Next Gen Wasteland
How a newfound love of PC gaming curbed my console enthusiasmon July 9, 2013 at 8:00 am
Honestly, I’m not all that excited for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Give me a moment to explain before you start chucking your controllers at me.
From the moment I turned five, was handed a Game Boy Color and powered up “Pokémon Yellow”, I’ve been a diehard gamer who would prefer life if it came with a crosshair.
I’ve trekked across Hyrule, scaled Roman buildings and used a crowbar to break bones as well as crates. My idea of a wild night is cranking up the difficulty in “Super Smash Bros.”. In short, I live and breathe games and have owned more consoles than any sane person ever would.
Despite all of this, despite the countless hours I’ve spent with Master Chief and Nathan Drake on my well worn PS3 and 360, despite my endless obsession with technology and entertainment, I couldn’t care less for the next gen consoles. All the hype has gone completely over my head, and I didn’t pay the slightest attention to the last E3 conference. Why?
I’ve discovered PC gaming, that’s why.
Like the vast majority of people, I’ve always kept my computer for Googling and my console for blowing heads off. Up until a few weeks ago the extent of my PC gaming had been the occasional game of “Warcraft 3” and “Minesweeper”. I viewed PC gaming the same way I did math; complicated, difficult to understand and a little scary. Clicking a mouse and fumbling with dozens of hotkeys? However, after purchasing a shiny new computer with a semi decent graphics card, I decided to dip my foot into a world at once similar, but completely different from console gaming. I have yet to even glance back.
I picked up three games to test the waters – “The Orange Box”, “The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind” and one of my all time favourites, “Fallout 3”. “Portal” was my first PC game in 1st Person, and while the mouse and keyboard setup was jarring at first, I quickly adapted. The game ran perfectly, looked as good as “Portal 2” did on my PS3, and kept me entranced for the (all too brief) time it took to complete the game. I was hooked.
The “Half-Life” games were next and I was becoming a pro at this setup, sniping enemies from afar and becoming immersed completely in this incredible world. For the first time I was gaming with headphones and.. w0w. What a difference it made. It’s these little things: ultra graphics that let a game’s artwork shine through and headphone-specific setups that caused me to completely forget about my PlayStation.
However, the best was yet to come.
With three characters on the Xbox 360 version of the game, I had already put over 200 hours into “Fallout 3”. Buying it for the PC might seem like madness, but I had a reason. One I was nervous even thinking about, lest I found it didn’t work. I’m talking about modding. It’s one of the main reasons that PC fanboys use to highlight it’s superiority over the consoles. The ability to change anything and everything about a game; to add quests, weapons, better graphics, anything imaginable. I loved “Fallout” on my console, but I’d be the first to complain about all it’s flaws, missed opportunities and what have you.
Googling with shaking hands, I discovered that learning how to mod a game wasn’t an option available only to programming geniuses. In fact it was relatively simple; fun, even. Now my Fallout universe is as close to perfect as any game I’ve ever played and with more mods being made every day, I’m always tweaking it, always improving it and adding in more content for it. It’s not only the new consoles I have zero interest in; I’m having to tear myself away from the Capitol Wasteland to even play other games.
I remember when the PS3 was first announced, back at the E3 conference of 2005. I remember keeping up to date on every new announcement, and succumbing to the hype with a near religious fervour. I remember bringing it home and starting it up and loving it to death. I also remember the crushing reality of how bad some of the hyped games were. This time around there’s none of that, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When I eventually hang up my mouse and pick up a PS4 with a game or twelve, I’ll be doing it blind and with no hype building it up in my head.
Who knows, maybe I’ll have a similar experience to picking up my Game Boy all those years ago. Maybe I’ll fall in love with console gaming all over again.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go pick out a cape and motorbike my way across the wasteland.