Linux and Microsoft

Windows 8.1 is still being supported, and they say will be until  January 9th, 2018. Windows 7 has, according to their site, been cut off though. A terrible decision, in my opinion, given the huge success of that OS. A lot of people have jumped ship because of Windows 10, and I don’t blame them.

Linux has a bit over 3% of the market share, according to Wiki’s graphs. Linux has been gaining ground for many years, while interest in various Windows iterations is dropping. Fewer people are using Windows as time goes by.

I use Linux (PeppermintOS 7, built on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS) more than ever now; it’s my primary OS and I rarely go near Windows. Thanks to privacy and glaring security concerns, I don’t think I’ll ever feel safe using Windows anymore, despite having used and loved them since Windows 3.1 at primary school. Linux has opened my eyes to a new way, ‘though it wasn’t an easy journey.

I don’t like the way Microsoft conducts their business and I don’t think they care about the customers at all, only money. I find them deceptive, manipulative, and underhanded.

Linux, however, is open source; it’s all about sharing, creativity, and freedom. There’s even a Hannah Montana distribution; ridiculous? Sure, but wonderful that someone was able to create that and freely share it. At least if you don’t like a developer of your chosen distribution, you can jump to another; it’s not like you’re short of options.

That said, I am, or at least was a gamer. I still dabble. I’d need Windows for gaming. Linux does support games, and I do have Steam on it, but the graphical performance in many games seems terrible or lackluster in comparison, at least in my experience.

I have a feeling I’ll eventually just let go of the many Windows-only games on my Steam account and stick with Linux indefinitely. I barely game anymore anyway.

With Linux gradually gaining ground and Windows steadfastly losing it, that leaves Linux an opportunity to really step up. I think it needs some serious work in both gaming performance and a more approachable UI for those uninterested in the command line interface (Terminal) before it’ll have a shot at some day besting Windows.

I’m all for choice though, so if Microsoft is offering what you want, that’s fine. There’s a lot of Linux fans that generally make it all really personal against users of Windows and probably Mac too, but that’s not where I’m coming from here — not at all.

My issue is with Microsoft.

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Sticking to nVidia’s Graphics Cards!

Never would I have imagined it would be so much hassle returning to an AMD graphics card. It wasn’t even a day before the MSI “Gaming” R9 290 OC was drop-kicked out the window. Performance isn’t always everything.

The ability to successfully cap a game’s fps was sorely lacking, at least with this GPU and driver package, the latter of which was the latest. AMD’s capping feature within the control panel was a nice attempt which completely failed to cap Borderlands, GTA 5 or Fallout 4. Furthermore, Fallout 4 refused to even start with it enabled to even 60fps.

This was a real issue for me because I’m a stickler for a consistent frame rate. I play games at 60fps only if they can keep it consistently, or at least the great majority of the time. Otherwise, I typically cap to 30fps and max it; it’s not ideal, but it’s somewhat like the best of both the console and PC worlds.

A few other things that were off-putting with this graphics card is that it ran very hot, and the fans would start to squeal upon ramping up. Sure, AMD says the R9 290 safely supports 95c; I’m not convinced, and still feel that is too hot, especially when all that heat is being chucked around the rig. My Zalmon Z11 is pretty well air-cooled, and I’m not in a particularly hot country, but none-the-less I don’t feel comfortable with that kinda heat. The card ramped up to 88c and would’ve gladly gone higher had it the chance.

It wasn’t all bad, as the 2012 game Hitman Absolution ran well, maintaining 60fps from what I saw. Every setting, bar 1, was maxed with 4x AA. However, the game would drop a lot of frames during certain scenes which seemed to be down to the “Level of Detail” setting which I lowered a little. Problem was solved, but on the other card I cap to 30fps and max it all; no problem. I also enjoyed the display colors the red corner offered, as opposed to nVidia’s more washed-out look.

I’m finally seeing that performance is not the most important thing: functionality is, at least to me. I had a headache with the drivers. Sure, they installed fine the first time around, but when I tried to uninstall the driver to put on a different version, I lost visuals completely and upon restarting the computer, both screens were entirely corrupted beyond any use. It was reminiscent of the instability I’d experienced before with Linux.

