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Thread: Netbook gaming

  1. #1
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bhazor's Avatar
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    Netbook gaming

    I just recently ordered a netbook for myself, an Acer Aspire One 522 , mainly as a way of taking notes in lectures and typing up work on the lengthy daily commute (1.5 hours each way three days a week). Playing games on it is a distant third.

    I don't expect it to play anything from the past couple years but so long as it'll play Civ IV and maybe Fantasy Wars/Elven Legacy I'll be happy. But I was wondering if anyone with a similar netbook can make some recommendations for games. Given the lack of a mouse I have no real expectation of playing shooters or micro heavy stratedgy games.

    A few points
    1) The netbook doesn't have a disc drive so any game should be available online.
    2) The screen resolution is 1024x720 (which I believe is just enough to support Civ IV)
    3) The whole reason I got a netbook was to travel light. So no games that need peripherals like a mouse.
    4) The trains don't always have Wi-fi (because apparently trains travel backwards in time) so no MMOs or games which need to "phone home".

    Heres a couple videos I found of the 522 playing games for reference regarding specs.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PhwGWLxj-A
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGz5F...eature=related

    Update:
    Thanks everyone for all the suggestions. Keep them coming.
    For anyone else interested I'll be making a list of all the games I test and how they performed.

    Age of Wonders- Shadow Magic This seems to suffer serious lag at 1024x720 so I have to play in a 800x600 letterbox.
    Civilization 4 (including add-ons/mods) I'm pleased to say this worked great. Bit of a slow loader on the largest maps (about 2 minutes for the Super Huge debug scenario) but the AI turns pass quickly (<20 seconds) and the interface suits a touchpad. However, if your vertical resolution is less than 720 you'll need to do some ini tweaking. It also looks lovely on the small screen.
    Company of Heroes Freezes for minutes at a time.
    Defense Grid Runs great but reliant on timing so I think a mouse is probably required.
    Deus Ex: Human Revolution Plays but with unplayable lag.
    Dragon Age: Origins Runs great albeit with long load times.
    Elder Scrolls III Morrowind Runs smoothly even with some of the graphical mods enabled. Also it's dice based combat means accurate mouse work isn't neccesary. So long as you can vaguely face towards your opponent you can win a fight.
    Flatout Works surprisingly smoothly albeit with all the Physx stuff disabled. Sadly the Physx stuff is about half the game.
    Frozen Synapse Bit of lag but nothing serious. The main problem is that it requires very precise mousework. Something a touchpad doesn't handle well.
    Half Life 2 Works great but unplayable on a touch pad.
    Irukandji Serious lag from all the particles and no graphical options I can find
    Jagged Aliance 2 Works great.
    Limbo Serious lag issues and input delay. Unplayable IMO.
    Mass Effect Runs OK but with lengthy load times and some lag
    Medieval Total War 2 Won't run due to unspecified error. Not sure whether thats due to hardware or not.
    Neverwinter Nights 2 With shadows turned off it runs buttersmooth. With shadows on its a full second delay between button press and action. So do not play with shadows on.
    Night Sky This works great.
    Orcs Must Die Runs well but really needs a mouse to be playable.
    Portal 2 Perfectly playable but occasional stuttering on physx intensive set pieces.
    PSX (Playstation Emulater) This works great.
    Rayman Forever works great albeit after some tweaking. There is some definite audio stutter during loading but the gameplay is super smooth and the style is pretty well suited to a keyboard.
    Rayman Origins Plays super smooth and looks absolutely gorgeous.
    Rome Total War This works suprisingly smoothly at upper medium settings at 1280x720. The ability to pause and queue up orders as well as FPS camera controls make this well suited to a track pad. Strangely the graphics are noticably worse on the campaign map and look very blurry even with AA. The battles though are pin sharp.
    Shogun Total War 2 This runs surprisingly. Unsurprisingly it's unplayable with single digit framerates, ten minute load times and hang ups in unexpected places.
    Space Chem This works great.
    Startopia This works greats. Special mention goes to the camera panel (a little trackball you can use to control the camera) which works well on a netbook touch pad.
    Super Meat Boy This works great.
    Victoria Does not work, requires a minimum resolution of 1024x768.
    Torchlight A 15 second delay on entering an area as it loads geometry but once loaded it's smooth. Unplayable with a touch pad though.
    Unity of Command Works great
    Viva Pinata Won't load, insufficient RAM.
    Yourself!Fitness Runs well though you'll need to play in 800x600. Great for a work out if you're staying at a hotel and don't want to jog through a strange city in lycra pants.
    Znes(Super Nintendo Emulator) This works great

    A good reference for netbooks is also available here.
    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/foru...6578#post66578
    Last edited by Bhazor; 09-03-2013 at 09:44 PM.

