Experienced Points: The Reason You’re (Not) A Console Gamer

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Jul 21, 2015

Filed under: Column 102 comments

I’m afraid that if you read this site and listen to the Diecast, then this week’s column is going to feel like a ripoff. It’s basically a more organized version of the monologue I’ve been doing on how “furniture shapes platform decisions” followed by “if it’s not shaped by furniture, it’s shaped by the people you live with”.

Speaking of the people you live with…

Our family just got a Wii U. I’d post my thoughts on it, but aside from, “Wow this is charming!” I can’t offer any insight. My oldest daughter has decided that now is the time to do the 100% run-through of Harvest Moon that she’s always wanted to do. So our Wii U has spent the last 12 days playing what seems to be the most tedious Wii game ever devised.

It’s a game about growing crops and animals, but also about friendship or somesuch piffle. It’s got more repetitive grind than any Final Fantasy I’ve ever seen, it requires more exhaustive Wiki-reading than the most obtuse Minecraft mods, and the relevant locations are spread out over an expanse of mostly gameplay-free space, requiring long walks between often-repeated tasks. Add in some unskippable interludes, repetitive dialog, and an interface that’s too concerned with looking cute rather than giving you convenient access to the terrifying volumes of resources and information you’re dealing with, and you have a game designed to devour your time before demanding also your sanity.

Over the past week I’ve watched my daughter research the wiki and build up an impressive collection of handwritten notes. On one hand, I want to be the cranky old dad and boot her off the couch so someone else can use the new console. On the other hand, I find myself looking back on the notes and maps I made for Eye of the Beholder and thinking, “Yeah. It’s about time she worked for a game. You know back in my day…”

So I don’t know much about the Wii U yet. I’ll report back when she relinquishes control.


From The Archives:

102 thoughts on “Experienced Points: The Reason You’re (Not) A Console Gamer

  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “Yeah. It's about time she worked for a game. You know back in my day…”

    Not really on topic,but I wanted to ask:Have you ever attempted something like this with your kids?

    For those who prefer text over video:The link is to a video of teenagers attempting to play the old sega aladdin game for the first time,and their reactions to this retro experience.

    1. Wide And Nerdy says:

      Is that the react channel? I love that channel and it makes me feel kind of pathetic for liking it.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Why?Those videos of kids reacting to old stuff are pure gold.Especially the transformers one.

        1. Wide And Nerdy says:

          You’re right. I guess at first I just felt a little like this was Jerry Springer stuff, laughing at people you perceive to be inferior to you. But the React channel is more authentic than that. The kids (and old people) make interesting observations. Its more about connecting across generations.

    2. Cinebeast says:

      One of my favorite Youtube channels. Near-endless entertainment right there.

  2. Bropocalypse says:

    Not to ignite the very debate you’re arguing against, but I recently realized that the argument that a controller is superior to a mouse is irrelevant, since PCs can use controllers, too.

    What’s amazing is how long it took me to realize this, despite owning a controller for my PC for years…

    I think the PC vs Console argument isn’t a legitimate debate anyway. It’s a human thing, where we try to make the circumstances of our lives feel more ‘true’ by rallying in favor of them.

    1. Mortuorum says:

      Discovering I could plug my Xbox 360 controller into my PC and play Champions Online that way was a revelation. For whatever reason, I found playing with a controller much more relaxing than mouse and keyboard. (It didn’t fix the core problems with Champions Online, but that’s a whole other discussion.)

    2. Bloodsquirrel says:

      PC support for controllers is relatively new. For a while support was spotty (generally on the game dev side), and long-time PC gamers got used to the idea of not bothering with it.

      1. Matt K says:

        I’m not completely sold on this. I had a controller for my PC back in 1996 and a PC copy of Mega Man X. Now while I guess not all game supported it there were some.

        1. Asimech says:

          As far as I’ve been able to tell there were a few years of “controller support dark ages” between the 90s “all controllers are joysticks” and current “all controllers are compatible with the 360 pad or they don’t exist”.

    3. Dev Null says:

      I think the PC vs Console argument isn't a legitimate debate anyway.

      I agree. The mouse vs. controller debate, on the other hand, is a war of the righteous against the infidel.

      1. Bropocalypse says:

        Valve coming along with their hippie compromise controller…

      2. AileTheAlien says:

        (PC gamer here)

        So, I can totally get behind using a controller for digital inputs, like D-pads and the XABY buttons, and even the shoulder buttons. Digital buttons on a controller are just a lot more convenient than having to mess around with keybindings, and/or having the keys be spread all over the input device (keyboard).

        The part I can’t get used to, is the analog controls. Not the analog part – that’s actually quite intuitive – it’s the spring-loaded nature of the sticks and shoulder buttons, which trips me up. It seems like I’m constantly trying to fight the spring, because my twitch-based muscles aren’t accurate enough to hold a position against that force. I’m completely accurate with a friction force, which is why I can comfortably use a mouse, or a touchpad / tablet / smartphone. i.e. I can accurately move to a specific position, but I can’t hold the position against a spring accurately.

        This by itself is almost making me want to get a Steam Controller, just to see if using those touch-pads would work better for my thumbs than normal spring-loaded analog sticks. If it was cheaper, or I was 5 years in the future and all the default controls were set up, I’d already be using one. :)

        1. Tsi says:

          That’s a good point. I never thought about the spring vs friction.

          I wonder why no controller has a switch like a clutch in cars to engage or disengage the springs in the controllers.

          This could be an interesting feature. You could toggle between the two modes where one would push the stick back to the center when you let it go and the other would keep the stick where you leave it. You could also imagine an hybrid mode where the spring engages only when you let go.

          1. Bropocalypse says:

            What might be cool would be if a game had settings you could change so it could do it on the fly in certain situations, like if you use a rifle scope or something.
            Boy, this sounds expensive.

        2. raydenuni says:

          Except the issue isn’t spring vs friction. It’s a matter of input mapping. A joystick can send an impulse over time. That is, it can send an X and Y delta over time. This is great for things like flight simulators where you want to be able to adjust the flaps on the wings. This is really bad for stuff like moving a mouse cursor. You don’t want to tell a mouse cursor to move 20 pixels a ms to the right. Instead, you want to tell the cursor, Move 120 pixels to the right. This is what a mouse lets you do. It doesn’t send impulses, it sends a positional delta. You can move a mouse to the right a certain amount and your cursor will move a certain amount to the right. This is not so good for inputs that want impulses (ever tried a flight sim or a racing game with a mouse?).

          The current problem with controllers is that FPS want this whole positional delta thing that mice provide. FPS are not flight sims, you want to be able to rotate a fixed amount and have precise control over that, not acceleration or velocity. A joystick can only give you acceleration or velocity, not position. A touch-pad works like a mouse and is better for sending position and not as good for sending acceleration or velocity. The Steam controller emulates a track-ball which works like a touch-pad and in my experience is infinitely better than a stick for controlling FPS games. I’ve always hated playing FPS on consoles and the Steam controller just felt right in comparison.

