Hullo and welcome to a brand new Top 5! Last week, a few of us here at Gamer Horizon made a fatal mistake: we totally forgot that a number of us play PC games and thought it’d only be fair to list down why we play games on PC. While I don’t have a gaming PC, I certainly have procured PC games (Gone Home, being a notable one) recently and there’s a value that I see in owning a decent gaming PC. Sean will be skipping out on this one, as he’s more of a console guy than anything but, as always, will be appropriately represented.
That said, here’s our reasons why we game on our PCs!
Some of my most fond memories of PC gaming have everything to do with modding. Call me a sick kid, but I once recreated my entire high school prom as a Doom II level, complete with MIDI slow dance music I downloaded from the web. And to date, I haven’t killed anyone nor I intend to in real life!
Kidding aside, modding allows for aspiring developers and designers to modify existing games and change them in dramatic ways. We’ve seen plenty of examples of Skyrim mods that made the game look way better than what the developers intended, but there’s also other notable examples which include the fan patches for Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines and the character mods for the PC Street Fighter IV titles.
4. It’s the only platform to play RTS games on
In the previous generation, Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 and Halo Wars tried to bring the RTS genre on consoles. Unfortunately, the clunkiness and imprecision of selecting, pointing at targets, and arranging your military in specific formations is something that only PCs can do with grace and ease. The mouse and keyboard set up lends itself to this genre and series such as Starcraft, Company of Heroes, Total War, and the recently released Age of Mythology Extended Edition prove that the genre is still around and will be a PC exclusive genre for years to come.
3. Games will always look better than consoles
Because of the modular nature of PCs, games – including the ones released from years ago – will always look better on this platform. And while I wouldn’t doubt that the price to be able to do this comes at a higher, err, price, there are many out there who just prefer to play their games at a super high resolution and at silky smooth framerates.
2. Prices drop fast
One of the advantages of gaming on the PC is the ridiculous amount of sales available both on Steam, GOG, and the countless Humble Bundles that have come out. It’s also important to note that prices for new games, in general, drop much faster on PCs. It’s something I’ve been trying to figure out for the past several years, and if you know why this is, let me know, but this has always been the case for games on this platform. So while you did plunk down $500 on that new video card, you’re guaranteed that the savings you’ll be getting in the long term is from the purchasing of games themselves.
Impulse purchases are something that Steam is fully capable of fulfilling and with the maturation of this service comes a community that now swears by it rather than condem
ns it. Gone are the majority who condemn its DRM practices, and gone are the majority who complained that unlocking games took too long. Steam has arrived, and it’ll take a gargantuan effort from another company to topple this mega game store. Sorry, EA Origin. You’re not that company. But GOG, perhaps…
I can’t help but feel that PC gaming wouldn’t be where it is had Steam not existed.
There’s really no doubt about this one. PC is the ideal platform for modding! There’s nothing quite like the community that is ceaselessly developing new content for pretty much every Bethesda RPG ever, and Steam’s Workshop feature allows easy modding that supports over 100 games and counting!
4. Keyboard and mouse
Yes, you can plug a keyboard and mouse into a console, but when is that not awkward? Living rooms just aren’t built for keyboard and mouse gaming! For certain genres (FPS, RTS, etc), I just prefer a keyboard and mouse to a controller, so those genres are better on PC in my opinion.
3. 60 frames per second
You may vehemently disagree with me on this point: A game running at 30 frames per second is not good enough. It just isn’t. And multiplatform titles that are stuck at 30 frames per second on consoles will (almost) always run at 60 frames per second or better on a capable PC. To me, the choice is obvious.
2. Powerful hardware
The PC I built in 2011 meets the recommended requirements for Watch_Dogs, and unless I am very much mistaken, it should perform up to par with the next gen consoles, and may even do a better job with Ubisoft’s latest. Now, granted, I built an enthusiast’s rig (with two video cards in SLI) with the hope that it would remain a powerful system for years to come, so it’s not a surprise that modern games still play well on my aging PC. But I haven’t upgraded a single component since I built the machine in 2011, and it still manages to go toe to toe with the next gen consoles. Of course, it also cost me three to four times as much as my PlayStation 4, so I can certainly understand those that favor the more affordable consoles. Nevertheless, the sheer power of a gaming PC has always been reason enough for me to purchase the PC versions of cross platform titles.