  2. #2
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    You can share your Desktop's optical drive over the network to get around that particular issue.

    Sean O'Connors games are good for this kind of thing, although they remain overpriced.

    Platformers are also good - the likes of Spelunky et al.

  3. #3
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bhazor's Avatar
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    Well I don't actually have a desktop at the moment (pro tip: don't buy unbranded PSUs off ebay) but thats something to bear in mind.

    I do really like Spelunky though and Cave Story too.

  4. #4
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    Older games like Planescape, Baldur's Gate should all be fine I reckon (I've certainly enjoyed them on a small laptop/netbook with no mouse before). Rollercoaster Tycoon/Theme Hospital/Dungeon Keeper (I'm just looking at my own library!) should also be fine and are great fun.

  5. #5
    Why not try some old DOS games? Personally, I would try the Panzer Generals, or even (my favorite) Fantasy General.

    Also, Spacechem?

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Casimir Effect's Avatar
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    The lack of mouse is a limitation, else I would have said Torchlight which has a 'netbook mode' in the graphics options. In terms of games which can be played with keyboard only I'd recommend Recettear and Cthulu Saves The World. I think those little RPG maker games will be a place to search for non-mouse games.

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    If you haven't snagged the current Humble Bundle yet, do so. The titles are all pretty keyboard only friendly.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus pakoito's Avatar
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    I've spent the last year and a half stuck with a netbook like yours.
    • Everything in GoG is fine except Gothic 2.
    • Warcraft 3 and Dota 1 work like a charm offline. Civilization IV, Dominions 3, HOMM5 and Alpha Centauri are a must.
    • Indie games work only if 2D and XNA 3.X or older, my choices are Terraria, Super Meat Boy and Isaac. Minecraft is laggy and unresponsive :(
    • Half Life 1 and mods work, HL2 or anything source doesn't.
    • Roguelikes like Stone Soup or Spelunky are cooooool too. Desktop Dungeons alpha and beta work fine.
    • Oh! UT2004 works fine, but Painkiller barely is playable, and Ace of Spades works great.
    • Diablo 2, Torchlight and Din's Curse are great argps.
    • N64 emu barely works, PSX is ok-ish. GBA, Mame and CPS2-3 work fine, same with GGPO. Dreamcast and NDS no.
    • You can play boardgames online with Vassal and Brettspielwerten.
    • Morrowind works so-so. I haven't tried oblivion + oldblivion tho.
    • SPACECHEM
    • Flash in low quality and depends on the game. Same with HTML5. Unity Player 2D games hog your PC and can't really be tabbed, but they're playable.
    • Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Nox, Neverwinter Nights and Temple of Elemental Evil work.


    That's what I've collected from my Games folder today.
    Last edited by pakoito; 10-11-2011 at 02:39 PM.

  9. #9
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bhazor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pakoito View Post
    I've spent the last year and a half stuck with a netbook like yours.
    • Everything in GoG is fine.
    • Warcraft 3 works like a charm. Civilization IV, Dominions 3, HOMM5 and Alpha Centauri are a must.
    Well its good to get confirmation that Civ IV works on a netbook. The only thread I was able to find on Civ Fanatics was from 2009 and pretty out of date. One guy actually boasted "I have 500k of RAM" like it was Gods own rig.

    I definitely like the sound of Theme Hospital as well haven't played that since high school. Is that available online anywhere or should I just wait for it on GoG?

    So how well does a multi-touch trackpad work with RTS games then?

    Also yes I did get the latest Humble bundle. Frozen Synapse and Space Chem? Yum.
    Last edited by Bhazor; 10-11-2011 at 02:31 PM.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus pakoito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bhazor View Post
    [/LIST]Well its good to get confirmation that Civ IV works on a netbook. The only thread I was able to find on Civ Fanatics was from 2009 and pretty out of date.

    I definitely like the sound of Theme Hospital, haven't played that since high school, as well. Is that available online anywhere or should I just wait for it on GoG?

    So how well does a multi-touch trackpad work with RTS games then?
    Unplayable IMO. I only play Dota/UT when I have a mouse and feel like going fullscreen and sitting in a chair. Sofa gaming rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bhazor View Post
    Well its good to get confirmation that Civ IV works on a netbook. The only thread I was able to find on Civ Fanatics was from 2009 and pretty out of date.

