265: Punching the Baby Seal of PC Gaming

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TheSkaAssassin:

Chuck Wendig:

Thirty seconds into the brew-time on your coffee-maker the device instead sprays hot java on your balls, searing them to the corduroy. You don't like that? Not a fan?

I made the mistake of taking a large gulp of water whilst reading this. What little water not on my laptop screen is still lodged in my nose. and it huuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrtttttsssssssss.

Try that...but with coke..i assure you, it hurts even more =P

I hear you, man. I upgraded my graphics card last year and ALREADY new games are getting too good for it.

Thank Christ DC Universe Online comes out later this year, meaning even MMORPGs aren't PC exclusives any more...

To all of the people telling him how to fix it: Did you not get the point of the article? If he has a working PC, with decent specs, a game should run. He shouldn't HAVE to do all this troubleshooting and I agree fully.

With the exception of Fallout 3, I've never had an Xbox 360 game crash on me.

Software>drivers>DX and API software>hardware.(DX used to give me grief as part of it was bad and its hard to refresh it at times, tho these days if it dose not want to work right I just install the newest drivers and it tends to fix whatever issue I have)

But sadly mainstream PC gaming has trouble with supporting 3-5 year old hardware because they re to lazy to do a decent port.... I mean if fans could make Bioshock work on shader 2 and not shader 3 why in the hell could the devs not support it?(or was it shader 2.X and 2.X I dunnno I forget LOL)

marblemadness:
To all of the people telling him how to fix it: Did you not get the point of the article? If he has a working PC, with decent specs, a game should run. He shouldn't HAVE to do all this troubleshooting and I agree fully.

With the exception of Fallout 3, I've never had an Xbox 360 game crash on me.

You would be surprised how windose can cock up on itself and you have to reinstall bits of it to get full functionality back. Sound drivers if they go bad can cause crashes just as bad video drivers can and sometimes the game is just not meant to be run on max settings,Dark messiah tends to crash on max settings it can't cache the video ram buffer or something right and locks up this leads to a ahrd crash that can and will most of the time damage your game and drivers.

If a game dose not wont to run right dial the graphics back some and switch to DX 9 and not 10 or vice verse,not all games are going to work at 100%.

J03bot:

Chuck Wendig:
No draconian DRM that demands I be online at all times and sacrifice a bleating goat

See, this is your problem. You're only sacrificing one goat. The machine god demands more! That baby seal you're thinking about punching? Sacrifice it instead! I think there's something about keeping your computer inside a pentagram at all times, with a water cooling system filled entirely with a virgin's blood, too.

I also have issues with PC gaming. I can't afford to upgrade a desktop on a regular basis (or even to buy one), so I'm stuck with a basic laptop that can't run COD 4, even at the lowest settings, without it jumping about more than the camera in a Bourne film.
The Steam sale, on the face of things, looked like it would fix this.
"Loads of slightly older games, at lower prices? Some of these should run on my wheezing construct of the ancients", I thought to myself. 20 of games, 4 days of download time, and a number of computer crashes that could best be represented in standard form later, and I have not one single game that will run on my PC without the aforementioned Cloverfield-level jerkiness. This is even after the specs supposedly match up, too.
I think I may be out of the PC gaming field until I find a couple of grand lying in the street for a decent gaming rig... Back to the xbox, I guess - there's definitely something to be said for the simplicity of gaming on consoles.

I bought Team Fortress 2 on Steam.

I tried to play it on my average laptop which I bought in 2009.

It lagged like hell.

I tried to play it on an average PC I bought in 2003.

It works better on the PC than the laptop. So stay away from laptops for gaming.

Well, there's your problem right there...
Your computer's a Dell... does anymore really need to be said?

Is it me or there's starting to be a Propaganda Campaign against PC gaming ?

Scrumpmonkey:
Not to be offensive but 90% of the time people's bad experiences of PC gaming are their own fault

This This This This This This This times a fucking thousand. The first words out of my mouth whenever somebody comes to me with a computer problem are always "what did you break?" Why? Because 99/100 times it's a PEBCAC error and while they vehemently deny at first, once I start digging I always find out it's something the person did to their own pc that caused the problem.

The problem with PCs isn't the PC, it's the person sitting in the damn chair.

