At the end of August 2021, my OriginPC EON17 laptop “Elsa” gave me one hell of a scare. For seemingly no reason, the laptop’s fans went into high gear, it beeped several times, and shut down.
I knew the laptop wasn’t in the happiest of states, but with less than a week to go before a wedding I was DJing, I didn’t want to take the chance. I had been debating what to do about a laptop for some time. I’d been buying those Origin laptops at about a 3-year cadence for most of the 2010s, but it was pretty apparent that I’d passed the point in my life where $3,500 for a laptop was a wise investment. A more modest MSI Katana was what I ended up with.
I use it daily, but the most common use case for me is for Remote Desktop. 90% of this laptop’s functionality could be performed on a Raspberry Pi. I have both Serato DJ and Pioneer Rekordbox installed, but I’ve opened them approximately thrice since the laptop was purchased.
I did enjoy completing the Mass Effect Legendary Edition on this computer, but video games haven’t been much of a thing for me recently. I played Sol Survivor for an hour last month, and fired up the lootbox-laden Star Trek: Timelines two months before. One of these days I’ll finish my game of Civilization V and see if Catherine the Great can lead Russia to victory. I like the gameplay of Hades, though its “Rogue-lite” genre means that the goal is to beat the entire game without dying. While I appreciate the skill required to achieve this goal, it is infuriating to play the same levels repeatedly, given how little game time I clearly have. A friend tried getting me into Warframe, which lost its allure fairly quickly. I’d spent ten hours with minor variations of “go to the place and shoot the lads“, ended up with a cargo bay of assorted stuff and still found myself unable to afford a single upgrade of anything. Really, I found myself wanting to better understand why I kept going to places to shoot the lads. This quickly led me to the troubling realization that I was going to the places and shooting the lads because the computer told me to…that nobody was questioning a voice inside my helmet instructing me to kill loads of people with no clear reasoning behind it makes me worried. An hour or two of Bioshock and Crysis round out my gaming time since September. I’ve had this laptop for nearly a year, and I’ve realized that I’ve spent more time out of state since I’ve purchased this gaming laptop than I’ve spent playing video games on it.
When I was young, my father once told me that being an adult is doing the 15 things you have to do, ideally with enough time left to do the 3 things you want to do. I think he’s right, but then I also acknowledge that I’ve watched the entire series of Brooklyn Nine-Nine in the past two months. Is it because video games have lost most of their allure? I mean, that’s probably a part of it – most of the games on the list are older, in no small part because I’m actively seeking to avoid games with lootboxes and microtransactions, which are becoming an endangered species. Maybe it’s a direct aging thing (twitchy fingers don’t twitch as twitchfully at 35 as they did at 15), and maybe it’s an indirect aging thing (work and other things get in the way). Maybe video games were, themselves, just one more thing that was in my life for a season.
Ultimately, if I were to anthropomorphize this laptop, I wonder if it would be bored. 90% of its life spent in a remote desktop makes its specs mostly pointless; I probably will let the laptop start sitting in a bag most of the time once I can get my hands on a Raspberry Pi again, but is it bored, or am I projecting my own boredom onto my gaming laptop and gaming monitor, connected to a gaming keyboard and gaming mouse, only to sit here blogging in Firefox.
Maybe the real answer is that I shouldn’t blog at midnight.