Getting all nostalgic: showing my PC some lovin’
No, in the days before I got a PlayStation 2, I pretty much played just PC games on our biege computer (the boxes always used to be biege) that had an incredibly powerful 486 CPU, a massive 2Mb graphics card and something like 16Mb of memory. In fact, before that we had an Atari computer and before that a Sinclair ZX Spectrum (I loved the Ultimate Play the Game titles like Knightlore, Jetpac and Underworlde)
I remember playing things like Doom, Duke Nukem 3D and Quake on it until the cows came home. I also remember playing some flight sim that took something like six floppy discs to install. That’s not our computer in the picture but it’s the same colour that our one was.
We upgraded to a Pentium 90 computer which let me play games like Blade Runner, Star Wars Dark Forces, the Jedi Knight series, Magic Carpet and System Shock, and a few years later I got an even more powerful computer which let me play the first few Battlefield games on PC and I’ve enjoyed Far Cry and Crysis on PC (not at maximum graphics settings, however). I always used to recommend Far Cry as a good litmus test for how good your computer’s graphics card was.
After a while though, the convenience of console gaming started to win me over. it just seemed so much easier to plop down on the couch and play a game than crouch over a keyboard, my face a few feet from the monitor. Also, I couldn’t afford to keep up with having to constantly upgrade my PC to keep it cutting edge.
In the last few years, though, we’ve heard the argument that PCC gaming is dead – or at, least in the decline. I’m starting to disagree with that argument: I’ve played more games lately on my PC in the last few months than I have for a long, long time. At the moment, I’m playing Fable 3 on PC, have a Sims expansion pack (I’m reviewing it) on the go and am expecting Alice: Madness Returns on PC any day now from EA. It also seems that the PC version of Battlefield 3 will be the pick of the bunch – if, of course, you have a PC that is powerful enough to run it in all its glory.
I raised the issue of whether PC gaming was dead with two developers in the last year – one of them was definitely Peter Molyneux during an interview earlier this year and I think the other was Bioware’s Greg Zeschuk when I spoke to him last year about Dragonage 2 and Mass Effect 2 – and both were resoundingly in the negative about PC gaming being in decline. I guess I’m starting to play more PC games because I’m sick of looking at so many washed out textures on some console games.
PC gaming offers both disadvantages and advantages over console gaming: one of the key advantages being that PC games, on the whole, should look a whole lot better than console versions thanks to more powerful graphics chips, more memory and hi-resolution textures. A main disadvantage for me is that I can’t guarantee that a game that a friend might be able to play on ‘maximum graphics settings” will look as good on my more modest PC, which is around four years old now: ancient for a PC.
Some games just work better on PC: certainly you get better accuracy and control with the mouse and keyboard on PC in a first-person shooter and I think games like Dungeon Siege 3, an RPG/action game that I’m playing on Xbox 360, are better suited to PC. It feels funny playing DS3 on console when I played the original (which came in a case that looked like it was made out of rock) on PC, using a mouse and keyboard. I guess, though, it’s what you’re used to: many gamers of today only know gaming on consoles.
I still play more games on console than PC but I’m enjoying getting back to my gaming roots, using the mouse and keyboard for navigation and combat rather than using a game pad.
So for the time being, I’m going to split my gaming between PC and console – at least, until a game comes along that my computer can’t run and it turns it into a pretty slide show. When that happens I’m going back to my console for good.