My PC’s in its golden years. It’s a Pentium III 450 MHz machine with 384 meg of ram. It’s adequate for word processing, spreadsheets, e-mail and some Web editing, but its days as a glorious gaming machine are rapidly fading into distant memory.
I can’t afford a new one just yet, so I’ve been looking for ways to extend its gaming life, and while searching around on Amazon, I found one: buying old, discounted games repackaged for the discount shopper (my wife will be so proud).
Half-Life is a venerable first person shooter from the early 90s which spawned an immensely popular online anti-terrorist spin-off known as CounterStrike, a phenomenon that did much to extend its own life far beyond what would be normal for such games. It’s also seen two expansions: Opposing Force and Blue Shift. In the first, you’re a soldier sent in to investigate the extra-dimensional mishap unleashed in the original Half-life, and in Blue Shift, you play one of the guards trapped in the facility.
The cool thing is that when the folks at Sierra released Blue Shift, they not only upgraded the graphics for the entire game engine, they also included the entire Opposing Force expansion with it. That’s great news for folks like me, who never picked up the expansion, but what’s even better is that Amazon’s selling Blue Shift for $9.99. (Check it out).
$10 for two expansions to one of the greatest FPS games ever created? And that my machine is even capable of running? How awesome is that?
The discount bin has yielded a few other good games for ol’Betsy. The Unreal Tournament: Game of the Year Edition hiccups a bit on my machine, but for the most part runs just fine. More importantly, it still has a robust online community, so you can get in plenty of multiplayer fragfests. Amazon doesn’t have it any more, but you might be able to pick it up at Kmart or the discount bin at Babbages.
Another good, cheap game is Master of Orion II, the sequel to which should be released sometime this year. Its an excellent turn-based, space-conquest game, not unlike Civilization Last time I checked, you could pick it up for $10 on Amazon (check it out).
The moral of the story is that it’s never too late to breathe new life into an old machine. It’s a rare gamer who gets to play every game when it’s released, and there are probably a variety of gaming treasures just waiting to be found at your local software store (or on Amazon).
Sure, the graphics aren’t as great as what’s out today, but you can get plenty of hours of great gaming without spending a fortune on a new machine, and at a fraction of what it would have cost you to play the same games when they were first released.