Couch Wars: Return of the Controller
It's been ages since I've owned one of the mainstream game consoles. Wife and I have a Switch (and a Switch Lite, for multiplayer on games that don't have splitscreen); but honestly we just use that to goof around in Animal Crossing and watch Youtube. This is mostly because, for the past 10-15 years, PC games and the machines that play them have seemed to be more enjoyable than those on consoles for me. Now, I'm witnessing a return to the opposite paradigm take place in my brain.
Why the change of heart?
I've found that every single game I like playing is available on the Xbox Series X. Here's a few for example:
- Deep Rock Galactic
- Mechwarrior 5
- No Man's Sky
- Sea of Thieves
And I'm realizing that I'm really just into more casual games that also have multiplayer options. I don't really play singleplayer games much anymore. I view video games as the long-distance equivalent of hitting a bar with the boys. As it were. It's a social thing for me, it has been for 10 years, and now my purchasing habits are likely to finally espouse that belief a bit more openly.
Allow me to elaborate.
I tend to enjoy fairly casual games that don't have have the explicit requirement of tons of hours being put into it to have fun. DRG has lots of depth, but you can run a quick mission in 20-30 minutes and be done. Mech5 is the same way; you can do a campaign or just do an Instant Action match. Minecraft is self-obvious at this juncture. No Man's Sky comes with Casual Mode now, and always had Creative mode. Sea of Thieves is many leagues wide and about an inch deep; it's fun to just sail around. I think there is even Microsoft Flight Simulator for the new Xbox consoles. And gasp! They all come with multiplayer! Yay social gaming!
Furthermore, the Xbox Series X is a huge upgrade computationally from my current gaming machine, whose parts are about as old as the Macbook I'm writing this on, and my PC's parts are definitely the cheap entry-level ones from back then. My rig is starting to show its age trying to play some modern titles beyond Medium graphics (if that), and I'll likely be either selling some of it off as spare parts, or at least glomming its storage and RAM into a new iteration of my homelab stuff.
I've also realized that I hate most modern games. I have no desire to Keep Up with the Joneses and get most of the latest releases, because they aren't enjoyable. They're all half-baked Early Access titles, yearly re-hashes (ahem EA ahem), or half-assed remasters of actually good games that came out a decade or more ago.
I have trouble thinking of a game I've enjoyed and bought in the last few years has actually been either a direct indie title, or a game release from a smaller studio like Coffee Stain Studios. I'm not sure if Paradox counts as a small studio nowadays, but hey. I bought Bannerlord. Does that count?
Anyway, I'm not interested in having a turbo-powerful gaming PC anymore. I have never understood the gamer aesthetic and all the shiny lights. Most of the games I could play on such a machine don't appeal to me anyway.
Gimme a stupid box I can put on my TV table, that just goes without me bothering it, and can carry the graphical and computational burdens I place on it without costing a mint.