A Brief History of My Life in PC Gaming

I’m a PC gamer. There, I said it. I feel better.

I got into it for a simple reason. I am a huge nerd, and I grew up in an era where the PC could do a billion things that a console couldn’t. The PS1 vs a PC was no fight at all. But, I digress.

The impetuous for this blog is that I just bought a new rig. And really what I want to discuss is what I have seen over two decades of PC gaming, in terms of hardware and culture. And a little bit on where we are now.

I think it’ll clear up as you read. Let’s jump in.

Pentium III Era

This is almost exactly what my PC looked like… well when I was done with it.

I had friends that were getting into early online gaming. I didn’t want to miss it. So, I worked all summer long. And that summer was extra long for some reason. I worked from the last week of May to mid August. Saved up all the dough, and bought myself a brand new Pentium III 500mhz gateway.

I fucking loved that machine. But, it was not without…faults…

See, in those days, computers were alot less forgiving. And, your computer had to evolve with you….way more than now. For example. See that second CD drive in that tower. I already know what that is, thats the CD burner. Cause I had to do the same shit. The basic didn’t come with a CD burner. I had to add that myself. The most work I ever did on a PC was that Pentium III. Over the 3 remaining years of high school (at that point), I added new RAM, CD burner, 2nd hard drive, new graphics card, ,and a network interface card.

Holy shit NICs. The biggest pain in the ass on planet earth. You see, motherboards didn’t come with an ethernet port. This particular one came with a phone port for you to do dialup. But when broadband finally made it to my little ass town, I had to get a NIC.

Anyone who said they could get a NIC to work right on windows 95/98 100% of the time is a fucking liar. Took me hours. But, got it working reliably at home. Never could get it to work right at a LAN party.

Graphics cards were finnicky in that era too. I am lucky in that my shit worked straight out of the box, but I remember helping several friends with their graphics card woes. That was a fucking fire fight every time. If it wasn’t the drivers it was trying to navigate the goddamn case and not break anything.

That’s a good point too. The hardware in those days was so…sensitive. Like a weak fart could break something. I fucked up a floppy disc drive once by plugging it in too hard. You had to be gentle as hell until the precise right moment and then just fucking GET IT in there.

Anyway, the Frankenstein my gateway ended up being served me well, but by the time college rolled around, I moved on.

The Broke Ass Dell Era

Ol’ Bessy. The workhorse. I had this thing till I started making money. Was my longest running PC.

See hardware in this era….got weird. It became about shit being cool rather than like functional. Like, that case up there. The way you got it open was a hard plastic button on the top that would split the case in half.

I have NO IDEA why dell decided to do that. But it made it to where whenever you had to crack the son of a bitch open, you would unplug some shit, get back in there, plug it back in. Pray it worked.

XP was also goofy as shit. The most firefighting I had with viruses was this era. It was college, so I am assuming my computer played the field.

Also, I feel like this was the era where shit SLOWWEEED down. Also the most firefighting I did with startup sequence, etc. I got it to a place where it could run good, but you needed like 15 min to start up the son of a bitch and let it churn.

It was a weird time, but that tower lasted. Took it with me when I evacuated for Katrina. Had it with me up in Chicago.

That was also the big Kazaa era. The big MMO era. Everyone had a PC. And it was about trying to push the limit with what hardware you had. For example, I edited two movies on Ol Bessy. I had to restart every 30 min cause the sound would get out of sync for some reason. Shit like that.

I feel like it was Ethernet cords everywhere and trying to keep machines running through college. And it was around a 6-8 year period that was like that. I only felt the shift happen once I started working.

PC Gaming Shifts -> Nerds Get Nerdier, Normies Do More With Less

I got money when I started working, so I went the gaming PC route.

I feel like this was the beginning of the big shift. Hardware finally got better and reliable. We were getting to a place where everything wasn’t so sensitive.

And I think you had two paths in a wood at this point. People who wanted to stay PC gaming, and people who wanted some of the functionality but not all the time. The laptop main computer era begins.

I could see it really clear. Friends of mine who in college I fixed their computers, we played LAN games or MMOs…all started to fade away. Did all their shit on a laptop. Lost interest,, lost time.

And it was right when windows based PCs started to fix all these issues….a bit too late. See this Falcon NW….a fucking tank. I did have one issue with it. The liquid cooling exploded. Sprayed coolant over my back wall. Falcon NW totally made it right, replaced everything that broke. Upgraded with new shit. Made a life long customer out of me.

That was really the last hardware issue I had…almost 15 years ago….. Let’s hard cut to today.

That’s what I just bought. And its fucking HUGE. I cannot overstate how big it is. Previously, the Gateway was the biggest case I ever had. No not anymore.

Its like hardware companies went, “well we can make the chips better, but its gunna run hot as shit. So lets make everything BIGGER.”

You see that graphics card. Its fucking HUGE. You could build a house out of those some bitches.

Also its quiet. Real quiet. Ol Bessy…she sounded like she ran on broken glass, children’s screams, and burning tires.

For having 85 case fans, its quiet.

And sort of this is where we are now. Despite how reliable the hardware is, I feel like PC gaming has now become the most niche its ever been. Especially if you want the best of the best, you have to have all the space in the world, and like really dedicate to it.

Don’t get me wrong, the results are incredible. Ran some high end games at max settings, and yeah…giant difference over consoles. Hell giant difference over every other way of gaming. Almost feels as big as the difference was between the PS1 vs PC era.

It just feels to me ironic. We finally got really stable hardware that you can beat up a bit and it’ll keep right on ticking. My previous PC lasted 7 years, which is more than the broke ass dell or Gateway ever did. I expect this one to make it 10 years easy.

But now it’s definitely a hobby. My version of buying a muscle car or like learning to paint. We will see where we go from here, but for now, the results speak for themselves.

Take it easy.

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