Review the reviewer: mrdeathjr28

For those Linux gamers among you who still have a few Windows games lying around, WINE, with or without PlayOnLinux, is a good option for running them on GNU/Linux. But do they run? If so, how well? The AppDB at winehq.org is usually very helpful to figure things out in text, but it would be nice to see stuff in motion sometimes.

mrdeathjr28 to the rescue. He does very, very detailed and thorough demo clips of various Windows games on WINE, with hardware specs, CPU load and all in the picture. The newer videos are encoded using NVENC so there isn’t much CPU load from encoding. Here’s an example:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQBo2AdlvdY]

It’s all in Spanish, but hey: gaming knows no language boundaries!!!!!!111 And who says the world always has to be in English? He’s not really a reviewer, more like an experimental gamer, but I thought I’d mention him anyway because his videos surely help decide whether it’s worth your time trying a particular game on WINE.

Go check him out.

Did your mouse turn all weird in Debian and now you suck at Quake?

If you have a recent Debian testing release, you might have noticed that your mouse now behaves very differently. For me, I noticed it when my aiming turned wobbly in Quake. Quake has extremely tight controls and shouldn’t feel as if you’re playing a 2016 console FPS with jelly dildos in place of fingers. So I was a bit surprised when it suddenly did. Also, I couldn’t reliably hit e.g. a close button on a window or the menu entry I wanted.

Continue reading “Did your mouse turn all weird in Debian and now you suck at Quake?”

Diary of a year of not buying video games (or books): April 2016

This was the easiest month so far! I’ve shelved Pillars of Eternity. I know that this game is good at its core, I know the mechanics more or less work even though combat feels mostly random to me. But after 19 hours of trying to ignite my nostalgia and failing, I couldn’t continue. Also, inexplicably long load times. Very annoying.

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Fixing black Steam store section using WINE through PlayOnLinux

Are you using the excellent, delicious, succulent PlayOnLinux to play those last few (or perhaps just very old) Windows games on GNU/Linux? Are you using Steam on that? Is the “Store” section just a big black page so you can’t get to those game entries? Fear no more, the people at WINE’s AppDB have pinpointed the problem and it’s easy to solve.

Just add the option -no-cef-sandbox when you start Steam inside PlayOnLinux. This is what that looks like in the “Configure” section of your Steam virtual drive:

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I sold my childhood. Also, net-zero challenge!

This was a very interesting experience and it sort of ties in with my challenge of a year of not buying video games, but since it’s not totally related, here’s a separate post.

I’ve been gaming for over 30 years now, and I’ve accumulated many good games. They were resting in a secret hideout in the alps, never played, collecting dust. I still felt quite attached to them, but did I play them? No. I have the wonderful SFC30 controller, coupled with the high-accuracy Higan emulator, I don’t miss the physical consoles.

My collection included some rarities with a high trade value:

  • Final Fantasy III (US) for SNES, boxed with manual, worth roughly US$ 300.
  • Chrono Trigger (US) for SNES, boxed with manual, worth around 300 as well.
  • Pocky & Rocky for SNES, also around 300, but without box more like 100.
  • Sonic Adventure 2 (Dreamcast) Anniversary Edition with medal, boxed, also around 100.
  • Neo Geo Pocket Color with many games, including a boxed limited edition Match of the Millennium.

Along with many smaller games of sentimental value to me, like Street Fighter II for SNES. You notice I wrote “included”, because I sold and donated almost all of it.

There is a company in La Ravoire in the French Alps that distributes gaming products but also manufactures its own virtual pinball tables and arcade cabinets. They’re made right on-premise, in the middle of Europe, and we actually were allowed a glimpse into their workshop. You can order pinball tables and cabinets in whatever design you like, even with your own graphics or covered in exotic materials lake fake snakeskin or leather. Extra-impressive because I’ve built my own arcade controller in the past. For a full cabinet or virtual pinball table you need to a good carpenter and a decent electrician.

I traded my game collection for some money and an old Vectrex. I had one Vectrex before, but this one will be a great backup, and it’s actually in better shape than my first one was.

