After having computer problems for the better part of the last week, I finally have a semi stable system running thanks to my awesome girlfriend who is letting me use her old one while I save up for a new one. It’s been a reminder though of why the PC gaming platform is such a pain in the ass.
That isn’t to say that consoles don’t have issues, because they do, especially the 360 which has a the mortality rate of, well, insert some sort of witty joke there. But, the point is, with a console you put in the game and it plays. You don’t need drivers. You don’t need to upgrade hardware. It’s just plug and play. Every once in a while you need to update the system, but it’s all automated, and everyone who has a PS3 or 360 has the same system (or a reasonable facsimile), so weird conflicts rarely arise.
The PC on the other hand is constantly a source of frustration and anger. I’ve had my WoW account hacked. I’ve had my Steam account hacked. I’ve had crashes, hardware failure, software glitches…. I’ve needed to reformat my old PC probably 5 times total (taking several hours a piece).
So why do all of this? I mean, the answer is half obvious… life without a PC is a life not worth living. I’m talking just about web browsing, doing work on it, etc. But gaming on a PC is such a huge pain in the ass, yet the market seems to be growing, in fact I read today a rumor that EA is entering into the PC hardware market (probably through a partnership, I’m guessing) where they plan on releasing PCs to play Crysis: Warhead in the $600-$800 range. It’s a great idea, and it will surely grow the PC market.
But it will still be a PC. It will still have driver conflicts and viruses and weird hardware failures for no good reason. I wish I could just walk away from the thing as a gaming platform, but the truth of the matter is that the PC is where the most innovation happens in gaming. It’s also where the best American developers make their games. I mean I couldn’t imagine my gaming life without Blizzard. With the recent announcement of Diablo 3 it has people in an absolute frenzy, and it has completely rekindled the sales and playerbase of Diablo 2. In fact this lens about Diablo 2 has shot up to the top 20 of the video game pages on Squidoo. The game is like 19,000 years old and its highest resolution is 800×600, and it’s completely 2D. But it’s still an amazing game and PC gamers are enjoying it all over again.
So I’m stuck with this absolutely infuriating platform for my gaming, whether I want to be or not. There is nothing like World of Warcraft on a console, other than the utterly mediocre Final Fantasy XI. There are Diablo clones on the consoles, but none even hold a candle to that game (and even the Diablo port back in the PSone days was pretty weak). There are tons of great shooters on the consoles, but none will look as breathtaking as Crysis: Warhead. A couple companies are starting to get the handle on how to do real time strategy games on consoles, but they are still a better fit for PCs. And games like The Sims and the upcoming Spore always make an appearance on consoles, but they are never half the game the PC version is.
So it looks like I’ll be saving all my pennies and saving up to buy myself a new machine, so i can continue to break it, and give it viruses and want to throw it out the window. But damn, the games that I’ll be playing in between will be so great.