I used to be obsessed with keeping my PC up to date, but it became exhausting to stay on top of technology. The PC that I built 2 years ago was actually my first gaming focused PC in almost a decade. It was overdue, but in the back of my mind I feared I would fall back into the race to maintain a top of the line machine. Coming into 2015, my games were running comparably, if not better, than their console counterparts. Surely I could last another year. Right?
Reason to Upgrade looks back at the reasons behind our major gaming purchases. From expensive adult next-gen upgrades to the platform decisions our parents made for us each one has a story full of joy and/or regret.
I think hiccups are cute
At the start of a new year, I tend to focus on playing backlog games while I take a bit of an inventory of the games I’m going to be sure to play in the near future. I knew what to expect from my 2014 backlog games and their technological prowess. I was happy with my console exclusives and the games I wanted to play through on PC. Even after a jittery start to The Evil Within, I chalked the glitches up to PC port issues rather than blaming the power of my machine. I was content to no longer care about having the best machine and I thought I could handle one that was just good enough or above average.
Shortly after The Evil Within, though, the first big release of the new year that I was hyped for, Dying Light, came out. I didn’t think anything of its launch issues at first, as I’ve come to accept the reality of day one or week one patches for multiplatform games on the PC. I was patient, but after two weeks of constantly tweaking settings to get the game to run a bit better, my mind started to wander. Unfortunately, at this time it latched onto the building graphical storm in the trailers of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
That’s all it took to get me shopping for upgrades. Two tiny performance issues back-to-back, on two different games, plus a tent-pole release on the horizon. I’m ridiculous. However, once that upgrade thought train leaves the station, it’s almost impossible to turn it around. It just became a matter of time and the train now had a May 19th, 2015 deadline.
The good news for my wallet was that I wasn’t going to go over the top with this upgrade. My personal goal is that a nice computer should last me around 3-5 years, but there is room for smaller upgrades along the way like more RAM and larger hard drives. To really boost that life span, a graphics card upgrade is the way to go. My body and mind were ready, and I decided to go after a GeForce GTX 970 as it was still getting rave reviews.
I didn’t pull the trigger immediately after my glitchy battles with the undead, but I did have some fun with other releases while I gathered my funds. I tried to max out Cities: Skylines with mods to see where my break points were and I continued pushing Dying Light and Dragon Age: Inquistion to the limits. I hadn’t thought about it before, but I was basically benchmarking my system in my head so that I had a frame of comparison for the upgrade.
Once I purchased the graphics card, I immediately went back to those games to justify my purchase. Seeing them run silky smooth with their settings at the max, that’s what the upgrade was all about. It felt good. I’m not sure it was totally necessary, but I liked the high.
Quickly though, I needed something fresh, something new, something to push my fix a bit more. Normally, that’s when I would have waited for Witcher 3, but I found a deal on my graphics card that came with a free copy of Witcher 3. This deal pushed me over the edge because I could use the money I was going to spend on Witcher 3 for another game. You know, a game I wouldn’t normally buy, but something that would make my graphics card work a bit. This whole upgrade ended up justifying my purchase of Grand Theft Auto V, a game I’m still not sure I have any interest in actually playing.
I may not play Grand Theft Auto V, but I will drive around Los Santos and see the sights. Holy hell, the city looks fantastic. What’s that? This game can run in 4k? Hmmmm, but I don’t have a 4k TV…