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Just recently I bought a new PC, nothing fancy just a mid range machine as befitted my financial situation, a friend of mine who lives thousands of miles away would like to build a similar machine so that he can play newer games such as The Witcher 2 or Battlefield 3.
I suggested to him that I record video of my gameplay and post it on YouTube so that he could see the performance a mid range machine would offer him in terms of graphical quality and frames per second, so I recently set about doing this but I've been having problems with the video.
Recorded video seems choppy even when gameplay isn't and when I do get a reasonable video using Fraps or Xfire the YouTube video has tons of artefacts.
here is a link an example video below so that you can see what I'm referring too.
I know i'm bad at the game but i really just wanted him to see the combat, I appreciate your input.
I should preface this blog by pointing out that I'm referring to buying a desktop PC in a retail store on the high street as shopping online still provides a wealth of options for the discerning shopper but in my particular circumstance a lack of credit/debit card proved to be a major stumbling block and I had hoped that one of the major retailers would provide me with a decent PC with a good price to power ratio.
My predicament started around a month ago when I decided that enough was enough and that I would get a PC that I could use to not only surf the web but also play games on, my old laptop simply wasn't up to the task and the people at the local library frown upon you trying to install games on their surprisingly powerful PCs.
As I mentioned earlier my bank doesn't trust me to have a debit card so I was forced to look around for a PC I could buy with real money and here's where the problem lies; retail chains such as Tesco, Currys and even the ironically named PC world only want to sell you a laptop, some do sell desktops or all in one PCs but only a small selection and none included a dedicated graphics card.
Smaller stores in my area no longer even stock PCs or laptops because they simply couldn't compete with the big players prices and found themselves switching to PC repairs just to stay alive and now the big players themselves have moved away from these machines as the portable devices market has become more dominant.
It took me over a month of searching nearby towns and even the capital of our fine country before I finally bit the bullet and went to someone with a debit card with the offer of cash upfront and a hearty handshake in exchange for their services so that I could finally got a PC, nothing too fancy just a mid level gaming rig but the whole experience has soured me on large retail chains and for the first time I've felt the effects they have on local shopping.
When I last bought a gaming PC it had a Matrox G400 and at the time it turned out to be a pretty poor choice for playing games but at least there was 4-5 shops that were willing to help me and I cant help but wonder if this lack of options and accessibility is hindering new comers or even casual players getting the most from their PC gaming experience because not only is there less shops but the people who had worked in the old PC stores had a lot more stake in the experience you got from them and quite frankly seem a lot more knowledgeable than your local big electronics retailer.
In this new digital age the world as we know has become smaller and smaller, the once humble toaster can now call up Australia find out how the weather is on Bondi beach and print its discovery on the side of your morning toast, your friends in countries all over the world can hang out and play video games together and we can now teleport from one point of the globe to another in the blink of an eye.
Ok, so that last parts not quite true but high speed internet access has made it much easier to feel closer to other nations than it has in the past and with it the world has changed but one entity hasn't came along for the ride and that's the men and women who organise the distribution of video games.
As a European citizen that spends his life on the internet reading and writing about my own hobbies its hard not to notice the disparity between continents when it comes to video game releases. Some of these are relatively minor, a 3 day difference in release date for most major video games is hard heart breaking but there are some rather massive discrepancies
Kirby's Epic Yarn took a staggering 5 months to be released in Europe, the Playstation 3 was delayed 6 months due to manufacturing difficulties. The list goes on and on, well it doesn't because I couldn't think of any pertinent examples but rest assured there are lots.
These delays in games can often be explained in very simple ways, Shipping concerns, publishers unwilling to take the risk on smaller markets, localisation problems and in a way that's fair but one thing really grinds me the wrong way and that's digital distribution.
In a world where I could watch someone else's TV from 300 miles away in real time surely I should be able to download the same content from my console or handhelds online store and while I would hope that would be true, its not.
While Microsoft and Sony have generally been quite good when it comes to releasing the same content worldwide Nintendo continues to disappoint European gamers with lack of content on its online store and each company still have problems when it comes to working out a decent exchange rate, most of the time simply settling for the same figure but with a different currency symbol prefixing the number.
To sum it all up with a video game analogy, in the world of video game distribution Japan and North America get to take turns being the easy tutorial levels, while Europe is a mid-game dungeon that may require the use of a guide and not everyone will even bother but it could be worse, the Australian level requires several GameShark codes and is set on the moon!
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