Opinion: How I slowly became a PC gamer

There are still some records of me around in archived YouTube comments or extremely old comment accounts where I could see how much of a console fanboy I was when I was a teenager. I fell in love with my Xbox 360 but instead of keeping that love just for myself, I rather made it a hobby to tear down any Sony Ponies or making fun of PC gamers. It was obviously a very juvenile mindset that I believe we all fell victim to at some point or another. We crave that validation that our choice was the correct one and rather than simply accepting that others may be different, we tore down those that didn’t fall within what we thought was the enlightened path.

As I got older, I realized more and more how futile this whole operation was and that being a “crazed fanboy” was probably one of the dumbest things you can do. To take part in “console wars” or ridicule a random stranger on the internet about some exclusives they would never get was just the definition of pointless. A large console manufacturer may be happy for your fanatic energy, but in the end, it doesn’t matter one bit.

Because of this dedication to console gaming, I never really went into PC gaming at all during my time as a gamer. There were certainly times when I dabbled in it such as that wonderful time when LANs were still a thing and I spent evenings awake with friends playing Counter-Strike and the like, but I never considered myself a PC gamer. However, things changed dramatically last year when I finally got a rig that was capable of doing proper PC gaming.

I spent an astounding amount of money on the PC I currently have and back when I built it, I had the goal of creating a machine that wasn’t going to be outdated in a few years and was going to satisfy any gaming need I may have and since I work from home, it was also an investment in my career. I won’t flex and put all my specs up, but for the PC gamers out there, the thing does have a Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti in it which gives you some idea of its power. This not only enabled me to play games but play games as I’ve never experienced before. It was able to play games in 4K at 60 FPS on high to ultra settings without even really breaking a sweat.

The PC I had before this one was a terrible 2009 pre-built with absolutely no power, 2 GB of RAM that really didn’t do Windows 10 any favours and everything was so immensely slow because of the terrible hard drive that I was using. Jumping from that to what I have now was like being in the Stone Age smashing rocks into my face and then suddenly driving a Tesla. It was a whole different ballgame and I still remember nearly crying when I first booted Windows off an SSD and it was booted up completely in a matter of seconds.

Since I was still very much a console gamer with my PS4 being my main gaming platform, I didn’t really know how to take advantage of this crazy machine of mine. I started out just playing Warframe because it was a game I was dying to play but never really wanted to do it on consoles. It took quite some time before I really delved into PC gaming, but once that did happen, the magic of the platform started showing itself to me more and more.

Being used to the console way of life was fine, but I never realised just how much freedom was missing from my gaming experience. On PC, anything is possible. You can cater your experience however you like with a bevvy of options in every game you play and you can play whatever you want, whenever you want. There aren’t arbitrary rules in place or walled gardens that you need to stay within, you’re free to do as you please.

Apps like Discord offered unparalleled social interaction that worked across everything that you did which made multiplayer gaming a very tantalizing option. Since most of my friends are PC gamers, I got into the social aspect of PC gaming very quickly. I started playing survival games such as SCUM with my buddy where we just walked around a forest for hours at a time talking about life and looking for loot or playing Overwatch with some teammates that actually helped me for a change.

It was a magical renaissance in multiplayer gaming for me since my friends could never play games with me on PS4 since they either don’t have the console or wanted to shell out money for PS Plus just to play games with me. It opened up so many more avenues for me to play games simply because the platform was so free.

Games were considerably cheaper and often even given away for free which meant I built up a pretty substantial library quicker than I thought. Soon enough Xbox Game Pass came to the PC which offered all of Microsoft’s Xbox exclusives as well as a whole plethora of PC games I’ve been dying to try which I now could for an extremely low monthly fee that I was happy to pay.

I played some awesome strategy games that were never really an option on console and a whole menagerie of eccentric indie games that could only exist on PC. Games such a Stellaris, Civilization VI, Squad, Cities: Skylines and let’s not forget some awesome Game Pass games such as Gears 5, Forza Horizon 4 and most recently The Outer Worlds which still blows my mind how I got to play it at launch at such a ludicrously cheap price.

All this combined soon caused that I was not turning my PS4 on as often as I did in the past. When I did, it felt like what I was doing was entirely inferior which was pretty obvious given the power of my machine. I started loving playing with a keyboard and mouse because it gave you so many more options and if I had to use a controller, I just plugged in my Dualshock 4 and it just simply worked. Playing FPS games was such a ball given how much more accurate aiming with a mouse was.

I had a brush with PC gaming superiority when I played a game on PS4 and it was in 30 FPS. Such a framerate was not something that was even possible on my machine and even the most visually intensive games which I cranked to ultra at 4K would still hover around 40 or 50 FPS. I started noticing the difference much more often and every time I played a multi-platform game at 30 FPS, I had this sense of regret that I’m not playing it on PC.

Obviously, my experience is very skewed since not everyone can afford a rig such as mine and given the amount I paid for it, it better be able to play games at such high levels. Make no mistake, I’m not completely blind to the negatives that surround PC gaming such as the expensive hardware you need to buy and maintain. My taskbar is stuffed with launchers which can get cumbersome and there have been plenty of times when a game was crashing or not working properly and I had to spend hours troubleshooting the issue.

In that regard, consoles still come out on top. To just be able to start up a game and play it is so much more convenient than having to fiddle with settings or hopping launchers that you need to update every time you start them up to play something. While consoles have slowly started to become PCs in many respects, they’re still the best you can do when you’re looking for convenience at an affordable price.

I look back to my console fanboy days in disgust, but what makes me the maddest is how closed-minded I was. PC gaming offered so much that I was blind to that I ultimately discovered when I started slowly migrating to it more and more. I’m still not a pure PC gamer since I still have a lot of love for my PS4 and my trophy score, but going to a world which I didn’t fully understand in the past was an enlightening experience.

It showed me that gaming was so much more than I may have initially thought. There are entire worlds out there that we don’t explore because of some sense of self-righteous stubbornness and the urge to be the best or the most correct. My love for PC gaming isn’t bigger than my love for console gaming and I fully understand that most people can’t enter the world of PC gaming because of its various barriers of entry and that is totally fine. After I detached myself from console fanboy servitude, I had the mantra that it doesn’t matter where you are gaming, as long as you’re gaming.

PC gaming showed me just how much broader gaming can be and I’ll be forever grateful that it gave me that experience.

I am way too tall, played way too many games and I love to write about what we love about games. In the end, I'm just being #Thabolicious

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