“Oh, you think the darkness is your ally, you merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, moulded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man; by then, it was nothing to me but blinding!” That’s what I mumbled to myself the fifth time my area’s power went off last week, channelling the DC villain Bane. Loadshedding is a real and current issue in South Africa and everyone has the right to be concerned.
Instead of ranting or going into the particulars of the situation or my opinion on why loadshedding is happening in the country right now, I opted to write this little guide so gamers can make the most of their time even when they get plummetted into the dark ages over and over again. So here are some general tips for gamers to help them in their 2 to 4 hours of need.
For updated information on the issue, see Eskom’s Twitter to find out if loadshedding is happening each day.
Mobile is King
Let’s face it, the easiest way to continue gaming while loadshedding takes place is to have a mobile device capable of playing some games. Smartphones and tablets are, of course, a convenient way to play games when you have no power and there are some great games on both Android and iOS to enjoy.
Some of my personal favourites are Clash Royale since I can talk to my clan, do battles and just have a great, competitive time. Then there are games like The Room and Monument Valley if you want to solve some puzzles in great single-player experiences. These are all great and playing them will make the time fly by. However, nothing beats the Nintendo Switch.
From Super Mario Odyssey to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and much more, the Nintendo Switch is without a doubt the premium gaming device to have, but it is quite expensive right now in South Africa, so not everyone can afford one. If you do have one, loadshedding shouldn’t be a problem for you at all. That’s if, just like with smartphones and tablets, or even a laptop, you keep your devices charged up and ready to go when the lights go off.
Let’s say you hate playing mobile games and you don’t have money for a gaming laptop or a Nintendo Switch. The only thing you have is a laptop you use for work with a meagre CPU, 2GB of RAM and no GPU to speak of. I know this feeling very well, but there are some really awesome games you can play even on that potato laptop.
For those who have potato problems, I’ve got 10 suggestions that you can grab from Steam and together, they will last you for many months of loadshedding if the worst happens and loadshedding continues for a while. Check them out below this glorious potato, with my personal favourite that you can sink hundreds of hours in at the top.
- Stardew Valley
- Hotline Miami
- This is the Police
- The Binding of Isaac
- Super Meat Boy
- Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
- Darkest Dungeon
So there you have it, 10 games that you can play on just about any laptop, even if it does have the power of a potato. Feel free to add more suggestions in the comments section at the bottom of this article.
Loadshedding is not an excuse to leave a multiplayer match and “faking it” is just poor form. There, I said it, and I’ve seen it happen this past week in South Africa on Dota 2 and CS: GO servers, the two local games I currently play. Some gamers have been using this excuse when they start losing a match and then decide to quit, but you can still see them online afterwards on Steam. It’s just one more excuse to quit and it shouldn’t be.
Just like that age-old excuse of “sorry, got to leave, dinner is ready”, it is unacceptable. It is very easy to check when your area is at risk of loadshedding and if you don’t know how to do it, Google it.
As a tip, because this section has turned more into a rant, you should never start a multiplayer match when you know your power could go off in 20 minutes, especially if a match of a multiplayer game can take longer than the time you have left with power. It is as simple as that really and you shouldn’t even try to use loadshedding as an excuse for quitting a multiplayer match.
Safety and You
There’s nothing as bad as losing savegames or even running into troubles with your console or gaming PC. With loadshedding, there is a real and current threat that the power going off could harm your gaming device’s operating system, or even the device itself. As with the last point, you should always make sure about your schedule and turn everything off before your area’s loadshedding time is said to occur. Yes, sometimes it can’t be helped as the power could go off earlier, or you could waste valuable gaming time by turning off your console just to find out for some odd reason, you have been spared.
Never, ever try to push it the last minutes. I’ve been guilty of pushing it to the limits with work as well, not turning off my PC until the exact time loadshedding is supposed to occur, or getting that one more GB of download done on my PS4 Pro. This, however, is a poor practice during loadshedding times the risk is definitely not worth the reward. Your operating system can get damaged, or you could lose a lot of download progress as files get corrupted with the power outage. I know this feels like saying something that everyone probably knows, but I can’t tell you how many times I faltered.
Lastly, remember to pull out and turn off those plugs that power your gaming devices, even if you have a multiplug with surge protection. When the power eventually comes on again, that surge could still damage your devices and the risk is not worth it. Not to mention that in some areas, they struggle to turn the power back on correctly and it goes off and on again a few times before stabilizing. Therefore, the safest way is to not instantly turn on your stuff, but wait five to ten minutes before you do.
What other gaming related tips do you have for these loadshedding times? Share them with us in the comment section below.