Friday, January 13, 2012

And---I'm Back

Two things have happened since my last post in October---well three if you focus on what concerns me and posting here on a consistent basis:

1. I now have a full-time job.

2. I bought myself a new computer.

3. My gut reaction to all things gaming right now can be summed up with silence.

So while I do have much more to write about now, I have less time to actually do it, coupled with the fact that my will to do so is being tampered with a very resolute irreverence to everything going on right now (yes, even more than usual). There are a  lot of changes occurring across the board, but the same can be said for me as well, so I'm just kind of coasting along with the flow of things before I take any staunch positions on some of the more relevant points of interests going on (e.g. SOPA[1], digital distribution[2], the next console cycle[3], etc.).

So the topic for today is that new computer and where I've been in regards to gaming for the past few months. It won't surprise most people that I've always identified more as a console player, but even as a preteen I've been known to have little short bursts/phases where I'd just arbitrarily run off to start playing in front of a computer instead. Well that trend is starting to happen again, except this time the landscape has changed to such a drastic extent, I'm predicting things will be a bit more permanent this time[4]. As of now, I've owned (at some point or another) every major video-game console since the second generation[5].

It wasn't until the sixth generation that I started to get sick of the entire process (which I'll admit was largely due to my bitterness concerning the Sega Dreamcast's fate at the time). Since the fifth generation however, I've kind of automatically fallen into keeping a Nintendo and Sony console around, but now my loyalty and respect for Nintendo has eroded almost completely, which just leaves a shaky relationship with Sony. Concerning that exasperation that kicked in during the sixth generation, I played the first PC title I really fell in love with as well, StarCraft. I didn't even know what the hell it was called at the time (and I wouldn't until about five years later when I finally got my own computer), but my exposure to the RTS genre was something entirely new to me; it lasted, it was engaging in a way few console games ever come across, and maintains its allure even to this day. So, when I properly got into the game in my early teens, I spent just an entire year playing StarCraft and nothing else.

This is the point at which I'll target me seeing the beauty of PC gaming in general. However, though these 'beauties' are merely shorthand for 'things I identify as positive shit that I simply can't get from console-play', they quickly began to lose their appeal the more I saw how they rippled through other players. I'm certainly not one to extrapolate from a singular experience, but using one particular memory as an example, one of the earliest interactions comes from me discussing/tinkering with the computer of an older player when I was about ten or eleven. I'd guess he was in his late teens or early twenties at the time, but long story short---I tried engaging him on the level as a fellow Star Wars fanatic and ended up at the point where I was coldly dismissing everything he said as the whining of an entitled, effete, and elitist brat, which if you'll note, should be two entirely different topics to begin with.

BUT, I've learned that these things are interrelated for a number of reasons not worth getting into for a blog focused primarily on gaming. What is relevant however, is that I've noticed recently that PC players in particular get sore about being called on this (which I of course take as a defense mechanism implying a certain degree of truth to it). As many times as I've had the similar experiences throughout the years I was always wise enough to assume that just because that's been my experience doesn't necessarily mean they're all like that, and to some extent that's true. I've met plenty who aren't. Sadly though, the bad have always far outweighed the good for me. This segues into my next point which is what I started with and that's the new computer. Since about 2010 I was looking into buying a laptop to use as a gaming machine. Gamers will instantly find out that asking this question on any major forum/outlet in which there are generally knowledgeable PC players is met with the same response:
"You want a desktop, blah-blah-blah opinion---conjecture---opinion."
I was fine with this response initially, hell I even expected the discrepancy between a gaming desktop and a gaming laptop, but this persisted even after I made myself abundantly clear that I had no need for a desktop machine and was positive about the laptop. In fact, the more I clarified myself and what I wanted, the more arrogant/ignorant the response became. Personal standards became unwieldy tools (i.e. dick measuring and whatnot) which these people ran around swinging like a child with a wiffle-ball bat. Overrefined perceptions on things such as framerates and high resolutions become a common point of contention in these threads. Patience or not on my part, I just ended up disregarding all knowledge from people with more experience in the matter (see two paragraphs up for some deja vu), and taking a leap of faith whilst using my own judgement and know-how to make a purchase.

It wasn't the lack of ease generally associated with PC gaming that turned me away from it (the typical response from any console player 'scared' of playing on PC). In fact, I loved learning about any hiccups that surfaced with various computer configurations and why a game was or wasn't working; it was dealing with the players that turned me off of it time and time again (and I'm willing to bet more people have a similar response, if they're looking close enough). I've yet to come across a worse gaming fandom that makes the medium an unnecessarily impenetrable place to enter. Despite the dark outlook I may have on gaming in general, I do believe that a lot of the strife can be avoided through practical understanding and common ground, but the experience of PC players has always been one of more division and fanboyism amongst an even larger sect of consumers who all generally love the same thing. This is even ignoring the casual player derision on-top of the more sophomoric shit like 'console wars'.

This is notably relevant towards the recent petition to get NamcoBandai to release Dark Souls for the PC[6]. Before last week I was sharing this sentiment:
"I'd gladly buy it again on PC. But even if it's not ported, and I wouldn't fault them for that, I hope their future releases are on the PC." [7]
As it stands now? I honestly couldn't give less of a fuck about PC players and their hangups with 'consolization' or whatever insecure tangents and faulty logic they can fly off on concerning one game that wasn't released specifically for their platform. Now I arrive back at the same point of me just getting assy about it simply because I 'went out' and interacted that specific fanbase regarding the matter[8].

And once again, I'm forced into taking the 'high road' argument on a matter simply because gamers by and large are a very unique brand of fucking idiots[9].

1. As a unfunny joke, I'm actually hoping it passes, as people don't really learn their lesson in this world until you break their fucking arm and this punishes everybody on the Internet on a idiotically large scale.
2. I have a big feeling this is going to get real aggressive as we transition into a new batch of consoles now, despite the fact that high-speed internet access isn't as pervasive as some publishers would like to believe.
3. I'm interested in what will happen, but I'm done hopping on console releases for a while. It's not the investment I used to buy them for anymore, and I'm much more willing to invest in a PC and simply pick one console best suited to my tastes.
4.  My new computer effectively renders both my Wii and 360 library obsolete. The Dolphin emulator actually makes digging my Wii out a nonsensical act and I now own every game on Steam that I've had on the 360 (excluding the first Gears of War, which I could get on GFW if I felt repurchasing it anyway).
5. ...though I don't remember shit before the third generation...
6. I did stillsign it because I still agree with the notion that another Japanese developer/publisher outside of Capcom should consider the platform, but my care doesn't extend an inch past that now.
7. Rayalas's reddit comment [link]
8. It doesn't help that I frequent reddit these days and the fanbase for those particular threads are heavily biased in favor of PC games.
9. See 2-1 [link] in which I note the hypocrisy between all players and their lack of resolve to note the flawed acts of representation in gaming media, despite the fact that I really detest the concept of egalitarianism.