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PC Games in general
Member Name: rob_writer
PC Games in general
Date: 19/04/01, updated on 19/04/01 (347 review reads)
Advantages: Better games, great graphics, do more than just play games
Disadvantages: More expensive
I don't know why I sit here and write this; I'm not reviewing any one product in particular but I'm going to write it anyway, so tell me what you think!
The Playstation may claim to have 500 games, but this pales in to insignificance when you consider the games that have been released for the PC over the last 15 years, it must be in the tens of thousands. In theory every game should be backwards compatible so the latest PC can play games from 10 years. In practice you will have to do a bit of fiddling to get an old game to work but it is possible.
Back in the old days the PC wasn't much of a gaming machine. It was very expensive and a pretty poor platform for plating games, but over the years improved. A few years ago it overtook the consoles, technically at least. Even the new Playstation 2 is certainly no better than a good PC in terms of graphics.
The new X-Box from Microsoft may well look gorgeous but the graphics technology in the X-Box (GeForce 3) will soon be released for the PC, and while the X-Box has pretty much fixed specs (i.e. no real upgrades) the PC will continue to evolve every week of every month of every year. This means that in a years time the PC will have evolved past the X-Box, and every year the X-Box will look more and more dated.
Before I go any further I think I should answer your cries. I am obviously one of those PC obsessed nerds who sits at home playing on his PC and has no life. Well, sorry to disappoint you but I am not. For years I was a console owner, first a Mega Drive and then a Playstation. I had an ageing PC which I used mainly for Word Processing and a littl
e later on Internet access. I loved playing games on my consoles, and was very much a hardcore gamer. On the other hand two of my friends were very much hardcore PC gamers. They player games like Quake online before most of us had even heard of the Internet, and they loved it.
They tried to convince me almost every day that the PC was a better gaming platform than a console. I would have none of it. I spurted out the same arguments that people have used since the debate began, and of course while being good arguments I will pick a hole in each and every one of them (at least the ones I list here).....
1. PC's are too expensive.
Well yes, they are. But not as much so as they used to be. My PC cost me £800 and plays all new games perfectly well. It should last for at least another year playing new games reasonably well, but will probably start to struggle at which time it may cost me a couple of hundred pounds to upgrade. Obviously this works out a lot dearer than the £300 you fork out for your brand new Playstation 2.
Of course, my PC does a lot more than play games; I can watch DVD's, make CD's, surf the net.........but this belongs in a separate section!!
What I am saying though is that with the PC you get far more for your money than simply a console which can play games.
Also worthy of note is something I saw today in WH Smiths. You bog standard new Playstation 2 game will cost you £40, but the average PC game sells for £30 or less. That means that every 10 games you buy, you recoup £100 on the cost of your PC........which could soon add up to a substantial total.
2. Consoles are quick and easy.
How many console users have spouted this one out? I know, because I used to say it all the time. But after having used my PC for all of 2 minutes I realised what a load of rubbish it really is. Consoles may simply involve putting in the CD or cartridge in and pressing on. Well with a PC,
all you do is insert the disc in to the CD-ROM drive and click on play. The first time you have to install the game, but this takes all of 3 minutes and once done never has to be done again.
3. PC Games never Work
Rubbish. I have never had trouble with a PC game. Well, I guess that isn't all I can say, but really, games are getting better in terms of compatibility. Back in the old DOS day’s things were different and PC's were very difficult to set up. This gave them a bad name which they are finally starting to get rid of. All you have to do is install the game and play, perhaps install the latest version of DirectX.
You can say what you like about Microsoft in general, but the new versions of Windows and things like DirectX make playing games very easy.
4. PC Games are boring
Yes, I used to say this too. Back then I had not played Unreal Tournament online, I had not experienced Black and White and I had never beaten my friends (or got beat) at Red Alert 2.
PC games may be a different breed to those on consoles, but they really aren't that different. A lot of games are available on both the PC and Consoles, but in general PC games are a little more in depth and console games are a little more pick up and play. It’s by no mean the rules, there are exceptions!!
Again let me tell you that once I said all of the above, but I realised how wrong I was (This is starting to sound like one of those brainwashing free your mind things!!).
Now then, the important part........why the PC is better!!
I used to say graphics didn't matter at all, but I changed my mind. Gameplay may be more important but it is much nicer to drive round a good-looking track than a one full of jagged edges.
In terms of graphics PC's are at least on par with current consoles if not better. A nice new GeForce 2 card makes games look great, but when you se
e screen shots of the new GeForce 3 in action and your draw will literally drop. Think Toy Story (the film) and you aren't far wrong!!
Consoles are seriously disadvantaged by the fact that they use a TV screen. Now of course, I hear you scream, I would much rather play a game on my 28" beast of a TV than my 17" monitor. And yes, it may look nice but TV's are fuzzy and very low resolution. I'm not technical guru but I think I am correct in saying that TV's best resolution is 512 by something a bit smaller, compared to a new PC that can do 1600x1200.