          The bad mapping from joystick to FPS is why consoles shooters have so much auto-aim and why they all have iron-sights. It lets you have high sensitivity when running around, and then lower the sensitivity when you want to aim, because the joystick can’t do both well like a mouse can. Maybe if the Steam controller’s scheme catches on, we’ll get twitchy shooters like Quake 3 or UT on consoles.

    4. Robyrt says:

      Oh, if only this were true. The PS4 controller is a thing of beauty, but due to poor driver support, it only works with my PC ports about half the time. Even the Xbox 360 controller is only reliable because I was fortunate enough to buy the official Microsoft wireless adapter before they stopped selling it.

      1. Bropocalypse says:

        I bought a third-party brand controller that’s a clone of the X-Box 360 one. It even has an ‘X’ mode where it mimics the layout.

      2. Eruanno says:

        The Xbox One controller also works with all the same games that work with the 360 controller. The bumpers are a little weird though and it won’t have a wireless dongle until the fall. On the upside, all the X1 controllers work with PC. Just get a micro-USB to USB cable and you’re off! None of that fiddle like with the 360 where the wireless controllers couldn’t be plugged in because that was only for charging… :(

      3. tengokujin says:

        So, I purchased a DS4 controller because I found that DS4Windows does controller emulation, as well as excellent binding for touchpad swipes and the such. I’m very happy with it, right now. The $40 price tag certainly helped.

      4. The reason for this is that Microsoft have executed the perfect con.

        You see, a few years ago they devised XInput. This is the controller API you use on the Xbox 360 (and presumably now Xbox One), so every game with a 360 port needs to support it.

        Windows has traditionally used DirectInput for talking to controllers, which normally implement the USB standard HID (Human Input Device) protocol. The DualShock 3 and 4 are no exceptions to this.

        When Microsoft created drivers for the 360 controller, they also brought XInput to the PC. XInput only supports licensed Xbox controllers and other devices which match the layout of the 360/XB1 controller, and it only supports these using a proprietary Windows/Xbox specific USB protocol. Of course, Microsoft also famously “glued” the two triggers of the 360 controller together into one axis when accessed through DirectInput, necessitating the use of XInput to properly work with it.

        Given that the 360 pad is the most popular controller, DirectInput is very complicated and doesn’t work properly with said controller, and the fact that developers already have their XInput code… developers stopped implementing DirectInput into most games (things like flight & racing sims which support specialized controllers being notable exceptions)

        An unfortunate side effect of this is that none of your PC games support the DualShock 3/4 any more, because they’re all XInput based, and neither the DS 3/4 can be XInput controllers without gross hacks because (a) they implement the standard USB HID protocol, not Microsoft’s proprietary nonsense, and (b) they don’t have the X/B/A/Y face button labeling (among other things) required of an XInput controller.

    5. Deadpool says:

      You can also buy a keyboard and mouse for most new consoles, making the argument double moot.

  3. Da Mage says:

    For me, my Dad worked as a regional manager at a bank when I was growing up, so we had a computer quite early on. Our place only had one TV, and until my mid-teens, it was older then I was. This meant we could never have a gaming console, as we would also need a new TV that had modern connections.

    Therefore I grew up playing games on the family computer, and even to this day have never owned a console.

    I know I’ve mentioned this before in a comment on here, but a person’s disabilities can also effect what platform you go with. I have nerve damage in my right hand, so it’s impossible to use a console controller. PCs normally offer the widest range of assistance devices for those with disabilities….consoles just don’t. Which sucks, as I would have liked to play some of those console exclusives (such as Halo, which I really enjoyed the first two).

    1. Peter H. Coffin says:

      You must have grown up in the weird notch between the common availability of RF adaptors and widespread component video. The adaptors kept composite video feeding to old televisions from those made in the 1950s through 1980s but they kind of vanished after the early 1990s when video standards started changing every few years until we finally more or less settled on HDMI a decade later.

    2. AileTheAlien says:

      This guy Caleb started this project when he was still working at Hackaday, but he’s since moved it to it’s own website: http://thecontrollerproject.com/about/. Basically, he’s making addon-sticks for console controllers, so they can be used by people with various kinds of disability. It’s still in the early stages, and he might still be hand-crafting everything himself, but it might be worth checking out. :)

  4. Abnaxis says:

    If PC developers would be more open to providing split-screen, hotseat, and other methods of playing the same game with someone in the same room without requiring two copies (even on ports where the function was provided natively–looking at you, Gearbox), my consoles would go in the garbage. Half of my console library is coasters, because the damn consoles keep breaking down and backward compatibility is not forthcoming (The other half is Super Nintendo and PS/PS2 games, because they apparently built to last in the 90s). However, even though HDMI ports have been standard on gaming-level PCs for ages, it’s still apparently inconceivable to developers that one might plug a PC into a television set–I guess for historical reasons?

    Depite this, the fact that more and more console titles are rolling “online only” multiplayer isn’t doing them any favors. If I won’t even buy two copies of a PC game until it’s heavily discounted (and even then it has to be a really damn good game to overcome the inconvenience of needing two computers, two insipid DRM accounts, and my irritation over paying twice for the same product), there’s no way I’m going to buy an extraneous console to play games together with my wife. “Online only” equates to “won’t buy, no matter how good it is” for consoles, which has lead to passing up some really fun-looking titles.

    I almost never buy a title at launch any more, since developers seem to have collectively agreed that making products for people to play on the same screen isn’t worth the effort (at least in the genres I enjoy playing). I think Borderlands 2 was the last game I bought before it hit the discount bin.

    1. Draklaw says:

      A few remarks about the lack of split-screen on PC:

      – More and more small party games support this.
      – Games designed to be played with a mouse just can’t support this. This more or less includes FPS, even if they can technically be played with a controller.
      – The point of Shamus about furniture and environment applies here. You probably don’t have a crouch behind your computer, and it is not that practical to plug it to your TV (chances are that the PC is in another room, or too far away…). So it’s just less adapted for split-screen games. And this is a vicious circle: if most peoples don’t have a good setting for split-screen, why bother to implement it ? And if there is no games supporting it, why bother to configure your home to make it comfortable ?

      Still, I agree that there is just no excuses for multiplayer console games that don’t support split-screen.

      1. Abnaxis says:

        The point of Shamus about furniture and environment applies here. You probably don't have a crouch behind your computer, and it is not that practical to plug it to your TV (chances are that the PC is in another room, or too far away…). So it's just less adapted for split-screen games.

        This is part of what drive me nuts. There’s not really a whole lot of reason why the PC can’t just be plugged into the TV–no “other room” or “desk”–other than momentum*.

        Further, where are these small party games? Every couple of months I trawl through Co-Optimus to see if there’s anything new to check out and the pickings are generally very slim…

        *And by momentum, I mean “developers assume you’re three feet away from the screen whenever they design an interface for PC software and rarely let you scale it.”

