kanye shrug

I’m a PC Gamer, and I’m pissed. No, that’s not exactly right. I mean, I WAS pissed. But after experiencing a loss like I did this week, I’ve blown straight past denial and anger, laughed momentarily at the futility of bargaining and slipped comfortably into the final stage of grief – depression.

Just a couple of days ago the PC gaming master-race had a potential bomb dropped on us – Watch Dogs gimped the textures in the PC release, on purpose.

Basically, the game looks like ass, and it could have looked amazing. It’s like Ubisoft is some kind of menacing Grinch who waited till Christmas Eve to kill all the lights on the tree and pull down the tinsel.

We don’t know what this means – yet – but none of it can be good. Basically either they couldn’t get the game running properly with all the prettiness and didn’t bother to try (bad), or they wanted the PC version to be comparable with the consoles (worse).

Either way, I feel a bit disgusted.

The PC Master Race

PC gamers are jokingly referred to as the “PC master race”, but there’s some truth in it. It’s not just about being an arrogant douche, as some unfortunately are, it’s about passion, and pride.

We spend a fortune on our hardware, we have our cases sitting open half the time as we tinker with our fans or slot in a new drive, constantly making small upgrades and tweaks and trying new things.

We get immense pleasure in overclocking our components, fiddling with fan speeds and voltages and other such nonsense to squeeze every bit of performance out of the old beast as we can. We mess around with drivers and software updates, we find tweaks for config files to adjust graphics in ways they weren’t meant to be adjusted. We love downloading mods and defragging our drives, we love the feeling of a boot on a freshly-formatted PC or the excitement of slotting in a new 3D card.

We like to add stupid little cosmetic touches to our cases, like LED lights or fans that we can show off at the next LAN.

This one doubles as a night-light for late nights playing Amnesia.

This one doubles as a night-light for late nights playing Amnesia.

Computers are a lot of admin, a lot of hard work – they’re more expensive, less convenient and ultimately more of a pain in the ass than a console. But we love that.

It’s always had its rewards, too. We get access to games like DotA and Starcraft that are only really compatible with mouse and keyboard. We get access to modded games, to private multiplayer servers where we can do things our own way, by our own rules. We get to tweak things to their most perfect versions of themselves.

And, most importantly, we get to crank everything up to its limit. We get to use all that big, expensive hardware to put out the best possible gaming experience.

Or do we?

Well, we used to.

You Scratch My Back, I’ll Poop On Yours

Now it seems like mods are off-limits, privately hosted servers are out and matchmaking-only is in, and even our f**king graphics have been nuked by the very people who make the game.

Phil Spencer calls E3 a “console show”, but of course it’s perfectly fine to have beastly computers running all your breath-taking demos to sell people on a product that they’re never going to get.

As for the people who love games enough to actually spend a huge chunk of their personal income on a beastly computer like that, well apparently they don’t get that product either.

I feel cheated. The very essence of PC gaming has long been the ability to push games to their graphical limits, to showcase what the software is really capable of. The fact that Ubisoft literally went into their game and put a limit on that, would actually have their game running at a max of 75% on PCs, makes me feel a bit sick.

Is this what it’s come to? We’re just going to pretend that the next-gen consoles are so fantastic, they can keep up with a PC with double the power.

We have developers who develop games on computers, for a console with very similar architecture, who rush out garbage, buggy PC releases that almost feel like an afterthought.

"Now with 80% less playability!"

“Now with 80% less playability!”

The Has-Been

The biggest FPS release of the year, Destiny, isn’t coming to PC. A half a billion dollar budget, and somehow they can’t crack a PC release. This is particularly saddening as, for me, the ancestral home of the FPS will always be the PC. I’m not here to be a console hater or some kind of mouse-and-keyboard hipster; but for me the FPS experience is always at its most “pure” with a mouse in hand.

Now we’ve come to a point where the most expensive, grandest and biggest FPS title ever made is getting released on every platform BUT the PC. This, of course, in spite of Bungie insisting that they’re “all PC gamers”.

Farmville doesn’t count, guys.

Hell, don’t even get me started on GTA V. I played the original GTA for hours and hours, and you can be damned sure it wasn’t on a console. The console release came later through a port, but the game began its life on a PC. It seems that heritage doesn’t really mean anything anymore.

I don’t really have a point to all this. Perhaps this is all just a pathetic, nostalgic ramble.

I just feel sad.

I feel sad that the people who put the most money and time into gaming are the ones who are consistently treated like shit by the industry. I feel sad that such an important component of gaming heritage and history is being disrespected and disregarded. I feel sad that it’s all about the bottom line, and mostly I just feel sad that things aren’t as they used to be.

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