Friday, November 24, 2006

If this post were a graphics card, it would be the ATI RAGE PRO

Lames For Windows?

Being homogeneous in configuration, consoles allow adherence to a design philosophy that has never made it in the PC sphere: Games are to be hassle-free. Console games come ready-to-play off the disc, are free of serious glitches (for the most part...I've heard some stories), and are controlled by a gamepad, or associated controller (ie. Dance Mat or Plastic Guitar) which is developed specifically for the game. There exists a practically infinite number of configurations for a PC, and so buying a new game is always accompanied by a palpable sense of dread, as your mind envisions an armada of driver conflicts and unforeseen hardware glitches blockading the sweet shores of gaming utopia.

So Games for Windows, with it's "stuff should work" mantra is a good thing, right?





'Games For Windows' is a well-funded attempt at de-hardcorification of the PC gaming market. This is total bullshit, and everyone at M$ should know it. Here are the top 5 reasons why PC gaming should belong to the Hardcore:

5) More mainstream gamers = more mainstream games

I'm not referring to games which are elegant in their simplicity here, because all gamers will appreciate them. I'm talking 'Barbie pet detective', 'who wants to be a millionaire', and all the other mass-market tie-ins that out-sell games which actually deserve the name. The Sims is an exception, but that is because Will Wright is God (so I believe that he does not exist. Paradoxical much?). Games For Windows is going to make it easier, and more reliable to game. Translation: some people are too lazy to be informed. That means awful tie-in games, and all manner of poorly-made budget titles to appeal to impulse buyers, now able to game without worrying about actually having to learn a thing. Want proof that the mainstream ruins gaming? Watch any kind of TV program about gaming. These things are run by utter TOOLS! There was a video I saw that offered an 'examination' of the Wii (harr harr). The guy looked at the plain, white, fucking BOX. It was not spindled, folded, or mutilated in the slightest. The best the dude could do was point out that it was "pretty sturdy" or something. No examination of the hardware, or anything. Fucking useless. Also, witness celebrity hosts of so called "video game awards" shows who know shit all about anything that happened after Pong and Space Invaders. There are already enough movie tie-ins and timid sequels. It's not like we need more.

4) PCs Are Not Simple

This is a short one. Too many people are already indiscriminate as to where they litter vital personal information online. They leave e-trails, as real as any made of paper. Are you one of those people who doesn't read the EULA before you sign it? Yeah, like we need more of you around here. Easy installs just make it easier for people not to learn about something they know too little about to begin with.

3) Vista Experience Numbers

Gamers know their systems. If you are reading this, and you game...but you don't know what's inside the big ol' steel box (or aluminum, if you have ph47 l3w7!), too bad. You are no PC gamer. Of course, I mean that in the nicest way, but it's no less the truth. If you know what is in your system, you will know what games will run on it, and when it is time to upgrade. Most importantly, you will know how to upgrade. If games start using the Vista Experience Numbers (numbers from 1-5 which rate your systems capabilities. The lowest score is your overall rating), people might assume it will be easier to tell if games will work or not. System requirements are already WAY lower than they should be. If the ratings become abstract, any hope of accuracy goes out the window. If a game says "3" and your system is a "2", though, what do you do? You look at the Windows screen. Processor, Ram, etc...all 3. Video is a "2". Before, you could see what card you had, look up the features, and then say "ah, this is too old" or "this is ok", or "this is overkill'. Now, you have another step in the process, where arbitrary numbers have to be converted into feature lists, and then you have to look up new video cards.

Staying up on hardware is tricky, but if its such a chore for you, why do you want to game on a PC?!?! The sweetest fruit on the gaming tree is the one you have to build a ladder to get at. If that's too much work, maybe you should just have a Ki-"Wii"-fruit instead. Or buy Apple; you'll be able to play more WoW than your addled, mainstreamer ass can handle!

2) N00bZ

"Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"

With Games for Windows, that is the future. I don't care if the hardcore will still be able to buy whatever games they want, GfW-branded or no, but if the sort of people we hope to attract are the kind who *would* like to game, but are too confused by PC, we are essentially inviting a legion of N00bZ into our party. If you do not understand technology, you have NO right, nor ability to control it in a meaningful sense.

I don't want to be elitist about this, but Consoles exist for people who do not care about what is "under the hood". Even the clued-in fanboyz can barely do more than quote the synthetic performance numbers. I swear I have heard conversations where the tech specs have come out, but there is no knowledge behind them. "Durrrr Cell processor Durrrrr 100 cores! and it will run a God emulator Durrrrrr!"

Is this what we want?

1) Sometimes It Can Be Fun If A Game Does Not Work.

The PC experience is about playing a game before it even works on your system. The goal: make this program work. The problems: a lot!

It's frustrating as HELL, but when the game finally loads, it is an experience that you CANNOT match. You have WON, you WON, you WON. The drivers, the game, stupid windows, they all tried to stop you playing this game...but you BEAT THEIR ASSES, AND DRINK THE SWEET, RAW NECTAR OF VICTORY ITSELF!

I would rather be sexually assaulted by powerful hydraulic machinery than lose that vital aspect of PC gaming.


GoldMatenes said...

Well excuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me for liking console games. I don't play Zelda because I don't understand computers, I play it because Zelda games are 73H H4X.

By the way, I realise this is a rant. You can have raging license. I just think that kicking consoles is a cheap shot: they are different than PCs, even if that's what they really are.

Loud said...

You are correct. What I'm saying is not that console gamers do not understand PCs, but that they like Games, and they really don't need to know or care about the hardware. They can if they want, though.

PC is different. It is an inherently difficult platform to work with, given the wonky issues I mentionned. PC gamers should either learn, or choose to buy something lower maintenance, like a console.

I like playing Tribes: Aerial Assault on my PS2, and I love DDR. I am just saying that the joy of PC gaming comes as much from the level of control you have as it does from the games themselves. Why try to get rid of that half? GfW is, and I cannot fathom why.

GoldMatenes said...

I know, but the Mac isn't as bad as everyone says either - it's a PC for those who don't want the visceral slicing and part-swapping etc. There are many people who do want that, and they buy PCs. (Also, some people can't afford nice PCs.)

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