PC Gaming, and Why It’s Great
July 9, 2008 § 2 Comments
Apologies for the lateness of this post, but it’s been quite difficult arranging my thoughts into a comprehensible article this time. Unfortunately, master is cracking the whip, so here follows some words.
Before I’m misinterpreted, I don’t think consoles are rubbish. They’re an important part of games (I forgot to tell you, this article will not feature the brilliant wordplay I’ve lavished on you before) because they open it up to a wider market. Now, I’m pretty bad for simplifying issues, but I reckon the success of consoles is down solely to the fact that you can play them on the couch. You can’t play on the computer on a couch. Have you tried? It’s not much fun at all. That added to the joy of splitscreen co-op and you’ve got a recipe for success right there. I don’t know why splitscreen left the PC; maybe companies have an alternate agenda with trying to isolate PC gamers so they can get more World of Warcraft players or something. That’s why I love Cortex Command so much, but I digress a bit.
The problem with consoles is that, ever since their conception, they have been absolutely rubbish at immersion. I think I’ve whipped this dead horse before, but the problem is simple (feel free to stick your fingers in your ears if you found the last paragraph offensive, in fact you might want to skip reading this as well, since I’m not talking at you – I’m writing at you). When you compare a thumb/joystick to a mouse, the only real difference is that the mouse uses what I’m going to call ‘absolute’ tracking, while the stick uses ‘relative’ tracking. What this basically means is that to turn 360 degrees in a console FPS, you need to hold the stick in a certain position for a set amount of time and wait for your character to turn around. In a pooc feps, your motion perfectly matches the character’s motion, and you turn around by swinging the mouse sideways. This correlates to the real-life action of turning a lot more than a joystick does, just like the Wii tried to do with bowling, but ultimately failed when people realised you got better results from waggling the remote in the air above you than you did actually bowling it.
The point of all this (yes, there is a point), is that analogue sticks separate you and the protagonist, making you feel more like you’re giving orders rather than acting them out. The mouse connects you seamlessly to the character’s eyes, letting you respond to whatever the game throws at you just like you would in real life (minus the hiding in a corner shitting yourself). If you don’t believe me, go play the orange box on pooc then go play it on a pessthree. The mouse really does make a world of difference in making you forget you’re sitting alone and friendless in a darkened room, continuing the futile battle started in Space Invaders, because you know that one of these days you’ll finally defeat the ridiculous horde of pixel-aliens and take back your pixel-planet.
Seriously, it’s been like thirty years. Haven’t we run out of enemies yet?