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Game Fight!: PC vs. Consoles

by Seth Macy

Is there anything in the gameosphere (a word I just made up) that is more annoying than a holier-than-thou PC gamer? You can't have a discussion about a multi-platform game or the shortcomings of a console without some jerk breezing in and exclaiming the superiority of the PC PLATFORM. "Oh, [great game] is being released for PS3? It was pretty fun three years ago when I was playing the beta on my PERSONAL COMPUTER." Console gamers usually just ignore these comments and go on with their lives, but that doesn't stop the PC Gamer from always trying to derail any conversation that has to do with games. "Ha! Those supposed 'good' graphics look like what I was getting five years ago lol lol," is something they would say. You see, owning a gaming PC is a lot like only watching PBS: sure, it might be technically superior, but no one cares.

But really, that was the old me talking there. Because now I have a gaming PC and it has opened my eyes to a whole fantastic world of gaming and snobbery, two things I hold dearest. Growing up, we always had Macs. It was a good feeling, having a Mac, especially when I would go to my friends' houses and watch them do a bunch of command line nonsense to start up their word processor. "Oh really?" I would say, crossing my arms and looking down my nose, "on my dad's MACINTOSH you just use the mouse and click on everything!"

And that was a good feeling. But time marched on and I would go over to a friend's house and he'd drop in a floppy and A:/RUN it or whatever savagery was required, and a game would pop up. "Oh snap!" I would say, although I probably didn't say that in 1990, but the sentiment was the same. My love of gaming was pulling me away from my love of feeling superior. After watching my friend play some awesome PC game for a few hours, I'd go home and play some crappy shareware HyperCard game and lie to myself about it. I carried this lie with me until I got a PC in 2003. And now, 10 years later, I have a PC specifically for gaming. And I feel like a whole lifetime of lost gaming is trying to catch up to me.

"Just... shut up, both of you."

But this Game Fight! isn't about PC vs. Mac, because that would be stupid. No, this is about console versus PC. I have always been a console gamer. Stubbornly so. Sometimes to a fault. I almost didn't buy The Orange Box because I am a big dumb idiot who didn't want to play a PC game on a console just because it was a PC game first. Idiot! Half-Life 2 is so good. I am glad I played it on my Xbox, but it's even better on MY PC D00DS. I admit it, I am totally in love with this PC scene. It helps that I came into it over the Steam holiday sale. I bought more games for the PC over that sale than I bought all last year for my consoles. And I didn't even buy games that I was necessarily interested in, I bought games that struck my fancy at the time because they seemed like they might hold my interest and also because they were 75% off.

I bought the THQ Tantalizing bundle on Amazon for eleven bucks just so I could play Metro 2033. I'll probably never play the rest of the games in the bundle, but who cares? I got the latest Humble Indie Bundle because everyone should, and also because I am flying on a magic carpet of games, doing loop-de-loops through rainbows of high graphical fidelity and my desire to consume has been turbo-charged. Steam has sales all the time, and it's so brilliant, because I end up having too many choices now, so I don't even install the games more than half the time. My Steam library, even at this young stage, is already getting too full. It's like going to a fancy salsa place, where they have 48 varieties of salsa. That's too many, but you can't complain about it because it's salsa. Who doesn't love a good salsa? (Other than Hitler).

So now that I've gone on and on, I guess I should do a comparison between PC and consoles and determine a winner, as is the spirit of this column. Consoles are great because they are in your living room, hooked to you big TV, and they have wireless controllers and local multi-player and they play Netflix and Amazon and movies and cost not a lot of money. When it comes to PCs, you... well, you can also hook them up to you TV in your living room. Most graphics cards have an HDMI port now, and at the very least you can use the VGA jack on the back of your HDTV (it's there, trust me. No, no, don't look. I'm telling you, it's back there. Just-- just sit down! Geez.)

And then you can do all the stuff consoles can do, like watch Netflix and Amazon and Crackle, only you need to navigate through Windows to do it, like you would on any other computer. But, who cares? You can put Steam in Big Screen mode and pretend you live in the future and have a Steambox and use it to scroll through all those games you never installed on your way to playing hour 986 of Civ V. A decent PC is going to cost you more than a console, and it's probably going to give you a million more headaches when something fails. But don't think of them as headaches, think of them as learning experiences, and then you can learn from them. Take what you've learned and charge other people to fix their computers and your PC has just paid for itself!

If there's one thing PC gaming has and always will have over consoles, it's the smug sense of superiority that comes with owning one. Suddenly every insufferable internet forum is filled with your like-minded peers. A PC is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.