When asked about what my favorite gaming of choice is, I answer just as fast as I’m asked and announce that the PC is my favorite. Sure there has been moments when I question that choice or conviction, but at the same time when I think about it or when I sit down to a game on my gaming PC, I’m constantly reminded my I enjoy it so much. And it’s not the PC exclusive titles that are available, because let’s face it, there’s not that many on the platform when you compare it to it’s console brethren or siblings as I call them.
I started my video gaming days back during 1980, when my parents picked up an Atari 2600. At the time it was cutting edge and displayed graphics that if you looked at them today, well let’s just say you likely wouldn’t call them graphics. Years later, my parents ended up getting a computer; I still remember it to this day – a Delta Gold Elite II. Released back in 1982, this baby was a 16-bit, dual floppy computer that featured a 8011-1 cpu, 640Kb of ram and 16Kb of rom, with a gold and black monochrome screen. While it may not be something to behold now, back in the day this computer ran an easy $2,000 – $3000 to acquire. To make it even more odd, I was never sure why my parents purchased it; I can’t recall one day that they touched it. In fact, my mother is still very computer illiterate and calls on me to fix her computer. Whatever the reason was, this started me on the journey that I am currently dedicated to now.
Eventually I had exposure to just about any game that the PC could play, but that wasn’t many during that time and then later I gained access to my cousin’s Intellivision. It was an on and off love affair between the two systems, while my Atari 2600 sat in the cold void, never to be touched again until years later, when my parents later purchased a Nintendo Entertainment System during Christmas ’88, along with two games: Super Mario Brothers and Contra. This was the period in my life where I had started going to arcades, shovelling quarter after quarter into the cabinets. This was also the first time I had ever experienced the Super Mario Brothers and Nintendo’s console. This slowly opened up a new chapter in my gaming life – the attack of the consoles.
That’s not to say that I didn’t have time to play PC games, well not at home anyway, my PC simply couldn’t handle the newer games that came out. However, I had started middle school and they had a nice lab full of capable IBM Clones (as they called them) and made way into some of the best games I had ever played in my life; Doom, Blake Stone, Jazz Jackrabbit and a few others. I was smitten, I could not stop playing these games and even my after school sessions turned into my very first LAN parties. Needless to say my interest was now split between the consoles and the PC. The only issue was that I had no access to the better PC games unless I was in school and even then that wasn’t on a “when I want to play them” basis. So I talked to a few people and someone had stated asked why didn’t I upgrade my PC? I sat and questioned that thought for a while and then took that question to my parents. Of course the first thing they said was no, absolutely not. This wasn’t a machine for gaming, it was for learning and other important stuff.
I was young, I was hard headed and more importantly I had a job with some money in my pocket. Of course I was going to NOT listen to my parents. Luckily for me, I had an uncle who was friends with a gentleman who owned his own PC business, something that I took advantage of on a constant basis. I went there with him when ever I could and learned the ins and outs of PC building and when I was ready, I took it upon myself to upgrade the family’s PC. And when I said upgrade I meant I destroyed it (completely) and ended up building a brand new PC. My very first PC that I built and yet another gateway, this one; however, was the start of my fascination with building computers and all the fun stuff that went with it. I learned so much upgrading components to get better performance out of a machine, tuning them to make them work better, tweaking the OS and of course the sweet gaming that followed was the payoff. Sure, I still played on my consoles, but my real passion was slowly turning to the PC, especially with games such as Wing Commander, Tie Fighter, Command and Conquer, Need For Speed, as well as a slew of others that stole my attention.
From the Desk of the Editor: It’s Okay To Enjoy All Types Of Gaming
And then it happened. I encountered two games that sealed the deal. Bursting on the scene in 1997 was ID Software’s Quake. Successor to their previous title, Doom; Quake was the next progression into first person shooters. It was dark, gritty and man was it fun. Between the single and multiplayer sessions, I was in heaven. A few years later, EPIC Games would also unleashed a game that to this day holds a very special place in my heart; Unreal Tournament or UT ’99 as it’s more commonly referred to. The game actually released 3 days after my birthday and I had been following its development thanks to Computer Gaming Monthly and Computer and Videogames magazine. I won’t bore you with details but between Quake and Unreal Tournament, I was stuck in cycle of upgrading my PC to handle the latest and greatest in 3D gaming that the PC gaming would could offer. This in turn had introduced me to many more games that were only available on the PC. I’ve even gone as far as to working on level design for Unreal Tournament 2003-2004, hosting a website that you could download user created maps for both games and even hosted multiple game servers for 7 years before moving on.
That opened my eyes to something else that was possible with PC games; modding. Changing just about every function, from levels to the music, swapping out characters and other bizarre and weird antics. Even to this day, the PC is home to some of the best gaming modding to date, some that have introduced ideas that even the creator of the games didn’t think about or attempted to implement. Hell, look at the stuff that people have done with Grand Theft Auto and the iCEnhancer Mod. Photorealistic models, turning games that looked good into something poetry in motion.
Fast forward to today, I’m currently 38 years old, I have a family that consists of two children who have access to all of my gaming platforms and who have seemingly also started gravitating to the PC as their gaming platform of choice, despite having access to every console available since the release of the Xbox back in 2001. Make no mistake; however, they still get their console gaming on and it’s a pleasure and a joy to watch them play together, which is also a nice change of pace from them not trying to kill each other. To me, PC gaming is just getting better despite some unfortunate setbacks thanks to companies that feel that the almighty dollar is more important than pleasing it’s fans. The latest tactics of Warner Bros. and Batman: Arkham Knight and even their craptastic Mortal Kombat X release are just a few examples. But with every flop or disaster comes a handful of titles that do everything right, it’s just the nature of release PC games anymore. It shouldn’t be that indie titles are putting AAA titles to shame, in both design, inception and more importantly in the enjoyment department but it does happen. I’d rather play Shovel Knight, knowing that it’s a polished title that its developers put their time and sweat in producing.
I reserve judgement on Batman: Arkman Knight, whenever WB is able to provide us with a workable game that doesn’t eat it’s self every few minutes.
And that’s not to say that I hate gaming on consoles or won’t touch them, because that’s completely not true. I’ve owned just about every gaming console since the NES, with the exception of the Virtual Boy, Phillips-I and the NeoGeo (though I’ve been thinking about getting one). Even to this day, I was the first people I know to pick up both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, in fact I had played them off well before they launched. In fact if it wasn’t for the PlayStation then I wouldn’t have been introduced to several favorite games and series such as the Ridge Racer, Demon/Dark Souls ( Can’t get enough of these games), Tekken, Battle Arena Toshiden, Wipeout and countless others. When it comes to games I also tell fellow gamers that I want to be able to play them all, so if I was to be what they like to call stuck up PC gamers, a PC elitist, then I’d miss out on some truly great games that aren’t available on PC. Bloodborne, Journey, Halo 4, Dragon Quest, Drive Club, Forza, Gran Turismo, just to name a few. Sure I love gaming on PC’s but I’m still a gamer and it would be foolish of me to write off the other platforms because they can’t swap out hardware or because they’re limited to a certain resolution or can’t keep up with frame rate.
At the end of the day, the PC will be my favorite platform but I’m a gamer and I’ll play anything that looks fun to me, I dont care what platform it’s on. Isn’t that what it’s all about, having fun?
Now you’ll have to excuse me, I think I”m going to play some more Bloodborne and Diablo 3 while I wait for Metal Gear Solid V and Doom 4 to be released.