Friday, August 15, 2014

The "PC Master Race": A matter of personal preference.

The picture has nothing to do with the subject of the following rant.

Alright, so this is honestly something I've wanted to rant on for many years now. After some thought, I managed to significantly shorten it from its original length.

If you've played a video game at all, chances are, you played it on a gaming console at least once in your life. Did you know that you're gaming the wrong way? What's that, you're not? You are according to most PC gamers.

Now, I'm not trying to stereotype here, I'm only going off of personal experience. The fact is, a lot of PC gamers are incredibly elitist. They will actively attack anyone who prefers or even plays games on a console for whatever reason. I didn't really find this bothersome until it was impossible to bring up console gaming in conversation. I can't talk about what new game I got on my 360 anymore without someone berating me for playing 360 or not getting the PC version.

I'm not 100% on what started this whole "war", but hopefully I can elaborate. See, I have a good friend named Ville. He plays both 360 and PC, but does claim to be a member of the "master race" and jokes about it a lot. From what he's told me, the gaming industry largely ignored PC in favor of console back in the late 2000s, which is true. I'm not sure if this was the main inciting incident, but it definitely gave PC gamers a valid reason to get angry.

Still, it's gotten out of hand over the years. Members of the "master race" are the pinnacle of fanboyism. I see them actively going to YouTube videos or other internet discussions just to say how much better they are and how much the "console peasants" (their term for anyone who chooses console over PC) suck and are inferior.

Now, let's stop right here to provide a bit more context. The phrases "PC gaming master race" and "console peasant" were both coined by a well-known internet reviewer named Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw. He does a show called "Zero Punctuation", where he gives somewhat humorous reviews to games. In his review for The Witcher 2, he explained how the game was optimized for PC and used the two phrases as a joke to compare the two types of gamers. You heard me right. PC gamers are now using these phrases that were coined satirically in a completely serious manner.

One of the main arguments that console gamers make towards PC is that PC gaming is far more expensive. While this is entirely untrue, you can't ignore the facts. Most people still think PC gaming is more expensive and will continue to think this until taught otherwise. Your arguments, true or not, hold a lot less weight when the masses still think otherwise due to the way pre-built gaming PCs and upgrades/parts are marketed. Beyond this, it does take some degree of knowledge to build a PC for gaming, as well as time and a good amount of patience.

While gaming PCs are in fact superior to consoles on just about every technological level, this just isn't something I look for in gaming. PC games have better graphics. So what? Not only can I barely tell the difference (maybe it's certain games; I watched a video of Dark Souls II on the PC in 1080p fullscreen and could barely tell the difference from my 360 version), I literally do not care about graphics. At all. I honestly don't consider people that prioritize graphics to be true gamers, but that's just me.

Moving on with that point, another argument that's been brought up recently is that PCs can run new games at 60 frames per second as opposed to 30. While one's eye can in fact tell the difference, it doesn't improve my gaming experience in any way. I recently read that low FPS count can strain your eyes. I've been gaming since I was 4 and have never needed glasses or contacts in my life. Some 360 games, such as Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance actually run at 60 FPS, proving that consoles are capable of doing so.

Most of the other advantages to PC gaming just don't interest or cater to me. For me, the Steam Summer Sale is just there to buy a bunch of old or obscure games that I'll never play and one or two AAA titles I might pick up. Mouse-and-keyboard controls are clunky and disorienting. Modding is interesting, but I've never been enthused with it. In fact, console modding is actually encouraged these days, unless used to cheat. I've never seen anything in the Humble Bundles I'd play more than once.

In fact, the only deciding factor in choosing a gaming platform for me is the exclusives. I don't care about the tech specs, the fees, the DRM, or what company made it as long as I get to play the series I've been following for many years now. Every platform has its exclusives. I'm not exactly chomping at the bit to play DotA 2 (MOBAs bore me to tears, sorry guys). On the other hand, I'm a die-hard fanboy of Halo and Gears of War, two series exclusive to Xbox. Many people argue that the Halo series has gone downhill, but I highly disagree. I loved Halo 4 and I'm already excited for the fifth installment. It's a wonderful FPS series that, for me, cannot be replaced. Halo may have lost most of its community to CoD, but I'm sticking with it til the end.

One last point I want to make. I'm not sure if this ever happens for any of you guys, but sometimes, even if something is really awesome or impressive and almost has me sold, there can be one thing that's an instant deal breaker. For me, it's the lack of physical copies of games. I'm just as much of a collector as I am a gamer. My collection isn't as large as most because of a combination of only collecting games I'll actually play and poor income, but something in my mind tells me I must have a physical copy. It might be considered semi-obsolete by now, but I simply have to have the game sitting on my shelf. Physical copies are available for PC games, but they're almost never purchased with the advent of Steam being the primary market for PC games.

In summary: No Halo? No physical copies? No thanks. You will never "convert" me because I already play some PC games and still prefer consoles as my main platform. I have nothing against PC gaming, PC gamers, or their choice to play on their platform. What I do have something against is the elitist, rabid fanboys that can't stand it when you're having fun in a different way than they are.

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