Endings and Beginnings

Yesterday was a farewell, of sorts, and a greeting of things to come. You see, yesterday I officially retired my customized Asus GL552VW gaming laptop, that served me well for a bit over a year, before developing some issues when restarting (screen would come up without video signal on restarts, 4 out of 5 tries on average). I muddled through with the laptop for most of the last year, only restarting when absolutely necessary, but it was clear that I needed a more reliable laptop.

Enter the Origin EVO15-S last February. It also got “retired” yesterday, as I was finally able to send it back to the manufacturer under their 30-day Money Back Guarantee. That is a long story, which I’ve told here in this blog previously, but won’t repeat now, as I’m trying to stay on good terms with Origin PC… for now. We’ll see how that goes if they drag their feet on issuing me a refund, or fight it outright, but for now I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt. Note that they don’t deserve this, but I’m trying to rise above, and be the bigger man.

Anyway, luckily I have a reliable and solid new laptop to replace the Asus and Origin rigs. Specifically, I am the proud owner of an MSI GE63VR Raider-001 gaming laptop, which – while not ‘customized’ – arrived in two days from Amazon, and has been nothing but awesome since it showed up. This is a rock-solid gaming laptop, which came in at under $2500, and has served me quite well! My only regret regarding this MSI laptop is that I didn’t buy it when I was first looking into replacing the Asus. I will never buy any laptop outside of Amazon or from a physical store (such as Fry’s) where I pick it out myself, period.

No more boutique manufacturers, no more custom outfits. Never again.

Now then, I had planned to make use of the Asus to livestream retro games, considering how large the HDD is on that rig (2TB), compared to what the MSI has (1TB), but I changed my mind. Why? Because Ubuntu Linux does not play well on newer Asus machines, due to the Nvidia graphics card causing Ubuntu to choke up during installation. There are work-arounds for this, of course, but they are a pain in the arse to make work, and I have an even better work-around available to me:

I can just use the MSI to play/livestream retro games, in addition to the regular games I’m already using on this system.

You see, my only reason to return to the Asus for this purpose was to avoid the issues I have previously had with OBS while trying to play retro games that are being emulated through Launchbox and RetroArch. Either RetroArch would crash outright, or just not show up, the moment I would start recording with OBS (this was back in my Youtube days). Since then, I have found that I likely just had some settings wrong in OBS, so later today I plan to install Launchbox and some games on the new laptop and test things out. If the fixes I found work well, then we’ll see about livestreaming some classic retro games in the near future!

Now then, let’s make something very clear: I don’t consider a gaming system to be a “Classic” until it is old enough to drink, which is to say 21 years or older. This means that I’ll be restricting myself to the following systems:

  • Atari 2600
  • Atari 7800
  • Sega SG-1000
  • Sega Master System
  • Nintendo Entertainment System
  • NEC Turbografx-16
  • Sega Genesis
  • Super Nintendo Entertainment System
  • Atari Jaguar
  • Sony Playstation
  • Sega Saturn
  • Nintendo 64

My MSI laptop is powerful enough to easily handle many other systems, including the Sega Dreamcast, Sony Playstation 2, Nintendo GameCube, Microsoft XBox, etc, but they are all too “new” to really be considered to be “Retro” in my opinion. I may play some games on those systems, but I don’t really consider them to be something I’d livestream as a Retro game. Also, with less than 1TB available on my hard drive, any disk-based system is going to eat up that space really quick. It is thus likely I’ll stick with everything up to the SNES, then skip to the Nintendo 64, leaving the Jaguar, Playstation, and Saturn out of my regular rotation.

That all said, I am going to look into whether or not I can play the disk-based systems through separate emulators off of my 4TB external hard drive, and if I can do so in a manner worthy of streaming, then I might just have to drop the “drinking age” down to 17 or so, when it comes to these systems. That would be enough to include the entire 6th generation of consoles, up to and including the original XBox, but they would be streamed as if they were just regular – if a bit aged – games. These are not Retro games, and won’t be so for several more years.

Why does this matter? Because I might be a bit old, and have different views on what is truly ‘nostalgic’ when it comes to gaming. I’d normally consider systems 25 years or older to be truly nostalgic, and thus Retro, but I included systems like the Playstation and N64 because they are iconic, and thus hold a special place in my withered, black heart.

Plus, my stream, my rules. So there!

Now then, don’t get too excited yet, as I have really no way of knowing how this will all play out yet. I am confident I can get RetroArch to play nice with OBS, but we won’t really know until I get it all installed and tested, later today. And this in no way means I’ll be replacing my normal livestreams with all Retro content… But I will be adding it into the mix, so to speak. I only need to do three LOTRO streams a weekend, and everything else beyond that is fair game, as they say!

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