        1. Draklaw says:

          About the games, a quick look at my steam library shows : Castle Crashers, Guacamelee, Hammerwatch, Jamestown, Magicka, Monaco, Nidhogg, Risk of Rain, SpeedRunners, TowerFall and any Worms, and I likely missed some. I don’t add Crypt of the Necrodancer because even if is support 2 players, it may not be the best way to play the game.

          It may not be much, but a few years ago we had practically nothing, so there is definitely some progress in the right direction.

          Granted, these are not exactly split-screen games since the screen is not split, but it’s still party games.

        2. meyerkev248 says:

          TV’s suck for close-up stuff.

          The entire point of having a “gaming computer” at least for me is that instead of spending ~$500 on a console and various peripherals, I spend ~$500 on throwing a better video card and an extra disk drive into my already rather nice computer and make it into a really nice computer.

          I do not build a computer for gaming, I build a computer that can game. If only because a $5-600 gaming computer isn’t terribly good at it, and I get a lot more marginal value out of upgrading the system of doom.

          And I’ve tried to use a TV as a monitor for work before. It doesn’t work terribly well.

          1. Trix2000 says:

            Yeah, I can easily hook my computer up to my TV whenever I want, but I so rarely do because it’s just too big and far off to be comfortable viewing for games. It works fine for movies and Youtube, but gaming often requires a closer viewpoint (not to mention being able to read text) which makes things awkward at any large distance. And if you’re going to have a TV screen close enough, it can’t be so large… so why not just use a monitor instead?

            This may have more to do with how PC games are designed from a visual/GUI standpoint, though, since console games obviously feel better for TV play. I actually wonder how much of that comes down to the input – I feel like using keyboard and mouse from so far away might be part of the reason PC gaming feels so awkward on a big TV… mostly due to complexity and variety of input (as opposed to a controller, which has very defined and limited inputs such that you don’t have any ambiguity of what buttons you can press at a given moment).

          2. Abnaxis says:

            Yeah, I kinda misspoke. What I meant to say, is that there’s not any more reason why a dedicate gaming computer can’t be hooked up to a TV, versus buying a dedicated gaming console hooked to the TV. Either way, you’re spending roughly the same cash for the same function.

            If you’re a consumer who’s looking to buy gaming hardware to plug into the TV, a PC will come with all the same plugs an XBox does to hook up, it’s just that everyone–developer and consumer alike–assumes if you buy a PC, it’s got to go on a desk.

    2. Hal says:

      It’s not just that. Most of the gaming my friends and I do now is when we’re getting together for board games or RPGs and we have time before the rest of the group shows up. That was always a perfect time to play Halo, L4D, etc.

      Now, my buddy has an Xbox One, and none of the new games support “couch multiplayer.” This really hampers our ability to actually enjoy the games together, on top of the point Lazlo makes below. I might be convinced to drop the cash on a new console and new games, but without any ability to try these ahead of time, my friends are still stuck in the previous console generation, playing the same games, because that’s what we actually have available to us.

  5. Lazlo says:

    I don’t really consider myself either a PC or console gamer, though I do both. For me, there are 3 things that really motivate me to have a console. 1) resellability, and/or the ability to buy used games for cheap. Steam seems to be making that less of an advantage by occasionally pricing old games at the price point I’d expect for a used game. 2) The ability to know, with a cursory glance, whether a game will run on the hardware you have. It *is* still somewhat comforting to be able to look and say “This game has a big green X on it. I can therefore run it at performance levels that are at least adequate.”

    And then there’s the last enormously huge factor: Couch co-op. Years ago, my wife and I were visiting a friend, and that friend was talking about Halo and asked “Do you guys want to play it?” We said “sure.” About 5 hours later we apologized for ignoring our hosts for most of the day (though they did seem to actually enjoy watching us play), left their house, and went directly to buy an xbox. That was our first console, and honestly it (and its successors) don’t get a whole lot of use. We’re pretty much guaranteed to buy and play through every halo that comes out. Also, most other games with local, multiplayer co-op. Lately, it seems that’s going the way of the dodo. To me, it seems like by far the biggest strength of the console, and console devs seem to be abandoning it. And in the process, probably losing me as a customer.

    1. Abnaxis says:

      I think I ninja’d you, above.

      I’m in the same boat. Had a ton of fun playing games with my wife (then girlfriend) in the PS2/Original XBox era (we were more Champions of Norath/console Baldur’s Gate junkies, though we played a little bit of Halo), and sadly it seems like those days are past. Not even indies are willing to touch couch co-op any more.

      If a game is multiplayer, the ultimate goal these days is to be viral, not provide an intimate gaming experience for players and their close friends.

      1. Lazlo says:

        Oh good lord, the time we spent playing Baldur’s Gate was the best time ever.

        These days, we go into the local game store every once in a while (usually to get something for one of the kids) and we’ll ask them “So, are there any new games that have couch co-op and a strong story where the co-op campaign is the same story as the single-player? Preferably with some sort of RPG-like concept of leveling up and skill building?” And they say “Ummmm… I think Borderlands is co-op…”

        (honestly, the halo franchise has none of the RPG-like elements to it, but there’s something about it, when we first sat down and played all those years ago we just naturally fell into a rhythm of one of us advancing to cover while the other provided covering fire that was somehow *really* satisfying.)

        1. Abnaxis says:

          I know that exact look they give you when you ask that question!

          The sad thing is, I would be happy if developers of single player games added multiplayer in as lazy a way as they can. I don’t want a game designed from the ground up to be multplayer, I want a single player experience I can share with my wife.

          If I could pick a controller, press Start, and drive for Lydia while my wife was playing Skyrim, I would be through the roof. I don’t want inventory management, I don’t want to talk to NPCs, I don’t want to traverse zones, I’m fine with teleporting any time I’m too far away. Just let me do all the stuff the brain-dead AI usually fumbles at while my wife does all the main-character stuff and I would be a happy camper.

          Same goes for Dragon Age, Mass Effect, various flavors of Final Fantasy, anything that’s turn-based*…All these seem like awesome candidates for lazy co-op, but nobody is interested in it.

          *Gladius is by far the best “play while you eat dinner” game I’ve ever played, but I don’t think I’ll ever see it’s like again since my XBox broke down

          1. Draklaw says:

            Funny, I started to play FF IX this week with friends. It support 2 players the laziest way ever: you can give control of some characters to the p2 during fights. That’s better than nothing !

            If you want JRPGs with multiplayer (during fights, too), you can look for the Tales of * series. The quality is variable, but the fighting mechanic (which is real-time and not turn-based) is much better for multiplayer, and it support up to 4 players.

            1. Abnaxis says:

              Wait, so second player can have their own controller and take turns?

              Wow, I haven’t played FFIX in since years before my wife and I were together. I didn’t know it had that feature.