The irony is this: first person shooters which run much better with a mouse and keyboard are dominating consoles right now, whereas turn-based stratagy games which should control just fine with a console controller, you find most of those on the PC.

Anyway, gameplay for most console games is pretty brain dead, by and large, so for that reason I have to put up with the PC. I welcome MMOs, working RTSs, and turn-based stratagy games for the console--I'll be more than happy to give each of those a try.

As someone who had to either (a) turn shaders from ultra down to high, or (b) turn off SLI altogether, in order to get the cutscenes from StarCraft 2 to play properly (I chose the second one), I can sympathize with some of the points here; nVidia says they are working on the fix. But in the end, the problems mentioned here are overstated and while they contain kernels of truth, PC gaming isn't anywhere near this bad.

On that last "until Civ V comes out" line... Does that mean you finished Starcraft II already?

More on topic: I very, very rarely have trouble with my PC. I've had compatibility issues with older games, but most of the time they still work, and my worst experience with PC gaming is my fault (I accidentally uninstalled ME1, and my save file, when I meant to uninstall ME2. Long story). Any other issues I've had are not caused by the game themselves, but by an online service tacked on by the publisher. (Windows Live, and whatever EA calls it's service, I'm talking about you!)

I must admit I have had NO problems with my (newest...) 360, at all. And complete zip on ANYTHING Nintendo has made. (dusty cartridges and a messed up cord don't count. Oh, and neither does a busted hinge.) My PS2 is also reliable when it comes to games. (Movies, that's a different story...)

uppitycracker:
Wow, I had a really hard time reading that. Anti-PC gaming statements like this sure are infuriating. People talk about how the PC market is dying (which couldn't be farther from the truth), and here we have so-called writers basically talking down on the whole experience, when it's most likely due to user error? I mean, a number of factors can cause the problems you've explained. And most of them usually have to do with ignorance on the users part.

It's funny, because all of those games listed, I have had zero issues with. Crysis especially. What am I doing differently? Honestly, probably not much. Just simple things, such as keeping my PC free of dust, making sure I don't bottleneck my system with one amazing part and one ancient one (which I'd almost be willing to bet one of these two things is yer problem), ect.

Honestly, it's ignorant posting like this that I thought I was avoiding by reading the escapist. It amazes me that this was even published. Shit like this is only going to give the wrong perception of PC gamers to people who don't know better, and a market that is already struggling in the console age doesn't need crap like this tainting it's image. In short, and I'm sure I speak for all PC gamers when I say this: Fuck PC gaming? No, sir, fuck you.

Maybe if it were easier for the "regular" consumer to plug and play, maybe the PC market wouldn't be struggling.

I don't want to read an owner's manual to play a damn video game. I never had trouble playing Mario on my NES, Final Fantasy on my ps1 or GTA IV on my 360. But I can't get games like Civ 2 to run on this piece of junk I call a desktop.

Maybe the problem is user error? What a load of pretentious, elitist, snobbery. You can keep your PC gaming, I'll be busy playing 20 different titles a year on a platform that actually fucking works every time I boot it up.

Orcus_35:
Is it me or there's starting to be a Propaganda Campaign against PC gaming ?

Possibly, but if there is it's an extremely lame one.

arc1991:

Monkeyman8:
a hahaha, a 360 that hasn't RROD'd at least once? Yeah PC gaming has its problems, and consoles have the same damn problems (crashes, buggy games, patches, DLC) plus the problem of a walled ass garden. they're like the macs of gaming, and glossing over their flaws while bringing up the same flaws in PC games (hell you've even gotta install console games these days) is disingenuous at best.

*Goes on Xbox...Play's Red Faction*...im sorry install what game exactly?

PC games get patched as well you know? and you know about expansions right? Exactly the same principle for DLC it adds new content to the current game...but ooh look on consoles i do not INSTALL it.

Also their have been many buggy games for PC or have you not played Modern Warfare 2?

Seriously i like the fact that many people see Building PC's as a hobby, i really do, but i think it's time that everyone agree's that most people in this day and age do not have the resources, time or even skill to make a Gaming PC...which is why consoles suit most of the market.

