My Year as a PC Gamer

It has been a year since I switched my primary gaming platform from consoles to a gaming PC. In my year as a “PC gamer”, I’ve learned a lot. This article will be a recap of the good and the bad experiences I had when I switched to PC gaming after a life of relying on consoles for playing games.

The Good

Graphics

One of the very first things that I could say I enjoyed about owning a gaming PC was discovering just how great games could look. Having been limited to the capabilities of the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, both dated pieces of hardware, I did not experience 60fps all too often, aside from the occasional hack-and-slash and fighter. Moving to a world where all of my games, despite age, moved at a fluid framerate, was pretty dandy. Coupled with high resolution outputs and a myriad of PC graphical options, I won’t deny that simply having better looking games is something that I enjoy.

Mods

Now, you might think I’m holding to graphics a bit too much when I give my first mod example … but look at that picture above.

When I first played Skyrim, I just couldn’t get into it. I sank nearly 100 hours into Oblivion, but I couldn’t do the same with its sequel. I attribute my general lack of interest to the game’s visuals, not graphically, but artistically. Vanilla Skyrim is drab, dark, and visually unstimulating. If you know me well enough, you probably have learned I love color. I love stylized art directions, packed with vibrancy. With mods, I was not only able to improve Skyrim’s textures and effects, but also its color palette. Sure, there’s an argument that I’m playing with visuals not intended by the game’s developers and artists, but modding the game has allowed me to appreciate what the rest of the game has to offer.

Outside of Skyrim, I’ve enjoyed some time in Garry’s Mod and Just Cause 2’s multiplayer mod. Garry’s Mod isn’t my cup of vomit tea, due to being filled with loud teens and dreary sounding adults that take memes too seriously, and being a game founded in chaotic and inconsistent gameplay, but it’s got its audience and I respect that. A lot of things can be made in that game.

The ability to tweak older games to work to modern standards (for me: System Shock 2’s HUD, Silent Hill 3’s aspect ratio), is extremely valuable as well.

Multiplayer

I’m not really big on competitive multiplayer. I sorta used to be during the early days of the Xbox 360’s life cycle. I played a whole lot of Gears of War, Perfect Dark Zero, and Far Cry: Instincts Predator. While I still prefer singleplayer, story-focused games, DayZ has become my most played game … possibly ever. Steam tells me I have logged 280 hours into that game. Why do I like it so much? Perhaps its the scope of its multiplayer world, where nothing can happen for hours on end, but the threat of being seen or attacked keeps you ever-vigilant.

Overall, multiplayer games on PC are less restrained in their scope. Just Cause 2’s multiplayer mod supports up to 1000 players. 1000! It’s madness.

Even a game like Battlefield 4, also on consoles, allows for twice as many online players on PC. It’s that sense of scale that heightens multiplayer for me, and until now, I’ve not experienced it.

Did I mention that I don’t need a subscription to play with other people online? That’s been nice!

Backwards Compatibility

There’s not much to say other than I can play old games, with resources like GoG, whenever I want. Unlike consoles that need to find software or hardware solutions on a system-wide level to make older games work or become accessible, there’s less of a concern playing old games on PC. If there ever is an issue, fans have the option to help make games playable again with the ability of mods.

Reviewing

Reviewing, previewing, and developing content on games has never been easier for me. The immediate perk of playing a game on the same machine that can run other software means that I can record footage, stream my game session, and edit content quickly. Before I had a gaming PC, my only option was to purchase a capture card (with decent ones costing $100 or more), and rigging it up to my TV and my laptop. My headset would also get in that mix, covering my media area with an uncomfortable amount of semi-suspended wires.

Now all I do is run OBS to record footage, then play, and then edit the file when I’m done.

For reviews, coupling my pretty capable gaming PC with my Astro A40 surround sound headset means I can enjoy games to their fullest. Clean visuals, and crisp surround sound audio allows me to soak up a game’s detail to new levels of appreciation. For horror games … oh boy.

The openness of the platform also allows me to receive advanced review code, which makes my job a lot easier. Deep Silver sent Saints Row 4 PC a month in advance. I had more than enough time to fully enjoy the game prior to writing my review – something more publishers should consider.

The Bad

Tech issues

I may know a few geeky things and am able to work my way around some basic issues, but my biggest fear with PC gaming is running into tech issues. I recently had a scare where I started to get the BSOD after going a year without any real issues, and it gave me an unhealthy portion of anxiety.

What scares me about tech issues with a gaming PC is the multitude of culprits that may be responsible. Is it a driver? Is it a virus? No, I did a virus scan. Is it a faulty Windows update? No. Is it something hardware based? Shit! Is it the HDD? Is it the GPU?. IS IT THE CPU? THIS IS GONNA COST SO MUCH MONEY TO FIX! IS IT THE MOTHERBOARD? IS IT DUST? FUCK YOU DUST?!!!!

Thankfully, I think I resolved that issue…I hope.

*Lights some incense, borrow some feathers from my parrot, and prays to Zeus to keep my PC healthy*

Console Exclusives

The downside to stepping out of the console world (at least for the time being) is missing out on the exclusives. I want to get a PlayStation 4 down the line. Games like inFamous: Second Son, Metal Gear Solid 5, The Last of Us, Kingdom Hearts III, Destiny, and others call to me, because they’re on consoles only.

I’m not beating myself up about not having a PS4, I can wait, but there will be games that I won’t be able to play until I buy another gaming machine, preferably Sony’s.

