So the first question you have to ask before you start playing games is what kind of system do you want to play them on. There are pros and cons to each side and I’ll try to go over them in detail enough so that you get a sense of your own impressions.
Computers are the original gaming console, starting back with text-based games (sort of like Choose Your own Adventure). For many years, games were only available on computer, and were designed specifically for them. Today, that’s changed. Many games are created for consoles and then ported (transferred) over to PC. Often losing quality in the process. However, that being said…PCs are still hugely popular. There are several games only available on PC – World of Warcraft being the first one that springs to mind. There are also some fantastic services for the PC, such as Steam – an online game portal where you can buy and store thousands of games and have access to them anywhere.
Most games have to be installed on your hard drive, which can take up space, but usually load times are fairly fast. Often, with today’s PC games, you also have to have an internet connect for updates and DRM (digital rights management – technology that imposes limitations on the usage of digital content and devices) authentication.
Some things to think about:
- Must have decent graphics card to play most games. That may involve upgrading the one you have (or buying a new computer)
- Must have internet access to play a lot of games now, as well as dealing with DRM
- Some games are not available on Mac or PC and only available on console. This doesn’t happen much any more, but is still occasional. More often, something will only be available on PC and not on consoles – World of War Craft and other MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online game) being a prime example.
- It’s kind of a cop-out, but pricing for computers depends on what sort of set-up you’d like. You can get a base computer for $399, but it might not be very good for gaming, depending on the types of games you want to play. It’s a good idea to do some research into what the requirements are for your games and buy the best computer you can afford.
Consoles are basically portable gaming systems (though I’d argue most of them aren’t so portable any more.) They include Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii, as well as the hand held devices such as the Nintendo DS and others. Most games come on a disc (or several) and install only peripherally to the console’s hard drive. Load times can be fast or short, depending on the game and the intensity of the graphics. There’s no need to worry about a video card or what your system can handle, since games are designed for the requirements of the specific console. And on the plus side, you using your television as a monitor, so if you’ve got a big screen TV, they can look fantastic.
Some things to think about:
- Consoles are becoming more interactive – you can now buy a PlayStation Move or Xbox Kinnect module that will allow you to physically interact with your game. While this technology is still in its infancy, there are some cool concepts coming down the pipeline.
- Consoles are easy. There’s not much to worry about when it comes to viruses (though Hacking can still be an issue for internet-connected machines and passwords). Game installation is straight forward and downloadable content is usually easy to require right within your games.
- Not all games are best on console. Because of the controller, there can be issues with certain movements or actions. However, you can also have that problem with PC games as well. It just depends on the game itself.
- Consoles range anywhere from $149 for a Wii, up to $399 for a decked out Xbox 360 with a Kinnect console.
I personally play games on both systems. I love console games, but there are just some games that need a computer (and vice versa). It helps to be able to decide which is the best system for my needs as well as the game’s.
Case in point – I bought Dragon Siege 3 recently (a role playing combat game) for PC because it was on presale and I got a discount. Unfortunately, I hated the PC controls after I started playing, and it totally ruined the experience for me – I didn’t even end up finishing the game. I know, had I bought it for Xbox 360, I would have liked the game much better and had a better experience with it. I may pick up a copy in the future, if it ever goes on sale.
So if you’re a gamer, what is your preferred gaming system? What strengths and weaknesses do you see in the system you use?