I decided that was enough. I opened my bitch up, shoved that ASUS 760 OC back where it belongs, sealed her tight, and loaded this rig up with a vengeance. Now things “just work” as they should’ve done in the first place.

Fallout 4 and GTA 5 were fine, but they couldn’t consistently keep 60fps, or at least without stuttering. I could’ve lowered lots of settings, but I had expected more from this card, given its specs. I was so close with GTA 5, though; I would get stuttering which I can only assume was down to the occasional dip below 60fps. I’m realising that obsessing over 60fps is causing more harm than good.

I’ve tried to keep an open mind with regards to what people have said about AMD’s drivers over the years, but this has left a very bad impression. I’m just relieved I didn’t throw down a bunch of monies on that card!

I shan’t be revisiting AMD graphics cards any time soon, for the simple reason that nVidia’s cards and/or drivers—currently and in my experience—work and have features I consider absolutely essential.

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Back to an AMD Graphics Card

I’ve been with nVidia for a very, very long time. The last AMD GPU I had was in-fact so old that it was still ATI; I can’t even remember its name. Since then I’ve had a standard, passively-cooled 400 series card, a PNY 550Ti, an MSI Twin Frozr II 560Ti OC, and most recently, an ASUS 760 OC.

I’ve just upgraded to a new GPU, but this time it’s not nVidia, this time it’s an MSI R9 290 OC, “Gaming” iteration, courtesy of AMD. There are two versions of these cards: 4G and 8G, which is stupid marketing crap for 4GB and 8GB, respectively! Mine’s the 4GB version, which should suit my needs well enough.

If you’re confused as to why I’m upgrading to a card that was released late 2013, from a card that was also released that year, despite their vast difference in performance, it’s because I got it free along with some more Corsair XMS3 1600MHz DDR3 RAM, putting my current total up to 10GB.

As I cannot find this card on Amazon, I’ll point you to Sapphire’s version, which is currently selling as new for approximately £260, whereas the ASUS 760 OC isn’t even on there anymore. However, the 960—performing very similar to the former, but more modern and efficient—is selling for about £163, new.

Once I removed nVidia from my system as best I could, I got this chunky, hefty beast into the rig (t’was a tight fit in a Zalmon Z11!) and began downloading, then installing AMD’s software and drivers.

The first thing I noticed once everything had started up, is that everything was very sharp, and dark. Black now truly looks as dark as night, which is wonderful on my IPS display from ASUS. At first thing I thought something went wrong, but I did a quick Google search and found that this is actually a common attribute of AMD GPUs: color clarity.

I had a quick peek at AMD’s control panel and found it to be easy on the eyes, while still maintaining functionality; a considerable difference from the old days! I also had little issue in finding the right driver package for the job.

Prior to running any games, a concern of mine is whether the lack of PhysX will prevent me playing games like Borderlands, a game I’ve been happily revisiting as of late. Heat and power are two other concerns of mine, particularly the former.

I’m particularly excited because the R9 290 has 4GB VRAM to the 760’s 2GB, which really was becoming a problem in newer games like Fallout 4, GTA5, and Doom. On top of that, a much higher memory bus interface width of a whopping 512-bit, next to the 760’s 256-bit.

I’m looking forward to testing this GPU and seeing what AMD has to offer.

To be continued…

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Screw You, Technology

I’m so sick and tired of technology.

How is it, after all these fantastic years of discovery and advancements, we have computers so smart they get sent into space, yet here on planet Earth, this Toshiba laptop refuses to use official drivers from two official locations, both Toshiba’s site and AMD’s site, on an operating system with which it was originally sold?

I’m fed up of Windows troubles. I’m sick of Skype not working; dying on Android then dying on my PC for seemingly no reason with no decent help to be found online, for others too. Messages not getting sent or received, calls being dropped, video failing to show, and surely more issues have plagued my various Skype installations for too long.

I’m sick of Microsoft with their questionable business decisions and obnoxious software changes, forcing us into some crap for which some of us frankly don’t give a shit. What exactly was so wrong with Windows Live Messenger with Plus! which worked so well, looked fantastic, and was so popular? Don’t even get me started on the initial XBOX One fiasco!

I’ve had enough of troubleshooting; having to test, remember each and every setting in-case the computer implodes at any given moment, and trying to figure out just how technology has somehow screwed me.

