July 14, 2003

Why We Do It

Hi Will,

I have to tell you the saga of the video game here this last week.

My son Will has been mowing yards and babysitting this summer and
finally saved up enough to buy "Enter The Matrix." He's been playing
"Age of Empires" and "Jedi Outcast" all summer and it's his money that he
worked for, right. We have a Pentium III processor and 128 megs of RAM
and I wrote it down for him so he could compare with the system specs
on the box. He came out of the store happy as a lark. We go home, install
it and it doesn't go. So I go on about three tech support sites to see
what the problem is. We have Direct X 9, we have an Intel video card
that I downloaded an update for, I reinstalled the game and no go.

So I call my geek friend the next day and he tells me these games all
come with patches that I can find on the game's tech support site. So I
go home from work and download the patch and now it just goes back to
the desktop. I reboot and reinstall the game (which comes with 3
installation discs) and it still goes back to the desktop.

So I talk to another geek friend of mine who spends whole weekends
playing video games--which is why he's 34 and isn't married--and he
asks what kind of video card we have. "Oh that's just what comes with the
machine, it won't run the newer games. Go buy a video card." So I go
out to Best Buy and talk to a little short geeky kid who looks like
he's 15 and doesn't need to shave and he assures me that the $79.99
video card will work but that I likely need 256 megs of RAM--that's
like another $50.

By this time that game is going to run or I am going
to hurt the computer so I buy it and go home. I get the RAM in--that's
easy. But there is no AGP slot in my computer so I think, well maybe
they hid it under the fan. 15 minutes later, nope. And I can't find all
the screws to put the fan back in. So I put the video card back in the
package to take back, muttering about 15 year old geeks, and boot the
computer. It crashes half way thru the boot. By this time I am
sweating because now I not only have a game that won't go, I have a
machine that won't boot.

So I take the kids to Subway, muttering all the way. They are
strangely silent. I realize while I am eating my sub that the only
thing that's different is the new RAM so I take the box apart again
and take it out. The machine boots fine. Toss the RAM back in the bag
and put it by the door.

I go to Best Buy the next night after work and go right to tech
support. This guy is at least pushing 30. He tells me I need a 100
mhz DIMM RAM chip for $20 more, and the PCI video card is also $20
more. And he assures me it will run the game. By now it's get the game
going or commit seppuku to preserve my honor so I take the stuff,
after coughing up another 40 dollars after muttering about how much
money I had before I had kids and why the hell did I ever let him buy
that stupid game anyway.....

Took the stuff home, snapped it in, runs like a charm. Yee Haa!!!

Willie, however, decides he's staying at a friend's house overnite and when
he calls me I nearly scream into the phone "LISTEN, BUSTER..You WILL come
home, you WILL play this game, you WILL enjoy it. Do I make myself clear,
BOY????" He rides his bike the five miles home in a rain storm.

I find a "Best Mommy in the Whole Wide World" Award that he's created in
Publisher on the kitchen table the next night when I get home from work.

How's things by you?


Posted by Deb English at July 14, 2003 04:47 PM

Craig Clarke said:

Hi Deb,

We had a similar experience at my house when my brother-in-law (geek extraordinaire, and I mean that in a good way) gave a couple of video games for Christmas. Our poor little computer wouldn't play them. We ended up buying two different video cards, AND upgrading to Windows XP before it would play the blasted thing. And now we find out that since it's a "cracked" copy (read: illegal) that it's flawed and won't load saved games. So now we have to find a cracked patch to download to fix it before we can get the full effect of the game.

Not as much trouble as you went through, of course, but oh, the fun...

Deb said:


the ironic part is that I often get the Bad Mommy award because I only allow 1 hour of gaming per WEEK during the school year and last semester he lost his recreational computer time all together for poor marks on his report card. So, the way I see it, it's not really a good long term investment. ;o)