          2. Trix2000 says:

            I think part of the problem is that it wouldn’t be so simple an implementation as just dropping a non-interacting extra PC in the world. I suspect there’s a lot of processing under the hood that assumes a single player’s position that modifies what is visible and not, what processing is run and not, etc… and adding a second viewpoint could mean doubling that processing… if it even has the capability to display two viewpoints in the first place.

            For instance, in the case of Skyrim, what happens if player 1 and 2 are on completely different parts of the map? What if player 2 goes somewhere story-related without player 1? Would map triggers work for both or just player 1?

            It’s certainly not impossible to imagine such a game existing, but in order for the game to be able to support that play it needs to be built with the assumption of another viewpoint in the first place. And since AAA games are always trying to push the boundaries of performance, I suspect the cut a lot of corners to improve the single player experience which would break or otherwise prevent a second player’s entry to the system.

            Would be pretty cool if they actually did that, though. I feel like to a not-insignificant population, having 2-player co-op would be a major selling point. At the very least, it’s an easy way to add value to an existing single player game by experiencing it again with a friend, which can easily change the way things play out.

    2. Wide And Nerdy says:

      Its going to be interesting to see PC try to enter this space. On the one hand, you have Steamboxes meant to serve as console PCs, on teh other hand, you have Shield for streaming your PC to the living room along with Shield controllers. I’m leaning towards the latter because it can stream at 4K making it a bit more future proof. Though I haven’t ruled out Steam’s streaming hardware.

      On the other hand, Wii U has pulled me out of my shell a bit and gotten me to socialize with old friends for the first time in years. We have a regular coop night.

    3. Deadpool says:

      I agree with this. The convenience of a console supersedes a lot of the advantages PC has for me.

      Also, the PC goes through “generations” just like consoles, the splits are just vaguely defined by nature. I, for example, have laptop that can’t run Arcanum because it’s too good, and can’t run GalCiv3 because it’s not good enough.

      And sure, I could go to GoG and buy a version of Arcanum that works, and I could buy a new PC. But this situation will come up again some time in the future. And that shit is frustrating.

      I like that I could buy an SNES game off Ebay today, pop it in and play it at optimum capacity.

      1. AileTheAlien says:

        Unfortunately, the old hardware is generally starting to rot / develop tin whiskers / fall apart. So, yes if you have an old console, and if it’s still working, and if the disc/cartridge itself is still working, you can easily play the old games without any fuss. However, those are becoming a bigger “if”s with every passing day.

        On PC, there’s companies like GOG touching up / recompiling old games, so that they will now run on modern machines without any fuss. Sure, you have to buy the game again, but it’s generally at a good discounted price.

        Note that both of these cases are intrinsically linked, to our long term for copyrights. If copyrights ran out after ~20 years instead of the effectively-infinite term they have now, you wouldn’t need to choose between old half-disintegrated hard-copies, and relying on altruistic companies re-compiling/re-printing old games. You’d just get a copy from any hobbyist or company who cared to do the work of re-releasing an old game, for whatever price they were charging, for whatever piece of hardware they were releasing it for. Sure, the original company would probably do the best job, but if they chose not to, somebody else could step in.

  6. Lalaland says:

    Looking forward to your, ‘What is this O/S?!!!????’ rant for the WiiU over in a mates place last week and everything was a loading screen

    1. Phill says:

      If it is anything like the Wii, it barely has an OS. Well, not one that the user gets to see anyway. Much of what the OS handles automatically on the Playstation and XBox (such as bringing up the dashboard) has to be handled by the game on the Wii, which has to respond to the button press and call the relevant OS calls itself. And where the game has to jump through assorted hoops and do everything right to make things *look* as though the OS is doing it automatically (taking too long to process the home button press will get you game failed by Nintendo QA and require a resubmission). Just one of the reasons why Nintendo have such an awful reputation as a game development partner, and a lower quantity of 3rd party games available.

      I know a few companies who got annoyed developing for the Wii, looked into the WiiU, and said “lets not bother”.

      1. Lalaland says:

        That sounds awful, I know that basic stuff like friends list and that are implemented as ‘apps’ which are dog slow to load (and this was a fully patched WiiU it was worse before the next to most recent update). Tying passing cert. to ‘can you hide how bad our O/S is’ is just straight up evil, it reminds me of the terrible VOIP stuff on PS3 which varied widely from dev to dev as there were no system level services for it.

        To be honest this is where their tie up with DeNA will hopefully fix things but I don’t think it’s tech I think it’s a confused philosophy. Nintendo has always valued shared local play over remote connections, initially I thought this was a cover for really bad online but now 10+ years into ‘connected consoles’ being a thing I’m starting to think it’s just how they think. Still if they want to compete even for kids they need to up their game, tablets are getting them used to multi-function devices with smooth interfaces offering a janky experience and using the ‘it’s for kids!’ excuse won’t cut it any more.

      2. Wide And Nerdy says:

        But why do we need Nintendo for that? We have two other major players in the console market that handle all the big same old third party stuff. Nintendo is doing something the other console makers don’t do. Its like complaining about corn flakes because they don’t taste like rice krispies when you can just buy rice krispies and leave the corn flakes for people who like them.

        If you want apps, there’s something like a hundred major players right now trying to put apps on your TV (not counting the TVs themselves.) most of them much cheaper than an XBox or a PS4.

        1. Lalaland says:

          Ahh I wasn’t clear enough in my point, I’m not looking for Nintendo to make a Me-Too machine but rather that they clean up what they have to work better. The ‘everything is an app’ design philosophy adds unnecessary delay to tasks that should be instant (ie are my friends online?). I would rather they move to focus on what they do well, for example Mii Plaza and the Miiverse is a fascinating implementation of an online community, and making it run well enough that it doesn’t feel like a chore to engage with.

          Nintendo doesn’t need to produce a 3D powerhouse or a multi-tasking media demon but to engage kids going forward they need to be smooth to work with. The WiiU is buried in jank right now, I’ve observed kids reject Win8.1 in education because it feels slow compared to iOS and Android. Now it is an infinitely more powerful O/S and far more controllable than either of it’s alternatives but it’s not fast (largely because of I/O not CPU).

          Trying to sell IT to schools it’s clear that young kids will reject any tech that isn’t instantly accessible to them (k-6 grade aka primary especially). Older kids will learn to adapt to jank in return for the promise of better something down the line but young kids tend to just reject that which is hard to learn. Nintendo has triumphed by focussing on easy to use platforms like 3DS and Wii, uif they are to engage in the connected device game they need to do it better.

          1. Wide And Nerdy says:

            Sorry, i know that was the main thrust. I was responding to a relatively small part of what you said and maybe it was more an observation than an attack.

            I’m just worried now with Iwata dead and the Wii U underperforming that the “Me Too” thing is closer to happening. I hope they see that their flaws are these other things you’re talking about, and not their philosophy on game design and innovation.