Most people by Games to have fun, and not work to play it, some people just have to accept that and move on.

what did you fail reading comprehension? Go back and read what I wrote again, I've even made it easy for you and highlighted key words and phrases.

Yeah, why learn chess when you can play tic tac toe?

I tend to lean towards PC gaming simply because I don't like controllers. The only games I really think benefit from controllers are platformers, apart from those I'll take a keyboard and mouse any day, thank you. Not playing FPS-games helps too.

I've really got nothing against consoles apart from the fact that I don't like the whole idea of console-specific games. Because that means that once the console is gone the game will most likely be too. I can still play my old original Command & Conquer game on my PC, but my old Sega Mega Drive games are only so much useless plastic nowadays.

To be honest, this was one of the most disappointing articles I have ever read on the Escapist. When I first saw the title, I was expecting an in-depth examination of the strengths and weaknesses of the PC as a gaming platform or at least something as constructive as the other articles in this weekly issue. What we got instead, however, was just a random rant about the issues that the author encountered while trying to play games on his PC, all the while completely ignoring the fact that his experience isn't reflective of PC gaming as a whole nor mentioning the limitations and compromises consoles have to make as a tradeoff for their "stability" (although even that is put into question, given the Xbox 360's many technical difficulties).

I understand that it wasn't the author's intention to make a one-sided potrayal of the subject matter...but he went on about it in the worst possible way. As a result, someone considering playing games on a PC might stumble on this article and judge PC gaming entirely based off of this article, instead of getting the entire picture and then weighting out the pros and cons based on their own personal preference.

I am sorry, but this is one of the worst articles I have ever read on the Escapist so far and I am suprised the administration green-lighted an article with so little substance. I would hardly consider myself an expert and I think even I could have done a much better job. A potentially good article gone to waste...

Veterinari, that's why I play PC games.

That, and mods.

Pugiron:
When every fat guy with a beard and a pony tail thinks he will awe anyone by requiring his crappy generic game to use the very latest video card to look exactly the same to the human eye. We have reached the point where human eyes cannot tell the number of pixels apart, so why do we have to keep upgrading out computers? To feed your twinkie addictions, fat guys?

Aye. You're making it hard for me to keep professional. It's not about the number of pixels. That is the screen resolution, nothing more. One of the biggest reasons PC gamers buy new video cards every few years is the combination of a higher polygon count in models, the resolution of the textures (which, by god adds up fast), and the ever important lighting systems. We'll probably see multi-layer shaders sometime in the future as a standard. Sure, game companies are getting smarter and making what does appear on the screen look better without using more resources, but some PC gamers like turning the settings on max and ending up with something like a cinema quality experience. Like Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Additionally, PC's only have been able to surpass console's specs for only a few years now.

And I can tell the pixels apart perfectly fine on my 1280x1024 screen. Not that it matters. L4D2 works great and runs great. BFBC2 looks great with the occasional black flicker, but never crashes. Global Agenda will have the occasional hiccup during a loadscreen but it still runs great. I only paid 150 for my graphics card too. Pretty cheap considering what some of them can go for. And that was nine months ago! It runs great because I did my research and read the reviews for it. Or I could have had a terd that was known for crashing every 10 minutes and arriving DOA half the time for 50. But it's still a GTS250.

Got an old PC? well you in luck, thanks to new technology you to can play some of the newest games with awesome graphic setting, all you need is a good internet connection. I play Assassin's Creed 2 and Splinter Cell conviction on my netbook thanks to OnLive.

ITT: A bunch of insecure PC Gamers assault someone making a very valid point because they're too busy trying to defend their medium to read between the lines.

That said, it's a fairly good article, and does a good job of illustrating the very reason by PC gaming has been on the decline these past few years. Simply put, PCs are finicky. Unless you have the patience and know-how to deal with the temperament of the modern PC, it's far easier to just buy an X-Box, plug it into the wall, plug it into your TV, and then just be done with it.

I'm seeing all these posts about "Oh you just need to", and all I can think when I read them is how much the poster is completely missing the point of this. The point isn't PC gaming needs to go away, and the point isn't him making a lengthy tech support request. The point is dealing with a PC through the eyes of the average consumer. Of course there are solutions to his problem, and of course you could probably have fixed them were you in his shoes, but the point is that he doesn't know about these fixes, and you aren't in his shoes.

