Common Problems Playing Games

1. “THE GAME WON’T PLAY!”
When it comes to playing PC games this is probably the biggest and most frustrating problem someone can run into. I have bought games before that wouldn’t play correctly and I had no idea why. When I have this problem there are a few things I do to help me figure out what the problem is and how to fix it.
A. The first thing I do is go the site systemrequirementslab.com which has a very helpful computer application to tell you if you can run the game or not. This will do a scan of what hardware your computer has and compare it to the minimum and recommended specs of the game you want to play. This can be extremely helpful because it is difficult to remember exactly what specs your computer has, and can help pinpoint what you should upgrade if you need to do so.
B. Check the drivers on your computer or graphics card. Sometimes computer peripherals will have a driver update, if you do not have the proper drivers installed it can cause issues with running certain games.
C. Check the in-game settings. Some games are very good at optimizing the setting to what will run best on your computer, but they do not always get it right. If a game isn’t running correctly in most games you can bump down the graphical settings to see if it will run correctly.
D. Reinstall the game. Sometimes it is possible that a file got damaged when installing the game or over time. If this is a problem it can be resolved by uninstalling and reinstalling the game. Most games can be installed through the Control Panel of your computer, but if not sometimes you can uninstall the game from the launcher of the game itself.
E. Sometimes unfortunately there are random issues with games that are very hard to pinpoint. If this problem arises you can contact the game company. Many companies have help lines or forums dedicated to helping people that have problems running their games. Usually they are quick to reply and will do whatever they can to help solve your problem.
2. “The game runs choppy online!”
This is another common problem when it comes to gaming, and this is not just reserved for PC gaming. Sometimes your PC or gaming system will run perfectly but you have a lot of problems when it comes to online gaming, thankfully there are some ways to try and fix this.
A. The first thing to do is check to make sure you are getting the correct speeds from your internet provider. You can run an online speed test at speedtest.net which will help you identify your download and upload speeds. If the speeds are slow or not what you are expecting there are a couple things you can do to try and remedy the problem before you call your internet provider.
B. If you have speed problems the first thing I recommend doing is checking your router. Sometimes speed problems are because of an old or faulty router. I recently had some problems with my internet dropping and decided to check on my router. I was using an old router with old wireless technology but I did not think that it was causing any issues. I ended up purchasing a new AC router and it doubled the internet speed I was getting beforehand with my N router. N routers have been around for awhile and AC is newer technology that provides more bandwidth and better signal strength than the N routers. With so many devices hooked up to household WiFi I think it is well worth the upgrade to an AC router as everything will run better.
C. If you discover that the problem is not the router and only your computer has speed issues you can check for any obstructions that might block the wireless signal. Sometimes it is completely random as to what causes interference and I have heard of people who had terrible speeds, moved their computer just a little bit in a different direction and everything worked fine. You can also run a malware scan on your computer to ensure that a virus is not eating up your bandwidth.
D. There is also the possibility of a faulty wireless card in your computer. I had a desktop computer that had a wireless card that randomly stopped working, it took me a long time to identify what the problem was but when I did it was fixed by simply buying a WiFi USB adapter. They are not very expensive and got my computer back online quick and easy.
E. If your problem is not remedied with any of these solutions you may have to contact your internet provider. Unfortunately sometimes there are just issues with the inbound line and it requires a technician to come out and fix it. Sometimes the IP can identify a problem over the phone and figure out if the problem is on their end or if they need to send a technician out.
3. Other Quick Tips To Help PC Performance
A. I highly recommend everyone installs a SSD on their computer. A SSD is a solid state drive that can replace your existing hard drive. The traditional hard drive is a moving part hard drive that spins and reads and writes data, while a SSD does not having moving parts and everything is stored on flash memory chips. Because of the way the data is stored it is accessed much quicker and more reliably than the standard HDD, they are more expensive at the moment but the speed increase is well worth the money in my opinion. I recently swapped my computer over to a SSD and it changed my boot-up time from minutes to seconds. Everything seems to load much faster and I can’t imagine ever going back to a regular HDD.
B. RAM Memory upgrade
A. Sometimes upgrading the amount of RAM in your computer can improve performance. You need to find out what kind of RAM you can use first though. To do this you can look in the System Information of your computer which gives you a system summary. In the summary will be a System Model, I used this to look online for how much RAM my computer could support and what kind I should use.

Should Games Skip Cutscenes Altogether?

Videogames as a medium for storytelling have often taken cues from movies, and the clearest example of this is the use of cutscenes. Pac-Man is quite often said to be the first game that used cutscenes rather than transitioning directly from level to level with no intermission. After the player beats each stage, it would play a short vignette depicting simple scenes of Pac-Man and ghosts chasing each other.
Whilst these little scenes are quite obviously a long way from how modern cutscenes are used in games, the core concept is the same.
The game takes away control of the character from the player for a sequence to introduce some sort of new information. The duration of these sequences can vary widely – Konami’s Metal Gear Solid series is infamous for having lengthy cutscenes, with Metal Gear Solid 4 clocking it at more than eight hours of cutscenes – and can be used for a wide variety of purposes.
They are used to introduce characters, develop established ones, provide backstory, atmosphere, dialogue and more.
However, despite their ubiquity in modern big budget games, cutscenes are not necessarily the best way to tell a story in a game. There have been many highly acclaimed games that used few cutscenes, instead preferring to allow the player to control the character throughout the whole game.
Half-Life 2 by Valve Software is currently the all time highest scoring game for PC on review aggregation site Metacritic, and it only has one cutscene at each end. Control is rarely taken away from the player for more than a few moments – excepting an on rails sequence towards the end – and much of the background information that would be shown in a cutscene elsewhere is instead shown through scripted events or background details in the environment.
But are Half-Life 2’s unskippable, scripted sequences that different from cutscenes? After all, the player often cannot progress until other characters finish their assigned actions and dialogue – so why not just use traditional cutscenes and be done with it? To get truly unique experiences, we mustfirst look at what makes video gaming unique as a medium for storytelling. Unlike film, where the viewer has no control over the action, or traditional tabletop games, where players actions have very little in the way of visual outcomes, video games provide an unique opportunity to merge interactivity and storytelling. Games like Gone Home, Dear Esther and other games in the so called ‘walking simulator’ genre have been lauded as great examples of the sort of storytelling that can be unique to games.
However, to some gamers, these games are presenting an entirely different problem – although they rarely take control away from the player, they also offer very little in the way of gameplay themselves. Indeed, Dear Esther has no way the player can affect the world around them – the only action that can be taken is to walk along a predetermined path to the end of the game. There is no way to ‘lose,’ no interaction with the environment, just what amounts to a scenic tour with some overlaid narration. So, despite the lack of cutscenes in the game, the almost complete lack of player control and interaction in the first place means that there is little to differentiate it from an admittedly quite protracted cutscene.
As video games are currently exist, there seems to exist a sort of dichotomy between traditional storytelling and gameplay. For a game to tell a story to a player, there must be some degree of limitation in what the player can do – either a temporary one in the form of a cutscene or scripted sequence, or by limiting the players actions for the course of the game. Perhaps future games will be able to integrate a great deal of player interaction with compelling storytelling. But that won’t be accomplished by taking the players control away and forcing them to watch a short movie instead of letting them play the game.