TC GameCast Episode 3: Open Worlds And Picking A Gaming PC

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This week we’ve got a very special, very delayed episode of the TechCrunch GameCast. For the first half, Darrell Etherington, Ed Zitron, and myself chatted about open-world games, noting the best of side quests, getting around, and keeping things from getting too stale.

Our chat ran the gamut from Pokémon contests in Ruby and Sapphire to swinging around New York City in 2004’s Spider-Man 2. For the third week in a row, Far Cry 4 came up as an example of how to do things right, with some disagreement over how repetitive the randomly-generated events really are.

In the latter half of the podcast, Ed and I discuss my recent purchase of the Alienware Alpha gaming/media center PC-console hybrid (with a brief digression to talk about how awful the Oculus Rift can be to use). In my recent review, I said that I think it’s a great way to cheaply buy into gaming for those who don’t already have a decent desktop setup.

Here, we elaborated more on what it’s like to integrate into a home media suite and to share a miniature PC with roommates. I also gave some more thoughts on the minutiae of playing various games on the Alpha (every gaming PC has its quirks) and we compared the $799 gadget to Ed’s new 17-inch Asus ROG gaming laptop. We capped off the conversation with our quick takes on what the Alpha means about the future of Valve’s Steam Machine initiative.

To get an idea of the kind of performance you’d get out of the Alpha (and the similarly-specced ROG), you can check out some of my quick looks of various games on the system from my YouTube channel: