So its day Three of the “Chromebook only” week. A week in which I promised myself ONLY to use my brand new Acer C730 to get things done. In a previous article we’ve talked about the first impressions of the device and what it feels like to take your Chromebook to work. That’s all nice but … what about downtime ? Can the Chromebook entertain us ? We’ll find out.
Before I start I want to make a confession : I’m a cable cutter ! Yes, we have ditched ‘traditional tv’ in favor of streaming content from the internet and from our personal library of backed up Dvd’s to our television. So demands for ‘conventional television’ aren’t very high in our households. However : With the holiday season coming up there is the need to catch the Doctor Who Christmass special on BBC2 … But I live in Belgium .. So what to do ?
Enter the HOLA extension. A little app that lives in your browser and allows you to “tunnel” through local proxies in the US, the UK and other countries to be able to watch ‘their’ content. ‘Hola’ works great for watching content like Bbc or watching the Extended Netflix catalog in the US. The Chromebook keeps you entertained for hours.
As for music : Plenty of services out their that want to stream their soundwaves your way. Some extensions even let you upload your music to your google Drive and stream it from there. If you don’t feel like doing that , how about Spotify, Stitcher, Grooveshark and plenty of other services ? The audio quality on the C730 is pretty good although it IS lacking a little bit in the lower part of the sound spectrum. No doctor Dre .. but no tinny radio either.
As for games : They are (of course) web based. Some of the apps in the Chrome webstore are nothing more then glorified links to websites where you can play said games. But thanx to Java, Ajax, Ruby and other forms of webmaster-black magic you can play a decent game inside a browser these days. If you don’t mind the occasional apps for adult-daipers in the upper right corner .. you can find online (clones) of Command and Conquer .. or really go for it and dive into some classic arcade games that are a dime a dozen out there. And lets not forget the Internet archive with their Internet Arcade ! Play a ton of classics .. in your browser .. on your Chromebook.
If the internet is a geeks daycare center where he can spend hours while his/her parental units go off to do other things in the real worls … the Chromebook is your hot babysitter ! It will keep you linked up to the world wild web (that ain’t no typo) and if you know where to look you can spend hours playing games, watching movies and listening to music WITHOUT spending a dime OR breaking the law. As long as you keep the Chromebook connected .. it will keep you entertained
When I see people standing in line for the next big new console game, I always think back of the good old days when I still had my Atari game console and played classic 8 bit games on a run down TV in a backroom. Thanks to the awesomeness of the internet, I can now do exactly that inside a browser window. So forget standing in the rain for the next GTA game (and possibly being robbed in the cue by a 14 year old ‘gangsta’ who wants your iPhone) .. I’m heading out to the Internet Archive. Over there some brilliant programmers have come up with a way to play classic console games right in your 2014-style browser. The “Console living room” as it is called does not only have the coolest cover picture in existence (Check out the neck beard on dad’s picture there) it ALSO has a full listing a tons of games that you could play on your Atari 2600 and 7800 , but also from some more obscure systems like the Colecovision, the Odyssey, the Astrocade and the very very first Sega.
Instead of having to install an emulator an jump through hoops .. all you need is to “click on the pick” and the game will launch in your browser. We haven’t tried this on mobile devices yet (but its worth a go) and so far results are awesome. You can go full screen if you want to. There is nothing like playing ET on a 52 inch High Dev television and waist a ridiculous amount of pixels, resolution and technological progress on a little alien that looks like a turn on the screen. Its a little tricky to find the right buttons on your keyboard, so thank the matrix there is also support for game pads (YES ! game pads and not those 500 gazillion button contraptions they call “controlers” these days ).
So ground your offspring and plop them in front of the television to teach them “How mom and dad Fragged bad guys back in da 80’s”. Finish that never ending argument with your older brother about “who was best at Desert Falcon” and rekindle hours of time devouring goodness on Kung Fu Master. Its GAME TIME !
Long time friend of the show Swift has taken up a very interesting hobby over the last few years collecting retro gaming consoles. What started out as a collection of fantastic 8 and 16 bit Nintendo and Sega consoles has gradually evolved into an ever expanding mini museum of old computer hardware. His recent addition , a Commodore 64 , in mint condition with original packaging, printer, data recorder and everything prompted me to go and google up this great commercial from back in the day. If you never had a Commodore 64 it will just be a quant little flick. If you HAVE had one, its pure sweet retro …