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PC gamers have no friends, except on MSN (jk)

Last response: in Video Games
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June 28, 2006 5:20:31 PM

Hi,
Hopefully not too many people will click on this thread without reading the post first, I'm after your attention, not your flames. I could have written 'SEX' in the subject to get your attention but I'm not 15.

I was on the train to Bristol this morning and I was thinking about video games platforms and their impact on our lives. The following are my desiderata, I'd be interested to hear what you have to say on the matter:

PC games have traditionally been for lone gamers:
Many old PC games were designed to comply with the system. It is given that a PC should have a mouse and keyboard, hence the success of solitaire, whose name proves my point. Successful PC games have often needed nothing more than a decent PC, monitor, mouse, keyboard and (relatively) later on a pair of speakers. Here's a list of games I've thought of that just use a mouse and keyboard:

Most first person shooters
Side scrolling shooters (resulting in many a broken spacebar)
Windows card games
Dune 2 style games (like Command & Conquer)
Games like Day of the Tentacle, Hugo's House of Horrors or Manic Mansion

I don't think I really needed to make that list, but I just wanted to prove my point - PC games are a little limited because of the input devices associated with PCs. It's pretty hard to control a character in a game using just a mouse and sharing a keyboard has never been a great draw, so multiplayer games on a PC are much more limited to online games...fair enough.

On a side note, it's easy enough to get 2 or more plug & play joypads nowadays, but are there many RECENT games available for a PC that would make use of 2 joypads? Not really. Sports and racing games are sold to the console market.

Games consoles are designed as social tools:
Until the advent of the Nintendo 64 I cannot think of a games console which had more than 2 controller ports readily available without the purchase of a device to allow more than one controller to be plugged into each port. Games consoles have always had a '1-up' (pun intended) on PCs as gaming platforms because a controller is designed for gaming and hence it's easier to pick up and play a game on a console than it is on a PC, although the common knowledge that is the WSAD key combination could be considered detrimental to my argument.

As games consoles are easier to get into than PCs it's easier for a friend who's over at your house to play your games against you. The simplistic nature of console hardware set-ups makes them more likely to be common hardware between friends and as such they are already recognised as a fun device, the PC is associated with work, long hours at a desk, software which crashes and can only be sorted out by either a technician or a laborious and overly technical manual.

Consoles are now posing as components of our hi-fis and home theatres, connecting with our PCs to play our music and video files, connecting to our LCD TVs using high definition connections. Sony's PS3 will contain a blu-ray drive and I see the major gain of this being to users wishing to gain a reasonably priced blu-ray disc player, not for gamers wanting longer gameplay. I don't see a majoy increase in game length in proportion to the increase in file sizes - a GameBoy game can be rated in kilobytes whereas a PSP game can be larger than a gigabyte. Bloatware is a fact of life, but no matter which way you look at it games consoles are looking to be THE digital device which integrates itself into our social calendars without us even noticing it.

So...what do you think? I'm sure there are a lot more points I could have gone into and I could have made my argument a lot more organised and focused, but I hope you get the point of what I'm saying, that it's easier/more likely to have a good afternoon in with a Playstation than it is with just one PC.

More about : gamers friends msn

June 28, 2006 5:50:45 PM

To each their own.

o_0
June 28, 2006 11:55:39 PM

i kind of see what you mean, i prefer my online games though, and i can thnk of loads of titles for any console that dont support multiplayer or the multiplayer just sucked.

For the record,i have a very active social life and a active gaming time, i spend most of my time at work, pub, shopping. i find that playing a online multiplayer helps my escape abit.

hell is being trapped in room with all your best mates, for eternity.
June 29, 2006 6:24:23 AM

Hi,

I'm trying to remember, but I think we were playing head to head Populous on PCs connected with a null modem before the NES came out. And you might play a console with one or two buddies in your living room, but it takes (at least till recently) a PC to play with huge number of people at a LAN party or online. A two man 'squadron' for something like Red Baron cannot begin to compare to having dozens of players in a fur ball.

As to controllers, depends on what you're used to. Flight sims are better with joysticks-throttle-pedals for military and yokes for civilian. Driving a car by wiggling my thumb doesn't seem to be as much fun as using a nice wheel-pedal combo.

While I can seem to find pretty much every type of controller for a PC, I've mostly just seen variants of one type of controller for consoles -- but then again, I haven't really paid much attention, having lost most of my taste for console type games back when you went to an arcade and payed 25 cents per game.

Take your fun where you find it and quit knocking what others enjoy

--Pete
June 29, 2006 11:24:26 AM

Quote:
To each their own.

o_0


lol :D 
June 29, 2006 12:11:41 PM

Hi,
Thanks for taking the time to reply. It's unfortunate that my argument came across as me 'knocking what others enjoy'. I accept that online multiplayer games can be fun and allow for development of avatars which players spend the culmination of many hours of their lives levelling-up. I also accept that online gaming allows people to compete with people they might not meet in real life, thereby raising the bar of deathmatch challenges.