            But you make your point well and I agree with you. I’m particularly interested in your observations about kids with tech which run slightly skew to the media stereotype of kids instantly grasping computers. They are neophiles, you say, but have no patience for having to work to make things work. That’s interesting. I should have expected that in hindsight.

  7. Phill says:

    All very true. My use of gaming consoles dropped to essentially zero when we had kids, because they are always in the lounge, and the TV is almost always in use by someone. Although my daughter does like playing on the console herself.

    But then I’ve always stuck to non-console games for the most part anyway (I would say PC games, but I was doing this years before PCs came on the scene), so for me being a primarily PC games is a consquence of:

    * habit
    * furniture
    * the kinds of games I play.

    I think I said this in another thread, but I can’t seem to find a console on which I can play Civilization, Dwarf Fortress, Guild Wars 2 or Combat Mission. The kinds of games I generally want to play are only available on a PC, although that might be a kind of chicken and egg scenario – I’ve not put much time in to trying to find games I might like on consoles since I couldn’t really play them anyway.

    1. AileTheAlien says:

      “I can't seem to find a console on which I can play Civilization, Dwarf Fortress”

      Strategy games are basically only playable with a keyboard and mouse, or maybe a tablet. Like, the tasks you do in those games are usually not something that you could easily do with a controller. So, maybe if the WiiU had beefier specs, you could play with the tablet-pad thing as your input device. Something to ask from Nintendo, for their next console? I suppose since both of those are turn-based, the interface could be streamlined enough to be useable on a controller. Would definitely not work on real-time strategies.

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I look forward to the day when video games become like movies,and you get to play them on whatever system you enjoy,with the only difference being in whether you want to make your configuration yourself,or have it premade and fixed by the maker.

    1. Joe Informatico says:

      In the meantime, movies are becoming like video games, in that some titles are exclusive to one streaming service, and others are exclusive to another streaming service, and that show you liked jumped from the service you subscribe to to the one you don’t, etc.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Thats not the same at all.That was always the case,with this theater playing these movies,and the other one playing others,or with one channel playing one show,etc.Its the difference between two hardware shops offering you two different tools and you being able to use whichever suits you better and two hardware shops offering tools with different electrical plugs.

    2. AileTheAlien says:

      In this future utopia, I want to use any input device on any console/computer, and have it detected and working seamlessly. I also want to be able to simultaneously use two mice, or two joysticks, or whatever I choose.

  9. Bloodsquirrel says:

    Speaking personally: I’ve got a gaming desktop, a decent laptop, and a 360 (which will be upgraded sooner or later). I’m often in situations where I get to decide which platform I want to get a game for, and a lot of the time it comes down to ergonomics.

    A lot of games I want to be able to play while lounging on the couch. When I buy Arkham Knight it’ll be for a console. If I buy The Witcher 3 it’ll be for a console. Generally speaking, if it’s best played on a control pad, then I’d rather play it on the big screen in my living room while sitting on the sofa.

    But some games just don’t feel right unless I’m up close to the screen. Games like Pillars of Eternity and Elite: Dangerous are “lean-in” experiences. Lots of text to read, lots of menus and shuffling through interfaces, and in the later’s case I need space to set up my flightstick and throttle.

    There’s the whole “just hook your PC to your TV” thing, but that would require me to set up a computer desk next to my TV, and I don’t want to do that. I’ve also got a lot of clutter in my office that accumulates from doing non-video game things on my PC that I want to keep out of the living room.

  10. Wide And Nerdy says:

    I think I must have genetically been destined to be a PC gamer. I grew up with Atari and Nintendo and gaming usually on a second TV. We didn’t have a computer that was worth anything till my mid to late teens (though I’d learned some basics on Apples at school). I didn’t take computer classes in college.

    Yet I ended up over time in my adult life slowly gravitating towards computers, teaching myself becoming an IT worker (though I hadn’t learned enough to have an actual job at it till my late 20’s), building my own home rig and eventually ended up a PC gamer. With the circumstances of my life set against it, this is where I ended up.

    But for most people, maybe what you say is true. And I lived for a decade alone with no roommates, so that did open up the option to configure my house around either sort of gaming.

    I also PC Game on a couch. I have a standing tray with monitor and keyboard on it (yes its not very practical or pretty but its all in my bedroom which I only use for gaming and sleeping.

  11. Cybron says:

    I have fond memories of Harvest Moon 64. Never really followed the series, though. Has it gotten even more complicated as the years have gone by?

    1. Alexander The 1st says:

      As far as I can tell, it depends.

      The Friends of Mineral Town games have no forced time to complete the game, but added Rivalries for competing against you with the bachelors/bachelorettes, but otherwise are fairly less complex.

      The Wonderful Life games do have a fixed story, but time is much clearly displayed with a continuous countdown, rather than having to check the start menu. There are a few story beats along the way that you have to hit, but otherwise it seems less complicated to play. (Based on an LP, not on playing them.)

      Haven’t watched or played the other ones, but eventually Natsume made a spin-off called Rune Factory that adds in dungeon exploring as their way of providing plot. Which means you now have Stamina (HP) and Rune Points (MP) to deal with, but as far as I can tell, they’re fairly less complex overall.

  12. Ranneko says:

    Habit is very much why I am primarily a PC gamer. I have the consoles, the free living room and the TV to play elsewhere, but I almost never think to do so and short of literally losing access to my PC that is unlikely to change.

  13. Zukhramm says:

    I really don’t believe the furniture argument. It’s so easy to plug i PC into a TV, or a console into a small screen on your desk.

    I can’t say why other make the purchases they do but my reasons are fairly simple: The games. I’ll buy the machine that plays the games I want. Questions like “why would I get a console when I have a powerful computer?” always seemed strange to me because the answer was so obvious: The games I want to play aren’t there.

    1. Phill says:

      Except when your PC is nowhere near your TV, and there is nowhere to put the PC that would be both near the TV and comfortable to use.

      Or the console is already connected to the TV, and digging down behind the cupboards to extricate all the wires to get the damn thing out so you can plug it in to a different screen is going to take 10 minutes and be very annoying.

      When I lived alone, my apartment was set up such that I could easily have switched different devices to different screens. In my house with kids, no, not going to happen.

      1. AileTheAlien says:

        Agreed. Moving heavy lumps of hardware around, or messing with cables, is generally something you want to do once, then never again. ^^;

        1. Zukhramm says:

          I’m not saying they should move around. I’m saying if you want to play games on your TV, you can get a PC or a console and either will work, so the location shouldn’t affect which you get.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            But consoles take up way less space than a gaming computer.So the location does matter.TVs usually sit on furniture that is not big enough to house a computer,but more than enough for a console.

            1. Phill says:

              And (in family homes anyway) TVs are usually positioned to be seen from some distance by everyone in the room, while PCs are often located in a separate room / study with available desktop workspace – if you have a PC that’s used for other stuff than being a purely gaming machine.

