2/2/10

PC Versus Console Flamers Hug & Makeup

Since the beginning of playing video games at home; there has been a never ending argument amongst geeks. It goes something like this… “PCs are the best!” “Nu-uh consoles are so obviously better!” “You’re stupid!” “Nu-uh you’re obviously the stupid one!” When this started back in the late 80’s and early 90’s there was an easy answer. While the console had some of what are still my favorite games today. This argument has always been less about the software and more about the hardware. While on the consoles they were still just jumping from right to left. On the PC side of the war they were already playing in 3D, with online multiplayer.

However over the past couple of console generations things have changed. The things that once set the console gamers apart from the PC gamers are for the most part no longer relevant. The big four being, price, power, internet and of course the controls.

One of the biggest differences was always the price. Once upon a time, the price difference between a console and a capable gaming PC was thousands of dollars. While the PC had undeniably superior hardware, there was always that question. Do I really love video games so much that I will spend over a $1000 for the hardware to play them? Only to have it outdated in a few short years. And then of course it also required a good bit of technical know how to set them up. But things are different now. You can get a very decent gaming rig for not a lot more than it cost to buy a console. And it’s a piece of cake getting the games up and running.

Then there's the power. On consoles we were still getting to the next level, or playing for the high score. While at the same time the, PC guys were exploring big expansive worlds in games like Ultima. In the early 90’s PC’s already had games that are gameplay wise, very comparable to the games of today; while consoles were still little more than arcade games. But again things have changed.

Yes a good gaming PC still has better graphics than even the most powerful of consoles. But it’s not the same leap in tech that it used to be. Purely from a graphical standpoint, are you really getting a totally different experience when playing Oblivion on the PC vs. the Xbox360? Sure it’s running at a higher resolution, and has a bit of a larger draw distance, plus a handful of other goodies on the PC. It’s nice, but how much is that really changing the experience? And on the console version you can play from your couch on a big screen TV.

The PC snobs have always put down the console controllers. And at one time they had a right to do so. There was nothing a console controller could do, that a Mouse and Keyboard could not do better. But nowadays, although the PC elitist don't want to hear it, the console controllers have reached the point that there are some genres that those little sticks can do better than the mighty mouse and keyboard. For example driving a vehicle or maneuvering an overweight plumber; although both are doable on the PC. Without extra peripherals the keyboards digital controls just don’t have that precision of an analog stick. But on the other hand a fast paced first person shooter is infinitely more enjoyable with a mouse. And complex strategy games are nearly unplayable with anything other than a M&K combo.

Then of course there is the internet. Up until only the past few years it was the PC’s unmatched ace in the hole. Yes technically the Xbox, PS2 and even the Dreamcast had online games. But nothing nearly as big and complex as what PC gamers have been enjoying for more than two decades. It wasn't really until the Xbox 360 came out in 2005 that online console gaming finally started to catch up to the PC. But now it has even in some ways surpassed the PC. While computers have their huge MMOs, populated with hundreds of players, Xbox Live offers an easy way to quickly and easily connect to all of your friends. With a service that universally works across all games for the system. While on the PC your friends lists and whatnot are spread out separately across countless games and accounts. For the first time ever the PC is actually starting to try and mimic consoles with services like Steam and Games for Windows Live.

To me console or PC is no longer a relevant question. If you are playing something like Supreme Commander or Dragon Age Origins the PC is the clear winner. On the other hand with something like Uncharted you just can’t beat the precision of those analog sticks, or the ease of hopping into a Multiplayer GTA IV game with your friends on Xbox Live. Not to mention the speed and simplicity of booting up a console game from your couch. And then there are some games like Batman: Arkham Asylum that works just as well on both. It just comes down to personal preference.

I don’t really have a preference of one over the other. I own all of the current gen consoles, as well as a gaming PC. And they all get used pretty equally (A LOT!). It just depends on what kind of games I am playing at the time. With Arkham Asylum I got the PC version for the better graphics but ultimately ended up playing it with a 360 controller. Not that the M&K don’t work fine for it. I just liked the feel of combat with the controller better. And now that I am starting to feel the urge to replay it, I would just assume do so from my couch. But then again, the first time I played through BioShock was on the Xbox 360 and I was unimpressed to the point, that by the end playing it felt like a chore. Then a while later on a whim I decided to try the PC version. It was a night and day difference. It went from completely average shooter to one of the most beautiful games I have ever played. Though it is still the same game, the little things like smoother frame rate, better graphics and more precise controls were enough to completely change the experience I had with it.

I leave you with this question. Do you truly not wish to have both a Console(s) and a kick butt gaming PC?

6 comments:

  1. I have my own opinion about this theme, and think that PC's are better, cause it has more power than console, and also it our modern times more interesting games. Also PC more reliable. But its only my humble opinion and I dont want to argue with someone about that. I'll better advise one service where u can download ATI Video drivers http://driverscenter.com/manufacturers/ati/video very fast and easy.

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