Why I don’t “Console”

PS3 ControllerNo, before you ask, I don’t do the whole “PC Master Race” malarky*. My reason…I can’t use controllers.  There, I said it.

It doesn’t make sense, I mean, I used Joysticks on the Vic-20, ZX81, Atari 2600, Spectrum 48, Spectrum 128, C64, Amiga etc etc etc.  Even on my green-screen PC back in the day, I was playing Prince of Persia with keyboard and wishing I could connect a joystick to it.

At some point, the Master System and the NES dropped, with controllers…and I loved them.  Then, Megadrive and SNES.  I was still hooked,  Controllers were great.  Mainly they were for action games…a lot of platformers.  You needed skill to use the controller properly, but none of the games required any level of pixel perfect precision.

By the time the Playstation dropped in ’95 (I think), I had been playing Doom on PC for a couple of years.  Shortly after the Playstation dropped, Duke Nukem 3D hit and I was gone, done with consoles.  I was playing lan and (eventually) online multiplayer and loving it.

FPS games have always been my go to game genre.  I love them, I love the immediacy of them, I love being able to drop into a game without needing to commit to anything more than a 20 minute round of something (although invariably for longer).  I like that I was better than some people, and took great pleasure in taking out people that were better than me.  The team aspect was amazing.  Consoles couldn’t stack up.  They still can’t.  I have watched videos and streams of people playing FPS on consoles and, don’t get me wrong, they have improved….a LOT.  However, they still have the same movement/aim issues they always had.  Aim assist is still an option (and in fact the default as I understand it).  Movement/aiming are considerably slower and the art of strafing a circle around people is just lost as a technique.  As soon as you can use a mouse/keyboard for this kind of game, your reactions improve and the game speeds up.

Consoles have improved.  I mean, sure, they are always going to lag behind PC gaming in terms of power and tech, but they give a standard platform to work on where the limitations are clear to the developers…meaning the developers can explore pushing the console to the limit, knowing that it will work in the exact same way for everyone that buys the game on that console.  For me, I can see why people thought that the end of PC gaming was nigh.  Devs were going to rush to consoles and ditch PC forever.

People make a big deal over exclusives and a lot of people point out that the PC gets a massive amount of what are, technically, exclusives (in that they aren’t being released to console).  That isn’t strictly an exclusive as far as I am concerned.  An exclusive would be Halo or, more recently, Destiny.  These are games that appealed to me and I was interested to play them on PC.  Even if I wasn’t personally interested, PC Gamers in general were.  That makes an exclusive to me.  A “triple A” title that causes another group of gamers to consider buying some other hardware specifically to play it.  The day that the Battlefield series becomes a console exclusive, that could be problematic for PC gaming.

Even Halo eventually dropped on PC and it was, pretty much, a disaster as far as I remember.  The didn’t factor in what makes FPS on PC different.  They kept the speed that they used for the consoles, it was a direct port.  Direct ports can’t work.  It’s that simple, taking a game that works so perfectly in one format and then just altering the code so that it works on different hardware doesn’t work.  It can’t work and it doesn’t.

If you think that PCs are the best gaming platform or not, you cannot deny the benefits of of them.  Want to play games with an old/current console controllers?   We have USB connectors for that.  Want to turn it into a fully functional driving simulator?  We have devices for that.  Want to be on voice chat with some people, video chat with another, play a game, have some music playing and still be able to type a quick message to your friend who isn’t responding to you? (I am looking at you LW)  You can do all of that too.

It can be as flexible or restrictive as you want it to be.  Run it from your couch plugged into the TV, run multiple monitor setups.  Flexible.

I think that’s the key here, flexibility.  When I am not happy with my performance, I can upgrade individual components.  Yes, PC hardware is more expensive..but, I bought my current PC 4 or 5 years ago and only felt the need to upgrade the video card in the last few months.  I have been able to play every game that I have wanted to, with good quality settings during that entire time.  Seeing as I don’t exclusively use my PC for gaming, the usage that I get from a PC is well worth the investment.

When I do game, the games are normally cheaper.  If you game a LOT, then this saving on its own will stack up over time.  Also, backwards compatibility is not a problem, so you never have to re-buy games for each iteration, or keep old hardware lying around.  With a very small amount of tinkering, I could easily install and play old DOS games from the early 90s.

I like the idea of consoles, I really do..everyone on a level playing field, no complicated setups.  Devs only have to worry about one hardware standard and the same controls for everyone.  I just need flexibility, cheaper games and options.

Oh yeah, and I suck with controllers..did I mention that already?

 

* Good word, should be used more!

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