I suspect 2021's gaming laptops might be a little too technologically advanced

A man standing on a dark path, with red light all around and a strange swirling cosmic figure above
(Image credit: David Wall)

This year has been filled to the brim with super high-end gaming laptops. Checking out machines like the Gigabyte Aorus 17X YD (opens in new tab) has been fascinating to say the least, but as much as I love to tinker with them, I'm afraid to delve into any more laptop reviews... for fear of what I might become. 

Since testing the last one, I've been carrying an immense, and unbearable weight; a weight of knowledge I'm sure was unintended for my frail mortal mind. Let's start at the beginning, so you might understand the perplexity of my burden, and perhaps help me work through it. 

It was June, the height of summer, and the last place I wanted to be was indoors testing gaming laptops. When the sun finally breaks through the clouds in England, I'd rather be making the most of it.

So there I was, hunched over my desk in the office, trying to get this machine testing out of the way as fast as possible, so I could get back to froclicking through wheat fields and the like.

There was not another soul in the office, just myself and this strangely shaped laptop, with all its curious greebles. I remember setting off some benchmark software, and making a note of the odd, whirring sound coming from the cooling system. It's customary for us to get an idea of how much of a nuisance a gaming laptop would be to others if you were to, say, put it through its paces on public transport.

It didn't sound like a jet engine, unlike many high-end laptops I've tested. It was more of a low, growling hum that sort of fluctuated. The noise wasn't too loud either. "Great," I thought, "That's another plus point for the review." And I finally packed the machine away in the cupboard, locked everything up, and got ready to head home.

A dark forest with a red light shining throughout

(Image credit: gremlin)

I spent the rest of the evening wandering in the nearby woodland, watching the mist rising from the land, and considering how to word my review. It wasn't until after I'd watched the sun set, as I sat on a low-hanging tree branch thinking about the noise the machine had made, I had an unsettling realisation. In trying to find the words to describe the sound now whirring in my head, I found instead that I'd heard it somewhere before—in a dream perhaps, or a nightmare. 

At this moment, a flash of light startled me to my feet. The sudden illumination, solid and red, set for a second the entire sky ablaze. Above me, and although to this day I cannot fully explain how, the silhouette of a vast, rectangular object was the only thing the light did not touch. It was almost as if the light itself was bent around it somehow, like a hulking void in the fabric of the cosmos.

Then came the noise. The very same that had come from the laptop earlier that day, only now it was all around me, and booming through the boughs of the forest. That ominous, undulating buzz—like raw electricity, mingled with the maddened baying of some unseen, sky-bound predator.

As quickly as it came, the scene flicked back to reality, back to the everyday visage of the misty treeline surrounding me. And there I was, left shuddering in the eerie silence of the ancient woodland.

The night was a blur from there on. I remember the next day when I returned to work, I found the laptop I had been testing the day before was not in the cupboard, despite it having remained locked all through the night. "No signs of a break in," the police concluded, and left it at that, avoiding my many questions.

Some strange, complex blueprints

(Image credit: Warchi)
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Since then, strange things have been happening to me. I seem to know things I should not. Things about technology, things that hardly make sense to me. It's like there are blueprints in my head, meant for fantastical, otherworldly mechanisms. But try as I might, I cannot seem to read them.

I remain convinced the laptop was involved somehow; perhaps it was part of a high-tech heist, or a relic from a far off world. I wonder, though, if it was truly me testing it, or whether I was the one being tested.

Whatever happened, I still cannot find the words to explain how tremendous, and electrifying the feeling was to hit me that night, in the red light of that ancient forest.

Now as I gear up to test my next review machine, an Alienware gaming laptop, I grow ever more concerned. I wonder about the strange, faint glow outside my window. It seems to be welcoming me home, like I'll soon be ready enter the far reaches of space, where I now understand I've always belonged.

Katie Wickens
Hardware Writer

Screw sports, Katie would rather watch Intel, AMD and Nvidia go at it. Having been obsessed with computers and graphics for three long decades, she took Game Art and Design up to Masters level at uni, and has been demystifying tech and science—rather sarcastically—for two years since. She can be found admiring AI advancements, scrambling for scintillating Raspberry Pi projects, preaching cybersecurity awareness, sighing over semiconductors, and gawping at the latest GPU upgrades. She's been heading the PCG Steam Deck content hike, while waiting patiently for her chance to upload her consciousness into the cloud.