To make matters worse, PC gamers are notoriously hostile about offering help. I'm sure there are communities out there where people are happy to offer help, but more often than not when you ask for any sort of tech help on a gaming forum, the only reply you get is along the lines of "If you don't know how to fix it, then you shouldn't be gaming on a PC". Escapist is generally friendly about it, granted, but this also isn't the only place I've asked for tech help when having an issue with a game, and it probably isn't the first stop for most people.

Over-all, very good article, and definitely the kind of thing that PC Hardware developers need to take to heart. Unless you get a pre-made computer (and most avid PC gamers will tell you it's better to build your own), it's far more complicated than it should be to build a gaming-level PC. Some of you might ask why this is the hardware developer's problem, and the answer is simply this: If PC gaming ever dwindles the point where software developers stop publishing for the PC, then a LOT of companies will go out of business when video cards and high-performance CPUs are no longer purchased by gamers who can no longer game on their PC.

If PC gaming is ever going to see a return to the old glory days, the first step is making the hardware more user-(and cost-)friendly. As long as consoles are far easier to set up, and generally cost the same as a single component for a PC, then PC gaming will always be the underdog.

I am Shiro, and I am a devoted PC gamer. I don't even own a 360 or a PS3. Keep that in mind when typing-up the knee-jerk "you're just an anti-PC console player" post that I know you're itching to post. ;P

I bashed my own median just as well as I defended it. On the page before this. More specifically, I bashed my last gaming PC and gave my current one a great deal of praise. I know why it works. The OS on this one isn't defective and the components were tediously picked. I understand most people don't have time to shop on Newegg for 20 hours looking for good parts for a good deal. And really, people are, from the couple pages I read, defending consoles and bashing PCs just as rampantly as the people defending PCs and bashing everything else.

I already stated why I play the PC... kinda. I left out the ability to alt tab and do whatever while a game's running and the fact that I just like something I can tinker with. Add to that that I've had years of experience with it, and you got yourself a pretty hefty bias. When I was little, I thought playing games on the computer was for losers. Then I tried it. I guess I got lucky.

If I might add, the PC market may be dwindling, but it will never die. Games are developed on the PC. With the exception of a few engines, most of them will also run on a PC without much effort. Unless the original game was a PS3 exclusive, and not even then thanks to automated multicore cooking and automatically porting engines, porting a game to the PC is relatively effortless. If developers can even sell ten copies of the game, the chances are they'll put it on Steam and let whatever profit they can roll in.

Also, this is quite the controversial topic. I do agree that there are heavy biases on each side, some of them completely aggressive, but the massive amounts of rage seeping from the original poster's article is what ignited the while aggressive attitude on this discussion in the first place. I'm sorry, but unless you want a barrage of angry posts saying how stupid you are, you don't insult your audience, let alone indirectly threaten. I don't care how mad you are, because neither will the people that write the backlash. Lets not forget that this is the PC community that he, whether he knew it or not, vented his rage at. Maybe what he said wasn't directed at the PC users as a whole, but that's not how the text reads to all non-narcissists.

I consigned my PC to the basement about a month ago when it refused to turn on. I love the extra space this has created on my desk.

Seriously, all platforms have their issues, but my experience with PC gaming is just that it required too much money and time to make the experience enjoyable. Actually I really hope that some developers start pitching games with Mac compatibility, like Blizzard have been doing for over a decade, because I find console controllers limiting and frustrating, so it would be nice to have a keyboard/mice compatible platform where you can be reasonably sure that if you pick up and install the game it will WORK.

NB: I don't want to hear any responses calling me a Mactard or whatever. No one's insulting you personally by expressing that something doesn't work for them and they would prefer to try something else.

Generic Gamer:
honestly it comes across as not wanting to do any maintenance work and getting annoyed when it breaks.

There are two types of people in this world: this sentence perfectly delineates the boundary between them.

I admit that I don't know jack about computers and don't care: as a consequence, and in exactly the same way as the writer of this article, I don't even try to play games on them anymore.

I have a job I do for money all day. I don't want to be doing tech support on behalf of my own entertainment at the end of it.