Inadequacy

Despite building my PC just a year ago and being able to run many things at visually impressive levels, there’s always the thought what if I can have better? Sometimes I’m just a few settings away from maxed out visuals and a consistent 60fps, and I think to myself maybe I should get better RAM; the sticks I have were free. Maybe I should overclock just to get a few more frames in [Insert Game Name]. 

Ideally, I would like to overclock my CPU to a safe level and boost my RAM, but finances will prevent that. Also, my S.O. would yell at me for spending the money. But I won’t be spending frivolously boosting my PC and become one of scary people on /r/battlestations. Prepare to feel like shit if you click that link.

So, it has a been a year since I became a “PC Gamer”. Would I recommend it? Hell yeah.

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The Late E3 Post

It may be a little late to talk about E3 2014 (which happened to be my first after years of waiting to go – sqeee!), but it just occured to me that pointing at my E3 coverage on my blog makes a lot of sense. Aside from setting up our entire schedule ( + filming and editing), I also happened to appear on camera for a few things as well as writing a hands-on preview of Alien: Isolation.

Below I have included my impressions of Dying Light and Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed, and then a guided demo of H1Z1 where I ask questions as it’s played. There’s also a video recap of the entire show between me and Zack. We filmed that on my last day in LA, and if you listen closely you might hear me being out of breath due to asthma that was aggravated by allergies. I also wish I put an upbeat tune to that video, but oh well – live and learn!

I look forward to next year’s show and hope double the amount of content we put out!

Review: Outlast Whistleblower [Rely on Horror]

Outlast: Whistleblower is absolutely gruesome; it’s the most violent game I’ve ever played.

I have no other way to begin this review, because that was my very first thought upon completing the expansion to an already shocking madhouse of a game. Envelopes have been pushed (to lengths I’m sure people will consider too far), and I’m honestly surprised this released without any objections. Whistleblower blows the original game out of the water in its attempts to make animated gore scary once again, and I’m both appalled and impressed.

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Preview: Broforce [GGS Gamer]

Broforce is one of the best Steam Early Access games that I’ve played to date. Imagine the concept of The Expendables but in video game form – minus the high probability of being a subpar licensed tie-in. Broforce takes some of the most familiar action heroes from the last few decades and puts them into an arcadey shooter the likes of Contra, with a pixel graphics and world deformation.

Despite being in alpha state, Broforce performs exceptionally well and all it really lacks at this time is polish to its many game modes. But how does it play, you ask? Like a democracy-bomb filled with bald eagle feathers, that’s how!

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Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 [GGS Gamer]

There hasn’t been a great Spider-Man game since Treyarch’s 2004 Spider-Man 2. Fans of the character and that game have been waiting a long time for something to rival its quality. Since Spider-Man 2, we’ve had two open world games with Spider-Man 3 and Web of Shadows, both being nothing but a step down (in my humble opinion). French Canadian developer Beenox entered the scene in 2010 with Spider-Man: Shattered Dimension, dropping the open-world in favor of linear levels. Edge of Time released the following year, also linear.

It wasn’t until 2012 that the Spider-Man video game series once again became open-world. To coincide with the release of Sony Pictures’ film of the same name, Beenox brought Spider-Man back to New York City with free reign to swing above its streets. The first The Amazing Spider-Man game isn’t perfect, not by any means, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I would go so far to say it’s the best Spider-Man game since Spider-Man 2 – perhaps on par or lesser so than Ultimate Spider-Man.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 film is in theaters and with it comes another licensed tie-in game. Beenox has returned to release a new game to accompany the film, and unlike its predecessor, it’s not a sequel to the film, but more of a re-imagining of its key events and villains. Beenox has slowly been improving on their Spider-Man game formula, so the question is: does The Amazing Spider-Man 2 game excel where their previous games have not?

Well, yes and no.

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ESCAPE: Extended Edition | February 14th Update

I said some words and I feel self conscious about my performance, but that’s OK. Check it out!

A Certain Blogging Tobiichi

Hello everyone, hope you checked out the Valentine’s Day trailer for ESCAPE: Extended Edition above, it reveals the voice of Robert’s husband Lucas, played by CJ Melendez, as he tries to get in touch with Robert who has disappeared.

I thought I would give you guys a few new details on the upcoming version of the game, what it will contain and things like that.

  • New Story Content
    The original ESCAPE was divided into two chapters; The Bedroom and The Basement. In ESCAPE: Extended Edition we have rearranged some stuff in those two chapters and added three new chapters. These new chapters let you explore new rooms and find out new information about what is going on. You will also learn about and possibly interact with new characters.
  • New Voice Acting
    Zack Furniss returns as Robert Fairs, providing new lines for the new content. CJ Melendez stars as…

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Shut Up, Kid!

12 year olds are the most detestable group in multiplayer gaming. The moniker “12 year olds” is not representative of the actual age of the children within this group, but the connotation is quickly and generally associated with “asshole kids” to those in the gaming community. When someone complains about children in multiplayer games, you’d be remiss not to hear them called “12 year olds”.

There are some despicable kids out there across Xbox Live, PSN, and PC – vile children whose parents should be monitoring them and washing their mouths out with soap when they hear a stream of expletives or verbal attacks come from their offspring. Racist and homophobic remarks get bounced around like a playground ball, and personal attacks are commonplace in online communities where children are present. There is a troubling issue at hand that stems not from the children, but from those they share their online communities with: the adult gamers. These children are merely a product of their online environment and it’s about time we stop calling for their exclusion and take a stand against those that act so vehemently toward them.
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