Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Welcome to UseYourMouse Gaming

The earliest experience with video gaming, that I can recall, came when I was dragged along to a dinner party by my parents. Their inability to find a suitable babysitter spoiled the typical plan of leaving me at home for the evening. Fortunately, or so my parents thought, the hosts of said dinner party had a son only slightly older than me, to keep me entertained. After introductions, my personal dinner party host decided to show me the games he enjoyed playing. Hoping for a round of Hungry Hungry Hippos I followed him down to his basement, where he sat me in front of a computer. Immediately confused as to what was occurring, I kept silent while he started a game of Wolfenstein 3D… Thus began a lifelong ambition to play and enjoy PC games.

I love PC gaming. Very few activities in life are able to provide me with the myriad of emotions that pc games solicit from me, ranging from awe to horror to satisfaction. I still carry with me the sense of accomplishment from defeating Baldur’s Gate II: Throne of Baal, the sense of horror from being stalked in Aliens vs Predators, the sense of excitement from a zerg rush in Starcraft, and the sense of amazement from the plot twist in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. These emotions are of course not specific to PC games. I play and enjoy console games, but to me they have never had as much of an emotional impact. General proximity serves to remove me from console games, as players typically sit back from televisions instead of directly in front of monitors. The potential inability to properly control your character with a controller over a mouse and keyboard, specifically in first-person shooters, can also add to the loss of immersion in console games. Further, PC gaming can provide a sense of satisfaction prior to even playing a game, from building and tweaking a computer that is able to run a cutting edge game. I can of course see how that last point might not apply to everyone. Regardless of the reasons, I have always felt closer to PC gaming than console gaming.

That is why, in September of 2003, I was left dumbfounded when Bioware announced that Jade Empire would be exclusive to the Xbox. The developer of so many PC games that I had come to love was turning its back on PC gaming. Of course, Jade Empire was eventually released for the PC, but for me that announcement marked the beginning of the decline of PC gaming. Since then more and more PC game developers have stopped developing exclusively for the PC, adopting strategies such as delaying PC games in favor of the console versions, hiring third parties to port console games to the PC, and discontinuing PC game development altogether. There are of course those developers that continue to fully support the pc such as Valve and Bethesda Softworks, but as stated, their numbers continue to decrease. As such, I have decided to start this blog in order to champion PC gaming through critical evaluation of game design, marketing, and all aspects of the industry itself. Hopefully my small effort can draw more attention to PC gaming, so that one day it may return to its former glory.

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