              If you are talking about a dedicated games PC that’s never used for anything else, then iit is serving the same role as a console, and Zukhramm’s point is fair enough.

              But I suspect that is self-selecting entirely the group of people who aren’t constrained by other people and furniture fun in their choices.

          2. Bloodsquirrel says:

            Generally, the price of a gaming PC is offset by the fact that it’s also serving as a fast PC for all of your other needs. Dropping *another* thousand dollars+ every three years on PC hardware to have a completely separate computer to game on your TV is… not ideal.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Yeah,Im not sinking a bunch of money into a console just because a game or two on it look appealing.

    3. Trix2000 says:

      I don’t think this works for someone who is just starting into gaming, though, since they won’t know what games they really like to play. They might have some interest in certain titles from their advertisements, but without that basis of having gamed before I don’t think there’s going to be a huge impetus to buy a system just for a game or two (or more).

      As I said above, regardless of how easy it is to hook up a TV to a computer, PC games often aren’t designed well for TV screens (with some exception). For bigger screens, things can seem far away and out of reach… text is small and harder to read… details might be missed. And in the case of using a smaller, closer screen… why not just use a large monitor anyways?

      There may be cases where someone hears about some interesting games and decides “I want a console” because in their mind that’s what gaming machines look like. But it’s probably because they don’t spend much time or thought with their PC and what it can do, otherwise they likely would have been exposed to the concept of PC gaming and tried it there instead. So it may not be about the furniture, but it may well have something to do with how invested/close they are with their PC setup.

      I actually think that explains why mobile gaming is so big these days – a huge amount of people are getting/have smart phones and other mobile devices they put a lot of time/investment into for various reasons… so it seems natural to them to try gaming on there.

    4. Eruanno says:

      I on the other hand think the furniture idea is very sound. My gaming-puter (a 30 pound black desktop computer) lives upstairs in the computer room. The TV lives downstairs. I quite often like to recline in my comfy sofa and play games. Streaming games doesn’t work, it runs like complete ass. I’m not buying -another- PC for $ShitloadsofMoney (and even if I did, I don’t want loud whirring fans in my TV room) and I sure as hell am not carrying my computer up and down the stairs every time I feel playing some games. Solution? I bought a PS4 which I play some games on. I play other games on my PC. I also refuse to be either a “console gamer” or a “PC gamer”. I play games on different platforms and claim no allegiance to either.

      1. Zukhramm says:

        Either way, you bought a dedicated computer to play games on your TV. I don’t see what difference it makes if that happens to be a “PC” or a “console”.

  14. KingJosh says:

    July 20th was a Monday. Am I the only one noticing that this came out a day early?! Did I miss a scheduling change announcement?

    1. Shamus says:

      Experienced Points has been moved to Monday at the Escapist, because Tuesday is crowded over there. I’ll probably continue to post it on Tuesdays here so it doesn’t get overshadowed by the Diecast.

    2. MichaelGC says:

      No, same boat here: noticed / wondered / have missed an announcement if there was one / suspect there wasn’t one / etc. Shamus still has his little ‘Tue @ 8 PM’ box on the main page, so I assume there haven’t been any drastic changes. (‘8 PM where?,’ I always wonder.) Curious and more curious.

      Edit: They need to update their little boxes, then! :D

      1. Shamus says:

        Wow. Those times must be localized. When I look at the page, it always says “3PM”, which is correct for me. I always assumed this was because I was in the same times zone as the Escapist offices. (They’re actually less than 5 hours away.) But apparently the times change based on your timezone.

        And now that I’m thinking about it… does my blog do this? For me it shows your comment was posted at 10:38 AM. Is that different for other timezones?

        1. Lalaland says:

          Nope it’s listed as 10:38 am here in UTC anyway

          1. MichaelGC says:

            Aye, same here – it says 10:38 for me too, and this one’ll say 11:10, although it’s 17:10 where I am.

        2. Mephane says:

          Slightly related rant: If your (generic you, not meaning Shamus) website wants to do localized times and time formatting, do it right or don’t bother. You can’t just put in dots between the parts of a date because the IP is from a country where that is the common practice. Especially because the order between year, month and day varies between formatting styles. 2/5/2015 could be May 2 or March 5. When you change the slashes into dots – 2.5.2015 – in order to make it look like a German date, but you actually meant the second number to be the day, then be prepared for your dates to never be read correctly by the entire country.

          If you insist on not using something that can be universally understood (like the UTC date/time format), then let us at least choose the formatting we want to see. Or just let it stand as your original, e.g. American date. Because when I see a time given as 2/5/2015 15pm PST, at least I know what to expect, and how to convert that into something more useful to me.

          How do German people deal with this who don’t even know how American dates work? They’d see 2.5.2015, meant to refer to the 5th of February, and think the event is going to happen in May!

          Extra rant, related to the above: Just don’t do IP location checks in general. Just, don’t. That my IP may show up as a particular geographic location, even if that location is the actual location, tells you nothing whatsoever what language I want to see your content in, what date formatting or currency I want to see, etc. Let me choose myself; you may set the default setting on the first visit to whatever you deem appropriate (hint: more often than not you are wrong, see the above paragraph about merely replacing the seperator characters while not using the proper order), but let me pick something that I can actually work with.

          Extra extra rant: starting with the month, then showing the day, then the year, is stupid. There, I said it. Whoever invented that date format was an idiot. It is illogical and the source of much confusion to this day. Also, while we are at it: Imperial units suck.

          Rant over.

          P.S.: Oh I almost forgot. I also hate relative dates. “Posted 3 days ago”. No thank you very much. Give me an actual date and time instead.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Extra extra rant: starting with the month, then showing the day, then the year, is stupid. There, I said it. Whoever invented that date format was an idiot. It is illogical and the source of much confusion to this day. Also, while we are at it: Imperial units suck.

            Amen to that!The whole “But we have been using it since my fathers fathers father” argument needs to die.Adapt to the change,its not that hard.If you can use a technology that didnt exist 10 years ago,you can use sensible unit formats.

  15. Lalaland says:

    I’ve been a Playstation + PC man since PS1, mostly because Gran Turismo. There is no finer blend of sim and arcade, PC titles can do the sim stuff better but always seem to miss that sweet spot that Kazunori Yamauchi hits every time. Other than that Sony have always invested in interesting titles so there’s a few experiences per gen that I can only have on PS.

    Predominately though it’s down to the simple fact that I can persuade casual friends to invest €400 in a console to play online with me but I can’t persuade them to drop ~€800 for an equiv PC. Add to that the PC overhead of drivers, patching, etc compared to the straight forward nature of consoles (I can have all of that happen in standby on PS) and it’s a lot easier to twist their arm for PS.

