The Painful System Requirements of Christmas

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As a young gamer, the worst pain of Christmas is knowing that the hot new game won’t run on your old-fashioned PC – and it’s as true today as it was back in 1997, when all one gamer wanted for Christmas was Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight.

Maybe Ralphie Parker had the right idea in A Christmas Story – sure, the adults in his life constantly told him that he’d shoot his eyes out with that Red Ryder BB Gun he wanted, but he didn’t have to worry about upgrading his graphics card to use it. That is a pain that we PC gamers know all to well, and as Rob Zacny writes in Issue 231 of The Escapist, it was a pain he had as a youth back in 1997, as the season’s hottest game – Star Wars: Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight – would never run on his parents’ elderly computer.

I had known, intellectually, that Dark Forces II would be more than our computer could handle. But that was no consolation when I saw the stark red “97 percent” in the summary box and a half-dozen screenshots of lightsaber duels. In my imagination, I instantly owned and loved the game – and it was with that love in my heart that I saw the hardware requirements. I had a better chance of building myself a lightsaber than I did of getting this game to run on my computer.

My father still thought we were having fun. “Oooh! Can you imagine how cool that would be?” he asked me as I sullenly thumbed through the review. Maybe he was caught up in holiday gaming excitement (or pretending to be for my benefit), but he seemed oblivious to my disappointment.

For the rest of a tale about bittersweet Christmas wishes, growing up and the holiday spirit, read “Are You Happy Now?” in Issue 231 of The Escapist.

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