I'm not saying that the new Playstation 2 looks bad, just a good PC can look just as good, if not better!!
2. Online Play
The Dreamcast had it, and the Playstation 2 and X-Box promise it, but the PC is the original online platform, and at the moment nothing comes anywhere close.
Be it a Quake 3 deathmatch, a tactical battle in Red Alert 2 or a simple game of draughts in MSN Zone, the PC caters for everyone. And trust me, online play can eclipse all other kind of games.
There is something about real life competition that makes it better than real play. The unpredictability of other humans and the strategies and tactics used eclipses whatever artificial intelligence can throw at you.
3. The Scope for Add Ons
On consoles you buy a game, play it, get sick of it and let it collect dust. On the PC a lot of games have much more scope. Games like Unreal Tournament, Half Life or Quake 3 have a massive range of mods available for them. These are all free add ons for a game, often amounting to what is basically a whole new game. One example of this is Counter Strike, a mod for Half Life. This started as a small project, and has quickly become one of the most popular online games around. Add ons can seriously increase the life of a game, although it must be noted that only certain games have a mod community.
For a list
of mods for some popular games try out a popular mod browser at www.goingup.cfgn.net. It’s made by a good friend of mine, so I do have slightly ulterior motives.....but its good!!
4. Range of Games
There are hundreds of games available for the PC; many more are released each month than on consoles. Of course there are just as many 'crap' games released on the PC, probably more than on consoles.
But the good games, ah they are good, and so many are PC only. Games like Half Life and Deus Ex revolutionised the whole of the gaming industry, and they are PC only (maybe with the exception of the MAC, I just don't know!). I know there are as many great console games as there are PC games, but there is something about the great PC games that makes them..........GREAT.
I don't know why, but when I played games like Deus Ex on my PC I loved, and it was much more fun than anything my Playstation had offered. I mean, yes, I loved playing games like Gran Turismo 1 & 2, Final Fantasy 7 & 8 and Metal Gear Solid, but somehow the PC eclipsed these.
And what has happened to my nicely structured numbering system?? Has vanished.....but lets get on to number 5.........more time for rambling later on!!
5. Other Functions
Lets face it, if your games console cost £1000 not many people would be buying them, yet people pay this much for a PC. This is because the PC is so versatile, infact I would imagine that the vast majority of PC's will never be used to play games. Word processing, spreadsheets, databases, DTP, CAD/CAM and the Internet are but a tiny proportion of what the PC can be used for. Your children can use it to help them with their homework, and you need one to use the wonderful site we know as Dooyoo!!
I know this writing is supposed to concentrate on the gaming side, but you can't help but mention the fact that the PC can do so much more. The Playstation 2 may also play DVD
39;s, and indeed have the potential to surf the Internet, but after experiencing a Sega Dreamcast I realise that a PC is the only true way to use the Internet, too many sites just don't work properly on web boxes.
Right then, I think I'm nearly done. I used to think consoles were much better, but now I have been converted to the PC. I have seen the light, as some might say. Of course, there are a few niggling doubts about the PC that I have to mention.
The whole upgrade lark is a little demoralising, having spent all the money on a new PC it lasts a year before I need to spend some more money to keep it up to date. I guess it’s just the price you pay for being able to play the best games. Also, on my Playstation I used to enjoy a quick 5-minute blast on a shoot 'em up or beat 'em up, but on the PC most games are much more in depth. While overall I find this a better situation to have, there are times when I long for a quick bout in Tekken!!
I have had my PC for only a short time, but it seems I have crammed as much quality gaming in to this time than in the 4 years I had my Playstation, here's what I recommend................
Cross between a FPS and an RPG, Deus Ex is revolutionary. You play an Agent working for a government agency, and have to use skill and cunning to work your way through an engrossing story. I won't go in to detail, but lets just say this is the best game I have ever played!!
2. Unreal Tournament
Everyone has their favourite FPS, with Quake 3, Half Life and Unreal Tournament (UT) being the main contenders. I choose UT; I just like its style. The single player game is god enough, but it comes in to its own online. The MOD scene is alive and well, and I can currently be found playing Strike Force (a Counterstrike rip off) and UT Fortress. Get this, its only £10 now!!
3. Black and White
I said Deus Ex was the best game ever
; well I may have to change my mind. This is a brilliant game by the king of the genre, Peter Molyneux. Like Populous before it, you are the god of a world but this time you can be either good or evil, Black or White!! Again, there’s no time to go in to detail, but this game is marvellous.
Also worthy of note; Grand Prix 3, Fifa 2001, Red Alert 2, Civilisation: Call to Power 2 and Colin McRae 2.
Think I've said it all now. PC games rock, and hopefully more and more people will start to realise that too.