I can remember being in 3rd grade and playing Oregon Trail on the classroom's new Apple IIe. Run [enter] catalog/oregontrail or some command similar to this. For a game with green graphics and few animations it was probably the best green colored game of its time.
Fast forward a few years and I finally get my own PC (thanks to Mom) A 50mhz, 100MBS HDD, 64 MB ram PC running windows 3.1. For its time, its was a pretty good PC, playing games like Megarace or even solitaire was a blast. Then I picked up NHL '95. I read the bottom of the box. Minimum Specifications. 60mhz, 5 MBS on harddrive, 32MB of ram, windows 6.0.
Wait what!?! Windows 6.0, All I had was 3.1, would it make a difference!?!, lets buy it anyways. came home installed it and it ran okay, but a little slow. What could I do, thankfully Windows 95 hype bit my dad (even though he did not know anything about computers), We got Win95 installed it re-installed NHL '95 all of sudden the game ran like butter, WOW! but now I ran into the problem that Megarace and other programs I got that were meant to run on 3.1 no longer ran or ran with severe issues.
It took about another 3-4 years until I realized why that was, thanks to my good friends at ZDTV (The best channel to ever exist).
Now we're at the stage where Windows 98 hits the market and progression of computers and its parts (CPU, HDDs, RAM) started progressing at a faster rate. Now within months the computer you just bought would not be all that great, never mind years later. Same goes for any components you might have bought for an upgrade.
And the ultimate dagger to the hearts for many was the introduction of a little slot called AGP (accelerated Graphics Port). Now, not only did we need to worry about our main specs when playing a game, we needed to worry whether or not the game needed a much coveted AGP card in order to look like the back of box.
And to top that off with some salt did we need a banshee card or a voodoo card, would it run in openGL or Direct3D or both?
At the same time as this was going on, there was a little system called the Playstation that could deliver really good graphics for a third of the cost as trying to max out your PC, that would only be "trash" in about 6 months.
Now lets fast-forward to present day.....you know what has changed? Nothing! Consoles are still being seen as the best way to game while PCs are known as either the elite way to play or a leper among the gaming community.
The PC community also does not do itself many favors by either its players, manufactures and media. whenever a war of words breaks out between the console/PC players it always comes down to "Why waste your money every 6 months to play the latest and greatest when a console can do it for at least 5 years." vs. "Shut-up you stupid little child, a man has money and can afford to buy the best"
Then you have the media that reviews a $200 videocard and makes statements "This card will run Battlefield 3 on med to low settings, if you want the greatest experience you're better off spending $300+ for a better card"
Are you SH!TTING ME!. This does not go well for PC gaming, Why would you spend $300 (the price of a console) to experience a game? Then if you are so inclined to view a videocard review you see the "standard" test setting for many games. 2160x1200 with everything set to high with AAx4 and the $200 videocard only manages 15FPS in games like Crysis (not 2, but 1) Metro 2033 or even less spectacular games like Deus EX:HR.
And there my friends is the 15+ year old problem that has all but killed PC gaming as a mainstream platform. Everybody in the PC community makes it seem that if you are not willing to spend $1500+ on a PC you are not going to enjoy your gaming experience. When this is that furthest thing from the truth. If you are willing to invest the price of a PS3 launch console ($600) you can get something that can very well take care of your gaming needs. But the media and its community would rather hold their noses to the sky than educate their fellow gamers on how to enjoy a PC.
Also Companies like Alienware, cyberpowerpc and other custom PC shops don't do the market any favors buy pumping their chest when offering the ultimate experience for a mere $4000.
If PC gaming wants to make a surge to a more promising future they need to educate and reassure potential customers that a PC does not need to break the bank in order to play great looking games.
That is where Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo have come out on top, they offer a great experience to the masses at a very good price with the investment lasting at least 3-5 years (depends when the system is bought). Why can't PC do the same?
PC manufactures and its media outlets need to let it be known that dollar for dollar a PC can compete, if not outplay their console rivals. Then and only then can the PC be in the mix when deciding what gaming platform is best for you.
P.S. Just as a point of reference I listed my personal specs below with price per components and games I have played at a high setting.
CPU: AMD Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition Callisto 3.2GHz
-Was able to unlock and overclock to a quadcore running @3.5GHz
Bought on Sale for $70
Motherboard: Biostar mATX 890GXB HD
-Onsale for $85 and sent away for a $15 rebate. So $70
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue 320GB. $50
RAM: Kingston HyperX 1600 DDR3 8GB dual-channel kit (2x4GB)
-paid $80 but came with $40 rebate. $40
Videocard: Sapphire AMD HD6850 (overclock from stock)
-$180 + $20 rebate. $160
PowerSupply: Corsair CX 600.
-$70 + 15 rebate. $55
Granted I have omitted a few things. I got Window 7 pro. 64-bit from a friend but that would add $100.
Monitor - my TV is my monitor via HDMI so no need to add the price, since it is also used for my PS3.
Keyboard and Mouse - This all comes down to personal taste one can spend $20 on both or go for a $200+ gaming kits so it personal preference at that point.
PC tower/Case: Again personal preference can be as low as $30 or as high as $200.
So if we added the price of an OS and a inexpensive Tower we're talking about $585 + tax.
And for around $600 I am able to play the following.
Deus Ex:HR, 1680x1050 high setting, low shadows with 4xAA doing at least 30fps.
Starcraft 2: 1680x1050 ultimate setting, low shadows with 4xAA doing at least 55fps dipping into the 30's when maxed out armies battle.
Crysis 2 demo: 1680x1050 high preset setting with no hitches, so at least 30fps.
Vitura Tennis 4: 1680x1050 all maxed out with no hitches.
Splinter Cell:convictions, 1680x1050 maxed out, low shadows, no hitches.
These are just a few games that I think cover a board spectrum, and all of them ran really well on a PC I build for around $600.
Of course improvements can always be had, when I lowered the resolution to 1280x720 (or 720p) all these games ran like butter looking great.
So next time you think you want a PC, but think you can't spend $1000, you don't need to. Do your research and realize the PC media at this time is wrong about needing a fortune. I built my PC at the start of the year and its still going strong. I may upgrade it next year when my taxes come. I already have an extra 8GB of ram coming for free and I plan on dropping a 6-core AMD1100t when it will most likely be at a great price.
If you read this thanks for you patience and what do you feel is the biggest flaw in PC gaming?
Amaar writes: "Here's our review of the Super Pocket, a handheld game console that incorporates the Evercade cartridge system."
The Nerd Stash: "Here are are five games in 2023 that are cookie cutter, meaning they lacked innovation in both their series and genre."
"The Lesquin-based (France) video games company NACON and Charleroi -based (Belgium) indie games developer Appeal Studios, are today very delighted and proud to announce that their co-op action-adventure game "Gangs of Sherwood", is now available for PC (via Steam and EGS) and consoles (PS5 and Xbox Series X/S) via digital stores." - Jonas Ek, TGG.