Farewell, PC gaming

I was a die-hard PC gamer until about 2 years ago, when I bought a DS. I’ve been playing PC games since a 486 SX25 was considered “The Shit”, and I’d definitely say things have changed in the last few years.

I think the multi-platform stuff has probably done the most harm to PC gaming because a) it’s expensive to do; b) it’s driven purely by monetary reasons, not by the audience or the developers (strictly speaking); and c) it yields relatively low returns when compared to the intended console versions. (I’m lead to believe that even the GameCube versions of pretty much any multi-format title sold much better than the PC versions, irrespective of the franchise.) This in turn leaves PC gamers with a somewhat stale catalogue of games to choose from, and leaves major publishing houses with the skewed reality that PC development is both cost-ineffective and highly niche.

Throughout the 90’s I rabidly upgraded my PC as soon as I had the money to do so, reaping the rewards by playing stuff like Total Annihilation, Half-Life and Quake 3 Arena in all their audio-visual glory. I think I’ve pretty much exhausted every PC genre I was interested in now though, with the last truly essential game being Half-Life 2. But even that fact hasn’t motivated me enough to spend the £10 or so to get Episode 2 via Steam. My PC nowadays is a seriously out-of-date Acer Ferrari, but I’ve no impetous to upgrade anymore. The most fun I have regarding PC gaming today is playing free indie shooters, such as Titanion and GAMMA BROS., which my aging machine is more than capable of running with all the bells and whistles maxed out.

I’m really enjoying console gaming again, having not bought anything ‘current’ since the SEGA MegaDrive — and I loved that machine far more than I ever did my old PCs.  With my DS constantly to hand, my recently-bought Dreamcast reigniting my passion for arcade games with a vengeance, and a Wii hopefully appearing next to my TV some time this year, mainstream PC gaming for me – after more than 15 years – is pretty much over.

And with that realisation, it feels like a little piece of me has died…

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