For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a PC gamer. Back when I was a kid in the early 90s, while friends were plugging in and playing their Master Systems and NESes, I was firing up my Amiga A500+.
Sure, my friends’ consoles would load quickly and could even save their progress thanks to cartridges, while I had to wait for my Amiga to slowly read one (or two, if it was an ambitious game) floppy disks, and I’d need another blank floppy if I wanted to save my game, but deep down we all knew the Amiga was the better machine.
It had better sound and graphics, I could use it to type up my homework, and there was an application in the Workbench operating system that would read out whatever rude words you typed in. It also had better games. My Sega and Nintendo-owning friends might have had Sonic and Mario, but I had Zool.
OK, bad example. But I did have games like Lemmings, Shadow of the Beast, Xenon 2, Monkey Island and many more that offered a complexity in not just graphics and audio, but also gameplay, that consoles couldn’t compete with.
At this point regular readers are probably thinking oh great, I thought he was going to talk about a smartwatch but he’s just banging on about the Amiga again, but bear with me.
The Amiga offered a huge variety of experiences compared to consoles. Along with playing games, we could make artwork in Deluxe Paint and script our own games, leading to a thriving demo scene. It was also overly complex and sometimes a pain in the ass – with some games throwing up indecipherable error messages after you’d patiently waited for it to load. It was the perfect gateway for PC gaming.
By the time I had to juggle 12 floppy disks to play Monkey Island 2, I decided it was time to move on, and switched to a Windows-based ‘Multimedia’ PC that came with an actual hard drive! And a CD-ROM drive! And a floppy drive, of course. Couldn’t quite kick the floppy habit back then.
This gave me access to games like Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, Quake, Command & Conquer and Theme Hospital. And that was it. The damage was done, and I knew that the life of a PC gamer was for me.
Many PCs, upgrades, Blue Screens of Death, RTS, FPS, RSI and various versions of Windows later, and I’m still a PC gamer at heart. But I didn’t quite understand quite how deeply my PC gameryness (it’s a word) ran until I found the Razer X Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch on my desk and slapped it on my wrist.
Look at it. It’s beautiful. It’s also ghastly, tacky, over the top… I love it.
I’ve actually been using the Fossil Gen 5 for a few years now. It was my first smartwatch, and it appealed to me as its rounded edges made it look more like a traditional watch (unlike the Apple Watch), and it would work with my Android smartphone (again, unlike the Apple Watch).
I really liked it, even though battery life wasn’t brilliant, and it got a bit weird when trying to charge sometimes. Still, it was great for quickly checking the weather, going running with, alerting me to messages when my phone wasn’t nearby… oh and telling the time.
I was perfectly happy with it, so when the Razer X Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch launched, I wasn’t that interested. The Fossil Gen 6 didn’t seem like a big enough leap over Gen 5 for me to upgrade, and I had managed to convince myself that the Razer branding was of no interest to me, despite my desk being covered with various Razer products.
A few months later, though, I got my hands on one. Or should that be got one on my hands? Anyway, the design that I had dismissed as ‘gross’ and ‘tacky’ was, well… gross and tacky. But it was, I realised, me. My taste is gross and tacky, and it’s time I embraced it.
With my previous Fossil Gen 5 watch, I used a metal chain to pretend to be all grown up. However, the rubber strap of the Razer X Fossil Gen 6 felt so much more comfortable. The fact that it came with the word RAZER engraved in the buckle, and comes with an even more offensive to the eye-wateringly bright green strap was just the icing on this sickly cake.
The configurable watch faces range from the minimalist to the decadent, most of them plastered with the Razer logo, of course. There’s even a watch face called ‘RGB’ that emulates the – you’ve guessed it – RGB lighting seen in the most degenerate gaming rigs.
As I slipped it on my wrist, I thought to myself am I really going to wear an RGB watch? I glanced about my desk, where my PC spewed out rainbow lights (which were now even more bright since I put a bloody RGB SSD in there a few weeks ago). My keyboard, mouse and gamepad all throbbed like the heartbeat of a dying clown, and my headset glowed in the corner, finding ever more offensive colors to churn through.
Yes, I thought to myself. Yes I will wear an RGB watch.
You know why? Because I’m a PC gamer. ‘Subtle’ isn’t part of our vocabulary. Everything needs to be bigger, faster, more powerful, and ideally brighter than an explosion in a Christmas decoration factory. Looking inside your PC case should be like opening up the Ark of the Covenant. What’s the point of having RAM if it doesn’t come with enough RGB to melt your face? (Please don’t write in, I do actually know what the point of RAM is).
After fully embracing my inner PC gamer, I cracked open a box of Nanoleaf Shapes that I’d been meaning to put up at some point, and plastered my wall with them. Now my house was RGB-enabled.
My wife hated it. But, as I sat basking in the glow of a hundred* burning components and peripherals, my very own rainbow constellation, I didn’t care. I was home.
*this is an exaggeration