The Reasons I am a PC Gamer
Even the most rational of people can get cult-like when it comes to something they like. Passionate loyalty will strike in the most surprising of places. An unwitting mention of yogurt in my group of friends launches a sermon of jubilant fervor to the bacterial cultures.
As strong as my love for yogurt is, it pales in comparison to the sheer force of zealot-like will in the console/pc wars. Gamers aren’t a group known for restrained enthusiasm when it comes to the tools of their trade. As the sole pc reviewer on a site of console knuckle draggers, it was inevitable that article like this would pop up. In fact, I think it’s a legal requirement of all gaming blogs to address this issue.
And that’s part of the problem: the issue of hardware vs. hardware isn’t new. Everyone has heard the argument for PC by now: Better graphics, custom settings, number keys, modding, mouse-control, etc. It’s all fuel for the flame wars in the comments that follow, where there’s always one poster on the verge of tears as they plead “Please, can’t we just accept each other and our personal preferences? PLEASE?!”
I mulled it over a glass of pink zinfandel one night: Aside from the usual arguments, what is it that makes me gravitate so to the computer? Does the fact that I’m a suave, sophisticated individual attract me to PC gaming, or am I a suave, sophisticated individual because I’m a PC gamer? Sure, I’ll admit there is the smug gratification of throwing around words like “12 gigs of memory”, and “AMD Radeon 6000 Series” as my parents stare at me blankly, but there has to be more to it than that!
REASON #1: ALT-TAB
It happens when you’re playing games – you are a personification of focus, a rock of unblinking intensity, when suddenly, it hits you. Did somebody respond to that witty status update you posted this morning? Suddenly, your life cannot conceivably move forward until you check your Facebook page for the ump-teenth time today. Let’s face it: our tether to the internet has given us the attention-span of a goldfish (I’m assuming that’s short), making it next to impossible to work on a single sole task for very long. (It is short, right?). If you don’t believe me, check out the number of tabs currently open in your browser.
REASON #2: SCREENSHOTS
Like consuming an entire jar of peanut butter in one sitting, gaming is usually a solitary activity – and most of us prefer to keep it that way. The problem is that this contrasts starkly with our need to share things, and video games are rife with unintentional moments that just aren’t fun to keep to yourself.
Fortunately, for those in-game moments demanding an audience, there is the “Print Screen” button. Be it epic kills, the bugs of Skyrim, or that time BioWare failed to think of the repercussions of having FemShep in a DLC dress for certain cut scenes, PCs provide a quick and easy way to preserve moments for posterity that’s already built-in.
REASON #3: PORTABILITY
For those of us with money to burn, or who are just in denial about their student loans, there are these:
Sure, you can take the DS or the Vita with you too, but what about those games you actually want to play? Traveling long distance? Be the envy of every bored soul in the vicinity as you suddenly crack open a giant laptop to play whatever mega-title that was released last Tuesday.
The beauty of the high-powered lap-top is that any area can become your desk at home, minus the half-empty bowls of cereal everywhere. Ferries, buses, the patio outside, these are just a few of the places I have sampled the glory of high quality gaming.
I know what you’re probably thinking right now, so I’m just going to come right out and say it. There’s also the potential for gaming in the most peaceful place on earth. The motherload of comfort. Yes, you know the place I mean:
I’m not saying that you can’t have the same experience with your console, but good luck unhooking all those wires and getting your PS3 and 50 inch screen into the washroom when your colon is running on a tight deadline.
REASON #4: KOTOR HAD A BONUS AREA
I include this solely because Knights of the Old Republic is one of my favourite games, and any amount of new content, no matter how small, is kind of a big deal.
I actually discovered the Yavin Space Station area on a replay. The first time I had played KOTOR was on my roommate’s XBox, where I explored every square inch of the galaxy and flirted shamelessly with Carth O’Nassi.
Nearly 8 months after moving out, I decided KOTOR warranted a replay, so I bought the game for my pc where I soon discovered there was AN ENTIRELY NEW AREA! Granted, it was tiny, and there were no missions, but there was a thrill to being privy to a previously unknown place in my favourite game, as though I had just entered into the realm of BioWare’s favoured children.
REASON #5: INJURIES
In today’s society, everyone has back pain. You can thank desk jobs and too much sitting for that. The upside is that so many adults have had to deal with these various aches that people tend to accept it as normal. Nobody is going to judge you for that stabbing pain in your neck from playing Diablo III for the last 28 hours. They might even assume that you are a responsible adult with a stable desk job.
Console-related injuries, on the other hand, are a little harder to disguise, and therefore, much less likely to get you any sympathy high fives (especially when your thumbs are bleeding).
While back aches will get you empathetic nods, (and phone numbers for a good massage therapist), controller track marks will yield scorn for your gaming habits as people start to wonder how much you’re playing your Nintendo-thing that you’re getting blisters and swollen fingers.
REASON #6: I DON’T OWN A CONSOLE
It occurred to me that this might be the main reason why I’m a PC gamer. To be clear, I really don’t hold anything against consoles (in the world of gaming, someone has to be the inferior product) but my rental history has, for the most part been non-conducive, to console gaming – mainly because there was never any space for a tv. (I once lived in a 120 square apartment for a year in Vancouver. If I wasn’t careful, I’d trip over my refrigerator getting out of bed in the morning.)
I didn’t have any consoles growing up for a long time either. Video games had a bad rap for sex and violence even in the 80s, when graphics were so bad that nothing was distinguishable, so Nintendos, Segas and the like were practically banned from my house. Computer games, on the other hand – those could be educational. I could do enriching things like typing and math!
However, my parents failed to realize the set-up was already there for other, more interesting diversions and it only became a matter of time until other things found their way onto the computer…
And thus, a lifelong habit was born.