A reader explains why he rarely uses consoles and why PC gaming is not only better but often cheaper than the alternative.
I have been gaming for over 30 years. In all that time most of my gaming machines have been computers, from the Spectrum to the Amiga and then PC.
There have been some dalliances with consoles, but I always come back to the PC as my main gaming machine.
Now I’m not a PC master race type chap, I fully understand why so many people choose consoles, but I thought I would seek to provide an insight into why I prefer PC gaming.
1. Building and upgrading
I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, knowing I have a machine that can be upgraded as I see fit is a joyous thing. The excitement of putting in a new graphics card and seeing the performance boost, that little adrenaline rush, is just great. Even the tension with a build or major upgrade of will it work or not? For me it means my PC is more than just a machine… Think of it like building a kit car.
2. Overclocking and benchmarking
Squeezing more performance out of my machine is fun! Overclocking a graphics card is actually really easy, and modern GPUs are designed not to damage themselves if you push them too hard. Comparing my system to others of a similar build on 3DMark, trying to get near the highest score, is remarkably entertaining!
I’m going to come straight out with it, keyboard and mouse is the best control method for first person shooters, and even some third person games. The fact that auto aim is standard on consoles demonstrates this. The ability to aim so precisely is a huge advantage. More than this, I can use my Xbox controller if a game works best with it, keyboard and mouse if that suits, even swap between the two – using controller, keyboard shortcuts and then switching to mouse for certain game sections.
I can also use pretty much any controller I want, including legacy controllers, meaning value for money and customisation to my preference. For example, I still use an Xbox 360 controller, ergonomically I think it is pretty much perfect. For racing games, I am still able to use my Logitech Driving Force GT, a wheel not supported on consoles since the PlayStation 3.
So, you’ve bought a game, the developer supports it with a bit of DLC and a few updates, so that’s that right? Wrong! On PC there is a whole community of modders out there looking to improve, change, and generally mess around with what a game is. These are often graphical improvements (once you’ve played The Witcher 3 with the Halk Hogan texture mod, you can’t play it any other way!), but they can also be new levels, improved artificial intelligence , all sorts of things. Indeed Black Mesa, the Half-Life remake, is one big mod!
Some years ago I was due to race a car at Cadwell Park, I had never been there before. So I downloaded the track into GT Legends that a modder had written and learned the track that way. Did it work? Well I didn’t crash! Modding can add hugely to the enjoyment of a game.
5. Value for money
Some may say I’m taking crazy pills arguing that a PC capable of playing AAA games is a cost-effective way of gaming but hear me out. One way or another I’m going to have a PC, it could be a basic 300 quid machine that can word process and browse, or it could be a three grand beast that will game at 4K 60fps, but I will have one.
As it is, my current set-up has cost me about £800. In gaming PC terms it’s a modest affair, a seventh generation i5 paired with an RTX 2060. However, had I spent £300 on a non-gaming PC I would then have bought a console, so between £200 to £300 at the end of this generation. I like my racing games, and a wheel is a must, so as above, the old wheel would need replacing, another £250… All of a sudden we are up to the cost of my PC.
Then there are the games, between Steam sales, Epic Games Store, and Ubisoft giveaways the cost of games on PC is ridiculously low! OK, there is no trade-in option, everything is now digital, but as long as you are prepared to wait, I think it is the cheapest way to get games. I picked up The Witcher 3 Game Of The Year Edition for a tenner, Ori And The Blind Forest for £3, three Assassin’s Creed games and of course GTA 5 for nowt.
In fact, the only games I have bought at anything approaching full price over the last three years are Project Cars 2 and Forza Horizon 4, and even then I was able to pick up keys at discounted prices.
So there we have it, I haven’t even touched on the ability to play old games, use emulators, ray-tracing, etc. but hopefully it gives you an idea of why the PC is for me. And whatever your gaming machines of choice…. have fun!
By reader The Dude Abides
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