A part of the collection will go into their museum, however. We were allowed a quick tour of that as well, and I was super-happy to see many gaming machines from my own past as well as severely obscure Japanese stuff that never made it here. My collection is in good hands.

This was a great opportunity to practice detachment and I’m happy to say that my feelings of regret for not playing my collection more have shifted through fear of letting go of it into happiness that someone, somewhere might buy and play my games and have more fun with them than I did. If you want to buy my stuff, it might go into their eBay storefront sometime soon.

And if you need an arcade machine (that works with either a console or with a PC inside) but are too clumsy to build your own, I can very much recommend theirs. If you ask nicely, they will also allow you to customize many things, add and remove buttons in places you like, etc.

Net-zero challenge

Net-zero challenges are common among boardgamers: They can only buy a new boardgame once they’ve sold enough old ones to cover the price. So I’m taking that digital.

With the money I made from the sale, I’ll start a net-zero challenge. Any game I buy from now on will have to be financed from the money I made selling my entire childhood game collection. Because I buy mostly digital download games and those can’t be resold (yet), it means I am now probably stuck with a limited supply of games for the rest of my life. This will make it so much more important to choose the right ones.

 

Review the reviewer: Jakejw93

I reviewed The Linux Gamer without giving Jakejw93 his well-earned spot. So here it is, and let’s kick off with one of his videos about triple-screen gaming on Linux, which I was very happy to hear, works rather well:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEvh8y4AF9I]

Here we also finally see what he looks like (I’ve always thought of him as a disembodied voice) and I see that a beard competition is in order. I’ll give him two or three years to catch up in terms of length, but then, it’s on.

Much like I love Mack‘s accent, I also really like Jakejw93’s: “I’ve got evryfink runnin okay”. These UK accents are something we don’t really get much of here, so it’s super-refreshing to hear someone not sounding like a Londoner.

Jake doesn’t only cover the growing niche of Linux gaming (and niches within the niche of Linux gaming) but also Windows vs. Linux comparisons and now and then he even gives you a review of a Windows game through WINE.

He’s one of the original Linux gaming youtubers, he’s been at it for over six years now, and I must confess that I didn’t pay enough attention to his videos during all this time. That was wrong. Don’t repeat my mistake. Check him out now.

 

Diary of a year of not buying video games (or books): March 2016

This is getting harder now. I thought I had so many games, they surely last more than a year, and the urge to buy more of them shouldn’t be strong at all. Now I’m discovering that  the act of buying was probably a bigger part of it than the act of playing. This might be what shopaholics feel, but I didn’t know the same thing extended to digital purchases.

You know what helps? To set your Steam client to start into the “Library” tab instead of “Store”. It’s in the settings. Try it out once.

Let’s take this month to think about addiction. Read on if you’re ready.

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Diary of a year of not buying video games (or books): February 2016

February’s over already? Damn. I still haven’t finished what I’ve started last December. Maybe I’m not the right kind of gamer to even do this challenge.

One thing I’ve changed is that I don’t read the RSS feeds from GOG, Humble or GamingOnLinux anymore. Why read about new games if you’re not buying them anyway? I did hear that the Humble Indie Bundle 16 came out this month, but I just don’t care! So liberating. If you don’t know what RSS is, I wrote up a short description later in this very article.

But before I launch into that interlude, I have a confession to make. Continue reading “Diary of a year of not buying video games (or books): February 2016”

Diary of a year of not buying video games (or books): January 2016

So I’ve challenged myself to a year of not buying any video games because I have the same problem as every gamer: a massive collection of games bought, but never played. Even Valve knows that gamers spend more time buying games than playing them. Isn’t that silly?

To improve the situation I first weeded out the games that really don’t interest me and am now down to 30 titles that I want to at least try to play, or that genuinely seem fascinating to me. But 30 titles, that’s still at least a year of gameplay! So what to do? Not buy any more games for a year, of course.

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Review the reviewer: The Linux Gamer

“Hey everybody, I’m The Linux Gamer and I just played …” This is Gardiner’s, a.k.a. The Linux Gamer’s, usual introduction. What follows is a short game review, clocking in around the five-minute mark, but delivered with palpable passion for gaming and often sprinkled with nuggets of knowledge about media, culture and gaming history

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