A few days ago I vomitted some heavy PC bias upon you all, and though it was a cleansing experience for me, I should probably apologize for getting you dirty like that. You took it in fine stride. The things of which I proselytized in that article are all positions I hold stubbornly that resist any evidence you may provide to the contrary. I can't tell you that I'll ever come around to abandoning my PC bias, but I can promise that in the future I'll resist trotting it out like a well groomed mutt at the kennel club. And lest you be under the illusion that my bias has blinded me, I'm keenly aware of the problems with using a PC as a gaming device these days. Just recently, even I have secretly aimed a legion of angry thoughts at my precious PC gaming.I still love my PC, don't get me wrong. But it's a high maintenance love, and sometimes I don't know why she has to treat me the way she does.
If there's a favorite metaphor among usually male videogame enthusiasts it has to be describing things as feminine. I have several theories about why this might be, but they all involve stereotypes that I'd only use if it were really really funny, so I'll let you draw your own conclusions. But, try and recall how many times the beauty of new rendering styles has been metaphorically attached to the curves and valleys of the female human form. I'm often left wondering what grrl [sic] gamers use as hardware and gaming metaphors? But, that leads down a path I prefer not to explore.
Anyway, it seems to me that if gaming were like dating, then PC gaming would be like dating a drama queen. High maintenance doesn't scratch the surface for the dedicated PC gamer as our precious lady insists on constant enhancement at the expense of our time, patience, and bank account. In return what befalls us? Nothing short of casual indifference mixed with spotty reliability. You upgrade a fashionable new processor, and your PC gives you a pouty expression, folds her arms, and possibly leaves to visit her mother for a few days without your knowing what you did wrong. Just look at Certis' recent fiasco where he gave his dark mistress a fancy new video card making her far more beautiful than any other PC on the block, and what is her response? She practically refuses to interact with him on even the most basic levels as he delicately caresses her perplexingly wounded ego with soothing words and lovingly applied drivers.
For all my PC gaming passion, I must admit this just doesn't happen with consoles. Consoles either love you or they don't. There's not much middle ground. You press their button, and if they don't respond you know that you've just gotten the metaphorical equivalent of a Dear John letter and it's time to find yourself a new gal. Consoles break your heart, particularly when you walk in with that fine new game, and realize she's gone forever, but it's not the slow painful tearing of a PC with short stretches of easy gaming framed by viruses, updates, upgrades, buggy software, patches, and crashes. PC gaming is an abusive relationship where we say things we don't really mean to each other all the time.
"Beeeep! Big Gun Destruction 4000 is no longer responding..."
"You skanky bitch, I just beat the Gargomoth and was trying to save. Why? Why!?"
"Beeeeep! Explorer is not responding...."
"You whore! You dirty damn box. How do you like that!"
"Oh, baby. I didn't mean to hit you like that. Oh god, I hit you so hard that you rebooted, I didn't ... I won't do that again. I'm sorry. I don't know what came over me."
It's just not a healthy relationship.
I think about things like Steam, and the ridiculous antics of Nvidia of late, and MMORPG launches, and games with Gamespy matchmaking, and the fact that every game has come to practically require patching, and the exhausting series of checking, updating, and testing that follows a hardware problem, and then in the end how seemingly random it all is. And, I remember all I have to do to play a game like Soul Calibur II or NFL 2k4 is go press a button. Just one button, and I realize how terribly persnickety my PC is.
I do love my PC, because when it's good it's very very good, but I'm not under the silly illusion that she's a reliable mistress. I'm a little jealous of heavy console gamers sometimes, and the ease with which they purchase and then play a game without the multitude of twists and camouflaged pitfalls lurking in their path. Now if you'll excuse me these are all sentiments that I have to pack back under my thick PC gaming skin, else next week when I'm replacing my dying hard drive, reinstalling Windows, applying a dozen patches and struggling to transfer data and get my PC organized again I may just cry, and that's not a pretty sight.