I recently decided to opt out of the next generation of consoles to pursue my interactive entertainment through a dedicated gaming PC. Sony and Microsoft quickly caught wind of my intentions (no they didn’t) and organized an intervention to correct my newly-planned future course of action (again, no they didn’t). The following is a word-for-word transcription of that conversation.
*For simplicity’s sake, Sony and Microsoft will be represented by the title “S & M” throughout this discussion. Mostly because those initials are as silly as this article.
S & M: It has come to our attention that you may purposefully pass on the upcoming machines we have yet to officially mention, that you’re considering skipping the next generation altogether! Tell us this isn’t true!
Me: Partially true, and not in your favor, I’m afraid. You see, picking up a dedicated gaming PC seems so much more sensible to me.
S & M: Oh. A PC.
S & M: That guy.
S & M: You must have overlooked the gravity of this decision, of this mistake! Do dreaded driver updates and the constantly evolving video card market mean nothing to you? It’s a desolate road of non-stop hassles and headaches. And the colossal costs alone, my goodness! Surely the balance sheets don’t fit with your late-college budget?
Me: That depends on your perspective, really. Yes, a bleeding-edge technological masterpiece would undoubtedly set me back thousands of dollars I don’t have, but I’m not interested in bleeding. Rather, I just need my games to run. Run well, mind you, though I can achieve that at little more than five hundred dollars.
S & M: We don’t believe you.
Me: You should. I’ve been gaming on my years-old college laptop for the past year or two, a machine that cost less than $500 when new and was never meant to be used this intensively. Still, I managed to make titles as current as Kingdoms of Amalur and The Old Republic playable on this thing. Needless to say, I’m more than used to the occasional struggle by now. Just imagine what a proper PC could do, even in the sub-$1000 price range!
M: But anything over $500 is absurd!
S (to M, with flashbacks from 2006): Would you shut up!
Me: Right. And again, this all comes down to perspective. I admit that I’ll probably be paying more up front for a PC than either of you will charge for your new consoles, but the savings are in the extras. And by extras, I mean games. Have you seen those Steam sales?
S & M (in perfect unison): We don’t talk about Steam.
Me: Then I will. I have over 70 games in that digital library and didn’t even need to drop $200 for the collection in total. To speak of Amalur again, for example, I grabbed a downloadable copy for five bucks over Black Friday. Five bucks! For a triple-A 2012 release with a console counterpart that currently retails at $39.99! Even your evil nemesis known as the secondhand market can’t compete with those numbers. Plus, I haven’t played more than 20 games from my ever-growing trove. In other words, I’ll have more than 70 readily available and accessible titles for my shiny new PC on day one. Backwards compatibility at its finest. Have anything to say on that front?
S & M (spoken with venom): …Good luck with local multiplayer.
Me: As you’ll see here, I don’t engage in multiplayer whatsoever, let alone the local type.
S & M: A controller, then. Ever tried to WASD your way around a 3D platformer or third-person action-adventure game? Experiencing Steel Battalion with Kinect is less insufferable.
Me: Wow, I’d love to debate that comparison. Still, I agree keyboard and mouse isn’t optimal for every game. Which is why I wrote up this helpful how-to guide for using a PlayStation 3 controller as a PC gamepad. Problem solved.
Me: Don’t worry, I won’t. You’ve got me there.
S & M: *high-five*
Me: Kind of. Journey and the Uncharted series supplied some of the finest times I had during this generation, but they alone cannot justify choosing consoles over PC. Compared to the past, I barely enjoyed any console exclusives this time around. I played your Resistance and Red Dead Redemption, your inFamous and LittleBigPlanet, and nothing really hooked me the same way that so many PlayStation 2 and GameCube games did. Old greats like Metal Gear and Final Fantasy have lost their way with me, and don’t you dare mention Kingdom Hearts III.
*S looks awkwardly toward Japan*
Me: And video game capture. How cool is that, right?
S & M (discussing together): Can we do game capture? I think so…
Me: Yes, you can, but with external equipment — expensive external equipment — that makes your machines even more of a hassle than upgrading a PC. Can I leave now?
S & M: No! We have Achievements/Trophies!
Me: I don’t care.
S& M: What about huge TVs and the comfort of cozy couches?
Me: What about Steam’s Big Picture Mode?
S: … I’ve got PlayStation Plus!
Me: Please don’t read this, for your own peace of mind.
*S & M whisper wildly*
Me: Are you finished?
S & M: …Kingdom Hearts III?
Head shaking, I remove my microphone and stroll off the stage.