Month of Gadgets!

What a month for new ‘tech’ at the Wong residence. When I say “Wong”.. I actually mean Ethan, given whatever new tech I play with, he ends up hogging it anyway.

First up, it was Nvidia Shield TV. After years on Xiaomi TV, with its primary use as a Plex client and some occasional Chinese TV, I finally ditched it for Nvidia Shield TV. It’s definitely a LOT more than just a TV box, given it comes with a game controller as well. Admittedly I didn’t intend this to be a gaming first device as I just wanted a better Plex client to watch chinese series I downloaded from the Internet. But when the box arrived (from Amazon US).. it actually became Ethan’s first gaming console!

The unique thing about playing games on Nvidia Shield TV is that all the graphics intensive processing happens in the cloud, and what we get on the TV screen is the ‘streamed’ version of it. It’s a pretty smart concept and I did see a Geforce NOW (essentially the tech behind the Nvidia Shield TV) demo at CES 2017 last year at Las Vegas (primarily marketed towards Mac users to play Steam games generally only available on Windows). Surprisingly, it works pretty well, and I am hooked! The box comes with a few games included, and quite a few of those titles are actually AAA titles like The Rise of Lara Croft, and Deus Ex (several years old though). Ethan got hooked on Lego bricks game, while I’ve been hooked on Lara Croft!

Granted, I can definitely feel a bit of latency in the controls and can make FPS (first person shooters) pretty difficult to play. And that’s primarily because Nvidia servers are located in the US/Europe with no Asia presence (at least the time of this writing). Plenty of forum posts asking for it, so I can only wait!

Anyway, the second device that literally popped up on my desk at work in August is the HTC Vive Pro. It was ordered for a proof of concept work for virtual reality, except it didn’t arrive in time. Besides, this thing needs a pretty powerful PC and GPU to drive which is non-existent at work. I happen to have an underutilised Nvidia GTX 1070 TI at home, so I decided to take it home, set it up and just gave VR a go. After all, I have had the GTX 1070 TI since the start of the year, and the GPU h ave barely broken any sweat at all. Now I actually have something to push it a bit to its limits!

I have to admit, I had been living in a cave for years when it comes to VR. SteamVR offers surprisingly large number of games out there for VR, and I can’t believe how good the contents are too! A quick go at Batman Arkham VR (which I paid about SG$15 for) looked surprisingly good. So many games are running through my head now to try with VR, e.g. Project Cars 2, Lone Echo etc etc. $$$$$ flying out the window with it.

I haven’t been been actively gaming for a while. But with gadgets like these landing on my desk, I can’t see how I am going to stop. The year 2018 is the year I am back gaming once again!

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