A friend of mine recently gifted me a copy of Grim Fandango: Remastered on steam. I’ve never played the game before, so I’m understandably excited to try it out. I finally got a chance today, after setting aside a large amount of free time, and went to play it.
Only to find that it wouldn’t start.
Not only would the game not start, it was completely unable to run. It said it was loading up the game and changed my status to “in-game,” before switching it back to “online” and crapping out. I was understandably confused, and went to the steam forums to try and figure out what was up. I found a number of people had the same problem, and they had a number of potential solutions. Updating the video drivers, changing your screen resolution, forcing the game to use a different video card… many of which either didn’t work or simply were not relevant to me. As of writing this post, I still cannot get the game to start.
This, right here, is why I will always prefer playing games on a console, or on a handheld, to playing them on a PC.
PC gamers like to preach the superiority of the PC as a gaming platform, and constantly put down consoles. And yes, PC games have many advantages to console games. They often look better and run better on a beefy PC, and steam workshop makes modding games easy. In addition, multiplayer on PC is free.
But when I put a game in, install it, and play it on console, I can be 99% sure that it will start up and I will be able to play it. You will have the very, very rare edge case where a console game will refuse to start, but these are so rare they are hardly worth mentioning. Buying a game on console is a guarantee that you will be able to install it and immediately start playing it. No matter how bad the port is, no matter how buggy it is, you can still play it and know that it will work.
On PC, I go into every game knowing fully that there is a 50/50 chance the game I just bought/was gifted will simply refuse to start, or will be horribly optimized, or will disagree with my video card. I’ll be left searching for a senseless solution or just waiting for the devs to send out a patch that will let me actually play the game.
And this is why all the chest-pounding and self-righteousness and bravado from PC gamers ultimately means nothing. Because for as much as people say “PC ports are way better now” I still feel like every other PC port comes out horribly unoptimized or bugged or just broken, and that’s hardly getting into dealing with DRM and launch-day server issues and whatnot. And if you don’t have a beefy gaming PC, every purchase is a gamble to see whether devs optimized their game for mid-to-lower end PCs.
The PS4 and the Xbox One versions of current games may not look as amazing as their PC counterparts, and they may not run as well. But I’d much rather take the hit to framerate and graphics and just know that the game I just bought, or was just gifted, will run when I wanna play it. Because nothing says “I really appreciate your gift” like not being able to enjoy it.