But, sure, if you know computers, keep yours up to date, and see error messages as fun riddles to solve, "I just want to plug, play, relax and have fun" will seem like "I am cheap, lazy, and ignorant."

And that's fair. Like I said, two types of people.

Re: "user error":

It doesn't change the situation to say that the guy in the glass house committed a "user error" by dropping that rock.

TOGSolid:

Scrumpmonkey:
Not to be offensive but 90% of the time people's bad experiences of PC gaming are their own fault

This This This This This This This times a fucking thousand. The first words out of my mouth whenever somebody comes to me with a computer problem are always "what did you break?" Why? Because 99/100 times it's a PEBCAC error and while they vehemently deny at first, once I start digging I always find out it's something the person did to their own pc that caused the problem.

The problem with PCs isn't the PC, it's the person sitting in the damn chair.

Damn right.

I often wonder how other people's PCs can go wrong so much. Either I'm just that good, my PC is a raging god-machine, or other people are that bad.

Sadly, it's usually the last of those. Sometimes the second. This PC soldiers on though everything I do.

I pity the poor folks who work in IT and deal with that every day.

whats with the "When PC Gaming Is More Trouble Than It's Worth" article? Comments are disabled and it looks like half a article, was it meant to be posted?

tmujir955:

J03bot:

Chuck Wendig:
No draconian DRM that demands I be online at all times and sacrifice a bleating goat

See, this is your problem. You're only sacrificing one goat. The machine god demands more! That baby seal you're thinking about punching? Sacrifice it instead! I think there's something about keeping your computer inside a pentagram at all times, with a water cooling system filled entirely with a virgin's blood, too.

I also have issues with PC gaming. I can't afford to upgrade a desktop on a regular basis (or even to buy one), so I'm stuck with a basic laptop that can't run COD 4, even at the lowest settings, without it jumping about more than the camera in a Bourne film.
The Steam sale, on the face of things, looked like it would fix this.
"Loads of slightly older games, at lower prices? Some of these should run on my wheezing construct of the ancients", I thought to myself. 20 of games, 4 days of download time, and a number of computer crashes that could best be represented in standard form later, and I have not one single game that will run on my PC without the aforementioned Cloverfield-level jerkiness. This is even after the specs supposedly match up, too.
I think I may be out of the PC gaming field until I find a couple of grand lying in the street for a decent gaming rig... Back to the xbox, I guess - there's definitely something to be said for the simplicity of gaming on consoles.

I bought Team Fortress 2 on Steam.

I tried to play it on my average laptop which I bought in 2009.

It lagged like hell.

I tried to play it on an average PC I bought in 2003.

It works better on the PC than the laptop. So stay away from laptops for gaming.

Unless you get one with the right video chipset, laptops are not that great to game on unless your doing 5 year+ old gameing. You can however buy one that can run newer games but the price of it is crazy. A PC is easier to upgrade to the times,even more so if you have a ATX case you can slap a 100$ mobo/CPU combo in it once every 5ish years so you can upgrade the rest of it as needed.

DannibalG36:
But believe me when I say that PC gamers are [i]real[i/] gamers - in both skill and devotion. For example, not even the most skilled Halo players could hold their own against the god gamers of Counterstrike - who have perfected their skills over years of matches.

Yes, because the skill required for two COMPLETELY different games using two COMPLETELY different control inputs is totally comparable in terms of skill, right?

This whole thread is bullshit, because technical issues occur on consoles as much as they occur on PC's. I didn't have any issues with my PC until it slowed down when overloaded it with stuff, but that's just me being lazy and not deleting stuff that I didn't use.

The only reasons why I prefer playing on my PC are these-
1.Mouse+Keyboard (gaming with a controller feels weird to me, kind of robotic, especially because I play FPS games most of the time)
2.I can tinker with my games in whatever way I want (trainers, easy patches, mods & all that stuff)
3. AMAZING steam sales (seriously, did you see the latest summer sales? fucking 75% off FTW)

That's all.

Dr_Steve_Brule:
This whole thread is bullshit, because technical issues occur on consoles as much as they occur on PC's. I didn't have any issues with my PC until it slowed down when overloaded it with stuff, but that's just me being lazy and not deleting stuff that I didn't use.

