Friday, September 7, 2007

#27 Computer Gaming - Retro

by Jeff Smith

Computer Gaming has been around nearly as long as computers themselves have. It has gone from rudimentary dots and blips to hyper-realistic intense 3D scenery with positional sound and realtime weather effects. Needless to say, it has come a long way.
Today, I'm going to talk a bit about games that will play on older hardware. Most of you out there probably don't have a top-of-the-line gaming PC, even if you just bought it last week. The majority of systems sold just don't have the hardware to handle the top of the line games, even fresh off the shelf. The majority of new systems (unless they were designed for gaming) need some upgrading to be done before they can handle the intense number crunching involved in today's most beautiful games.
So in the interest of giving the most useful information to the greatest amount of people, I'd like to tell you about Home of the Underdogs, HOTU for short. You'll find it at (please note that the address ends in .info, not in .com) HOTU is not a game, its where old games get born again. HOTU is a collection of freeware, and abandonware. Freeware is a pretty easy word to figure out, Abandonware is software that was copyrighted, but since the company holding the copyright is now out of business, there's no one to file any lawsuits. Hence, the software is abandoned by its creators, and now up for grabs. If you're running a very very old machine, don't fret, they've got the some of the best games from the DOS era, and while they won't compare to this year's Game of the Year, they'll be more fun than solitaire and Jezzball. You can even find text-based adventure games, and take a stroll down memory lane using your imagination to fill in the visuals, ala the old Zork classics.
For those of you brave enough to try Linux, there are tons of free games to be had, of just about every gaming genre that there is. You only need to google a search for the terms "Linux Games" to see whats available, in Ubuntu, searching for "game" in Synaptic Package Manager brings up 877 different game packages. More on 3D linux gaming next time.
For casual gaming, there are tons of Flash games that will run in your web browser available online at places like or and many many more sites like them.
Next week I'll explain about 3D accelerators, physics engines, and the many different types of card-slots that exist for graphics cards, all of which is important to know for those wishing to play the latest high-end PC games.

Questions or comments, write me at

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