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The undramatic switch to a PC gaming lifestyle

I was raised on the console and knew almost nothing about PC gaming until about two years ago when I had matured enough to understand the advantages. For example, when I was a console player, "modding" was a bad word. Anyone who modded in halo 2 online would have to deal with the possibility of getting banned and from that mentality my entire opinion of modding was informed. But that is only one example of the differences in console gaming that PC exclusive players may not even know exist.

This blog won't talk about one platform being superior to the other, but what I want to focus on is my journey from exclusively console gaming to exclusively PC gaming, which was recently completed.

My start as a console gamer was with the Nintendo 64, which was the first console I owned, and the game Star Wars Episode 1 Racer. Which was the shit. Moving quickly through time, the next console I owned was the Xbox, then Gamecube, then Xbox 360, then PS3. I had the typical semi-hardcore gamer experience, always playing FPS games, specifically Halo and COD. But I also enjoyed other games throughout my career, such as Dynasty Warriors, Tenchu Z, James Bond 64, Super Marios 64, Super Smash Bros Melee, Jet Set Radio Future, Phantomcrash, Phantasy Star Universe and many more.

Ironically my first step towards PC gaming was getting a game for console, The Orange Box. That was the first time I had played any valve game and it was phenomenal. Portal was obviously wonderful and I can now say that I play Team Fortress 2 on the PC and the difference is amazing. (I actually own all of them on PC now) Free and frequent updates blew my mind. The TF2 that came out on Xbox is still that same TF2, whereas the PC version has triple the game modes, triple the maps, user created content, and thousands of servers to choose from.

Learning that TF2 was getting updates on PC and I wouldn't get them, not because of Valve, but because of Microsoft's updating policy, made me consider the move.

I had finally decided that I wanted to be able to play PC games, but I had one problem, my PC sucked ass. That was the hardest part about getting into PC gaming for me, getting a decent gaming rig. Now I didn't (and still don't) have the money to buy an Alienware computer and just jump into gaming, so I had to plan and practice patience. First I got an average desktop computer with a decent processor and 4 gigs of RAM. Then I purchased a low, low end, graphics card which ended up being a complete waste of money because it couldn't handle any games from even three years ago. It was a Radeon HD 4670 from XFX.

So I installed it into my computer along with a cheap $25 300W power supply. I didn't know jack shit about computer stuff back then but what I did learn extremely fast was that, in this world, you get what you pay for. My warning to anyone who wants to get into PC gaming the proper way is that you shouldn't rush yourself and buy the first thing you see, do your research, find detailed reviews for everything you can, and make sure you are getting the best value.

Shortly after finishing my sub par gaming rig I had issues with the motherboard my computer came with. At the time I had no clue what was wrong with it so I sent it into HP for repairs, got it back about 2 weeks later. It broke again. So I sent it back for the second time, 5 weeks later I got it again. Still fucking broken. At this point I was pretty angry so I was finally able to speak with someone sensible from HP and sent it back for the fourth time, this time when I got it back I noticed that I had a new motherboard in it and it never had issues again. The HP rep was nice enough to give me a $120 dollar gift card to the HP store for my months of trouble and I was able to get this bellow.

Shortly about this mouse; it is an R.A.T. 5 gaming mouse and at first, other than looking cool, I couldn't tell a difference. Using my dad's computer (He is a gamer with an even better computer than my current one even though he is 55 years old) and his normal mouse while browsing the web and not having the extra inputs for various functions made me realize its usefulness.

Back to computer stuff now; I finally had a fully functional computer and knew that I needed better hardware. I decided to really buckle down on my research and saving and once I had decided what I needed, I got it. A better graphics card and power supply. I now have the Radeon HD 6770 from XFX and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for an entry level card. It retails for arround $100 dollars. Make sure you have a power suppley and processor that can handle it, that is generally a rule for any graphics card purchase. I can't emphasize enough how important research is.

Okay, so finally I had a decent gaming computer, a good mouse, nice monitor, and Christmas was nearing which means one thing; fucking money (not fucking money, as in, money for fucking, just money, but I was fucking excited, so fucking money) Steam has these amazing sales usually twice a year with really great deals. I ended up spending about $100 dollars on games, but that got me 73 games, I repeat, 73 fucking games! (not fucking games, well you're not stupid, you get it)

[Steam and PC gaming are synonymous at this point and as much as I used to ask people their Xbox live gamertags I now ask for their Steam names.]

For the longest time I had been an Xbox and PC gamer simultaneously and was recently forced to switch to an all PC lifestyle after my move to college. I brought my Xbox and PS3 along but I left my TV remote at my house so I have no way of switching to the HDMI input. Surprisingly I have adapted really well to my new gaming outlook. My Xbox had pretty much devolved into a Netflix/HBO box and my PS3 a Blu-ray player. Even if I did play it was often just older games or GTA IV with close friends.

My Steam friends list has quickly grown and I find most people to be really friendly and good natured. One thing I have noticed is a greater sense of community within games. Counter Strike Source for example has servers with the same games running 24/7 with mostly full servers. Each game's community has sub game communities with their own political structure, or lack thereof, and niche in the universe.

The switch to this new and wonderful world has been a mostly enjoyable one that I am happy to have experienced and I hope that I continue to experience it. Thanks for reading this shitty piece of shit.
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About Blast73one of us since 3:13 PM on 09.09.2012

My first console was the Nintendo 64 but my first experience with video games was with Doom. My dad would let 1 year old me sit on his lap and play it. From about then on I have harbored a healthy affection for gaming (it's totally unhealthy). I enjoy most types of games but I have switched from just a player's standpoint to a more analytical position. I am currently working on a research paper for one of my college classed that ask the question of video game's validity as an art form. I major in film studies but that may switch to some form of writing.