I like to think, sometimes. In the shower, in line at the bank, in bed. You know, regular human stuff. NAG writers are people too, after all (except Delano).
And sometimes, just sometimes, I get self-reflective. I question the things I think I know, the things I take for granted. I raid the vault of my own bank of common knowledge and root around for funny money.
Recently during such a bout of mental spring cleaning, I began to go over the PC Master Race handbook. Despite our frenzied convictions of superiority, I can’t help but admit we’re far outnumbered by the console crowd.
A raging minority, insisting we’re right. Sounds a bit like a cult, doesn’t it? All this unpacking led me to an uncomfortable conclusion – the joystick jocks may have been right the whole time. Hot on the heels on that thought, however, was this one: I don’t really care.
Sounds petty, right? Quite the opposite in fact. I’ve achieved platform zen – I can see the benefits of all clearly in my mind, at peace, like a narcissistic, arrogant Dalai Lama.
Since this is the internet and attention spans are low (myself included), I’ll discuss the pros and cons of both in easily digestible list form.
Consoles – They “just work”
You may recognise that “it just works” gambit as a piece of Apple marketing for their Mac computers. No bluescreens, no viruses, no problem.
Of course, anyone who has actually used a Mac for more than two minutes may recognise that as a particularly fragrant wheelbarrow of bullshit, but the idea is sound – for consoles, too.
There is something undeniably appealing about never having to worry about your hardware being up to scratch, never having to scour the latest released minimum spec requirements, looking at your GPU mournfully and hoping like hell the old gal has a few more clock cycles left in her.
Everything about a game has been specifically designed for the exact hardware and software you use. There’s no quirky driver conflict that renders your game unplayable or a particular CPU/GPU combo that doesn’t play nice.
You know, it “just works”.
Why I Like PC Anyway:
Because it kind of doesn’t. 2014 was a pretty crap year for gaming, but one of the biggest issues to come out of it was crappily coded console games that didn’t live up to the promise. Y’all might be fine with 30fps caps (I’m not), but dipping framerates in key scenarios because the hardware just can’t keep up is a real downer when you have no control over your hardware.
And that’s all it is for me, really – control. I can build something powerful enough that anything can be thrown at it, or something modest that can play damned near anything by tweaking the various gfx options available to me, along with config edits and community mods designed to make the whole thing run smoother.
If there IS an issue of some kind, I can actually make an effort to fix it myself rather than sit on my hands waiting for Sony to get their shit together. In essence, I love the autonomy that a PC gives me. It comes at the cost of convenience and ease of use, no doubt, but it’s a cost I’ll continue to pay gladly.
Consoles are Dedicated Gaming Machines
Sure, sure, the Xbox One can do Netflix or whatever and the PS4 makes a perfect player for your Blu-Ray porn collection, but that’s not really why people buy consoles.
Again, there’s a certain elegant convenience about it. You collapse on your couch, flip on your TV and game. No distractions, no e-mails, no pop-up messages, no hard office chair digging into your back.
It’s just you and whatever the hell it happens to be you’re shooting that day, and that’s how you like it. Hell, why wouldn’t you?
Why I Like PC Anyway:
Let me tell you why I don’t. Those annoyances I mentioned? The e-mails, the pop-ups, the distractions? I live for that. I can’t game without it. I don’t know what it’s like to wait for a game to load without alt-tabbing and browsing at the same time.
I routinely pause my gaming to mess around on my PC, and I like it that way. I love fiddling with it, tweaking stuff, watching streams. Hell, some of my favourite games I think I’ve spent more time watching than actually playing.
It may not be the right way to game (hell, it probably isn’t), but I could never give it up.
Consoles Are the Developer Darlings
Let’s have a bit of #realtalk here – PC gamers are the drunk uncle everyone puts up with at the family Christmas because he’s been around so long one can’t just not invite him; even when he does vomit on the tablecloth and swear loudly in front of the children.
More and more it feels like developers include PC gamers in their releases out of duty more than anything else – but even that isn’t always the case. The two most expensive games on record (GTA V and Destiny) both didn’t see a PC release.
Now you might be heading to the comments section already, frothing at the mouth to tell me that GTA V will be out on PC shortly, but consider this – Rockstar just pushed the PC release date back two more months, while the console freakin’ REMASTER has been on the shelves since last year.
So before us PC gamers even get a sniff at GTA V action, the console crowd has had two bites at the apple.
Why I Like PC Anyway:
Ugh, I’ve got nothing. Honestly, it sucks. It sucks that a cornerstone of household gaming has been forgotten; the platform that gave birth to the FPS has been left out of the biggest FPS release of all time.
Still, we have a couple of things going for us in the gaming department. We have entire genres, such as MOBAs and RTSs, that simply cannot be played on a console (many have tried, many have failed. It’s awful.).
We also have the purest FPS experience, something I don’t think anyone can argue but many still try to anyway. For me, the snap-reflexes of a game like Quake 3 or the pinpoint, near god-like accuracy required for a game like Counter-Strike (yes, I’ve been converted) will simply never be matched by a game controller.
Now we just need publishers to keep letting us play stuff.
So then, NAG collective, as diverse an audience as I’m sure you are. What are your thoughts on the age-old console vs PC debate?
Personally, I think there’s room for both – and I’d like it to stay that way.