Gaming My Way

26 Mar

Console Gaming Vs. PC Gaming

I’m a big fan of console gaming. Plug everything in, pop in a game, turn it on, and you’re playing. It’s that simple.

On a PC, before you even buy a game, you have to make sure your computer meets the minimum requirements listed on the box. Even if your computer does meet those requirements, and sometimes even if it meets the recommended requirements, the game won’t always run as well as it you would expect it to. Perhaps the game was optimized for a video card you don’t have. Maybe your computer meets the requirements on the box, but there are other requirements that aren’t listed because it’s assumed anyone who can meet the requirements listed meets the other requirements. The list goes on.

Even if your computer does meet the requirements of the game, it’s not uncommon to have to update video (and sometimes sound) drivers in order to play the game. And then there is installing the game. And patching the game, a practice I think needs to be much rarer, since games should be developed well enough in the first place that they don’t need a patch a week after release. This isn’t to say all patches are bad, but excessive patching shouldn’t be necessary, and not every game released should require it.

Now, I’ll be honest, I know all these gripes are simple things, and it’s not hard to deal with most of it. But it does take time, and when I get a new game, I just want to play. I don’t want to do a bunch of work for it.

On consoles, it used to be the case developers knew they only had one chance to get it right, so they usually did. Sure, there were glitches sometimes, but they were rare, and even more rare was it that they would break the game. In addition, you don’t have to worry about meeting minimum requirements with consoles – if you own the system the game is on, you can play it. This is just the nature of console vs. PC though – it is easier to develop for one set of hardware on a console than the numerous configurations a PC might have.

There are two areas in which PCs are better than consoles though: first person shooters and online games. Now, I don’t like first person shooters much, so this isn’t a huge selling point for me, but either way, mouse and keyboard is way better than dual analog for fps games, and is still better than the Wii remote, at least for now. And the control scheme will make or break a game.

For online games, I’m a little more sympathetic. I refuse to play any game that charges by the month, so there are a lot of online games I just won’t ever play. However, once in a while I just get that adventuring itch, and there’s no D&D group nearby, so I pick up a game that can be played online for no monthly charge. This is when my computer serves me well for gaming, as console online services aren’t quite up to par with what the PC offers, though it’s getting closer from what I’ve seen (bear in mind I don’t own a 360, PS3, or Wii while making this assessment, I’ve only seen glimpses of what they offer). Along with some rare gems like Baldur’s Gate 2 and Warcraft 3, which are both two of the best games I’ve played.

As you can likely tell by now, there’s a lot I think is wrong with PC gaming, though that isn’t to say consoles are perfect. I do prefer them though. Though with the advent of hard drives coming standard on consoles now, I’m worried some of the PC issues (like frequent patching to fix things that could have been fixed in development) might creep into console games. However, this doesn’t seem to have happened yet, so hopefully it won’t. Instead, let’s hope the two industries pull the best things from both types of gaming and move towards effectively bringing them together for both PCs and Consoles.

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