Sunday, March 7, 2021

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Send them to Pete at: ReleaseNotes@
comicbase.com
 

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July 4, 2006

Buying a Computer to Run One Piece of Software

One of the biggest (albeit somewhat unfortunate) complements we’ve ever been paid is the number of Macintosh users who’ve told me that they’ve bought (or keep around) a Windows box, purely to run ComicBase. (I suspect we’ve also been the driving force behind a large number of Virtual PC purchases in our time as well). Mercifully, owners of current Macs don’t need to buy a whole new machine just to run ComicBase (see my article on Boot Camp from last month), but the whole idea of buying a computer in order to run certain software is hardly farfetched—I’ve done it at least three times myself, and have never regretted any of the purchases.

The first time I can recall is when I picked up a Nintendo GameCube for the express purpose of running Resident Evil Zero. At the time, this definitely set the record as the most expensive video game I ever bought, especially when you factor in a couple hundred bucks for the GameCube, memory card, extra controller, etc. Still, when I heard that that Nintendo had locked up an exclusive on this incredibly immersive (and terrifying) series of Resident Evil games, I knew I had to get one. Over the years, I eventually figured out that it also played a mean game of Wallace and Gromit: Project Zoo, not to mention the off-the-charts-cool Resident Evil 4. Ahh, the sweet, zombie-crushing sound of money well spent!

Next would be the Playstation 2 I picked up for Carolyn for the sheer, goofy, fun of playing Karaoke Revolution. This is a game that’s got it all: the cheap thrill of strapping on the headset and doing the obligatory, “Helloooooo San Jose! How’s everybody doing tonight?” before the song starts; the tension of watching your voice dance just-so-slightly above or below the proper tone; the glee of watching the crowd rock out when you’re doing well (especially the incredibly uncritical animated drunk girl in the front row on the first level); and the agony of having your PA ’s plug pulled and hearing the seeing the dreaded “Song Failed!” when you really biff. Sure, it’s occasionally humiliating (in only the way that singing can be), but it’s also incredibly fun.

And then, they came out with Guitar Hero on the same platform. This is a game I’d have not only bought the machine for, but I’ve also plunked down for the extra guitar controller so that Neil and I can face off on everything from “Take Me Out” to “Bark at the Moon”. Note to the folks at Red Octane: When you come out with Guitar Hero 2, just name your price: I’m in.

Finally, back at the work place, I’m writing this as my third major “bought-so-I-could-run-one-program” machine does its thing. The machine in question is a Mac Mini Core Duo 2, which is grinding away compressing thousands and thousands of graphic files. The software it’s running is Thorsten Lemke’s amazing GraphicConverter. For all my searching, I’ve never found anything which does such a great job of resizing and compressing tons of files, nested in a deep folder hierarchy, while maintaining the best possible image quality. The program itself is a steal: just $30, but I’d have gladly paid hundreds more for a program that did this job as well. As it is, I’ve not only bought and upgraded one Mac (An original Mac Mini) whose sole purpose in life was to run this program, but I’ve replaced it with another one (the Mac Mini Core Duo) when the first machine failed. All told, I’ve got probably $1,700 invested in the gear I’ve spent to run a $30 program. It sounds like a lot, but for a program this essential to our production, it’s been worth every cent.