I blogged a little while ago about the games coming out this year and wondered if any of them were worth buying, and as I sat and watched the releases roll out, I realized that nothing was appealing to me. My wife, being the angel that she is, brought me Rocket League, and while it was fun to play, part of me was still wondering what else I would purchase. I put down my controller for a while and focused on my writing as I continued to think about this and began to slowly realize that my tastes in gaming had suddenly changed over a short period of time. I still don't know why. People I have become friends with over Twitter have always said to me that PC is the place to be when it comes to gaming and choice of content available. So I decided to investigate one day and I signed up for Steam to see what was there and my god, it was full of stars.
In my eyes the AAA market has become the place of releasing the same old thing over and over again with a new coat of paint. The Far Cry series has become an ironic example of this as in the excellent Far Cry 3 the villain, Vaas, lectures the main character that the definition of insanity is "doing the exact same f***ing thing over and over again expecting shit to change." The series itself seems to have embodied that now as Far Cry 4 and Far Cry Primal have followed suit with only minor changes to time and setting. It has become disappointing to watch, especially as I was going to buy Far Cry Primal, but after holding back and watching other reviews too, I'm glad I did not, especially when the waterfall graphics became public. Even when it comes to DLC of season passes I have been disappointed. The first map pack I downloaded for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 was far from impressive, and after watching it played on both YouTube and by my son, I couldn't help but feel that I had wasted my money on the whole thing. Another was the final bit of content for Dying Light: The Following; after trying that I suddenly found myself bored with it and haven't bothered to finish it. Again, I am not sure why these changes and feelings have come over me, but perhaps it has come down to dissatisfaction of the whole market and what it's spewing out.
I bore all this in mind when I began to scan through the games on Steam and found myself stunned by the results of my searches. I am aware that this may sound funny to PC owners that have been on the platform for so long but the choices available were incredible in itself as well as the price that was being charged for some of them. Such variety on offer was something that continued to impress me when I cruised through what it had to offer, especially when it comes to the point-and-click games many of us grew up with and how many of them are available. Such games like XCOM and Sheltered simply do not work on consoles and a regular controller, and I understand why PC owners look at these console versions with some contempt. But as I browsed through the Steam library to see what games I could play on this little laptop I own, something dawned on me: the need for a higher spec gaming PC.
It's times like this I love being a geek and a gamer because when I started to ask opinions on what to do regarding if should build my own PC or buy one, people were quite quick and helpful with what I should do. The path I was quickly steered down was to build my own and it pretty much came down to being much cheaper. An Alienware desktop PC -- minus the monitor, keyboard and mouse, is £821.81 on Amazon. A good keyboard and mouse adds around another £100 maybe to the price, and a monitor adds perhaps another £130 to the total. So that ends up at £1051.81 and it's a painful figure to look at. One of my Twitter friends put together a list for me using PC Part Picker and buying the individual parts for the PC on its own ends up at £584.54, and that is refreshingly better. Add what I've previously mentioned it comes to £814.54, a much better total, and an added bonus is that I can pick off the parts monthly without hurting my wallet and then assemble it and away I go.
Granted, there will be people out there pointing out that consoles are cheaper, and of course they would be right, but then I realized that I would have to get rid of my Xbox One at some point and went into my local Game shop to inquire what the trade-in and sale value would be for the console and the one physical game I have for it. I was offered £120 cash and £140 trade value for it, and I was shocked! I had paid much more for that a few years ago and to take that much less for it felt quite frankly insulting and left me with the sad realization that I really wasn't going to get what I wanted for it and I felt cheated. I decided in the end that I would trade it in towards a good keyboard and mouse and take the hit as I doubt that I will get a decent amount of cash for it. Even on eBay at the time of writing this, there are 950 different listings for "Xbox One console."
This whole thing will be one hell of a journey for me, but it is something I look forward to, as when I have finally built the unit and power it into action, I can sit and look at it and think "I made this" and revel in that for a while. Gone also are the days of me having to worry about the next big console release and how much I'll have to pay for the damn thing, especially with the news that apparently Sony are working on a new PS4, and Microsoft are apparently wanting to release a new console every two years, similarly to mobile phone releases. I now get to skip all that completely and should I come across a game that I want -- but my PC is not powerful enough -- I can just upgrade my unit by buying a part (or parts) for it much cheaper than a new console, and that's it. The dude that has helped me with the PC part list informed me that when he first built his PC he did not have to upgrade it for a decade. To hear something like that is refreshingly awesome, and especially when I will be staying away from a lot of the AAA games from now on. It has now been almost two months since I have picked up my Xbox One controller, and with parts for my PC already on the way in the post, I certainly look forward to building it. I will gleefully share the results later on.