The New Style
At the end of a generation, it's time to shake things upon February 28, 2013 at 8:00 am
After acquiring a brand new MacBook Pro last month and making the switch to iPhone two weeks ago, I am officially a Mac. Instead of a PC. Actually, both systems are Personal Computers, but I digress.
I guess that makes me a Mac gamer, too.
What? Stop laughing!
No, I don’t have the typical iOS games, like “Angry Birds” and “Fruit Ninja” and all that mess. Mostly I’ve been playing on my MacBook with offerings from GOG.com (Good Old Games for the uninitiated. Shut up and give them your money).
Unless you’re playing a current-gen game (like “The Witcher 2” or “Borderlands 2”), you’ll be putting up with emulation… and a relatively small library. Steam also offers Mac games, but there are few outside Valve’s own titles and a handful of indie games.
Not that I expected anything more. After all, the hardcore gamer’s realm is console or Windows PC, and a beefy one at that. My MacBook is no slouch, but she’s no gaming rig either. And I’m OK with that.
I agonized over the purchase for a long time (ever since this article), but ultimately I found it to be the best fit for my lifestyle at the moment. Dropping $2K on a new laptop limited my ability to go full-blown PC gaming like I’ve been considering.
Certainly, for that amount of money I could have bought a decent laptop and assembled my own gaming rig. I don’t deny that. I also don’t regret buying a MacBook; it’s my favoritist computer EVAH. I never would have thought a piece of machined aluminum could be so huggable.
So I missed the boat to PC Master Race land and got saddled with an aged console. Big whoop. There are still plenty of new games for this gen, not to mention an enormous catalog of games I have yet to enjoy. I’m not surprised that many gamers’ reactions to a new generation are a resounding “meh”.
We have yet to see anything of substance out of Microsoft for the upcoming console generation, aside from (near as I can tell) baseless rumors about always-on and no used games. Nothing about Playstation 4 interests me, either. So I’m hoping the dark horse Ouya and Steam Box really make a splash and shake things up.
I mean, damn. Announcements of announcements of hardware that wasn’t actually shown. Sizzle reels, and not much else. People acted like Sony was going to deliver Christ himself on a block of ice and have the Kardashians thaw him out with their tongues. “A graphically-upgraded Playstation 3 with more motion/touch gimmicks? And they changed the 3 to a 4? Nonsense, I say!”
Analysts and neckbeards alike have been debating console v. console, console v. PC ad nauseum for years, so the hyperbole of this being console generation being the last is tiresome. There are still people like me that prefer the console as a dedicated gaming machine and leave the work and media streaming to a PC.
However, the mainstream console market doesn’t offer dedicated gaming support anymore. Oh no, we need Facebook and Netflix and HBO Go and music streaming. Let’s Instagram our avatars and upload to Twitter!
If I had it my way, my console would be gaming only: disc-based and downloadable. Keep the chat/party/multiplayer support, nothing wrong with that. Basically, strip out all the social media and advertising bullshit that clogs up my dashboard. Basically, the Xbox 360 circa 2007. I want my goddamn blades back, none of this every-other-tile-is-an-ad shit.
That’s why Valve’s rumored Steam Box appeals to me: a self-contained pipeline for all my gaming. Steam already offers a lot of networking and support already, for free. I’m 100% OK with Valve become a tech company instead of a game developer. Hell, the intrepid Gabe Newell used to work for Microsoft. We need more uppity independent companies coming in and messing with Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. Well, maybe not Nintendo. They’re doing their own thing, like the weird kid in school who ate paste.
Much has been made of Newell’s comments regarding Apple entering the gaming market. Like it’s some sort of arms race, trying to get a foothold in the home console market before Tim Cook slaps the App Store on Apple TVs and splatters Angry Birds all over our living rooms.
Even though I’m an Apple guy now, I’m still rooting for Valve in any console war, real or imaginary. Competition, even the threat of it, is great. Sony and Microsoft can keep making their consoles Swiss army knives of entertainment while smaller companies fill in the gaps.
“Siri, upload my score to Facebook.”
“OK. Now how about doing something productive with your time? I found 5 local areas to meet single girls.”
“What are you, my mom?”
Of course, I must bow to the awesome powers of the PC Gaming Master Race. You guys win no matter what. Just to stay in your good graces, I have sullied my Mac’s hard drive with a copy of Windows. It’s there if I ever really need it, or if I want a reminder why I went over to MacOS in the first place.
It’s amazing the amount of ire I’ve raised simply by acknowledging Mac ownership. No one gave two shits about my Toshiba laptop, but go over to Apple and all the sudden you’re either a) some kind of snobby hipster creative type or b) a complete idiot for not buying the most pimped out gaming rig possible.
I have good news: there’s no wrong or right when it comes to personal computing or gaming. Whatever you can afford without impacting the necessities, and whatever makes you happy, is OK. Really! Deep down, it’s all the same: rare earth metal mined in exploited African countries and assembled by suicidal Chinese laborers.