December 20th, 2010
I've been playing PC games since my mom first bought an IBM PC Jr in 1985. I am by no means the most experienced PC gamer I know -- far from it in fact -- but you learn a few things after 25 years, including how to identify phenomenal gear.
I first saw the landmark Doom in early 1994, shortly after its release in late 1993. The game was running on min-spec but still-capable hardware, and looked fantastic (as superlative games always do). But it wasn't until later in the year that I truly beheld the power of high-end gaming.
In late 1994, id Software released Hell on Earth, the sequel to the first Doom. My friend's father coincidentally bought the best PC money could by at the time, including a 19" Sony CRT (don't snicker, that was a big deal back then, people). To showcase his purchase, he also bought Doom 2.
I had seen great-looking games before, the first Doom very much included. But I had never seen such matrimony of software and hardware until that fateful day in my friends darkened basement. Ear-popping sound card. Colorful monitor with even better blacks. Zero lag. Animation like butter. And hyper-rich resolution.
Since then, I've encountered numerous "monster rigs," most recently last January at Alienware's CES showcase (I'm obligated to say that by contract. Just kidding. We all know Alienware makes killer rigs.) But none have left the same impression on me as Doom 2 plus that unidentified white tower my friend's dad owned.
Granted, you don't have to own the most modern PC to enjoy some of the platform's best games. An M11x will get you "everywhere you want to be." It requires even less to enjoy games like Bejeweled 3, World of Goo, or Robot Unicorn Attack. In the end, you can play PC games "any way you like," as PC Gamer's Logan Decker admonishes.
But man is is something special when the choice is 3200p. It's something special when you know you are playing the best-looking game money can by.
Egotistical? Definitely. Awesome? You bet.
What's the most impressive gaming rig you've ever laid eyes on?
See also: Top 5 best PC games to play this winter