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FEATURED VOXPOP oblivion437 Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that.  It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece.  I strongly recommend anyone...

Gaming in the Sweltering Heat of Summer

Posted on Monday, June 30 @ 16:00:00 Eastern by Joey_Davidson

Summer. It’s fucking hot, you guys.

I live in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US. Others in a similar climate can attest to the nature of 98° heat with 95% humidity. It’s gross. It’s when stepping outside feels like wading into a giant bowl of clam chowder. The air’s thick... so thick that it’s stifling.

Like I said, it’s hot.

Summer’s also when a good chunk of the world games the most. Whether it’s a break from school, college or a lull in work, there’s a lot of gaming to be done during the hottest months of the year. Too bad that the heat is so intense in some regions that even gaming can be tough.

Me? I play in a basement. I feel like a serial killer, sure, but it’s nice and cool down there. With the AC on upstairs and a thermostat set around 75°, the basement is easily a few degrees cooler. It’s fantastic.

But, I wasn’t always so lucky. I went to a college without AC. I lived on the fourth floor of a dorm at a school that opened in early August. I used to keep my laptop on a milk crate with four fans blowing on it at once so that I could get my Counter-Strike fix in between nap—ahem, classes. Without the crate and fans, my crappy little computer would randomly shut down. It was, well... is glorious the right word?

We’d set bags of ice behind a fan in the window lined with dryer sheets in an attempt to cool the room and counter the stench of my freshman year roommate known as “Stinky Paul;” seriously, Stinky Paul showered but never did laundry. He’d get clean and step into the same literally shitstained underwear every morning

I’m almost certain this weird fan setup didn’t work, but the stupid honors engineering kid at the end of the hall swore up and down that it would save us all. It didn’t. I gamed in boxers while my roommate snoozed to The Price is Right at 11am.

That’s the problem with gaming during the summer months. You have to keep your computer cool at all times. My current desktop has exhaust fans and ports out the wazoo, but my laptop was a complete mess. Brace yourself, I owned a crappy Gateway. Woof.

So, yeah, I had to keep my cow computer cool at all times. I also had to keep myself cool. Sitting next to a blazing hot machine in an already obnoxious climate meant that I was sweating at a constant clip.

“Why didn’t you go outside, Joey?!”

You rotten son of a bitch... How could you even consider the great outdoors and endless rounds of ultimate frisbee with the fake hippies when there were terrorists to be stopped (or played as) inside my room? I had a duty to my server, nay, my community! “Go outside…” Get real.

Ultimately, I had my roommate switch sides with me. I set my desk next to the window, bought new fans from the 5 & 10 and gamed with all of them pointing at me. The only way I could hear the game itself was with headphones. I couldn’t speak, either, lest I open a rush of microphoned wind for the poor bastards on the other end of my experience.

Then came sophomore year. A year older, a year dumber.

This was around the time we all figured out how to get our Xboxes on the network. I had “Caboose” and my new and improved roommate had “Donut.” This was when our consoles had unique, default names and playing LAN driven Halo: Combat Evolved was a reality.

My roommate and I grabbed a few friends from our dorm, pulled the common space’s couch outside, ran an extension cord to a surge protector and set up two TVs and two Xboxes. It was glorious and the evening hours made gaming in August during college infinitely more appealing.

Today, you see folks projecting giant Mario Kart 8 sessions onto the sides of their houses. Man, I didn’t have that luxury growing up. Now? Now I buy a few mixed six packs of delicious craft beer, call up one or two buddies and invite them over for lengthy sessions in my basement. We swear away the summer heat during intense rounds of Samurai Gunn, Wii Party U and Monaco. Mario Kart 8 was recently added to the playlist, too.

So, how do you game in the heat? Do you prefer to spend your summers outdoors hiking, camping, fishing, hitting the beach/lake? Or, would you rather hunker down in front of your computer refreshing Steam for new Flash Sales whilst rolling one more turn in Civ V?

Both sound appealing to me, but I’m a god damn nerd.

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