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I haven’t been terribly active on here recently (thanks, build-up to Christmas!), so as I sit here, up early with nothing to do but await a UPS delivery, I decided I’d relate another tale of my epic (read: ridiculous) backlog. This one’s a two-for-one deal.

Like a good many gamers out there, I have a Steam account, and any Steam member knows what a dangerous proposition the Steam sales are. For the uninitiated, games frequently go for little more than £1 in these seasonal extravaganzas – I’ve previously bought games like Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, BioShock, and the subject of this piece, The Witcher, for between £1-£3 each. Unfortunately, and also rather stupidly, I don’t own a PC with even a half-decent GPU.

Now, before you double-facepalm, hear me out: about four years ago, I bought a Core2 Quad-based desktop with a cheap GPU, intending to replace the graphics card at a later date for something a bit beefier. Obviously, that didn’t happen, and the PC went mostly unused, save for loading music onto my trusty iPod Classic. More and more, I’ve not wanted to sit at a desk staring at a monitor for any length of time, and seeing as the desktop came with only a DVI output, I can’t simply link it to my living room TV without also needing to set up an array of speakers.

My main PC for the last 18 months has been an Asus EP121, a 12.1″ tablet PC running Win7, which is great for daily use, but awful for gaming, given its Intel HD Graphics solution. It’ll run Half Life 2 pretty well, as well as Portal at an acceptable frame rate, but Source Engine games tend to be fairly lightweight, and HL2 itself is now pretty old. Attempting to load up The Witcher on the EP121 (an exercise I fully expected to end in failure) resulted in a slide show at even the lowest settings. So I went temporarily insane and ordered a laptop.

Based on the work of Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher was released back in 2007 to positive reviews, and a sequel, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings followed on PC in 2011 and Xbox 360 earlier this year. As I’d wanted to play the original title for some years, I eagerly pre-ordered the 360 version of Assassins of Kings (getting a signed version into the bargain), intending to YouTube the major events of the first game. As so often happens, it ended up on ‘The Shelf’ and has not been touched since.

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So what makes me suddenly want to play these games? And badly enough to buy a new PC? Well, I’ve been reading George R.R. Martin’s ‘A Game of Thrones’, the first book in his A Song of Ice and Fire series. I’ve been meaning to watch the HBO adaptation, Game of Thrones, for a while, but decided I’d read ahead and then see how the television series fares. I’ve been wholly sucked in to its world of clouded morality, medieval intrigue, double-crossings and ruminations on honour, loyalty and the divine right of kings, and The Witcher series seems like a pretty good gaming companion piece to it – especially the sequel, which apparently revolves around the mysteries surrounding the murders of kings.

My new plan is to play through The Witcher on my new laptop before settling in to enjoy the sequel on my 360. I’ve almost knocked one game off of my backlog (Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, which I’ll be finishing up this morning), so by the time that UPS van arrives I should be about ready to dive headfirst into the adventures of Geralt of Rivia.

Are you a big fan of The Witcher? Or do you have an equally stupid backlog? Leave a comment below and let me know.

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