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.

11 thoughts on “Azeroth on a Toaster

  1. Snafzg

    LOL – Good times. I doubt you’d read many stories about grandmothers and granddaughters teaming up in many other MMOs. That’s one hip lady! ;)

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  2. syncaine

    Not referring to my blog now are we? It’s not even Friday… (I just checked, I did indeed remove the search widget. I figured no one was using it…)

    I had trouble with window management in EVE on a 24″ at 1900×1200. I’m amazing EVE even lets you play on a 9″ screen. But lets face it, WoW had moderate specs in 2004, so toasters should be able to run it today (certain high end toaster ovens likely have bigger CPUs than old comps)

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  3. Green Armadillo

    LOTRO runs, albeit unhappily, on my no-graphics-card laptop. It’s sluggish, and it makes all the graphics look fuzzy, blocky, or both (which is sad given that the game normally looks rather pretty), but definitely playable.

    I was a bit surprized that Blizzard is getting away with charging $30 for the old expansion, but apparently they’re still selling at that price, so the company doesn’t feel any need to offer a discount. If you’re patient enough, you can find it onsale at a Best Buy/Target/etc for $20, but I guess enough new players need the expansion en route to Northrend that it’s worth the shelfspace in stores. In some ways, that’s a remarkable feat since many stores barely stock a handful of copies for actual NEW games, but almost all of them have a shelf entirely devoted to WoW.

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  4. isle2isle

    Here’s to the HIP grandma! My mom can’t attach photos to her email correctly. Keeps sending me visual jokes. Obviously, they loose something without the images.

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  5. d'artagnan

    Grannies and girls playing computer games. I suppose auntie was there with her iPhone showing off some new app as well. Silicon Valley geeks of all ages.

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  6. Gribblethemunchkin

    These stories of your daughter and mum playing games together always make me feel good about the world. Better living through fictional slaughter!

    I think this is likely a model for many family evenings 20 years down the line, you just happen to have a rather tech savvy and awesome mum placing you ahead of the curve.

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  7. Saylah

    That is awesome! I think it’s very cool when families game together. WOW & EVE both run well on low-end systems which is a bonus for those games. I’ve run EVE on my Tablet PC that has a modified Windows OS and it was fine other than the screen being too small for a game like EVE. But when you’re on the road you do what you gotta do. :-)

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  8. Khan

    That’s a neat little laptop. I haven’t tried running a game on mine yet. I’ll have to look into it as the summer gets here and the possibility of business travel rears its ugly head.

    It’s cool that gaming is getting into more varied demographics. One of my current kinship mates is a RL grandma. In WoW, there was a grandfather / son / grandson trio that used to run around together in my guild there.

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  9. Pilau LauLau

    It’s worse than you think, Grampa surfs! No, not the sitting kind
    Can barely tech up enough to run the waffle iron (primitive cooking device) Even though his childhood chums founded EA Sports, Rambus and helped write JAVA with Bill Joy.
    Grew up with the mantra of the 50’s
    “Go outside and play!”
    That wonderful little girl will get the best of both worlds and perhaps even a waffle or two.

    Like

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