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Screenshot: Super low Half-Life 2 on an Intel Atom

If you’re an admittedly casual gamer who doesn’t keep up with the latest trends in gaming technology, minimum system requirements can be the bane of your existence. It seems every few years when you decide to invest in the newest, biggest, most graphically impressive game, your old desktop computer isn’t up to the task. Instead of a fun gaming experience, you get lag, you get clipping, and you get killed in battle five seconds before you realize your computer froze.

Luckily, Youtube user LowSpecGamer is here to prove that even the most complex games can be run on the crappiest of computers with just a few simple tweaks to their code. Sure, these games may no longer be beautiful or even look remotely like the game you initially bought, but those frames per second are through the roof, baby!

Last month, LowSpecGamer attempted to run the revered classic Half-Life 2 on the Atom powered Intel Compute Stick, which, if you’re unfamiliar, is basically a functional desktop computer the size of a large thumb drive. Surprisingly, the game ran fairly well once its settings were lowered. Wanting to push this experiment to its limit, LowSpecGamer dug into the game’s configuration file and started deleting major graphic elements. Starting with larger items like lowering the distance in which models are loaded and eliminating texture rendering completely, he also managed to delete the entire sky as well as the characters’ teeth and eyes. The resulting game is a nightmarish hellscape that looks more like a glitchy Windows ’95 screensaver than Half-Life, but those 140 frames per second are nothing to sneeze at.


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