Earlier this week, some people heard me declaring my intense dislike towards the evil known as Thomas Edison and asked me to do my blog on why I consider him to be a mustache-twirling arch villain. As much as I’d love to rant about why he’s a lying thief, that will have to wait until next time, because I’d much rather rant about people ranting about something near and dear to my heart; video games.
Before we get into this, I want to say that I’m stuck in the awkward age where I’m too young to have grown up with the 8-bit games that made the industry what it is today, but am too old to have played my first Pokemon game on a Nintendo 3DS. My nostalgia period is 2001-2007 on the PS1 and PS2, with a few outliers like Spyro, Final Fantasy VII and Gameboy Color games. Now that you have the appropriate background, here’s the reason for my blog.
There has always been (and probably always will be) a debate amongst gamers as to which platform is superior, a PC or a console. Lately the PC supporters have become louder and more obnoxious than usual, berating and belittling consoles at every turn for having worse graphics and motions, being technologically inferior and overall just being lousy for games. And as much as I love my Playstations, I’m going to have to agree with them on several of these points.
Their argument that the current generation of consoles is technologically inferior to PCs is completely accurate, primarily because the current line-up is ancient. The Xbox 360 was first released in 2005, and the PS3 and Wii were both released in 2006. Think about how old that makes their hardware. Can you imagine how limited our possibilities would be if we ran on programs from 5 years ago? Do you ever stop to realize exactly how many huge jumps have been made in technology in those 5 years? PCs, on the other hand, come out with a new model every few months with the latest and greatest in everything. That means that game designers have the impossible task of trying to make something work as well on a five-year-old console as it does on a two-month-old PC. It’d be like asking them to fix Avatar to play on a black-and-white TV from the fifties and make it look and sound as good as it will on a 50” plasma TV bought last week. Of course this is difficult if not impossible to achieve, and games tend to be better on PC, unless the PC port for the game that comes out after the console release is completely and totally awful (which sadly does happen).
So, am I suggesting you console lovers convert to the way of the PC? H-E-double hockey sticks no. Sony and Microsoft both realize that their current consoles are rapidly approaching retirement age, and will have to come out with something new in the next couple of years (Microsoft, for it’s part, has been spreading rumors about a new console for several years), and Nintendo has already announced the launch of its hilariously titled Wii-U. Newer technology means improved graphics and mechanics that could hopefully compete with most computers, so right now, it’s a matter of holding out. At the same time, it’s a matter of money.
If you were to run out and buy a computer for gaming, a machine with decent hardware and software can easily run up to $2k, and that’s before graphic cards and other mods to make it run better. Even the cheaper computers will run up a bill of several hundred dollars, and all this is before you even go out and purchase the games.
A used 360, on the other hand, will typically run about $100-200. The PS2 can be purchased from Gamestop for a whopping $60. And most of the games for these consoles are a few years old, so their price has depreciated faster than a used car. I went out the other day to buy a replacement Dark Cloud game for my PS2, and it cost me all of 6 dollars. That, more than anything else, is the hook that gets and keeps people on consoles and not PCs. A console and its games are cheaper, and thus are more enticing to the average consumer and casual gamer (which may contribute to the elitist attitude of PC gamers, now that I think about it). This isn’t to say a console is always budget friendly; Playstation 3s still run over $300 in most places, and I dare you to find a hard copy of FFVII that is under $40. But overall, the price range of consoles makes them more readily available to the market than PCs, so more people will use them. On an unrelated note, I would like to take this opportunity to say that whether you get a PC or console, please buy new games, not used. Designers make exactly $0 from the sale of used games, so what’s budget-friendly for you hurts the whole market and keeps us from getting better games. I understand that some games have been out of print for years and your only hope is to buy used, but please exhaust all other options before resorting to this. Back to the point I was making.
What it breaks down to is finding what works best for you. If you’re financially stable and willing to drop a pretty penny for games, by all means get a PC. If, on the other hand, you’re a poor college kid like me who’s trying to scrape by and considers ramen to be ambrosia from heaven, stick with consoles. Video games are fun no matter what system you buy and play them on, so there’s no point in getting uppity about one being so much better than the other. I still play my old Spyro games alongside the newest Final Fantasy, and graphics don’t bother me too much. Figure out what you prefer, and don’t be an obnoxious you-know-what about it.