Dr. Steamlove or: How I Learned to Let Go of Consoles and Love PC Gaming

Ever since that Nintendo Entertainment System was put in my hands, I was a gamer for life. More specifically, a console gamer. As a veteran of Sega-Nintendo console wars (Sega does what Nintendon’t – Play it loud!), I completely understand the fanboy mentality. It comes from jealousy, not having the other half and the need to justify your purchase/gift. I was fortunate enough to have every major console growing up (SNES/Genesis, N64/PS1, etc.) so I was never rooted firmly in either camp. Except with PC games, I couldn’t stand them.

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For the first 20 odd years of my gaming career, I never really played PC games. I don’t remember owning a PC until sometime around 1993, and then only to use AOL. I dabbled in the occasion Myst or Warcraft, but I generally didn’t purchase PC games, mostly because they didn’t work. I remember going to a PC show and purchasing 7th Guest with my hard earned allowance. It was never meant to be as I couldn’t get the game to run, try as I may. With no resources to troubleshoot, the game sat unplayed, money wasted. I tried once more with Monkey Island, but the same result. I shook my teenaged fist angrily at the sky, swearing off PC gaming for good.

7th Guest. This was cutting edge stuff.

7th Guest. This was cutting edge stuff.

Years went by, and games like X-Com, Fallout, and Half-Life passed. I was completely unfazed, too busy playing Final Fantasy VII or Mario 64. Games that worked. No effort was required beyond hooking up the console and inserting the disc/cartridge. Nintendo may have complicated things a bit with the RAM expansion cartridge for the N64, but that was a simple upgrade. Consoles were far less complicated than PCs, right?

While I wasn’t looking (funny how the world keeps moving when you’re not pay attention), the PC gaming landscape changed. Clients and services were created, streamlining the experience. While there are many prominent services available today (Good Ol’ Games), one stands above the rest. Steam. Valve (developers of Half-Life, Portal), created their own platform/client to distribute games on PC. They’re not the only game in town (EA’s Origin, Blizzard’s Battlenet, etc.), but they’re by far the most popular.

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I ran across Steam during one of their many yearly sales. I was surprised by the myriad of discounts, and promptly spent my first $20, napping some 5 odd games. This was back in 2009. Still, I avoided games like Skyrim or Left 4 Dead, wanting to play them on a console. It’s where I cut my teeth. I learned how to play FPS’ with Goldeneye on N64. I discovered an entire genre with Final Fantasy VI. I couldn’t turn my back on that allegiance. Sure, some games simply didn’t come to PC in any form. But the ones that did, I always played them on console. Always, they were cheaper on PC, and also Steam. Though I had a growing collection of Steam games from every sale (I’m a consumer whore), I played none. It wasn’t until Portal 2 came along, and Sony forced my hand to move to PC.

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My pre-ordered copy of Portal 2 arrived for PS3 the day it released back in April, 2011. I opted for this version because of the free Steam code included. I came home late, opened the case, and registered my copy via the Playstation Network (PSN- only way to redeem the code), then went to bed. The next day the PSN went down, tore apart by hackers. As many gamers know, the network was down for a month. No one could play online, make purchases, etc. With no other option, I attempted to play Portal 2 on my PC.

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I won’t lie, it took some time for me to get acclimated to using the supposedly superior mouse and keyboard. Thankfully, Portal 2 was the perfect game to teach these skills. Quickly I adjusted, beating the game in two short days. Even with this new revelation, I still lingered with my console obsession. Though I now began to actually play games on Steam.

As I’ve grown older, and started taking a serious look at my finances, I’ve finally pulled my head out of my ass. I’m all about cheap gaming. The games I want to play will decrease in price within six months. A year tops. I can wait. While going back to games I missed (X-COM), I’m picking up the new releases as well (Saints Row IV), and playing games that would never leave the PC (Faster Than Light). I have not paid more than $15 for a game on Steam (never purchased at full price), and I don’t intend on going above that. I recently purchased my first USB controllers (an Xbox 360 one and an SNES one) for games that are better suited for them (Batman: Arkham Origins).

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I’ll still be a console gamer. Services like Playstation+ make it affordable ($50 a year and a new free game every week). Plus, I could never leave Nintendo (Zelda 4 life yo). Now, I play consoles for console games. If a game is on Steam, or PC in general, I’ll purchase it there. Awesome deals on Humble Bundle make PC gaming completely worth it. Gone are the days of not getting a game to run. Most games are so simple (Sine Mora, VVVVVVV) that it’s impossible for your system to be unable to run it. Even newer games like Assassin’s Creed IV allow you to lower the settings for optimal usage. Streamlined.

Now, I’m upset if a game doesn’t come to Steam/PC (looking at you GTAV). If you’re still holding to your console allegiance, why? Save your money. I guarantee $25 smartly spend dollars (across GoG, Steam, and Humble Bundle), could quickly get you some of the best games you’ve ever played. Don’t be scared, dive on in.

Do you still hold onto your console allegiances? Or were you a PC gamer? Comment below!

I will beat FTL, so help me god. 

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20 responses to “Dr. Steamlove or: How I Learned to Let Go of Consoles and Love PC Gaming

  1. The thing about Steam is, if you watch the sales, you can spend like maybe $20 a month, not play 70% of what you buy, and still get your gaming fix of original games that you might never have heard of or played otherwise. Were comixology like this I would be an avid comic book fan.

    • I look at my Steam library and realize just that, I won’t play about three quarters of it. I’m not too bothered by it because I’ve wasted about $50. I wish digital comics were like that. Only reason i still read in print. 40-50% discounts on every title on http://www.dcbservice.com/ , and I can resell them after recouping a little money. Comics need to catch up.

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