What's the #1 thing slowing down your modern PC? According to Tom's Hardware, it may be your hard drive. According to authors Patrick Schmid and Achim Roos, hard drive technology has greatly expanded in capacity, yet lagged seriously behind in terms of performance. The authors take a look back at the past 15 years of hard drive technology, going into plenty of detail about compression technology. However, all is not bleak:
Gamasutra has another interesting "Analyze This", this time on "The Current State of the PC Game Business". While prior to the Nintendo Entertainment System's (NES) ascension, it was common and logical to believe that computers would negate the need for a dedicated game machine, since the late 80's the trend has fully reversed where it became fashionable to say that console gaming will kill off PC gaming. While that hasn't happened and will never happen, the "Analyze This" feature does have comments from analysts that indicate that PC gaming has become and will remain a large niche in light of console dominance, which is frankly hard to argue against.
While perhaps not as bold of a statement as it once could have been, I will agree that PC gaming will never again overtake console gaming and will remain nothing more than a third or fourth option in terms of mass market/mainstream development and sales. It's actually unfair to the PC to make the comparison, because the PC is a tremendous general purpose device, while a console is primarily designed to play games. Yes, the newer the console, the more stuff it seems to be able to do - play movies, music, display photos, etc. - but it's primarily thought of and primarily used as a game player. Someone looks at a PC and does not immediately think "game machine". They think "word processor", "e-mail", "Internet", "IM", etc., or simply "COMPUTER", all likely well before they think "game machine" (save for the hardest of hardcore).
PC World is running an extensive feature called The 25 Greatest PCs of All Time. While I'm a bit skeptical of any such list that doesn't include the Commodore 64 (the list editors seem to think the Commodore Amiga 1000 was a "much better computer"), it nevertheless describes several interesting machines.
There's been a great deal of buzz this week about controllers, probably (methinks) inspired by Nintendo's innovations with the Wii. Retroblast has a piece up about Roberto Duran, a maker of awesome custom controllers for very serious gamers. $500 "stikz", anyone? If Duran's work is artistic and highly prized, check out this crap from Elecom. Is this supposed to be an NES-style controller for nostalgia's sake, or a gag gift for Christmas? You'd probably be better off recycling your soon-to-be-worthless dual-shocks for PC play for only $11.
I realize I'm very late to this game, but I finally got the chance to play through Bungie's famous first-person shooter, Halo, often-called "The Greatest FPS Ever Made." Since I don't have an Xbox, and not sure how I'd adapt to playing an FPS with a controller if I did, I played the Windows version on my PC. I assume everyone here is familiar with the game, so I'll skip the background and technical stuff and just discuss some aspects of the game I found intriguing. And, no, I don't consider it to be the greatest FPS (I'd give that to Half-Life 2), but I did enjoy it.
Twitch Gaming has published a feature about Peculiar PC Gaming Devices that's sure to get your heart rate up this morning. There are some fantastic looking devices here that I'd dearly love to own, such as these awesome 3D glasses. I checked out the homepage and am now even more curious. Does anyone know anything about these glasses? I also liked this racing setup. I'm not really into racing games, but if I had this setup, I probably would be. There are also a couple guns here for your PC--though these look a bit silly to me--but not nearly as stupid as this scarf for portable gaming and computing devices.
For $60, you can pre-order your copy of the new High-Definition, 5.1 Digital Surround version of Digital Leisure's famous Dragon's Lair game. DL fans rejoice!
In the tradition of creative and unanticipated applications for game engines, Mario Kart Source is a Mario Kart 64 modding project for Half-Life 2. Judging by the screenshots and videoclips available on their homepage, this project might be something to keep an eye on. Mario Kart was always my favorite multiplayer racing game--good family fun. I'm sure it's also great for folks who bought Half-Life 2 and want to stretch their buck with a good homebrew mod for its engine. Unfortunately, it's unclear how long we will have to wait for the official release.