Pixelated v0.1

Spectre8 | 9 October 2008 | 9 Comments

So shoot me, I’m not your “typical” gamer. 

But I sure am a gamer, through and through - always have been, always will be.  And yet, I’m still not typical.  Why is this?  I don’t own any current generation consoles, I don’t play Massively Multi-Player games, and I’ve never played the Sims.  Game developers are rightfully in the business to make money, and I’m pretty sure nobody would blame them for it.  Repeated statistics show that the big and consistent dollars come from making games that fit certain criteria.  Make a World of Warcraft game and get ten million paying subscribers per month.  Make a Sims game and be the highest selling title for six years running, while continually releasing “content” that again sells like hotcakes.  Or make a game that can be marketed and sold on the “console” of choice platform because as we all know, that’s where the real gaming is.  Sound logical? 

Well here’s my problem.  I don’t like the idea of a game that requires me to not only buy the game, but to then pay a monthly fee for the pleasure of actually playing the game.  I also don’t like the idea of being shoehorned into being a PS3 user, or an XBox or wii user - I’ve been a PC man for years, and I like it that way.  It seems that PC developers these days are being forced into multi-platform releases across the board.  Gone are the days of consoles being Mario Brothers and Final Fantasy, with PC covering just about all other bases.  RPG, Multi player, FPS and RTS… these have been, and still are PC staples.  Yet I see that there are fewer and fewer PC exclusive titles being announced.  To be honest, it really scares me.

A few years back, I got hooked on the First Person Shooter series, Battlefield.  It mimicks many other FPS games, and likewise, many mimick it.  The “run and gun” approach to gaming is a guaranteed winner.  Those “veterans” like myself that have been playing them for years on end know what to expect, and can jump into just about any FPS game and understand the hows and whys, and essentially kick arse.  Newcomers to the genre will instantly see it’s appeal and either go with it, or move onto something more to their tastes.  It’s still pretty easy to get into, and generally a whole lot of fun for all skill levels.  So here we have an established genre with a broad spectrum playerbase ready and willing to eat up “the next big thing”.  So what we see on the horizon, is pretty well all multi-platform releases. 

So what’s my gripe?  Jack of all trades, master of none.  It’s a pretty simple “fact” of life, that you just cannot be all things to all people.  There are literally dozens of old sayings and colloquialisms out there covering this rule of thumb - bird in the hand etc etc… And yet nobody seems to be listening.  Here’s the thing.  Frontlines: Fuel of War promised to be the next big thing.  It claimed to be the multi-player FPS game that all others want to be.  To take all of the good aspects, and dump the bad.  Strong pedegree with the developers gave me hope, but the balloon burst when I heard the dreaded announcement - Multi-Platform release.  “It’ll play equally as good on all systems.” What a load of crap!  Seriously, look at the simple mechanics of it all; Keyboard and mouse v gamepad.  How do we make it so that it works for everyone?  Slow it all down, and dumb the whole thing down so everything you’d ever need is at you thumb tips.  Reek of compromise?  Then take a look at the reality of multi-player games.  Xbox360 and PS3’s are currently limited to a MAXIMUM of 16 players on a server at once.  Sixteen.  PC?  Try closer to sixty.  So what we get is a “compromise” or bastardised result catering for the lowest common denominator. 

This is it - this is where my problem is, and this is going to be the thing that kills the cycle.  One of these days someone is going to wake up and realise that PC’s, while diversified beyond measure, are a hell of a lot different to consoles.  They’re also a hell of a lot more powerful, coupled with the flexibility to allow for so much more than just the game.  Graphics wise, a current gaming PC will out-gun any console, HD or not, without breaking a sweat. 

What we need, and I really mean this - is for someone to bite the bullet and fall in love with their project.  Crysis - everybody knows it, everybodies seen it.  It’s truly spectacular, and it’s a PC exclusive.  Sure the gameplay left a lot to be desired, but it went places no console could go, and didn’t mutilate itself for the sole sake of shifting a few more units.  This is all too rare, and the industry is worse off for it. What I’m really concerned with here, is that as PC technology streaks away from where the two year old consoles are, we’re going to be hamstrung by this “universal” release method.  Again, what we’ll see are new games made to fit the lowest common denominator. 

I’m not trying to bash the console world out there, just to say that the PC platform has so much more to offer, has so much more flexibility, that it deserves to be recognised and utilised.

Essentially - I want to see some new games being developed to make the most out of current and future PC technology, rather than last years generic consoles.  Embrace the now people!

9 Comments so far | Post a comment

What about the possibility that one day, in a land far far away, consoles willcatch up with the versatility and depth of PC gaming?

I look forward to that day mate - but until then, my PC will be throttled back to 2006 era technology for all cross platform titles.

I’d love to see the “home entertainment system” of the furture where it’s ALL available from one source… but until then, I’ve got my PC, and I want games made for it, rather than for everything else too.  Unfortunately what I want and what I get are all too uncommon these days! :)

The way I see it, Spectre, is that once upon a time I too was an exclusive PC game player ... That was, to the day that I tried to play a game such as Splinter Cell or Prince of Persia : Sands of Time.  Graphics aside, the game player was definitely more suited to a console game pad, without trying to do finger gymnastics on the keyboard to pull off some marvelous moves.