You just articulated the problem very nicely. When a PC has problems, it's assumed to be your fault for not cleaning up, or installing too much stuff, or not installing the right stuff, et cetera. And then sometimes it breaks anyway, because of a hardware incompatibility or outdated drivers. And if you don't always do these yourself, think how powerless a novice user must feel! No one ever told her about "outdated drivers."

When a console has problems, either the power is out, the network is down, or the machine overheated. At all other times, I start the game and it just works. Microsoft doesn't expect you to choose the install directory, download the patch, and uninstall the toolbar they added when you weren't looking.

PC games are infuriatingly unstable nightmares. And on the offchance they aren't, we can get mods that make them so. I wouldn't trade this for the world...until they make a decent keyboard/mouse combo for the x360 at least.

ShrooM_DoughKiD:

I'm running a system that I built myself, cost me around $900 wholesale 2 and a half years ago, the only new part being a GPU (the original 8800GT that was in it died about 4 months ago) I've had no problems with Crysis, Fallout 3 or any GFWindows' Games. Maybe it might just be your Hardware Chuck.

You said that you don't have time to build your own PC, to scout for parts need only take 20 minutes a day, buying aforementioned parts and installing them need only take a day.

That may be, but as he said he doesn't want to have to do that, so just deal with it.

Dr_Steve_Brule:
This whole thread is bullshit, because technical issues occur on consoles as much as they occur on PC's.

I'll disagree.
At least, that's not true in my experience.

I was a PC gamer for years and years. Ever since Wolf3D! I eventually got an Xbox, and now I have a 360. I only play the older PC games (Baldur's Gate, Diablo 2, etc) on my netbook, now.

I've had my 360 freeze, that's true.
But my 360 has never needed me to update drivers. Not in the same way, at least. Turn my 360 on and it says 'update' and it takes less then a minute to update.
My PCs over the years? What GPU do you have? What version of windows are you running? Go download, install, reboot. Takes way longer. Undeniably longer.

Never had my 360 blue-screen. Never had my 360 not play a game because it didn't meet requirements. Never had to fiddle with graphics settings to get that 'just right' balance between looking good and playing smooth. Never had random quits to the desktop. Don't have to deal with install times or long patching processes...

I'm certainly not against PC gaming or gamers, but I prefer my 360 because of one reason: It's easy.
I play games to relax. I want to come home, throw myself on the couch after work, and play. I don't want to fiddle with things. When a new game comes out that I want, I know I'll be able to run it. No checking system specs or anything. Just put it in and play.

Again: I was a PC gamer for years. Heck, I still play my PC (Baldur's Gate and Homeworld 2 are freaking awesome)! But I'm just done with the updating, the hardware configurations, the driver updates, the troubleshooting, all of it. I used to have the patience for it, and I don't anymore. I've got a wife, a job, and a bunch of other things that take up my time now.
When I game, I just want to play.

And for those saying 'Well I've played INSERT GAME NAME HERE with no problems! This guy must be an idiot! No, that's false. I can play Baldur's Gate with no trouble, but I bet you any money that searching for 'Baldur's Gate Crash' on google will bring up a bunch of people who aren't so lucky. Heck, put in nearly any PC game with the word 'crash' at the end and you'll find people who aren't so lucky.
That's what I'm talking about.
I'm done with it.

my ps3 has crashed more times in game and when browsing youtube then my pc has in 3 years. but i have to say when issues do occur with games (as they always do) its usually the usual suspects of pc games. mainly bethsda for me. i like oblivion and fallout a lot but they are crashtacualar. aside from that im glad i made the jump to pc gaming im designing my next rig specifically for battlefeild 3 seeing as how its promising to be true to its pc pedigree.

ShrooM_DoughKiD:
You said that you don't have time to build your own PC, to scout for parts need only take 20 minutes a day, buying aforementioned parts and installing them need only take a day.

If you know what your doing but, and I know this sounds shocking, not everyone who plays pc games knows whats going on inside their pc.

"gaming on a pc" correlates with "understanding of computers" to the same degree as "driving a car" correlates with "understanding cars".

~~~~~~

On another note, who can figure this one out?

Half Life 2 plays smoothly on my pc, but Portal crashes 5-6 times before I can finish. Same PC specs, same system requirements for both games, same source engine...

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