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Friday, July 9, 2010

PC Gaming in a Console World

Like many people my age I started playing games on an Atari 2600. My dad and I would play the living hell out of Combat until the 2600 eventually died on us. As I got a little older I played in arcades until they just vanished from existence. Eventually the NES came into the house and that was it I was hooked. Well I had the Nintendo consoles of the time, NES to a SNES and so on. When I was around 16 I got my first PC. It was a Pentium 75hz with 4 megs of ram. I’d played various PC games before I owned one, Doom, the Sierra adventure games and some D&D stuff. After I got my hands on my own PC that was it, I still played consoles but my main gaming platform was the PC and I would only touch my console for console specific stuff. PC had these great FPS games and I just fell in love with the RTS games. Overall it was just a more complicated set of games at a time when just getting the game to run was a game in itself. Well that went on for a few years and I eventually let my PC get a little outdated and instead of upgrading I went with a Xbox 360 as my primary console, four of those later and I was with my PS3. One thing though I did own the original Xbox, PS1/2, Gamecube and all that crap but I rarely played them. Once the new console glimmer went away they sat for long times, eventually going on Ebay to sell for PC parts. Well with my choice to go to the console for this current generation of games I was met with frustration. The 360 we all know is just a cluster fuck and I like my PS3 but it can be a pain to deal with too. So about two years ago I made a decision to get back into PC gaming. I ordered the parts and slapped together a rig that could run modern games. I had some catching up to do. Of coarse I played Crysis and got into a series that’s one of my all time favorites, STALKER. I knew my choice was a wise one and I’m never looking back.

One thing I noticed when I came back into the PC fold was the amount of console to PC ports that were out there. I remember it wasn’t like it is now and the PC version was usually a crap port that had trouble running and when it did it ran like ass. But today most of these ports run fine sometimes look way better than the console version and can benefit from the mods people make. It’s great to see when a developer lets the fans make changes to their games, sometimes for the better. STALKER:SOC is a good example of this right now. I’m currently as of this writing trying out the LURK mod for it and it’s interesting playing a game I love with the same setting and story but the game play is a lot different. I just think that is the best thing about PC gaming, well that and the graphics not that graphics make a game but I like to see the best I can.

I know people say the PC market is dying and not worth putting the games out for the platform anymore but look at something like Steam. Valve has found a way to make buying games an addiction. I see a game on Steam for 5 bucks and I don’t usually care what it is or if I own it on disc already, being able to just play without a disc and not keep that stuff around is good enough reason for me.

The consoles are slowly catching up in terms of features and what they can output it’s almost as if you have a little PC sitting next to your TV. I think in the future we will not have a Sony or Microsoft gaming machines but just TV side PC’s that a lot of companies make that all play the same format of game. When digital distribution is the plan of the day and you don’t walk into a Gamestop or Best Buy to get a game is when I think this will take hold and the whole industry will be nothing but “PC” games.

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