    I’m a PC gamer personally and love the sheer breadth of titles I have available but I also enjoy the PC jank (no really I love me some reg hacking, etc). When I just want to sit down and play with mates, nothing beats a console (XB1 or PS4, WiiU is a curiosity in this space)

  16. Primogenitor says:

    Huh, I always thought PC vs Console came down to if you wanted to do anything non-gaming (e.g. www, email, schoolwork / workwork) or non-standard (e.g. mods, creating content). But with modern tablets and smartphones being everywhere now, and the cost gap between non-gaming PCs and gaming ones (“latest graphics card costs how much?!?!?”) I think I was wrong.

    I’m not sure I accept that furniture is the top reason – I’ve happily been using a PC from the couch for years with a wireless mouse and keyboard, and would really struggle to go back to just a dumb TV. But I guess for many people it’s an initial factor, and then inertia drives the rest of the way.

    1. Tektotherriggen says:

      There’s the “pretense” factor as well. I can buy a moderately expensive gaming PC and tell myself that a big chunk of that purchase is for “work” (including internet banking, word processing, programming, all that stuff – not necessarily paid work, and indeed I have barely done any day-job work since I got it a year ago).

      But if I buy a console, I have to accept that I’ve spent $x00 on pure entertainment (and we still see games as entertainment, whereas a vinyl snob or film buff can easily justify their tech investments as “necessary to appreciate the art”).

      Even more so if you have to justify the cost to your family.

  17. Christopher says:

    I want to compliment Steam. Even though I have only played and finished about four PC games in my life, and largely play console or handheld games, I’ve still got something like seventy steam games. I’ve heard this is the case for PC gamers too, but it’s got to be even worse.

    Anyway, if we’re all telling our gaming life story, I was pretty much raised on Nintendo. Would play consoles in our own or friends’ living rooms with friends or siblings. Got really into handhelds partly because it’s nice to have something on your own when you don’t have your own TV in your room. When the Wii came out and didn’t have a lot of games for me, I got a cheap PS2 and later a 360. Playing PC games is an emergency thing, like when a copy of Bioshock Infinite was way cheaper on there or Shovel Knight came out there first. Don’t feel the need for a new console yet, and if I’m getting a new laptop, I’m primarily gonna make sure it’s good for drawing.

  18. Daimbert says:

    Unless you’re single, living alone, and you didn’t have access to games as a kid, then you were probably pushed into one group or another by forces beyond your control.

    Except for the last one, you’ve described me! And I probably count, because my history is mixed enough that it didn’t really impact my decisions.

    I started out with the Atari 2600 console, but then later as my brother and then I got interested in computers with the CoCo2, since you could program it AND play games on it. Then I moved on to the C64, Amiga, and then finally to a PC, and so played mostly on that for years.

    But then, eventually, I decided that I wanted a DVD player, and had heard about the PS2 and it being backwards compatible and so having a very large library of games, and so gave it a try. I found out that I love JRPGs — which you typically can’t get on the PC — and so ended up with a reason to play both. Eventually, I found a way to play the PS2 without it being on my TV, and so could play it and watch TV at the same time, from the comfort of my sofa, and so became more of a console gamer. I then wanted a Blu-Ray player, and so bought a PS3, and so most of my gaming was on a console with the exception of The Old Republic.

    Now, I’m drifting back a bit to PC gaming, because of GOG and replaying and playing some of the games that I never got to play before. Still, in general given the choice between a game on the console and a game on the PC — like the game where I first discovered this, Oblivion — I’m taking the console because the sofa is more comfortable than the desk at the computer is. Once I make it so that I can watch TV while playing on the PS3, that’ll just be cemented.

    I also have a Vita that I play on my chair, and the only reason that I don’t play it more is because there aren’t that many really interesting games for it.

    So, for me, the first concern is what games there are, and I think that’s probably true for most people. Then there are other considerations, like price, convenience, and so on. Most people don’t start from “I want to get a system to play games; let me see what fits in my life” but from “I’d like to play these games, can it work?” At most you get people who need to get to the latest and are trying to think about what suits them better, but even then it’s games first, and then everything else, especially since there are ways to work around almost every other problem.

  19. John says:

    I game on the PC from my couch. It’s okay, but far from ideal. I think that the degree to which couch-based gaming is a good fit for the hypothetical you depends on the type of game you are trying to play and the peripherals you are using to play it.

    I used to have my PC on a proper desk, but when my family and I moved to a smaller house there just wasn’t enough space. So now my PC is in the living room, hidden behind our television. My keyboard and mouse are on the coffee table. I know that I must be leaning forward at least a little, but I don’t really notice. I find that this is a perfectly reasonable setup for turn-based games and even for many real-time games controlled with mouse and keyboard. But to play games like X3 or Tie Fighter, I have to push the keyboard back from the edge of the coffee table in order to make room for the joystick. Unfortunately, these games also require extensive use of the keyboard, so I end up either perched on the edge of the couch–which is not good for the couch–or learning fairly far forward–which is not good for my back. I suppose that I could create some kind of lap-board to hold all my peripherals, but I wouldn’t know where to start.

    1. Nidokoenig says:

      You can buy cushioned lap trays to put things on, like a laptop or breakfast tray. A keyboard and joystick would fit, though it’s generally nicer to have a mouse on a box off to your side in my experience. You might want to blu tak stuff to the tray for stability.

  20. Piaw Na says:

    I have both PC and consoles. The old saw that console games cost more than PC games is just plain wrong. Console games (at least, if you buy the physical disk, which tends to be cheaper if less convenient) can be resold or lent to friends (or even better, bought used at huge discounts) while PC games nowadays are locked to a steam account or what-not. Given that I never buy a game on release (not even Arkham Knight), it’s just a non issue.

    More important is that the latest generation consoles have instant resume, which is far more convenient than PCs, and that my PC warms up the room a lot when the GPU is going full bore!

  21. Chauzuvoy says:

    Another factor worth considering is the social element. I’ve been a PC/Sony gamer because my first experiences gaming were Roller Coaster Tycoon at a family friend’s place and 007: Agent Under Fire on my cousin’s PS2. And then most of the friends I met who gamed played more League of Legends or Starcraft than Halo, so I started being more and more of a PC gamer. Not because I decided it was the best platform for me, or because some aspect of my living situation forced it on me, but because it was the platform I needed to be on in order to play the same games as my friends.

  22. modus0 says:

    Count me in with some of the older crowd.

    I started gaming on my mom’s Atari 2600, did some gaming with a friend on his NES, used Apple IIe’s at school, later got a simple PC (unfortunately, with too little memory to play games on; and we couldn’t upgrade), then got a SNES, got to play on a Commodor 64/128, got out on my own and picked up a laptop then Playstation (because FFVII), then a PS2, built my first real PC, got a used Xbox, then Xbox 360 from a friend when he didn’t need his, and recently got an Xbone this last Christmas.