I’m sick of companies like Google sticking their noses up something that was perfectly fine the way it was! Sure, because we really needed Google+ and Google’s interference with what was a perfectly fine and dandy system on YouTube. Yeah, I said it.

Use Linux! I hear you shout. Well, I’ve ran into arguably more issues there than I ever have with modern Windows (7 and 8.1) so I have no clue what the hell to think of Linux. Crash after freeze after failed installation mixed with a terminal and computer jargon with which most probably don’t care to deal—not fun.

I’m tired of technology advancing so fast, making you spend so much money just to play games in a stable and pleasant way, despite having spent a sizable chunk of dosh to have a decent experience. Assuming, of course, the damn companies don’t make a complete and utter, dire, joke of a mess of these so-called AAA games; stutter, horrendous FPS on solid machines, CtDs, freezes, errors, corrupted saves, and so much more await many a modern PC gamer.

Technology, kindly go home, because you’re well and truly wankered.

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Are You Addicted to Gaming?

Now that I’m over here on Disqus—a popular site for, you guessed it, discussing things—I’m able to come across some interest topics and give my own 2 cents.

I stumbled across this post and thought I’d take the quiz (originally listed at this address) myself! Am I addicted to gaming? So, feel free to copy the 20 questions and fill in your own answers; I’m sure the OG wouldn’t mind, provided you added a link back.

Do you often re-live gaming experiences or think about future ones?

Not anymore, but I used to!

Do you hide or lie about your gaming?

Nope. I’m pretty honest about it, really.

Do you get very angry when someone or something interrupts a game?

Nah. I might’ve been pretty pissy in the past, as a kid, but not anymore.

Have you ever taken a break from gaming and binged uncontrollably upon your return?

Uncontrollably? I dunno, perhaps in the past.

When upset, do you soothe yourself with games or plans to game?

Yeah, sometimes, but hopefully that’s not a sign of addiction, rather, a coping mechanism.

Do you find yourself gaming in the early morning?

This sort of depends on one’s sleeping pattern, surely? I sometimes do, or more particularly, used to, especially during the night and day, but not so much now as I tend to do other things, like create blog entries for nobody to read!

Do you find ways to game when away from home?

Nope. I prefer PC and sadly I cannot take that with me wherever I go. I don’t game on my phone and have no portable gaming devices such as a PSP.

Do you set limits with gaming and then break them, playing hours longer than intended?

I used to, yes. I remember once trying to go on a long break from gaming. I think I lasted a month or something, gradually adding in one game every week, but old ones, in order to play less and appreciate them more.

Do you lose hours of sleep to gaming?

I certainly used to, a lot, as a kid especially, but not so much now.

Have you called in sick or late to work or skipped classes to game?

Nope. At least one time, I likely was late for college or school because of a game, or because I slept in, being so tired from staying up so late on games.

Have you sworn off a game, uninstalled it, and later returned to it?

Absolutely, but surely we’ve all done that? I did that with Runescape. I “quit” after the huge combat overhaul, then came back some years later. I’m not “into” it now, but once in a while I’ll log in to the German server and use it as something to do and a means of practice.

Do you feel guilt and shame around your gaming?

I used to, and I think if I did now, it’d be because of how I was, how addicted I’ve been to games like Terraria, Dungeon Defenders, Diablo II, Path of Exile, and of course Runescape.

Does gaming contribute to arguments in your relationships?

What relationship? Heh.. heh heh… heh… no, that hasn’t been an issue, thankfully. I like a woman who can appreciate a good game, anyway.

Has gaming taken the place of any hobbies or sports you used to enjoy?

I don’t think so. Sometimes I procrastinate by using a game, but don’t we all?

Do you forget appointments, responsibilities or deadlines in work or school when gaming?

Of course, who doesn’t?

Do you become irritated and defensive when people suggest you might be gaming too much?

Um, I probably did back in the day, but no, not now. If I’m gaming too much, I usually am aware of it because I sleep worse and forget responsibilities.

Have your hours spent gaming increased over time?

Well yes, obviously. Time does sort of go forward. If I no longer spent time gaming, I wouldn’t be a gamer, and I certainly wouldn’t be filling out this questionnaire! But seriously? Nope, they’ve drastically lessened, if anything. Gettin’ old, now.

