Gaming on the Go: Unleashing Fun in an RV
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Life in a traditional house with a daily commute left me with limited time for hobbies. Juggling household responsibilities, caring for the kids, and maintaining a semblance of order often meant sacrificing personal time. My gaming sessions were reduced to rare occasions or playing with the kids. When we decided to hit the road in our RV, I assumed my gaming opportunities would be even more limited, restricted to the Nintendo Switch or our aging Xbox 360. However, I soon discovered that gaming on the go could be more than I expected.
As we embarked on our travels, I packed away our gaming PCs, but I made sure to bring my trusty MSI GF65 Thin laptop and a Beelink U59 Pro mini PC. The laptop was primarily intended for blogging, video editing, research, and the occasional gaming session. On the other hand, the mini PC, equipped with an underpowered Intel Celeron processor, was meant for running Plex, our media server. However, the mini PC proved incapable of handling the demands of Plex, leading to frustration and rendering it useless.
Think about the children!
Months later, my 10-year-old son was eager to play Roblox with his friend. Desperate for a solution, I remembered the Beelink mini PC and decided to give it a shot. To my surprise, after installing Minecraft and Roblox and running some tests, the games ran smoothly with more-than-decent framerates. Recognizing the limitations, such as limited storage and hardware capabilities, I decided to experiment further. I installed Steam and began exploring compatible games.
While modern titles were out of reach, I found several games that ran well enough on the mini PC. Games like Castle Crashers were perfect, although others like Goat Simulator suffered from performance issues. These games kept the children entertained, albeit with some challenges like sharing, taking turns, or waiting for me to set up the computer for them.
Determined to find a better solution, I scoured the Internet for deals on mini PCs, knowing that an underpowered Intel Celeron could handle most of the games they enjoyed. After weeks of searching and negotiating with my son, we stumbled upon the BOSGAME U32 mini PC with a Ryzen 3 3200U APU. It received rave reviews on YouTube for its integrated graphics and was priced at a mere $150 during a sale on Amazon. Eager to enhance their gaming experience, we received the mini PC, connected it, and started installing games. My 10-year-old was ecstatic with the performance, especially after tweaking the BIOS settings to increase shared RAM availability for graphics. As my daughter's birthday approached, she managed to gather extra cash and used some forgotten gift cards to join in the gaming fun. I also ordered additional RAM for both their PCs to maximize performance through dual-channel memory.
What about the Beelink U59 Pro? Thanks to YouTube tutorials and helpful Reddit posts, I discovered a solution that could boost its performance. After making some quick configurations in the BIOS graphics settings, similar to the BOSGAME mini PC, I immediately noticed an improvement. Even demanding games ran surprisingly well and smooth, especially when adjusting resolution and graphics quality. Our 5-year-old has been enjoying the Spyro Remastered series, which looks as good as you would expect it to.
To reduce clutter and potential damage, we purchased wireless mice and keyboards for the kids, although they still use wired controllers when needed.
My Gaming Experience
As for me, having a gaming laptop was never an issue. I managed to find an Xbox Series controller on sale for $40, allowing me to relax on my bed and enjoy controller-based games on the big screen. Typically, I connect my laptop to my work monitors and dive into games like StarCraft 2 or Diablo 4 with my brother. Surprisingly, Starlink, our chosen internet service, has held up well for streaming and gaming, aside from noticeable latency issues with Diablo 4, which can be attributed to its recent release and the specific area we're in.
The bottom line is this: gaming while RVing is entirely possible if you adjust your expectations and remain flexible. There are other mini PCs that are much more capable, albeit at a higher price point. Whether cost, size, or both are a factor, know that it is still possible. So, grab your controllers, tweak your settings, and embark on a journey of gaming adventures on the road. Good luck and have fun!