Daily Archives: March 10, 2009

Azeroth on a Toaster

My mother flew over from Maui for a surprise visit last week much to the joy of my daughter.  She is always happy to have grandma come and visit, but that was heightened by the fact that they have been playing World of Warcraft together for the last few months.

To ensure that we could all log on while she was here to visit, my mom brought along her little Acer Aspire One, which is a subnotebook, if I read the information about it correctly.

It is also one of the few remaining platforms that is still allowed to offer Windows XP as an operating system.

So my mom setup the Aspire on the table next to our 20″ iMac and she and my daughter played WoW together.

Juxtaposition of Screen/Person Size

Juxtaposition of Screen/Person Size

I mentioned a certain blogger who complains that people want games to run on their toaster every time somebody balks at game system requirements. (Though said blogger does not have any form of search on his blog, so I cannot link to a such a statement.  No link for him!)  Her computer appeared to be about as close to a toaster in specs as I had seen so far, though she said it was more like a George Foreman Grill.

Tiny though it is, with a 1024 x 600 screen driven by the rightfully maligned (by gamers) Intel GMA950 GPU, WoW was surprisingly playable on it.

Lean Mean Murloc Killing Machine

Lean Mean Murloc Killing Machine

You can get lost in crowds with the little screen, so Dalaran is probably a pain, but out in the open countryside things look good, if small.

My mom said she also tried EVE Online and Lord of the Rings Online on the Aspire One.

EVE had the problem I rather suspected it would, which was window management.  I have trouble with window clutter on my 20″ monitor in full screen, so a 9″ model hasn’t a prayer.

The bigger surprised was that LOTRO ran at all on this rig.  It was apparently akin to watching a PowerPoint presentation about the game at times, but it was enough for her to get through the first couple of levels before the slowness took its toll.  I would rather expect the machine simply to catch fire trying to render Middle-earth, but it lived.

So the little Aspire One seems to be viable if you want to play WoW.  Of course, once my daughter went to bed, my mom moved over to the iMac to play.  Viable isn’t the same as optimal after all.

So my daughter had her best weekend ever it seems.  There was extra time playing WoW (normally not allowed on weekdays) with grandma. Plus there was the extra bonus of being read more stories, movie time, and just generally having a lot of fun.  Many tears were shed when my mom had to head home.

To get my daughter’s mind off of my mom leaving, I had to bribe her with a blood elf.

She made a blood elf at one time on my account and has been bugging me ever since about wanting to make on her account.  Blizzard’s 10-day Burning Crusade trial saved the day… but I’m going to end up having to pick up the expansion eventually I bet.  And only after blood elves were on the table did I find out that the two year old expansion is holding its price point pretty well.

Maybe they still have some of those heavily discounted collector’s editions sitting around at Fry’s.