Do you blow off social events to game?

I probably have in the past, such as not visiting my best mate because of Diablo II; that game was dangerous to one’s health.

Have you lost contact with friends and family since gaming?

Don’t think so. Gaming tends to be a way I can connect with people, rather than disconnect.

Do you have intense feelings (highs, lows, anger, fear) while gaming?

Intense? I may need clarification of what you class as intense. Off-hand, I’d say that 100% used to happen when I was younger, and perhaps later on, but nowadays, not so much.

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Console or Stick with the PC?

Note: some of the following is based on my opinion.

Oh PC, how I love you so, even if you are sometimes a pain in the arse. With the release of Bethesda’s Fallout 4 and the new, updated consoles from Sony and Microsoft, I’m prompted to make a change, but I’m having a hard time deciding!

I’m currently using a PC I built myself, with Windows 8.1 operating system, an ASUS 760 OC graphics card, 8GB RAM, an i5 4690K processor on an ASUS Z97-K motherboard, various HDDs and a SATA III SSD, all housed in a Zalmon Z11 and powered by a Corsair 750TXV2.

I have an XBOX 360 still at my dad’s house, which I will eventually get back, but whether I’ll keep it or sell it is another matter, one that potentially depends on my purchase. I like that now-dated console; it plays some fantastic games, but the graphics don’t always hold up so well to today’s standards.

As mentioned, there’s Fallout 4, and although I’m bitter about the state of it, I still want it, because I love Fallout and RPGs in general. Another thing that’s important to me is that my best friend is on the XBOX One as well, and I know he wants me to get it.

The i5 4690K is a solid processor that likely won’t get old for quite some time, but my ASUS 760 OC is showing its age now with some newer games like Fallout 4. Although I don’t game on anything higher than 1080p (ASUS MX239H) so it’s not like I have some great need for something as absurd as a Titan X best left for high-end 4K gaming, although I admittedly stared at its Amazon page for a while. £829 for a graphics card? No thank you.

I am the sort of gamer who cares about fps, but I also about graphics. I’m not huge on graphics, but fps is a big thing for me; it nips at my OCD when I see invariable fps and anything at or lower than 30. I’m trying to get my head around 30fps because of the potential purchase of the XBOX One or PS4, but it stills gets to me.

As of right now, the XBOX One, on Amazon, is £276.99 without any games and with a 500GB HDD, which is plenty enough for me, I think. I consider it a very good price for such a new console. The price of a decent PC upgrade (probably an ASUS 970 OC) is £267.76. Sony’s Playstation 4 comes in at £261.99 with a 500GB HDD and also no games. The prices are all around the same area.

The current downside with buying the consoles at a good price, is that I would have to buy either one of them online (Amazon) which means if something goes wrong, I have the hassle of posting them back and trusting it all works out—I’d much rather dealing with expensive returns in the shops.

I can’t help but to think a version of the GTX 970 by nVidia would quickly become outdated, whereas the consoles would continue to, not necessarily be improved, but the games would be better-designed to take advantage of its hardware. At approximately £400, the 980 models don’t appeal to me a great deal. I like PhysX whe I can use it, and I’d feel disabled by the AMD cards as many good games seem to favor nVidia.

Fallout 4 has some nasty freezes (as seen here) on the XBOX One, particularly when traveling between certain locations, but these freezes are either non-existent or barely noticeable on the Playstation 4. Microsoft’s new console also has some nasty fps drops that can reach the low 20s. The PC version of Fallout 4, however, is definitely not without issues, such as crashes and similar fps drops.

The bonus of the PC, where Fallout 4 is concerned, is obviously the better performance and ability to raise the graphical settings. I’m not entirely sure what I can expect from an ASUS 760 OC on Fallout 4; I’m happy to sacrifice some settings to keep the 60fps going as often as possible.

If you’re wondering why I don’t just OC the heck out of my current hardware: I generally don’t OC my graphics cards or CPUs anymore as I don’t feel the need and I don’t want the extra heat.

The PC Master Race is probably squirming as I type these words because the very idea of going from PC to console is scrub-like behaviour, as the almighty kids would probably say. There are good points to each side of the fence, though.

As an adult with big-boy problems, I also have to consider the boring things I have to spend my money on, such as food and bills. I’m going to be moving soon which will likely suck a lot of money up.

