Strict teacher on the school blackboard background with phrase Back to school

I’ve been a card-carrying member of the PC Master Race for all my life, so it’s with some chagrin that I announce that I recently acquired a PS4.

I won it in a competition; a race between me and the security guard at CNA. Luckily my intense training regimen of watching MasterChef and eating pepper steak pies gave me enough of an edge to come away the victor.

Anyways, in my brief time as console gamer and fugitive, I’ve learnt a few important things I thought I’d talk about this week.

Games are more expensive than snorting pharmaceutical grade cocaine off of university textbooks

Since I haven’t owned a console since my trusty Chinese NES, the last console game I bought was around R50 and it was actually 99 games. Sony, if you’re reading, THAT’S value.

Anyways, since then I’ve been a die-hard PC gamer, and I’m used to poking around enough to pay no more than a few hundred bucks for a AAA title. The key, I suppose, is not buying on launch day. Since PC gamers have generally blown all of their money on hardware and microwave meals, we tend to be stingy enough to hold out for the numerous sales which happen throughout the year.

So for my first PS4 purchase I decided not to go for the latest blockbuster, as I’d heard whisperings amongst the peasantry of games breaking the R1K ceiling. R1000. For software. If I’m paying R1,000 for something, I want it to be hard.

I probably could have phrased that better.

Anyway, the missus was keen on a racing game and I was keen on doing what I’m told. I settled on TrackMania Turbo, an arcade racer with fun themes and wacky gameplay that’s surely a steal at… oh. “Holy shit R550? Will it make me a sandwich afterwards?” Don’t even get me started on the fact that I have to pay a subscription fee to play multiplayer. Ugh.

What the hell kind of wallet is this? Where do the cards go? Anyways, point is I'm poor.

What the hell kind of wallet is this? Where do the cards go? Anyways, point is I’m poor.

Couch gaming isn’t what it used to be

The real reason I was interested in picking up a console wasn’t so much to burn my mouse and keyboard at the altar of Kaz Hirai and worship the gods of auto-aim. It was for the social aspect. The wife and I thought it would be a fun thing to do together, keeping in mind she’s not a gamer herself.

I was on the hunt for a racing game we could play together that wasn’t one of these try-hard ultra-realism things for people with the special chair and the racing wheel. You know the people I’m talking about. The kinds of people who race their Froot Loops around the cereal bowl, complete with sound effects. You know, people like Wesley Fick.

Naturally I Google’d variations of “arcade racer” and “casual racing game”, and was advised of things like Driveclub and Need for Speed and Maximum Thrust (SafeSearch was off).

Except none of these games had split-screen multiplayer, and one of them was just a porn movie. In fact, finding any racing game that had this was tough, and I went in thinking everything would have it by default. What the hell happened?

It seems while I’d turned my back on consoles, they’d followed PC’s lead and migrated all their multiplayer to the Internet. This kind of makes sense for a mouse and keyboard setup, where games that can make use of the “you take the number side, I’ll take the letter side” multiplayer mechanics are not quite in vogue anymore.

But I’m sad to find it happening on the PS4. Split-screen is seen as a non-essential feature now, not worth the development resources to bother putting it in. As an old player coming back in, the whole spirit of couch gaming to me is doing it together. There’s still plenty of things that do offer co-op, and TrackMania delivered the split-screen, but I can’t help mourn the loss of console gaming’s social emphasis, and its shift into srs bsness gaming.

Just because FPSes on consoles are worse than toothpaste on toast, doesn’t mean I don’t suck at them

I’ve never accepted that FPS works on a console, and I’m not sure I ever will. I know I’m in the minority here, but trying to aim at someone with a frikken’ analogue stick with a bit of cheeky auto-aim assistance pushing you in the right direction is like sitting with your weenus in an ice bath for six hours – it’s not really fun and you don’t feel like you’ve achieved anything.

All that being said, I suck major pomegranates at it. I’ve watched videos of professional players battling it out in FPSes on PS4, and I have to say they do make it look somewhat smooth, in the same way sixteen tequila shots make my dance moves look smooth (they don’t).

Is there hope for me brothers and sisters? Or am I doomed to a life of analogue mediocrity?

Thanks guys. Really subtle. Really let me down easy there. Assholes.

Thanks guys. Really subtle. Really let me down easy there. Assholes.

Some things really are just better on console

I’ve always kind of defended the “sitting at a desk” aspect of PC gaming, and downplayed the feel of controllers and sitting on a couch.

I was wrong. While playing on my PC is by no means uncomfortable, and makes sense for a lot of the more competitive games I play (Dota 2, CS:GO, Hatoful Boyfriend, etc.), there is something quite magical about getting horizontal and lazily fumbling your way through some Broforce. And getting horizontal with your friends is even better.

Damn, I probably could have phrased that better as well.

As for the controller feel… yeah, it’s good. As much as I’ve enjoyed several years of Need for Speed and the like on my trusty keyboard, playing TrackMania last night with the feedback and triggers just felt way cooler. I’m still not getting a wheel though.

In summary then, while the console may be the choice of the unwashed masses, it doesn’t mean it isn’t fun as hell.

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