The other ‘gripe’ I have in regards to playing games on the computer nowadays is the endless upgrade cycle ... Hardware that outdates before you get home from the store, that ‘new’ monitor we need to play the newest games, memory requirements, hard drive space ... the list can literally go on and on. 

I built a new system for myself now just over two years ago, cost me over $2K. Dual core, SLI video cards 2gb ram ... but now if I wish to play a game that is somewhat new, I will be lucky to play the game on minimum settings.

Take a console ... Buy a game, place it in the machine ... and guess what ... she plays without a hassle .. No problems with the latest sound or video drivers, I don’t have to worry about any upgrades what so ever.. all in all a much better experience all round.

I don’t begrudge the fact that some games solely belong on a particular format, ie fps on pc (for the most part), sports games on consoles. 

I just think there is room in this world for both!

Absolutely agree Mettle.  Take car racing games for example - built for consoles! I’ve got myself an Xbox360 controller for my racing games :)

However, when you’ve got the power and flexibility of a PC, don’t make the mistake of limiting it.  Likewise, don’t try to shoehorn PC games onto consoles either.  Sure there are plenty of titles out there that cross the boundaries of all platforms, but as you say, when you’ve got an FPS title in development, crippling it to make it playable on all platforms is just not a path that should be followed.  Recognise the strengths of each area, and use them, rather than be limited by all weaknesses.

Repeating myself :)

I agree 100% Spec, but have to say that after getting a Wii for Christmas, I see a huge potential for getting folks of their backsides and moving around while gaming.

In fact, I wonder if this is the start of what will eventually be a virtual world.  I say that because Nintendo has done what other “virtual world” devices haven’t been able to - release something that’s affordable to a mass market.

The down side is that Wii is very restrictive in it’s games - in essence the same tired old titles I played on my Nintendo64 to be honest.  The other massively disappointing thing about the Wii is that it is an analogue device and not digital.

The other game I played recently that was just awesome and made for a range of platforms was Assassins Creed.  Simply stunning game.  I played the PC version because I am a PC gamer through and through, but have to say that if the console versions of this game are anywhere near as good as the PC one, then it’s a real cross platform winner in my book.

Great article Spec and thanks for a great blog fest :D

And thanks for reading it :)

To be honest, I tend to see the “Console market” as almost excluding Nintendo - ironic I know!  They really are the cornerstone of the whole concept in many ways.  The reason I see the Wii as something separate, is for exactly that reason - it’s not directly competing for “shared” PC titles as much as the other big two.

And I too think that the main console market has it’s place - but I still think there are PC titles, that should remain exclusively the realm of PC. 

However, games like Assassins Creed, and perhaps even the coming Deus Ex 3 do and could work really well on all platforms.  The reason being is the gameplay style.  When you have a precision/twitch shooter like COD4, you need a precision/twitch input device - and a gamepad just isn’t one!  It’s brilliant for games like GTA4, Assassins Creed, and just about every racing game out there - but the problem is that the limitations faced with designing a game around a gamepad, are then transposed onto the PC via cross-platform title releases - still with those limitations.

Take Far Cry 2 for example - potentially a brilliant title, hamstrung by a crappy console based design.  It just doesn’t work on PC!  But then something like Fallout 3 (again, cross platform) makes it work for all.  It can be done, it just needs to be done well, or not at all.

For me, I love what consoles bring to the market - but I just wont buy into the belief that what’s good for one is good for all.  Horses for courses :p

ReaperSmurf | 07:48 pm - 12 March 2009

I have to agree with your sentiments Spectre.  The PC does some things much better than a console.  If you exclude cost from the equation and buy the latest greatest CPU, graphics card and all the groovy peripherals (Joystick & rudders, Wheel & pedals, Gamepad, plus keyboard and uber gaming mouse), PC does EVERYTHING better than a console.

Consoles seem to be a great way to have casual gaming at a reduced cost (assuming you would already own a 50 inch Plasma screen anyway), but with the reduced versatility that comes with a Gamepad as the primary interface method.

Consoles have their place as stand alone, single/two player game platforms, and definitely not for FPS games. Until I can plug my 3 wireless modem into one of the suckers, then internet play would still need to be via my PC, as that’s the only connection to the internet I’ve got access to.

I see the whole debate about PC vs console a bit of a lose lose for both sides. Yep, it sure is easier to buy a console for a few hundred bucks and play any game immediately. Its a hell of of a whole lot easier then buying expensive upgrades for a PC when the need arises. On the other hand though with the growth of the console market we will have a decline in the PC market or just the high end graphic cards etc. Its a loss for everyone as developers will lose market share meaning that less research and development will go into increasing PC performance. The end result will be increased prices for PC due to slower volumes and less demand. Now, Im not saying that this is happening now, but if consoles continue to outstrip the gaming market, game developers will go where the money is in the future.

Wait, I did say that this was lose lose for both sides didnt I? Looks like i was wrong. Only a lose lose for PC gaming and that makes me sad.

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