This last week or so will likely be the most exciting this year for any avid PC gamer: both Crysis and Unreal Tournament III have been released (not to mention the latest in the Half-Life 2 saga). These are high adrenalin, action-packed first person shooters. Both are technical and artistic marvels (consisting of “next generation” graphics) all while being loads of fun to play.
Another game came out for the PC around the same time with slightly less elevated status (but still widely praised): Gears of War. It has been available on the Xbox 360 now for a year. But as I don’t own an Xbox 360, I picked up a copy for the PC last week. The only problem is, it didn’t (and still doesn’t) work at all. And I’m not alone. In one of the official forums for the game, there are 68 pages worth of gamers complaining about almost the same issue: the game locks up soon after first loading.
Right now there’s no fix or solution, and Best Buy will not return my purchase (I don’t know of a store that takes back open games). So I’m stuck with a $50 paperweight for now with the hope that the game developer will eventually release a fix/patch to resolve this issue. Was I annoyed? Very.
I have a friend and fellow columnist, Paul Ellis, who swears by the Xbox 360 and doesn’t understand the PC gamer. After all, in order to run the latest games mentioned above, I need some fairly hefty hardware. I purchased, that is, built my own computer over the summer for around $1,500. The video card alone was nearly $400 (more than the cost of buying an Xbox 360). Also, Xbox 360 games just work. You don’t need to check system requirements and make sure you have enough RAM or hard drive space before installation. And your TV (where you’d most likely play with your Xbox 360) is likely to be bigger than your computer monitor.
So why don’t I save a lot of hassle, headache, and money by switching to an Xbox 360 (or other gaming console)? For whatever reason, PC gaming is just more fun for me. I enjoy being on the cutting (bleeding?) edge with the best possible graphics and games. I prefer the precision of the keyboard and mouse to the clunkiness of the console controller. And I like being in full control of the game settings (even if that causes other problems).
Yes, it’s true. In terms of pricing and overall ease of use, console gaming should win hands down. PC gaming may be for fools, but I still love it.