I want to like PC gaming, but…

By Alex Maidment (nSanity Beach)

The idea of PC gaming fills me with excitement. In some ways, I’ve played PC games for as long as I’ve properly played console games. It might not be considered ‘proper’ PC gaming but I still look back fondly on the days of playing the Command & Conquer series, Flight Simulator and Combat Flight Simulator, Sim City 2000 and many others of the era.

In the past 15 years or so, I’ve dipped in and out PC gaming and every time I do, I love it. The culture just feels more experienced, interesting and dedicated to gaming that the console players often do. Of course, this might just be arrogance…

It’s not just that games generally look and play better on PC due to the often more up to date technology and smoother movement, it’s the whole culture that goes with it.

I actually have a pretty beastly PC set-up that is newer than my Xbox One and a lot more powerful, capable of playing at least some games in 4K and most games with high-settings in 1080p and a high frame rate.

Since building my gaming PC a few years back, it hasn’t seen nearly as much use as it should have. There have been long stints of Minecraft, bits of CS:GO, some Overwatch, a little bit of Heroes of the Storm, the occasional game on Rainbow Six: Siege and some others, but not nearly enough.

The trouble is, despite having built a decent PC, I can’t stand loading up a good looking game and then getting the occasional tearing, lag or the PC hitting stupidly high-temperatures and crashing. I’m fully aware that these are likely all related to the fact that I’m a PC noob and every time I load a game up and get into it, a Windows update will randomly shut my computer down because I didn’t think to turn off automatic updates, but it drives me insane all the same.

Worse still, is the quality of players. Again, it’s down to me being a noob but whenever I play CS:GO or Rainbow Six, I just get obliterated by the opposition and it’s over before I’ve even started.

It doesn’t help matters that most of the games I own on PC, I also own on my Xbox One so as soon as one of these issues get to me, I switch the console and suddenly all is good again. My skill level increases (or others are worse…) and the performance is okay again. It might not look as good as the PC, but it works and it’s mostly smooth and I’m not worried it’s going to melt.

As I said earlier in the piece, I love the idea and culture of PC gaming but I am still struggling to actually get into it and ultimately enjoy it.

I want the fancy RGB mechanical keyboard and the latest processor and GPU but I know I won’t get the most use out of it. It’s this exact reason that I wrote the blog about the next-gen consoles, because maybe we’re about to get a future proofed, PC quality games console that I can actually be good at.

By all means, tell me what I’m missing because I really do enjoy the notion of sitting at my desk with mouse in hand and keyboard positioned for gaming and Sam (Beards n Cream) often tells me how great it is, but I still struggle to see beyond the annoyances to just enjoy it!

For anyone wondering, my current PC set-up includes an i7 4790k CPU, MSi Nvidia GTX 970 GPU, 16Gb HyperX Fury DDR3 RAM, 128Gb SSD, 1TB HDD, 5 case fans (Corsair 120mm fans), CoolerMaster GPU fan, Antec 80+ Gold PSU and an MSi Z97 Gaming 5 motherboard. It is actually used by my wife for design and by myself for video editing more than it is for gaming.

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