    I definitely like the sound of Theme Hospital, haven't played that since high school, as well. Is that available online anywhere or should I just wait for it on GoG?

    So how well does a multi-touch trackpad work with RTS games then?

    Also yes I did get the latest Humble bundle. Frozen Synapse and Space Chem? Yum.
    There's a new one out, Humble Voxatron Debut. Includes Gish, Binding of Isaac, and Blocks that matter if you beat the minimum.

  12. #12
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bhazor's Avatar
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    Yeah I have the Voxatron debut bundle too. Sorry, had a brain wrong and forgot they were two seperate bundles.

    @Pakoito

    Dang, thought I might finally have a chance to finish C&C Red Alert 2.

  13. #13
    Obscure Node CaptainCasey's Avatar
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    Macbook Air, put windows on it, and then you're travelling light without any graphical/power problems.

    Yes it's like $800 more than a Netbook, but TOTALLY worth it.
    One of the few gentlemen that play video games.

  14. #14
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bhazor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainCasey View Post
    Macbook Air, put windows on it, and then you're travelling light without any graphical/power problems.

    Yes it's like $800 more than a Netbook, but TOTALLY worth it.
    Nope. Half the battery life, less than a third the hard drive and, impressively, a weaker graphics card.
    For ~4x the price.

    This is about Netbooks not Laptops theres a big difference.
    Last edited by Bhazor; 10-11-2011 at 03:43 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainCasey View Post
    Macbook Air, put windows on it, and then you're travelling light without any graphical/power problems.

    Yes it's like $800 more than a Netbook, but TOTALLY worth it.
    The idea of a Mac ever being "worth it" is hilarious to me. Yes, by all means, spend an extra $800 on a Mac, then put Windows on it, essentially turning it into a gimped PC. That makes much more sense than buying a faster PC for less money.

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus pakoito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by db1331 View Post
    The idea of a Mac ever being "worth it" is hilarious to me. Yes, by all means, spend an extra $800 on a Mac, then put Windows on it, essentially turning it into a gimped PC. That makes much more sense than buying a faster PC for less money.
    But Timmy, a 15' IntelQuad, GTSX60 laptop weights 3,5kg and the air just 1,5 for twice the money and half the power. DON'T YOU SEE IT? Air is the ultimate gaming device.

  17. #17
    Lesser Hivemind Node DigitalSignalX's Avatar
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    Wasn't there some new internet gaming service that was purporting that new AAA titles could be streamed to netbooks with full fidelity? Onlive.com I think.
    All times I have enjoyed greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those that loved me, and alone.

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus pakoito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DigitalSignalX View Post
    Wasn't there some new internet gaming service that was purporting that new AAA titles could be streamed to netbooks with full fidelity? Onlive.com I think.
    Yeeeeah on paper it's cool but I've found it quite...unreliable. I'm in Spain so maybe people from UK get it right.
    Last edited by pakoito; 10-11-2011 at 05:18 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by pakoito View Post
    I've spent the last year and a half stuck with a netbook like yours.

    • Half Life 1 and mods work, HL2 or anything source doesn't.
    • Oh! UT2004 works fine, but Painkiller barely is playable, and Ace of Spades works great.
    • Diablo 2, Torchlight and Din's Curse are great argps.
    • Morrowind works so-so. I haven't tried oblivion + oldblivion tho.
    • Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Nox, Neverwinter Nights and Temple of Elemental Evil work.

    Those would be a bit tricky "without a mouse" no?

    OP, i'd recommend some good ol' adventre games like Grim Fandango, The updated versions of the Monkey Island or something more recent like The Whispered World.

    Other suggestions: The Longest Journey, Braid, Machinarium, Limbo and maybe an old total war game like the original Shogun (too micro heavy?).
    Last edited by SephKing; 10-11-2011 at 05:21 PM.

  20. #20
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bhazor's Avatar
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    Well my netbook just arrived an hour ago and about three days early. Its the cutest lil netbook. Yes it is. Yes it is. I don't know whether to type or wave a bit of string in front of it.

    Just downloading Open Office, Avast and Steam. I think the games I'll try first is Rayman on GoG and Civ IV.

    Tommorow I'll start redeeming my Humble Bundles.

    Keep the sugestions coming and I'll start adding a list of working games in the OP for anyone else who wants a bit of hot netbook action.

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