As much as I’d like to dip into my savings and build something that would give any gamer bloke a woody, there are more important things to consider. If I get a console, it may last a lot longer than if I followed the graphics card lineup of the next few years, and that matters.

This decision is driving me crazy! What would you do?

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Swatting is All the Rage

What’s swatting? It’s when a pathetic piece of human waste uses someone’s personal details to call the police, as a prank, then make up horrendous crap, sometimes causing a SWAT team to be sent out to the person’s house, in all their brute, heavily armed force.

Just picture a young child happily playing a game like Call of Duty with his friends and streaming over Twitch when suddenly he hears banging on the door and angry shouting, shortly before a group of well-armed men charge into his bedroom and point loaded weapons at him; he got “swatted.”

I had no idea this was actually a thing; that those silly little trolls hiding behind their computer screens are actually weak enough to bring it to the real world in which children are at high risk of getting a bullet to the head, same goes for the families in general, and even animals such as dogs. What if a SWAT team decides a dog might be a threat because it’s defending its owner? Well, that’s a bullet to the little dog’s heart. Goodbye Dogmeat. Therapy for the traumatised family.

This has to stop—It’s absurd that it even got to this point.

Here is a YouTube video of Koopatroopa787 telling the public about his story of when 10 police officers came knocking on his door and ended up pointing several AR rifles at his family, including a little 10-year-old boy, his brother, all thanks to some malicious nobody behind a keyboard.

People need to know, for the safety of their families and themselves. Be very careful what you share with strangers online. Do you stream on Twitch? Make sure you’re safe about it. Be very wary with whom you share your address, your phone number, and even your IP. In-fact, if you’re a particularly big name, you may wish to follow in the steps of YouTube sensation, boogie2988, who also has some solid words to share on the matter.

On the bright side, one such swatter, Brandon Wilson, also known as Famed God (I know, could that sound any more pretentious?) aged 19, is facing 5 years in prison for swatting, and for making financial threats towards his victim’s banking and social security account, as well as saying that he would put the poor person’s father “in dept for life.” Brandon’s charges are known as follows:

  • Two counts of computer tampering.
  • One count of intimidation.
  • One count of identity theft.
  • One count of disorderly conduct.

Apparently, “3 other states are looking at this guy and may throw additional charges his way,” says Richard Masucci. Justice is wonderful, but it is a shame a mere 19-year-old lad, barely a man, is so messed up that he could do something so horrible.

TwT doesn’t even remotely have enough readers to massively help with the awareness of such a grave issue, but every little helps, right? Please share this post with your friends and family so that I’ll have at least done my part in raising awareness and hopefully deterring would-be “swatters.”

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Humble Bundle Incorporates Questionable Business Practice

I’m a bit annoyed with Humble Bundle’s latest endeavor. They’re charging $12 on a monthly subscription for completely random games. They state on their website “a highly curated bundle of our favorite games at one fixed price. Includes everything from recent hits to hidden gems to timeless classics – every month.”

Note the last two categories, which they state are “hidden gems” and “timeless classics”; scrub away the persuasive language and this clearly translates to “ancient games and budget indie games most people probably won’t know or care about.”

They state the games are “suitable” for Windows and “sometimes more!” so, pray tell, what good is that for people without Windows, those who prefer to game on Linux, or even people who, for whatever reason, use Mac for games? Incidentally, what good are Linux or Mac games to Windows users who, for the most part, aren’t going to bother with other operating systems?

What happens if I already have the games? This is a likely issue when you follow a service like Humble Bundle which frequently recycle the same games—after all, there’s only so many games out there that actually grab people’s attention.

I consider this a middle finger up at gamers. It’s clearly driven by greed and it’s a disgusting practice that I thought was non-existent in Humble Bundle. Oh, but it’s OK because some money goes to charities!

5%.

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Fallout 4 is Soon to Arrive!

Set to release on November the 10th, this year, Fallout 4 is quite probably going to blow the minds of many gamers. I’ve just finished watching yet another video of a presentation by Todd Howard, Bethesda’s director, designer, and producer.

