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May 5, 2008 | by  | in Games | [ssba]

The Microsoft Torch, useful indicator of slowness or fucken bane of my existence?

I received a text from fellow game reviewers Ryback (yes, he named his internet alter-ego after Casey Ryback, aka Steven Seagal) and shinigami during the holidays, inviting me to a LAN. We all collected up our 1338 (1338>1337) computers and showed them off to each other. I stared through Ryback’s CPU viewing window, and he stared through mine. It was a deep moment.

Initially, I was filled with trepidation. My comp is kinda fucking shit. I was fearful of the prospect of being mocked for my somewhat old computer by my nerdy compatriots. However, I resolved to swallow my nerd street shame and attend the LAN with my BUOC (Barely Usable Old Computer). I arrived at around 8pm, filled with great expectations about my BUOC being able to punch above its weight in the warzone that is Shinigami’s bedroom/LAN-zone.

The night started well. My LCD display had sex appeal and the slightly fucked up décor of my CPU had an edgy feel to it. This certainly increased my g33k brownie points. However, the shit hit the fan when I actually turned on my BUOC. It took about five minutes to load XP. My mates were already sharing their Ubuntu isos while this was occurring, and had begun the systematic demeaning of my computer and thus my character. I was beginning to feel humiliated.

Now, if you have decided to read this article because of the swearing in the title and perhaps not because of the content, I’ll give you a brief introduction as to what a LAN entails. Urban dictionary defines a LAN, rather eloquently, as: “A group of people, mainly males, who get together via a group of networked computers, to play Multi-player games, and to view porn”. So, you ask, are LANs basically occasions for socially inept individuals to play their nerdy mates in Counter Strike and discuss the intricacies of
The Da Vinci Load? Sorta. While The Da Vinci Load is a masterpiece of its genre (and don’t ask me to actually define the genre), porn is not discussed seriously at the LANs I attend. Generally LANs are just an excuse to hang with the boys and to discuss deep philosophical issues such as ‘Does God Exist?’ while blowing up and killing shit in games.

My BUOC had finally loaded itself up by 8:30pm and was primed and ready for some hardcore file-sharing action. Oh shit! I realize I have fuck all hard drive space because I already have like 2 games installed and some music. There goes the first reason not to have a BUOC: constant hard drive maintenance. With twinges of loving regret, I removed The Da Vinci Load from my secret ‘eBooks’ folder and started sharing the latest RedHat GUI. By the time my piece of shit computer had connected to the file-sharing hub, shinigami and Ryback had clocked two games and decided on a long extended visit to KFC to buy a coronary-inducing family pack with copious amounts of onion dip. This is the staple diet of LAN players.

By the time we had got back, my download of the BBC documentary on Fermat’s Last Theorem had finished – this being the only piece of downloadable data that didn’t cause windows to freeze. I proceeded to immerse myself in possibly the nerdiest, most erection-inducing mathematics documentary ever created in human history. The dude who spent 9 years on the proof nearly starts crying and fuck, so did I (nerds have emotions too, ladies).

I attempted to appear uninterested in the rest of the LANers, who were busy playing the computer hardware emasculating games, Company of Heroes and
Gears of War. I was brutally mocked for nearly crying during the maths documentary and not being able to join in. Second reason not to have a BUOC: It causes mockery and insecurity. And makes you download documentaries about elliptical curve functions.

After this traumatic abuse I decided to attempt playing games with my so-called ‘buddies’ (aka elitist fuckers). While they were finishing GoW, I was busily preparing a LAN game of Jedi Academy (5 years old) so that we could all have some Jedi mind trick action together. This involved some accessing of the My Computer menu. Now, you would assume that My Computer shouldn’t be much of an issue, even for a BUOC, as it’s just a root directory. But every time I opened the fuckin’ thing, the infamous Microsoft torch lit up and went back and forth looking for my hard drives. Why the fuck must XP shine a light on the contents of My Computer when it had done it 5 seconds beforehand? The torture and humiliation of the torch haunted me throughout the rest of the night. It was like a metaphor for my search for my identity at the LAN. A beam shining forcefully upon the inadequacy of my technological leetness, it cut through me with its powerful rays. Fuck. I should be doing English.

In desperation, I uttered the shameful statement “Let’s play Starcraft.” The rest of the LAN gasped audibly, and I noticed them looking sideways at each other and whispering. To anybody who doesn’t know it, Starcraft is a game released in 1998 which has basically become the national sport of South Korea. Economists have predicted that when Starcraft 2 is released, national productivity will halt, and GDP will drop by 4%. The final nails in my 1337n3ss coffin were hammered in with the realization that my BUOC could only realistically play Starcraft. This humiliation was made even worse by the fact that it’s more than ten years old. Fuck, we owned those alien pricks though.

Moral of the story: Immediately upgrade your computer when you see even a small flicker of the Microsoft torch. You will immediately gain LAN street cred and some amusing anecdotes for that lovely lady you are ‘chatting’ up at the Big K.

PS: Watch Under Siege


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