I’ve loved video game consoles from when I was a child. From the Atari 2600 and the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) to the Playstation 4 (PS4) and the Nintendo Switch, these systems have housed many of my favorite gaming moments. But I don’t believe someone has truly discovered the furthest reaches of the video gaming galaxy until they’ve played on a PC and see what that specific platform truly has to offer.
When I was growing up, I was a console kid. My exposure to computers throughout most of my childhood was limited to school, computer classes at the Boys & Girls Club, and my friends who happened to have one at their homes. It was through my elementary school that I played Mickey’s Space Adventure, one of my teachers in middle school introduced my fellow students and I to Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, and then I was introduced to Wolfenstein 3D, Police Quest 4, King’s Quest, and Doom through my friends. Lucasarts Games also played a key role in my familiarity with computer gaming as I can recall one of my friends having a collection that included Maniac Mansion, Zak McCracken and the Alien Mindbenders, Loom, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, and The Secret of Monkey Island. Looking back on it, these were some great games.
I didn’t purchase my first computer until after I graduated from college in 2000. It was then that I truly started to explore PC gaming more on my own. Unfortunately, I found myself limited by my machine not being able to run the newer games consistently. At the time, I didn’t realize the importance of components such as graphics cards, processors, and RAM. My computers became better over time as my technical knowledge of computers started to expand. Today, PC gaming is my preferred way to play and the bulk of my game collection is for that platform. With my Alienware Aurora R9, I’m able to play anything I throw at the computer at the highest settings. It’s been amazing.
There are two factors that make the PC the ultimate gaming platform. It is where you will find a countless number of free games and the best place to discover game modifications. Let’s put the “free” part into perspective. Regular consoles such as the PS4, Xbox One, and the Switch have free-to-play games (typically within a section that contains under 100 games) as well as free games they provide within a paid subscription. On the PC, there are thousands of free games that you can own with no subscription necessary or just a free subscription required. Since last fall alone, I have acquired hundreds of games. It is not uncommon for me to find an average of three to five free games a week. I’ve had to purchased external hard drives as a result of all the games I’ve collected in the last 10 months.
Since last November, here is a sampling of games that I’m describing: The Division, Borderlands 2, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Grand Theft Auto V, Just Cause 4, World War Z, Total War: Troy, Civilization VI, Quake 1-3, Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition, Killing Floor 2, Tomb Raider, Hitman, Watch Dogs 1 & 2, Samurai Showdown: NeoGeo Collection, Crusader Kings II, Darksiders 1 & 2, The Witcher Enhanced Edition, etc. Needless to say, there is much more benevolence on PC than there is on consoles. If you invest the money into either purchasing or building a decent PC, you can have a vast library of free games that will keep you busy for an entire lifetime. Although the website is included in the links above under “FREE GAMES,” you can visit https://www.gogogames.com to see some of the latest free games available. The Games Deals Reddit (located in the “GAME DEALS” link section) is also a tremendous resource.
Now let’s discuss the mods. In my opinion, this is where the PC platform shines the most. The ability to take in-game assets and modify them leads to games having nearly infinite replayability. For instance, one of the reasons I still play the 2005 version of Star Wars Battlefront II to this day is because the mods have provided more characters and maps that stretch far beyond the based game and cover several eras of Star Wars lore. The NBA 2K14 Ultimate Base Roster mod provides almost an entire history of the NBA with just about every season from 1951 through the present. Through its hundreds of mods, Battlefield 2 can become the ultimate multiplayer shooter. Play with heroes and villains from Marvel, DC, and other universes with mods in Marvel Ultimate Alliance. Put just about any wrestler in WWE 2K19 complete with entrance music and have any match free of gender restrictions through mods. Craft an experience for the ages in The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim with modifications that affect towns, characters, weapons, gameplay, story, graphics, and more. Consoles can not hold a candle to what can be done on a PC in this area.
Some mods become so huge that they take on a life of their own and become a full standalone game. We can be sure that the reason why Nintendo eventually created the Super Mario Maker series was because of all of the hacks of previous Super Mario Bros. games. Counter-Strike began as a mod of Half-Life, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds derived from Arma 3, DOTA 2 was first a mod from Warcraft III, and DayZ spawned from Arma 2. It is amazing how mods can take on a life of their own and actually spawn brand new gaming franchises. Mods are one of the reasons why my interest in gaming has remained so strong. They are fascinating and I give the modders all of the credit in the world for their hard work. Most of them hardly ever ask for anything in return but just appreciation and gratitude. Modders provide outstanding contributions to the industry.
If you want the most expansive and budget-friendly gaming experience, look no further than the PC. Especially with the ability to play your older games through emulation and have it upscaled to 4K resolution, check out loads of free mobile games through BlueStacks, as well as play Microsoft exclusives that also appear on the Xbox systems, it is the platform that can be a person’s one-stop-shop for gaming. If you are more of a casual gamer, then I can understand why you wouldn’t be interested in having a PC gaming setup. Yet for the people who are more serious about their gaming interest, it opens up a world of options that the consoles just can’t match.