The purpose of this column is to take a gamers point of view at some of the hardware and software that is out on the market today and to network with other gamers about tips and techniques in playing the games. I myself have played quite a few games and I have found some winners and some items that would be perfect for landfill. I do have a few preferences when it comes to games. The first requirement is good graphics. I do not like going through a game with a fly's perspective. Good sound is another quality that I like. I hate the tinny sound that you get from cheesy little speakers that sound like your getting something from a take-out window. I want the games to give me nightmares and raise my adrenaline levels to the extreme.
The first thing that makes a game playable is the interface. When the action starts getting intense, that is not the time for fumbling for a feature while you are getting chewed up. There are a couple of toys I have yet to try . One of them is a throttle/weapons control, this might make the weapons and target selection a little quicker . I intend to find out soon. The idea is to not to take your eyes off the target while trying to find the right weapon and the right target. Another item that I am curious to try is the "VR" goggles. I don't know how that will affect perspective and playability but hell, I'll try anything once. Twice if I like it and three times if it don't kill me!
Joysticks are one thing I have spent a good bit of money on. I have some huge hands and finding one that feels right is a big thing. Finding one that is comfortable is important when you sit down for a serious session of gaming. The wrong stick and you won't last more than a couple of halves, our without fatigue setting in. My favorite is the Wingman Extreme from Logitech. I have beat the hell out of one and after three years the thing finally broke when the trigger switch wore out. Believe me, I was brutal to this thing. It's base is nice and heavy so it stays put without the use of suction cups. The only thing it lacked was a throttle, but oh well ,I guess thats what the left hand is for. The Gravis Analog Pro is just to small for my hands and I did not like the noise the springs made when I moved it around. The CH Flightstick Pro is pretty good in that it will work for both left and right handers and has a throttle. The trigger is getting a little worn on mine and is beginning to stick, I will have to check into this further. It is not as durable as the Wingman and the travel is a little longer. Logitech has come out with a digital version with a throttle which I want to try soon. The stick is suppose to work in either the digital or the analog mode which makes it very compatible with a lot of different operating environments. Which means you got a stick that should work well with Windows95 and DOS based games.
My personal preferences for games go in two different directions. I like flight simulator games for the three axis movement that it provides. Minor plots that go along with these games can be good if the scenario is a believable one. There are some that have no plot but have a shoot anything that moves kind of deal. Terminal Velocity is very good in the action department with lots of cool sounding explosions. With a fast machine ,you can set the detail and the sound to really slam your senses to the max. The bigger the screen , the better. Doom is another one of my favorites, it has all the great things in it you want from a shoot 'em up kind of game, blood, guts and gore. The sound isn't bad either. I have recently tried blood and it has everything doom has plus good weapons and Internet playability. I intend to check this one out in the near future.
A little about myself; I am an electronics tech that has been in the electronics field for about eighteen years now. My first computer was an AST Premium 386 that I bought second hand or about a hundred dollars back in 1991. Since then ,I have upgraded my system to its present state with a P-166 with 32-meg of ram and the cache maxed out. I run a couple of operating systems by making the hard drives removable so I can test various games and programs in different environments to see how well they work. The video is a Diamond Stealth 2000 series-z with the S-3 chip and 2-meg of ram on the card. It may not be the fastest but with everything else it works fine. I am a firm believer in going the extra buck and using a SCSI CD-ROM drive just out of personal preference. Some people swear by IDE but that is probably due to the fact that they are extremely inexpensive and for most people, I guess they work well. To each his own. Everyone should use what they are comfortable with.
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