1. Cheap games
Though the consoles are finally starting to have some great sales of their own, for the last few years, it’s been all about the PC when it comes to finding the best deals in gaming. There are two primary reasons for this:
The first is Steam, Valve’s digital distribution platform, which hosts incredible sales over the summer, through Thanksgiving weekend and Black Friday, and for the winter holidays and into the New Year. These sales frequently lower the prices of popular titles by 75% or more, and for games that have seen permanent price drops prior to the sale, the savings are incredible. Imagine a game that is released for $59.99. Within a year, it has seen permanent price drops to $39.99 and $19.99. Then a 75% off sale hits and within a year of its release, a game that was $59.99 can be purchased for $4.99. This type of situation is not unusual; in fact, it’s so reliable that I find myself purchasing brand new games less and less, and instead build up a large wishlist which I use to shop with during the big sales. The result is I end up owning nearly every game that interests me, and I spend less money on my hobby than ever before. The $59.99 that I might have spent on a single game could end up paying for a dozen games, including that original game! All it takes is a Steam wishlist and a bit of patience.
The other way to get incredible deals in PC gaming is through “indie” bundles. I call them that, but occasionally you see bundles of AAA titles as well. The most popular of these is Humble Bundle, but a variety of others such as Indie Gala, Indie Royale, Bundle Stars and Indie Game Stand each offer sets of games for dirt cheap. Usually you end up with anywhere between 5 and 12 games for less than $10, and frequently they can be purchased for as little as $1. I’ve seen my library of PC games balloon from a couple hundred to over a thousand games over the last few years and it’s mainly thanks to these bundles. I don’t have time to play even half of them, but that’s not the point.
It’s also worth mentioning that you don’t need a killer gaming rig to play PC games. Even a cheap laptop from Best Buy can play most modern games—especially as Intel’s processors can play games decently without the need for a dedicated video card—so there is an argument for the value of a system like that verses a modern console.
With the data files open to all, some games can be endlessly modded. Games from Bethesda like Fallout and Skyrim can have so many mods, you can spend more time installing and trying mods than playing the game! Modding hearkens back decades, to mods of Doom, Quake, and Duke Nukem, which were sometimes sold in box form at your local Software Etc.
4. Unusual experiences
I am a big fan of the games that Increpare make. They are unusual, thought-provoking, and not always meant to entertain. Some are small executables I download, and some are in flash. Either way, I can’t enjoy these experiences on a console. There are other titles just like this like Papers, Please, Hate Plus, and even though we’ve seen more and more indies on console platforms, some games just won’t work with a controller.
The Steam platform is without peer. Extremely convenient, it’s added full-screen mode, excellent controller support, and now it’s moved on to adding complete bells and whistles like Trading Cards. It is DRM, but it offers so much to the consumer, the vast majority are willing to take it. Not to mention, many games now are built with Steamworks middleware, and require Steam to run.
“Durr hurr hurr why not pirate them”- Shut up. Anyway, there come a few times a year when Steam, and other distribution platform, put games on discount. Deep discount. Like, 90% discount. There’s also the popular Humble Bundles, where you can literally name your own price and get a big ol’ bundle of quality indie titles. You may have spent a lot on the computer, but the software is golden.
As powerful as the Xbox One and PS4 are, the PC I built several years ago matches their performance. And several years ago, the games made for Xbox 360 and PS3 look amazing. Some, like Borderlands 2 and Batman Arkham City feature effects like particle physics or dynamic lighting not offered on consoles. Resolutions don’t top out at 1920 x 1080 either, they can go as high as your equipment can allow. If you have the budget, the sky is the limit.
Tomb Raider, shown here running on the PC, don’t need no definitive edition to run at 1080p and beyond. Despite the differences between versions, the PC version is still a looker and underscores why it’ll always be a powerful platform for gaming.
And with that, the circle of “Reasons” Top 5s is finally complete! Are you a PC gamer? What are your reasons for gaming on PCs? Sound off on our comments below, will ya?