Firstly, I realise many are let down by the graphics; fair enough, they’re not as fancy as a lot of other games due out this year and next, or even perhaps those of which we’ve already seen, but, the graphics are still good, at times being rather excellent, at least in my opinion. More importantly, the gameplay looks to hugely over-shadow any let-down of graphics.

Fallout 4 will apparently have mod support akin to Skyrim; tied to this is the ability to have an alternative save game for the modded version of the game, so as a result, if something goes awry, your main save file won’t be useless. It sounds as though the game will technically be able to take assets from other games, but it would be illegal; if anything, this shows just how customisable and deep the game will potentially be. IGN quotes Howard stating that generally, “if someone is using assets from another game” they have to say “no, you can’t do that,” which is understandable, legally.

Regarding the graphics of Fallout 4, keep in mind that mods will likely allow for improved graphics. Skyrim doesn’t exactly look all that fantastic, at least now, but give it a few mods and it can look substantially better. I imagine in-game settings may allow for some pretty tweaks for those with a beefy rig. My biggest concern for the game is performance, followed by bugs. I do not want to play a game that has horrible optimisation—essentially, bad performance, so this use of graphics gives me some hope that they haven’t thrown every new technology at the game, resulting in snail-like FPS.

I’m excited for the new Pip-Boy—the in-game version, not the real-life, “second-screen experience” version they’re releasing with the Collector’s Edition of Fallout 4—which really adds to immersion. Even just adding a clearly visible hand onto the Pip-Boy and making the Pip-Boy more animated results in a less traditional menu feel and more of a screen within the game world feel.

The building addition to Fallout 4 looks to be a blast. I love the premise of building up a town in which NPCs live, from just rubble and junk found within the wasteland. Todd states that, “we’re allowing your character, while playing, to rebuild,” which I think is a pretty sexy concept, made even more intriguing by the visuals and fluidity of the experience shown at E3. I would like to see a cleaner looking town built up from scrap—not something that looks too recycled, like Megaton from Fallout 3, but something that looks closer to what it did before things went boom.

There’s a few mentions of “dynamic” during Todd’s presentation. Repetition—a typical tactic of a speech, which tells us that Bethesda, or Todd himself, wants to make it clear that the game will be more dynamic than its predecessors; it’s important. The use of the word dynamic, the emphasis of doing things in real-time, the focus on the Pip-Boy’s more natural, animated feel really leads me to believe Bethesda has put ample attention to the feel of the game, and the ability to feel immersed into the experience—Bethesda wants you to feel connected to the game’s world and quite probably the characters, which may lead into a potentially more in-depth storyline.

I’ll keep watching as we near the release date, and especially thereafter. I’ll be looking for bugs, performance issues, and general gameplay concerns, but in particular, I’m just quite excited to see what Bethesda have conjured up!

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Am I Too Old to Play Games?

I’m currently twenty-eight years old, almost twenty-nine, and I enjoy gaming as I have done since I was a kid. Occasionally, the Internet tells me I’m too old for gaming, that I shouldn’t be doing this, should be doing that, and recommends that I, “get a life.” Is this fair? I don’t think so; at least that’s the opinion which I voice. Deep down, like I often do, I doubt myself. So here I am, asking the question: am I too old to play games?

I think in order to attempt an answer to this question, I also have to enter into the debate of whether games are potentially a positive influence on us, helping us in various ways that actaully can make quite the difference.

But I'm so wound up!

When you’re stressed or outright angry, should you go out to the pub to get bladdered and start a fight with that local Scottish guy who keeps telling you how boney things are? Ach nae—you’re better off whipping out some hardcore games, sitting your arse in-front of a computer or TV, taking hold of that controller, and frantically smashing those buttons until you’ve had your fill. I think this works in my favor, because games are, for me, a stress-reliever, amongst other things.

What if I have no friends?

Come on, let’s face it, you’re sat at home playing World of Warcraft because there’s a big, scary world out there, with real, animated people who can physically interact with you. No? Well, I wager some of you—OK, let’s be frank—a lot of you, myself included, perhaps don’t have the best social lives, be it because we’re socially inept or simply too busy, … playing games. Whatever the reason is, there’s no denying that games offer us an alternative way in which to socialize, and so this is a point in my favor.

I played Gran Tourismo so now I can drive in real life!

