PC Gaming

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (2003, FPS): The Netbook Gamer

Continuing my love affair with the Jedi Knight series (see my Netbook Gamer reviews of the original Star Wars Jedi Knight, the Mysteries of the Sith expansion, and the Jedi Knight II sequel), I now move to the last game in the series, after which I will return to the first game (Dark Forces) to complete my look at the life and times of Kyle Katarn! For now, let’s look at Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy.


Vampire the Masquerade: Redemption (2000, RPG): The Netbook Gamer

Considering that I tend to be a very linear person, it is interesting that in terms of role-playing games pre-2004 I tended to play them all ‘out of order’. For example, after enjoying Neverwinter Nights and Knights of the Old Republic, I asked around and was recommended to seek out Gothic 2 and Baldur’s Gate 2. I played and loved both of those and then sought out the original games in the series. The same was true with games based on White Wolf’s Vampire the Masquerade tabletop RPG – I played the 2004 Troika game Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines through…


Alienware m11x Gaming Laptop: First Impressions

… and as Alienware claims, this is NOT a netbook! Sitting side-by-side with my Lenovo s10 the Alienware m11x seems large, and given that it weighs twice as much as the Lenovo it also FEELS much bigger. But compared to my 15″ Macbook Pro or the HP Compaq 15″ laptop I use at work, it looks and feels quite small. That is exactly what Alienware was going for – a high performance system in a portable package. So while I have only had a short time with the system, here are a few initial thoughts about the m11x as a…


Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (2002, FPS): The Netbook Gamer

Since I have already expressed my love for the original Star Wars Jedi Knight and the Mysteries of the Sith expansion, it is only fitting that I move on to the sequel! Don’t worry, I will return to Dark Forces soon enough and have also recently completed Jedi Academy … so soon I’ll have reviewed the entire Kyle Katarn saga on the netbook for you! But for now, let’s look at Jedi Knight II.


Divinity 2: Ego Draconis PC Game Review

I have already done a Netbook Gamer for Divine Divinity, declaring it one of my all-time favorite games, so it was only a matter of time before I’d find myself immersed in the sequel, which was released in early January. So does it deliver on all of my hopes and dreams for a follow-up? Read on and find out!


Evil Islands (2001, RPG): The Netbook Gamer

If you are familiar with the PC RPG genre and think of games from Eastern European developers from early in the last decade, you will likely come up with thoughts of bug-ridden releases with loads of patches, poor translations, terrible dialogue, and overall sloppy games. Things have come a long way to the point of excellent games such as The Witcher and Drakensang and Divinity II, but it is still worth playing many of the earlier games because what they lack in polish they often make up for in original ideas and gameplay. Of course, sometimes they are junk. So…


Neverwinter Nights (2002, RPG): The Netbook Gamer

Neverwinter Nights is a RPG based on the Dungeons and Dragons rules developed and published by Bioware in 2002. Since then it has been patched, expanded, enhanced, gotten loads of community extensions, and patched some more, and remains a favorite game for module developers and multiplayer gamers alike. But is it something for the netbook gamer? Read on for my review of this RPG classic with a special look at how the original game and all of the commercial expansions play on a netbook.


Review: iFrogz Custom Fallout Headphones

Custom accessories are uber-popular right now.  We’ve seen several of our favorite accessory manufacturers bring custom offerings into their collections over the last few months.  One of the best of the bunch, iFrogz, has several items in its inventory which the company allows you to custom build to create your very own, one of a kind, item. Before I left for CES 2010 iFrogz allowed me to custom build my very own pair of their Fallout headphones which I picked up while at the show.  I’ve had a chance to uses them for a while now and wanted to share…


Neverwinter Nights Premium Modules PC Game Module Reviews:

“Bioware gives us more reasons to pay for Neverwinter Nights Premium Modules while still grabbing tons of great free ones!” That is what I said when I initially wrote this back in 2005 and still held true when I updated it in 2006 for a now defunct site. Since then Atari and Bioware are no longer connected by the D&D license, and due to contractual reasons Bioware has had to stop selling the Premium Modules on their store, but fortunately their master server will still authenticate the modules and let you play. Other than that note I’m leaving the article…


The Netbook Gamer: Torchlight (2009, RPG)

One comment I received when I started the Netbook Gamer series was that it was as much a ‘Retroscpectives of My Favorite Games’ series as anything else … and to an extent that is true (though the next entry will be a game I never played before). The problem is that Netbooks are not designed pumping out pixels in a way that is needed for modern games. However, every once in a while something comes along that works – and when I started playing Torchlight and saw a ‘Netbook Mode’ under visual options I was thrilled. So is the game…