My argument isn't for or against any gaming platforms, I accept that there are pros and cons for all of them, my point is that the range of games we are able to buy for these platforms has been limited. Don't you think it's a shame that we're expected to pay the same price as a brand new, latest generation console for a top of the range graphics card and then to have the possibilities of the equipment you buy to be limited by the market?

I agree that null modem connections allowed for multiplayer gaming on PCs before the advent of the NES, but I would like you to consider this in terms of a social occasion, to which I find LAN parties to be much more applicable. I used to hulk my old PC, monitor, keyboard, mouse and all around to my friend's house long before small form factor cases, just to play some deathmatch and then lug it all back in the evening.

I don't seriously suggest that PC gamers are loners and I appreciate that not everyone likes the kind of games you'd find on consoles, I just think it's wrong that you should have to pay hundreds of pounds for your PC and then pay more money for a console, just because the game makers assume that it's beyond consumers to buy more than one input device. Conversely I appreciate that there are consumers who don't wish to spend so much money on their games machines, who don't wish to worry about upgrading it, who just want to plug their machine into their TV and go.

The Dreamcast had a mouse and keyboard, which was an excellent idea. The Dreamcast bombed, however, partially because it was so easy to run pirated software on it (so there was a diminished revenue from game sales), partially because Sega's online game network wasn't good and mainly because it just didn't meet the competition in terms of popularity. Lik-Sang.com sell a device that lets you plug in a PS2 mouse and keyboard to your XBox to play Halo just as you would on a PC...don't you think it would be a good idea if more console makers allowed you to buy a mouse and keyboard for your console? How many consoles could you sell if your console would run an open-source office application?

Well this is all just talk, we all know Sony and Microsoft aren't going to make their consoles more than games machines. Microsoft would lose revenue on Windows sales and Sony have already shown their attitudes towards open-mindedness with the 'updates' to their PSP consoles.

To me this isn't so much an argument about what's the best hardware, I'd just like to raise my thinking, that we are restricted in our use of our hardware by the people who make it, when it's capable of so much more.
June 30, 2006 2:21:15 AM

Hi,

Quote:
Hi,
I also accept that online gaming allows people to compete with people they might not meet in real life, . . .

Or people they'll meet. For the past seven or so years, my wife (a fellow gamer) and I have tried to make a few trips to Las Vegas a year, and we invite online gaming friends to join us. We've met quite a few of our originally virtual friends in person. Makes quite a difference when playing and chatting with them later, having a face to associate with the name.

Quote:

Don't you think it's a shame that we're expected to pay the same price as a brand new, latest generation console for a top of the range graphics card and then to have the possibilities of the equipment you buy to be limited by the market?

There is one of the reasons that I prefer PC gaming to consoles. Whichever system I build, I have never been unable to run the games I buy. But, if M$ comes out with a game that is xbox only, then I'm out of luck unless I have or buy an xbox. And since many titles migrate to PC, but not as many have migrated between competitive consoles, the PC player *usually* gets a bigger choice in the long run. Of course, one could buy one each of each of the latest consoles. But then you'd be spending more than you would building one decent gaming rig and the life expectancy is about the same. By the time the PC cannot run the latest games comfortably, all the console makers will be shipping their new generation.

Quote:

. . . I just think it's wrong that you should have to pay hundreds of pounds for your PC and then pay more money for a console, just because the game makers assume that it's beyond consumers to buy more than one input device.

Again, you typically have more choice with the PC. For one thing, good controllers will last a long time (I'm still using the Thrust-Master HOTAS system I put together for Falcon 3.0 (yes, 3.0, not 4.0)). If I'd bought an equivalent controller for a console system, I probably would not be able to use it on other systems or on the 'new and improved' version of the system I'd bought it for.

Quote:

Lik-Sang.com sell a device that lets you plug in a PS2 mouse and keyboard to your XBox to play Halo just as you would on a PC...don't you think it would be a good idea if more console makers allowed you to buy a mouse and keyboard for your console? How many consoles could you sell if your console would run an open-source office application?

Again, one of my pet peeves with consoles (and cell phones, etc.) is the lack of standardization in connectivity. USB seems plenty fast enough for twitch games on the PC, why not make all new consoles with that as an interface? Clearly because each maker wants to protect his (small) share of the market. Damned fools would rather not make money than have their competitors do so.

But running office applications on a console? That's almost funny, sitting with the keyboard on your lap, mouse on the floor next to you trying to do some project for school. Naw. I don't even do that with my active game machines, that's what last generation PCs are for ;) 

Quote:

To me this isn't so much an argument about what's the best hardware, I'd just like to raise my thinking, that we are restricted in our use of our hardware by the people who make it, when it's capable of so much more.

But it's largely market factors. Make a console too expensive, and people will not get it. Leave out too many features and again they will not buy it. And considering the sixty IQ slugs who seem to make these decisions at the major manufacturers, hitting the happy medium is pretty much a miss or miss situation.

As for me, I've got plenty of PCs around so that a few friends could come over (without bringing their rigs) and we could have a retro LAN party. Or we could all drag our 'big guns' to some central place and do some real partying. With each person having more than a quarter of a screen :) 

--Pete
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