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ManWithNoName avatar 6:46 AM on 11.10.2012  (server time)
My Adventures In PC Gaming

So, after years always having a lackluster PC, when my old PC start failing on me, I decided to do an upgrade. At first, I was thinking about just going cheap, but then decided that making a more powerful machine would last me longer and I could even play a few games. So, after several discussions, inner monologues and kicks to the (other people) face, I decided to build a relatively powerful rig.

My PC now is a Pentium i5-3470 3.20 GHz with 8GB Ram, nVidia GTS450 1GB DDR5 video card and 64-bit Windows 7. Enough to run many games in ultra settings (not graphic heavy games like Battlefield 3, but games like Spec Ops: The Line). Coincidently, Steam started accepting Brazilian money and bank payments (boletos), making acquiring and playing games on my PC easier.

My old PC had trouble running this game!

So, let's put the bad things out of the way. My PC was not cheap. I spent the equivalent of US$750 to build it, which is twice the price of a Playstation 3 around here. And remember, my rig is far from being top notch. And honestly, I recommend to anyone building a gaming PC to not go cheap. There is no advantage in saving a few bucks to run games slightly better than consoles for a year or two. Try to make a PC that will last a good 4-5 years without a full overhaul.

Second, be prepared to never launch a game and play. Launch a game, discover something is not working, mess with the settings a little, go for internet help, kick some more people, get the game running and finally play. Sometimes is easy to fix the problems (a simple restart made Spec Ops work finely) or some more difficulty fuddling (The Witcher 2 required me to fuss a little with settings before running fine) and Half-Life 2 (thanks for this one, TH3MORROW) just worked fine after I bought this new PC.

Third and last, if you don't grew up gaming on PC, the keyboard+mouse will feel uncomfortable and non-intuitive (calm down, Ram, I will get to that point). The keyboard specially was never planned to be used in games, and it is not anatomically comfortable or easy to use. Sure, most PC games will let you customize the keys, but most of the time it feels they expect you to have three hands with six fingers each to correctly play. So I bought an XBOX controller that have filled my needs perfectly. Sure, keyboard+mouse IS more precise, no question here. And if you are the competitive type, getting the hang of it may be a good idea. I just feel way better with the controller.

Now to the good stuff. Gaming is cheaper, yes. I bought The Witcher 2 and Spec Ops: The Line for under US$50 (not each, both). Haven't tried to play on-line yet, so I can't say anything about this. And yes, the games look better than consoles. Not incredible better mind you, but noticeable better in some cases. But I will say you this: it doesn't really influence on how much enjoyment you can have with a game. On the other hand, not having frame rate drops at all really make enjoyment better.

Thank you, Steam. Wait, no, you are making me poor!

Also, you have lots of games that aren't available on consoles, so having a gaming PC means I could play great games otherwise I would not play. Certain genres only works with keyboard and mouse (like RTS and MMOs). Also, the flexibility is quite nice. I am using an XBOX controller AND the Sony Wireless Headset on my PC (what about that, fanboys!), meaning I can save some bucks and use the hardware I already have.

So, I am pretty satisfied with PC gaming for now. It is not easy, cheap or better as most PC hardcore fans want you to believe, but it is not as hard, expensive or irrelevant console fans may believe. Again, if you are going to buy a new PC anyway and have some extra cash to spend, building a gaming ready PC is a good idea.

Now, excuse me while I try to beat Spec: Ops The Line. Great game, expect a blog about it tomorrow.

Because this game is awesome.

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