2021 was such a bad year for budget hardware, even the LowSpec Gamer gave up on it

Six years ago, a YouTube channel called LowSpec Gamer debuted with a video on how

Six years ago, a YouTube channel called LowSpec Gamer debuted with a video on how to run Batman: Arkham Origins on a low-end PC. Its host Alex had been born in Venezuela, where top-shelf gaming hardware was unaffordable, and his subsequent videos on how to downgrade games with tweaks to configuration files, mods, and other hacks proved just as useful to a global audience of impoverished students, broke kids, and anyone who couldn’t afford a high-end gaming rig. Even cashed-up players could enjoy seeing what happens to, say, Red Dead Redemption 2 when faces become an optional extra.

Things are different these days. While component shortages make it hard to get hold of the best kit, hardware manufacturers haven’t exactly fallen over themselves to provide budget alternatives (AMD did just announce the RX 6500 XT, a graphics card that costs $US199, but we’ll see how long they remain in stock for). It should be the perfect time for games that are tweakable enough to run on a variety of hardware, yet they aren’t being released that way.