Luckily, there’s a real license to acquire before one can legally drive. Behind the facetious subheading, what I’m really saying is that there is much to learn from games. I did actaully learn a lot about cars from Gran Tourismo. My dad, having a history as a mechanic, knows a lot about cars, and as such, was only too happy to tell me when I was speaking nonsense, but, surprisingly often, Gran Tourismo did a lot right. OK, you might argue that if I wanted to learn about cars, I needed only to go to college and learn such knowledge from Prof. Fancypants; well, good sir or madam, if I might interject! Isn’t playing a game a metric crap-ton more fun when it comes to learning, not to mention, as a result, more successful at teaching us things? Here’s some paraphrasing of what Wiki has to say about Gamification:

Gamification has been studied and applied in several domains, with some of the main purposes being to engage, teach, entertain, measure, and to improve the perceived ease of use of information systems.

Come on! That says it all, right? I’m sure if you dig deeper, you’ll find lots of positive studies that show how helpful it can be to play and learn, but don’t just take my word for it, or the word from the people with fancy qualifications, but instead try it for yourself!

As has been mentioned elsewhere on Taut with Thought, I’m interested in languages, specifically, English and German, but I’ve tip-toed into Dutch and French. I’m by no means a polyglot, but gamification helped me a lot with my German.

There’s a website called Duolingo that I would strongly recommend to anybody learning another language. Duolingo won’t do it all for you, but what it offers is truly useful—I think perhaps the most useful thing from Duolingo, is the community, some of whom offer sound, informative advice. I’ve also had some gamification from actaully playing regular games, like MMORPGs, but in German! The entire client all set in German, playing on German servers. Since I can’t go to Germany, that’s almost as close as I’ll get to immersing myself into the language.

My point, ladies and gentlemen, is that gamification often works, which I believe gives a solid point in my favor.

Thanks to gaming, I learned what morality means!

Admittedly, it’s probably not a great idea to base your entire moral compass on games like Grand Theft Auto, in which you eventually discover that you can get laid for the grand price of zilch, if you simply whack the hooker once you’ve done the nasty.

Wait! Put down the bat, inhale, and step away from that there dame. I’m saying Grand Theft Auto is the bad kind of thing from which to learn! Dammit, go back to your games— you’ve got more to learn about morality, son.

The thing is, and this is just a theory that just now cropped up deep within my brain, but what if games don’t teach us morality, so much as give us the opportunity to find our own morality? Perhaps you are a psychopath who enjoys boning then maiming your local prozzie; hey, that’s cool, because you discovered that from within a wonderful, vibrant game world.

I am of course mostly joking, but I think there remains a point here, somewhere, but I’m somewhat on the fence—what do you think?

Age is just a number, though.

Now that I’ve established some positive things to take from gaming, it’s time to add into the factor of age.

As we all too often see, there are a great many games that contain adult themes, such as sex, disturbing scenes, frightening imagry, and other such messed-up kit that you most definitely shouldn’t show a young child. With this in mind, doesn’t that then mean that a lot of games have been intentionally made more adult-friendly?

While a young child shouldn’t really play Grand Theft Auto, an adult sure as hell can! What about those freaky movies y’all watch on your little flick-box? What about the saucy material you read about late at night, alone, in the dark?—your sticky book made visible only by the moonlight glimming through the window pane. Come on, whether you’re in your 20s or 90s, it shouldn’t make a difference.

I just don't have the time!

Yet, you have the time to watch TV, read books, and to go out for the sole reason of getting bladdered—are you just making excuses for yourself? Games aren’t some shady, top secret you have to hide in a dark corner of your dank cellar amongst your shackled family and the used bog roll you just can’t help but to buy from eBay; that’s a thing, right?

To conclude:

Gaming may have started off as a gimmick for the incredibly bored youth of the 1970s, but that doesn’t mean we’re still living in such times.

A lot of the comments I get about my age and gaming come from kids, funnily enough; I put this squarely down to the fact that they—kids in general—have an idea that adults are all boring and serious, to which I profess: “Hell no!”

I honestly think that, logically, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with adults who enjoy playing games. I just see gaming as yet another form of entertainment, just like watching the TV, listening to music, or setting orphanages on fire.

If you’re an old fart like me and you still enjoy the odd gaming session here and there, I say go for it; ignore the kids and stuffy adults who tell you otherwise.

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