Most Popular" list for PC games at, and has an estimated 11 million downloads as of 2008. There are some sites devoted to Icy Tower from the Czech Republic, Germany, and Poland.
If getting a higher rank is important to you, just view your profile to see what you have to do to reach the next one. (I just can't get to the 300th floor!)


Friday, September 7, 2012

Say Hello to the Gaming with Netbooks Netbook

I found it a bit hypocritical that I was telling my readers what they can and can't play on a netbook without actually owning a netbook myself. So I scoured the Internet for deals, and decided that a Cedar Trail netbook would be the best option for my low budget. I finally found the Gateway LT4004u, a fairly standard Cedar Trail netbook.
Normally this netbook would be out of my price range, but I found a killer deal at Newegg. My model is being offered for $213.98, but it's refurbished. That's no big deal, though; all that was wrong with the netbook was a few scratches on the lid.
Not only did I get a great deal on the netbook, Newegg was kind enough to include a free Targus sleeve with my purchase. In the product listing, Newegg claims the sleeve is black. It's not black. It's purple. Fortunately, the images Newegg uploaded clearly show the correct color. Note that the sleeve is refurbished as well, but I can't see any signs of use.
My case looks like this, but purple
The LT4004u houses an Atom N2600 processor and its accompanying GMA 3600 GPU. It supports 802.11b/g/n wireless networking (of course) and has a 6-cell battery. The netbook ships with 1 GB of RAM, but I plan to upgrade to 2 ASAP. Finally, the hard drive holds 250 GB of storage.

Gaming is definitely a hit-and-miss experience on the Cedar Trail platform. In my preliminary gaming tests, I found Project64, my favorite N64 emulator, to have major fluctations in framerates while emulating Super Smash Bros. Both Motocross Madness 2 and Midtown Madness exhibited slowdowns from time to time. I blame both Intel's pathetic driver support (only Windows 7 32-bit is supported, and weakly at that) and the fact that I only have 1 GB of RAM.

Some final thoughts: the screen is nice and bright, and the webcam is 'eh, ok'. The hard drive included with this model is pretty zippy, much to my appreciation. Another good thing is the low amount of bloatware; I didn't feel the immediate urge to uninstall everything I've never heard of.

On the whole, this is a peachy netbook  for productivity purposes, but gaming performance is a little underpowered. Once Intel updates its drivers, my opinion may change.