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So it seems that Christmastime this year is going to be focused on getting Grant a bit more mobile with both his programming, gaming and school work. We use a lot of digital resources in our homeschooling and decided it was time to take the plunge and get him set up with a laptop. I figured if I was going to spend enough to get a decent one I might as well get one with decent gaming capabilities. Of course if it can manage to run a modest sized Steam library plus a few fan-games from around the internet world, it should do just fine with Khan Academy and TypingClub.com!
After a lot of studying up, I decided on the ASUS VivoBook Pro 17.3″ Laptop . He really needed at least an i7 Generation processor to run some of his newer Steam games, though currently he plays almost nothing other than the Mega Man Legacy Collections, which admittedly are pretty awesome and are really worth the few dollars to get away from buggy emulators. The one we have picked out is a little large, and I do worry about it burning through its battery when we are mobile. Our trips to and from family visits are usually under 2 hours though, and besides that road time he is likely to have power outlet access so we shall see. The little fella’ is packing an Nvidia GTX 1050, which is on par with our desktops which have no trouble running anything we are currently interested in. Skyrim SE and Fallout 4 are probably the most demanding games on my PC at the moment and they run with no issue on “high” graphics settings, so it seems that this plan will suffice.
So we will need a few accessories, of course, to round out the new mobile work/gaming station. We are on the hunt for a wireless mouse that is Bluetooth capable. The Logitech one we have now requires specifically a Logitech brand “dongle” that only works with other Logitech products. I find that a little annoying with the caveat that I do enjoy how simple the one I have now “plugs and plays” as some things in my experience that claim to do this are a bit more cumbersome. My current Logitech mouse that seems to be at least 2 generations old now, has performed fantastically. Looking forward though I’d love to have one that can manage to connect to a single Bluetooth dongle so that we can save on some USB ports which I expect to be a little less generous in number than on our PC towers. We are up in the air on the whole “lapdesk” thing, as I’ve never made frequent use of one and it seems like the sort of thing that one of our little drawing tables might work just fine for. A decent battery backup and charger seems a good idea all things considered we travel with a modest supply of tech and the Jackery PowerBar Portable Laptop Charger looks like a good bet. It has ports for both normal AC connections as well as USB slots. That should make everyone happy as all of the travel loot keeps a proper charge. It sure beats constantly loading up on the soul gems….
On to the more typical “toys” that our little gamer is eyeing, we were pleased to see that the NES Classic and the SNES Classic may be in stock this year, though the NES version is only hopeful at this point. I completely understand why they are so hard to get a hold of, considering the really impressive library each contains. We really keep our fingers crossed for a GameCube Classic in the future as it came out during my college years and I mostly missed that entire cycle of gaming. C’mon Nintendo, do us a solid, eh?
The only other item we keep pondering is a controller for our iPads and AppleTV. We don’t currently game on them much but in the past we have at times played quite a bit and have always felt a bit limited by those digital touchscreen graphic controls. When it comes to any semi-serious platformer they just don’t have the precision one would like. Grant has Mega Man 2 on his iPad and though he easily breezes through that game on console or PC it is a real struggle to even topple a boss on tablet. Our thoughts are that a proper controller would likely remedy this problem and our eyes are on the SteelSeries Nimbus Wireless Gaming Controller. Our local Apple Store had one connected when we braved that jam-packed, stress-laden lobby to try to get a pair of Airpods a while back and it felt really good for the few minutes I could keep my focus to play while turmoil brewed behind me. I’ve yet to figure out what goes on there to keep it so crowded. Perhaps it has just become a local hang-out. It is the only Apple Store I’ve really had experience with so I cannot say if it is the same elsewhere.
So what games or gaming gear do you have your eyes on for yourself or your little ones this year? Please share any interesting finds or insights. We would love to read about them. As always, thanks for reading and..