PC Game Review: Risen

A recent trend in games has been altering the naming structure to try to either dissociate with older games or mask how many games have preceded the release. Recent examples include the indeterminate ‘Wolfenstein’, the third Red Faction game being called Guerrilla, and the removal of he ‘Call of Duty’ from much of the ‘Modern Warfare 2’ advertising. Now we have Risen. Risen is the fourth entry by developer Pyranha Bytes in the classic Gothic game franchise that … what? Huh? Really … are you sure? Hmmm … well apparently Risen is NOT part of the Gothic series. I just…


The Netbook Gamer: Star Wars: Mysteries of the Sith (1998, FPS)

While in theory this could be game could have been called Star Wars Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith expansion, fortunately it was just called Star Wars Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith and is easily abbreviated as MotS. It was released in early 1998, a mere four months after the release of a game still marked as one of the best first-person shooters of all time, and despite getting lower reviews than that game it remains a fan favorite and a standout release for an expansion pack. Yes, and since it was released more than ten…


The Netbook Gamer: Divine Divinity (2002, RPG)

or … Five Years Loving a Game With a Stupid Name. One of the quirky ‘top whatever’ lists that appears every now and then is the list of worst names for video games. And somewhere on every one of those lists is Divine Divinity. Yeah, it IS pretty obvious why. The game would also appear on another list – if someone could figure out how to name it. That list would be ‘best deep role playing game that fans of classic RPG’s have ignored because it features action-RPG combat and has a very difficult and long dungeon in the beginning.’…


SiN (1998, FPS) Review

Context is everything. I hadn’t touched SiN since replaying SiN Gold when it was released for the Mac in 2000. Then they released the first ‘episode’ of SiN Episodes, called ‘Emergence‘ in 2006, which came with a Steam copy of ‘SiN 1? as it was called. Naturally I played some then as I waited for the release of the episode, but didn’t make it all the way through. Since it is now more than ten years since the original release, I thought it only appropriate that I should do a Retrospective for a franchise that has spent its’ life in…


Hexplore (1998, RPG) Review

There are many games from the history of computer role-playing games that deserve the attention of a full retrospective, looking back in-depth at what made the game great and putting it into a modern context. However, for every ‘Ultima IV’ or ‘Arcanum’ there are a hundred games like Hexplore – minor releases that added something at the time but were not significant enough to merit much attention even a year after they came out. Certainly, I had never heard about it until recently when it was mentioned in a thread on a PC RPG forum. As part of my love…


The Netbook Gamer: Unreal (1998, FPS)

Given that my first love of gaming is first-person shooters (FPS) based on my love of the original Castle Wolfenstein back on my Apple ][+, it is somewhat surprising that I was ‘late to the party’ on Unreal by nearly a year. But hey, gimme a break – I had a three-month old colicky baby when it was released in late May of 1998. Yes, that is right: Unreal is well past the celebration of its tenth birthday … but in terms of my ownership it has just passed the decade mark, so I guess that counts for something! You…


Review: Tales of Monkey Island: Siege of Spinner Cay (PC)

Arrgh! Here we are, matey … back for another episode of Tales of Monkey Island! While I can’t tell you where things stand at the beginning of the tale without potentially spoiling the first episode for those who haven’t played yet, suffice it to say that we can expect the events that were set in motion at the start of the first episode will be in play for the entire season!


The Netbook Gamer: Star Wars Jedi Knight (1997, FPS)

Welcome to the first entry in the new Netbook Gamer series! In the fall of 1997 LucasArts delivered into the hands of gamers something they had wanted since they first saw one twenty years prior – a lightsaber. Dark Forces brought the Star Wars universe a new level of immersion through the first person shooter perspective. The story brought in classic settings abd characters and introduced a new hero – Kyle Katarn. Former Imperial Academy hero shaken by the discovery of the nature of the Empire through tragic events, Katarn is joined by his partner Jan Ors as the pair…


New Series: The Netbook Gamer

Welcome to a new series here at Gear Diary! Called the Netbook Gamer, this will allow me to share two of my loves – playing computer games and exploiting my netbooks to deliver whatever performance I can squeeze from them. In this series I will look at games released over the last decade that might have pushed the boundaries of what was possible when released, but still work on a modern PC and will run smoothly on a current release netbook. In the title I will identify the game, the year it was released and the genre – expect these…


Review: Tales of Monkey Island Episode One for PC

Before I can start to talk about Tales of Monkey Island, the five-part episodic adventure game made by TellTale Games in cooperation with LucasArts, I need to step into the way-back machine nearly twenty years and talk about one of the true classics of the adventure game genre, Secrets of Monkey Island. Secrets of Monkey Island was released in 1990 by Lucasfilms Games (as LucasArts were then called), and used the SCUMM engine that Lucasfilms had developed as a means to more quickly develop adventure games. The game is largely the brain-child of Ron Gilbert, with the humorous script mostly…