25 Jun How I Became a PC Gamer
I have always self-identified as a console gamer. I got an NES on my 2nd birthday and became a Nintendo loyalist early in life. I still own a large amount of classic consoles, mostly all of the mainstream systems from NES through Switch. I never really had a super powerful computer growing up and the computers that we had were used mostly for schoolwork and some light internet surfing. Even when high-speed Internet was brought into my home in the early aughts, I was always more interested in console gaming. Both platforms had a very different feel. As someone who’s never been great at shooters, online competitive gaming, or Real Time Strategy, PC gaming never appealed to me when I was younger. I know that PC gaming was always more than that, but those experiences always felt the most PC to me. I like JRPGs and platformers, Fighting games and Action Adventure games. While I would use my PC to run emulators to play classic games I missed, I never felt super comfortable gaming on my computer. And then one day…we needed to download a program called Steam. My first memory of Steam was downloading the client to update Counter Strike for my brother. It was a gigantic pain to get working, little did we know, Steam would go on to be a super colossal mega hit and the most popular platform for digital gaming distribution. Even with all of these benefits, I still couldn’t fully dedicate myself to PC gaming and I think I finally knew why. The games I liked and wanted to play often played best with a controller and while there were plenty of PC controllers out there, they never felt right. At the time, I don’t believe (and I could be 1000% wrong), that there was a real environment for games on PC that were optimized with a controller. Because of that, the games that made the biggest splashes on PC were shooters, RTS, and MMORPGs. I liked World of Warcraft and City of Heroes, but I always fell off after a few months and would scurry back to my PS2 and Gamecube. All of this started to change with the Xbox 360 was released in 2005. The console itself had a so-so launch, I should know I worked it, but what I took away from the 360 was its brand new controller. The 360 launched with a wired controller that could be plugged into your PC via USB port. To make things even better, any windows pc automatically could find the controller and install the necessary drives immediately. Just like that, we finally had a strong controller for PC. At the beginning I solely used the 360 pad to play emulators. It was a miracle to finally be able to play Super Metroid with a decent d-pad. At this time I was running these games from a relatively weak laptop that I used for school. I remember running MAME on my laptop during a giant business statistics lecture with my controller under the desk…don’t worry I still got an A-. When I ultimately decided to buy a new powerful PC it was to be used solely for World of Warcraft and all of the emulators. Have you tried Visual Boy Advance? It’s amazing! Sadly, I loaded my PC up with all of the virused because I was addicted to uTorrent and video game music..I had so much Final Fantasy Music, and still do! Eventually that superpowered PC died within 2 years of buying it. So I had to shelve PC gaming for a bit. I had a few laptops to game on but they never fully had the power I wanted. Throughout this time I kept seeing more and more game series find their way onto steam. Platformers, JRPGs, Action Adventure games. Games like: Batman, Tomb Raider, Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, Ori and the Blind Forest, to name a few. Thanks to controller accessibility and the joys of Steam and other services like GOG, PC gaming was much more appealing to someone like me. I had bought an iMac because I was sick of my computers dying on me constantly, and while it was a pretty great machine, it wasn’t great for gaming. After chatting with PC gamer after PC gamer, I finally started to see the appeal. Games like Dark Souls and Nier Automata were starting to show up on PC/Steam. These would have solely been console games 5-10 years earlier, but Xbox and PS4 controllers worked on PC so well that it made no sense for them NOT to also be on PC. The best versions of indie games showed up on PC and I wanted to play them. I finally bit the bullet earlier in 2019 to finally get a PC rig built and I’ve been very happy with the decision. From my experience, the games run better. Everything from Cuphead to Hearthstone to Final Fantasy XV have run better on PC for me. I restarted FFXV this year when it was on sale on Steam and it feels like a totally different experience. A lot of gamers talk about frame rate today and it does make all the difference, I think moreso than resolution. A strong beginner PC, like what I have runs FFXV at 120 frames per second and the game is so incredibly smooth that I have spent much more time taking in the sights and sounds than I did on PS4. FFXV was a real eye opener for me. As I wrote in my earlier post this week, it’s all about accessibility. Outside of Nintendo and First Party PS games, EVERYTHING is on PC. If I didn’t care so much about Spider-Man and Uncharted I would definitely consider being a PC/Switch gamer only, and outside of Spider-Man I haven’t touched my PS4 in months. I think this is why Square has made FF7: Remake a “Playstation First” title, so that people would pay more attention to the PS4. Yeah that’s probably not totally true, but Sony definitely benefits greatly from the presumed timed exclusivity, because there’s no way that game won’t run better on PC. I like to jump into Steam or GOG or the Epic Game store every week to see what new and old games are finding their way to PC and there are a lot. Sega, Konami, Capcom, Square Enix have all put a large amount of their classic games on PC. I restarted Octopath Traveler on PC a few weeks ago, because why not! One of my favorite RPG series, Tales, is also on PC in full force. Even though my Steam library is pretty small, comparatively, I have everything from Final Fantasy III to Doom to Sekiro to Mega Man X on my computer. It’s too easy and convenient and the games play too much better to ignore. So here we have it, after years of being a console-only gamer the PC has seduced me to its ranks. I won’t jump on message boards and proclaim I’m part of the PC Master race, but I totally get where they’re coming from. If any game releases now, I want to play it on PC. When I get Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night this week, I’ll be buying it on PC. Ultimately, it’s been power and convenience that has turned me to the PC for gaming. Unrivaled gameplay and smoothness, accessibility to tons of games, and amazing deals. Take a look at your average Steam sale, and see how much you save on buying PC. This gives us access to an unending library of GREAT games to play all the time and there is enough to make every type of gamer happy (except Nintendo-only players). Let me know if you end up trying out PC gaming!