    And I was inspired by the update post about Josh’s setup for recording Spoiler Warning to find a way to hook my 360 up to my second monitor, and then got a better monitor so I could connect my PC, 360 and Xbone all to the same monitor, primarily so I could game whenever without worrying about someone wanting to watch TV.

    So for me at least, there’s little difference right now between console or PC gaming, because I’m at my desk for both. This setup also allows me to easily look something up for a game without having to pause for very long.

    On the other hand, I find myself looking back on the notes and maps I made for Eye of the Beholder and thinking

    I think I still have my graph paper maps from that game. Though I played through the SNES version. Bugged me that I could never find the Stone Gem until I discovered years later that there wasn’t one. >.<

  23. Halceon says:

    Well, at least Harvest Moon answers the one big question. You know, “What do they eat?”

  24. Mephane says:

    Shamus, your article should be plastered all over the internet. It is just so true. In my case, I got an old, used PC as a kid in order to use the Lego Mindstorms set (the very first iteration). I had no idea about the hardware or software, and the price was a total rip-off, I would have gotten a better new PC for that price, probably, but I don’t think the guy who sold his old PC to me had the slightest idea what a reasonable price would have been, either. This is all in hindsight, of course.

    Anyway, somehow I came about some Star Trek DS9 adventure game; it was a detective story of some sort. I never actually finished it because at some point deep into the game suddenly I was presented with what in retrospect I would describe as a bare-bones FPS section, I had to shoot flying drones with the phaser and couldn’t hit them in time before they killed me, and soon gave up because it was just too damn stressful. (Today I can play FPS just fine, I was simply not prepared for the sudden change in how the game played, and I wanted to get on the with story and had no intention whatsoever to shoot these damn drones, plus even if I would have eventually struggled through this section successfully, maybe the rest of the game would be like that? I personally still loathe it when a the core gameplay changes halfway through a game, which is a rare thing but usually it means that I will never finish such a game; case in point: Brutal Legend, I hated the mandatory RTS portions, not necessarily because I am neither a fan of nor very good at RTS, but mostly because as an RTS game, it totally sucked.)

    The next game I remember playing, was SimCity 2000. I don’t know, either, how I got it, possibly a present, it basically sealed the PC deal for me once and forever. Because, after having poured lots of time into the game, I discovered that apparently there is a game out there called SimCopter that let’s you fly a helicopter inside the very cities you have built in SimCity 2000. My mind was blown that this was a real possibility, and had to get that game. It was quite an odyssey because apparently the game was a bit old by that time already and out of its main lifecycle already, but then found it in a special section for old games re-released under a smaller price.

    I had still little idea about all the tech so I naively bought this game and installed it. I was lucky it worked, especially considering that the PC was really old and weak, I had to dial down the graphics settings (which basically consisted of a slider how far away everything would disappear into a thick fog) a lot, but it worked and was really quite fantastic.

    At the same time, the internet had become a thing (I started with 56k) and the PC got all these additional uses from reading stuff to forums and ultimately, online games – Freelancer was my first real online gaming experience because at that time we finally made the upgrade to DSL and wouldn’t have to pay by the minute.

    And this was basically the story how I happened to get stuck on a PC. I hold no grudges against consoles but simply have no interest in having a second device for the same purpose (this is true for other things as well, at one point I made the decision either eBook reader or tablet/smartphone for having stuff do read in commutes, I could have bought one of each but why bother with two things that serve the same ultimate purpose?).

    Of course I loathe shoddy ports from console to PC as much as anyone else, but that is in the end no different from a PC game that is just made crappily. *shrug*

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I personally still loathe it when a the core gameplay changes halfway through a game, which is a rare thing but usually it means that I will never finish such a game

      What about giants:citizen kabuto?I think it worked well in that one.

      1. Mephane says:

        No idea, I had not even heard of that game until now.

        My issue is less whether the portion of different gameplay is any good, but that I didn’t sign up for it. Brutal Legend could have had the best RTS ever, I would still hate it because RTS are not my thing, and nowhere on the tin did it say that half of the game is an RTS.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Im pretty sure brutal legend was advertised as a third person real time strategy hybrid.

          As for giants,you should definitely try it.Its on gog,and its marvelous.It has an rts level in the campaign,yes but its well introduced and not that much of an rts.More like squad based shooter where you get to improve your squad,while you fly around with your jetpack.

          1. Nidokoenig says:

            I remember people saying they thought Bruetal Legend was going to be a God of War clone or something based on the demo, and getting properly salty when it turned out to be nothing of the sort, so it didn’t seem to be common knowledge.

            1. dp says:

              The demo didn’t have any of the RTS elements, just the general third person gameplay. A rather poor decision since the RTS part was the most complex and detailed part of the game. For me the game was: 70% driving around an open world (fun); 15% third person combat (also fun but a bit simplistic); and 15% 3rd person RTS (what the heck is going on, why am I losing? I don’t understand the rules).

              Which is a shame, all the world wanted and needed was Jack Black in a heavy metal third person brawler.

  25. tmtvl says:

    Started out playing old FPS games on Windows 3.1, then got a PlayStation, then got a GameBoy Colour. When I got newer computer, I became primarily a PC gamer until I switched to Linux, now I’m once again a console gamer.

    The problem is I’m very picky about games, so there’s basically no interesting games for me on PC, only a couple of things from GoG. Which leads me to why I tend to stick with Sony rather than Microsoft or Nintendo: PlayStation games tend to be the kind of games I like (Persona, FF, WotS).

  26. MaxEd says:

    In early 90’s Russia, a choice between, say, ZX Spectrum (which I got) and NES clone was, at least partially, defined by price of games. You could get a floppy disk with 10-15 games for ZX Spectrum for around 15 roubles, but a cartridge for Dandy (most popular NES clone in Russia, so popular, in fact, that no one knew it by any other name) was in range from 30 to 90 roubles, and usually had at most 5-10 distinct games.

    But in my arguments with friends I preferred to point out that I could program in Basic on my Speccy, while all they could do on their Dandy is play other peoples’ games. Granted, I never wrote anything worth a damn until much later… But the potential!

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      So what you are saying is that in soviet russia games choose you?

  27. Simon Proctor says:

    See… I get confused. I’m a gamer.

    I’ve got a PS3, PC, PS4, Cupboard full of boardgames, Wii, bookcase full of roleplaying games…

    When it comes to video games some I play on the PC (Civ, Chaos Reborn is fun, Xcom (all versions), Crusader Kings…) and some I play on consoles (I just finally played Journey it was lovely and I’m enjoying Arkham Knight despite Bat Tanks).

    I guess I’m lucky being middle aged and with a decent income. But my hobby is gaming so that’s where my spare cash goes.

    Now just don’t ask me why I haven’t got an Xbone.

  28. Atle says:

    You should see my Bards tale map. You had to step on every square, try to walk through every wall, open every single door on every house in the city. That built some character, I’ll tell you.

    Wonder were those maps are now. Probably thrown away by my parents.

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