Somehow, I feel like I’ve stepped into a time warp. I’m not really sure how or when it happened, but gaming has taken me back about 12 years or so. I look a little bit older, I know only a couple of more things, I’m about to be a father, but the mouse and the keyboard still feel the same: every satisfying click fires another round, sends another SCV, marks another target or claims another piece of loot.
And there’s something terribly right about the whole thing.
Over the last few months, I’ve found myself returning to my PC to get my gaming fix more and more frequently. Sure, I still consider a majority of games that I play to be “couch” experiences rather than “desk” experiences, but the really addictive titles all beg to be played from the comfort of a USB headset and a RAZR mouse. Starcraft II, Battlefield 3 and now the Diablo III and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive betas. The calendar may read 2012, but it feels like the summer of 2000 all over again.
I think maybe it’s the combination of CS: GO and Diablo III that have finally done me in over the past week. It’s like, all of a sudden I’m back in the computer room at my old home, playing away into the hours of the night with friends, laughing together as we create memories in the form of LAN parties.
As much as I think that the PC versus console wars can tend to be a bit overblown (and that’s a severe understatement), there really is nothing quite like the PC experience. It’s surprising to me that all these years later, the fundamentally enjoyable things about the experience have translated well across time, gaming generations and a massive update in pixel count. Even though I love the machines that Microsoft and Sony have built, nobody else put my PC together but me (and sure, maybe Nick and my brother helped, too).
Yes, that’s reductive, but it’s true. This PC is mine. I can fill it full of whatever nonsense I want. I don’t need a dashboard or an antiquated system to purchase my games. I can mod, multi-task and make the experience just the way I want it. I can play matches with dedicated servers and experience mind-blowing graphics that sometimes do make a game better, thank you very much. I can do all these things and more, and somehow it just feels the way gaming was meant to be. None of the fuss, none of the crap that comes with the exclusivity of the closed-system consoles.
After being out of the PC gaming mix for so long, I thought jumping back in would be a bit of a shellshock. I expected to find myself lost in the deep end, wondering if I had wasted money upgrading my system or if I would have been better off ignoring these landmark titles. But what I found is quite the opposite. Just like in the year 2000, this style of gaming fits me like a glove. It’s unique. It’s special.
And for all the crap that PC gamers get from the greater community of gamers, they’re right about one thing: the PC gaming experience is one to cherish and protect.
Who’s with me in my re-found love of playing games on the PC? Go!