Overwatch community donates PC parts to fan who could barely run it at 800x600

It's sometimes easy to lose faith in people on the internet, but every once in awhile a story comes along that reminds us there's still good out there in that wasteland of memes. That's what happened when Ethan returned home to find messages from Reddit users offering to donate parts to help him build a new PC. Why? Because they could. Hours earlier, Ethan had posted a gif on the Overwatch subreddit of a skillful Play of the Game as Reinhardt. And well, I think the gif above speaks for itself. 

"I run Overwatch on a potato so it's hard to get a good [Play of the Game], but when I do it is satisfying," he wrote. When most people refer to their computers as a potato they're being hyperbolic, but not Ethan. He plays Overwatch at 800x600 resolution with all settings on low and is excited when he gets 30 fps. After sending me his specs, which include an AMD Radeon 8400 with only 512 mb of RAM (200 mb short of Overwatch's minimum requirements) I'm amazed he could get the game to run at all. Thankfully LowSpecGamer, a YouTuber dedicated to getting games running on any kind of vegetable, had a guide that Ethan could follow to help out.

A screenshot of Ethan's current specs.

Yet all that ugliness couldn't get in the way of Ethan's pride over his Play of the Game, and his friends encouraged him to post it to Reddit to see what the community had to say. "I thought I might as well call it potato quality, since people will call it out anyway," Ethan says. "And what started as me just making fun of my potato PC turned into a donation-fest."

When Ethan checked Reddit a few hours later, he found dozens of comments and messages from people offering to send him their spare computer parts. "What GPU do you have? I have an EVGA 660 I could send you," wrote one player. When Ethan wrote back that he didn't think his power supply could handle a modern video card, another user stepped in and offered him one. And a motherboard. And a processor.

Running low?

Check out our interview with LowSpecGamer, the YouTuber whose purpose in life is to get games running on hardware they should have no business running on.

For someone who just wanted to brag about a good play, the generosity was overwhelming. "I honestly didn't expect this and it's so amazing that a community would band together like this," Ethan says, sounding only a little baffled. "I've been a part of Reddit for a long time but I've mostly been a lurker. Having a community back me up like this even though they don't know me is just… really nice." 

Ethan isn't just relying entirely on donations to help update his PC, however. Another user messaged him and offered to help him pick out the remaining parts for a complete build within his budget. Being a college student, that budget is understandably small, but thanks to the generosity of the Overwatch community Ethan's single most expensive component will be the cost of Windows 10. All the big expenses have been taken care of.

"I'm at a loss for words," Ethan says. "Watching a community band together just to help one person, if this all works out and I end up getting this new PC I'll probably break down crying."

As PC gamers, it's easy to get wrapped up in the quest for perfect performance. Sometimes I feel like I'm spending more time watching my FPS counter in the corner of my monitor rather than enjoying the game, but Ethan reminds me of what really matters: "In my opinion, it honestly doesn't matter how good your computer is, it matters how dedicated you are to the game." 

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.