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IntuitionJo's blog

10:18 PM on 04.15.2010

PC vs Console Gaming: An Integral Struggle

[Disclaimer: It sounds a little far fetched to me, too. And I can think of a few criticisms as well. Just putting it out there. Besides, it's my first blog. Be gentle.]

As long as there has been gaming, there has been console wars. Be it the mighty Super Nintendo against the powerful Sega Genesis, the enigmatic Playstation against the solid N64, or the polarizing battle between the 360, PS3, and Wii, it is a part of our blood to ponder which of the gaming platforms is superior. But it seems that one considers itself above the others. One that seems to have benefits that few sane people can deny its value. One that seems to be infinitely than all the others. One that has had a longer lifespan than all others. The PC.

PC gaming is, without a doubt, a powerful source of controversy. On the one hand, it seems as if some of them consider themselves a 'Master Race' among the gaming world. Wielding their superior technology and versatility proudly. On the other hand, the PC is constantly accused of having no future. Of being a dying breed, losing ground to the consoles.

To me, I've always considered myself a middleman in the gaming world. An observer, not really being able to take a side. I was born during the height of the "Golden Age" of gaming, during the 16-bit console war. I didn't own a proper gaming console until 2001, where I inherited a family member's old Super Nintendo. I played it avidly, experiencing the classics of the 90's during the 2000's, soaking up much of the greatness. However, at the same time, I did own a competent PC. And with it, I also enjoyed the games of the modern day. And I had the internet at my disposal, as well. This put me at a unique position. Both the older and newer gaming worlds were being introduced to me simultaneously, allowing me to get in interesting perspective on the gaming world around me. As such, I noticed little differences between my PC gaming, and my SNES gaming.

One of the things was that playing on a TV, with a controller, felt different than with a Keyboard and Mouse. I'll admit, I was not adverse to using Emulators at the time. So I played some of the SNES games I didn't own on an emulator, and they weren't the same. Super Metroid on the PC was nothing like playing Chrono Trigger on a hard copy. I convinced myself that it was just the game, and that there was no difference between them. It wasn't until several years later that I would know the kind of thing I was going figure out about the console wars.

I arrived home, to see that my dad had bought me a birthday present. It was a large, rectangular box. I honestly didn't have any idea what it was, as I was too timid to make wish lists. As I opened the paper, I saw a black and green gradient effect. I was puzzled. Ripping off the wrapping, I finally saw what my present was. An Xbox. My first home console. In it came a copy of the snowboarding game Amped, and my dad produced another game. The original Project Gotham. Needless to say, as a kid, was ecstatic.

Over the next few months, I played the shit out of those two games. After a point though, I became tired, and played a few demos available to me. How I played them, I don't remember. But, as a huge fan of Star Wars, I played the demo for Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy quite a bit. A game where I could create my own Jedi with his own saber-staff in in blue instead of red? Fuck yes. That demo got more mileage than a demo should. I wanted to play this game. But, I rarely got games, and that was never among them.

Until, one day many years later, I was looking at my computer, bored. And I saw a method of pirating games. One of them that my friend had, ready to download, was Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy. I was tempted, and I gave into it, so I downloaded it and installed it. And I played it. And it was awesome. But, I always wondered to myself while playing it, why does the demo feel like more fun? I even felt like that while playing through the levels that the demo included. It was strange. I was even more skilled at the PC version than I was at the Xbox demo, which lowered that frustration I had on one part. I could not put my finger on it until I turned on my Wii downstairs.

I had 800 spare Wii Shop points to spend. So, I turned on the Virtual Console, and chose "Super Metroid" from the list. And then I played it. I had more fun with it than I had many years earlier, with the exact same game.

But there was a difference. I never beat Super Metroid all those years ago. I became frustrated with Kraid, and gave up. It was free, after all, so I wasn't missing out. With the controller in my hand on the Wii, I felt it was unwieldy, and made the game unnecessarily hard, but yet, I pushed through, and beat that bastard Kraid.

I then stopped. Stunned. Some people said that the controller was the thing that made consoles better. Some people say it's the hardware that made PC's superior. Neither were true. The hardware is both the PC's crowning achievement, and it's curse.

You see, the PC allows for freedom. Openness. A computer is a thousand possibilities. When you play a PC game, you are subconsciously aware that the games you play it on are part of the machine you are interacting with. However, when you play on a console, it's the consoles dedication that makes you think about the game, and only the game. It's just you and the game. You will push yourself further on this game, because you known why you're sitting at the console. You play this game. To beat it. Nothing else matters. When you're on a PC, it's speed and convenience makes it far too easy to be able to give up. The consequence is so minor, because you know you can come RIGHT back to the game, without even getting up.

The idea is that the console is here for us gamers to condition us to become determined to overcome the games we play, and to get the most out of them. Consoles give the game a soul. PC's, being absolutely superior in their potential, have masked this.

The existence of PC's is not a bane. Certainly not. It is our best method of testing our ability to make new types of games, and pushing out technology. It is the mind of the gaming world. It is not the heart. A child introduced to games on the PC will not become as close to the games played as the child will on a game on a console, and, as a result, have less of an appreciation for the gaming culture.

The PC - Console War is a necessary evil, one that we should pray doesn't end. A heart without a mind can't go anywhere, or do anything. A mind without a heart has no love. No soul   read

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