An interlude for Halo3

I spent the evening at a friend’s house yesterday (which is why I didn’t post anything šŸ˜³ ), and he was keen to show off Halo3 and his gaming collection.

It’s an interesting setup. He has a U.S.-model Xbox360 and a Japanese-model Wii and a few other consoles and computers of various and sundry origins, all rigged through his home wireless network — almost like a scale model of the entire Internet. He’s not a network fiend, he just has a lot of toys, and they all play well together.

I tried my hand at Halo3, and I have to admit that I am a pathetic wimp when it comes to console gaming. I was way too much of a newb to enjoy it fully. It took me half the time I spent there just getting used to the controller. I needed a mouse and my wasd key layout. I could strafe … sort of … but I spent most of my time trying to figure out why I was looking at the sky. So many buttons and combinations. I had no sense of accuracy whatsoever, and after a while I just started shooting at anything that moved.

In all, it was a little bewildering.

Visually though, it was very impressive. There is detail in there that I haven’t seen since I owned a high-end Dell laptop, and probably won’t see again for a decade or so (because I won’t buy another high-end laptop šŸ˜‰ ). The battles were fierce and the AI was very challenging (for me at least). The last time I played a game that required that much forethought, I was borrowing my brother’s high-end HP laptop to quell my Half-Life 2 addiction. šŸ˜‰

It’s not enough to make me a console gamer, but it does reinforce my opinion on PC gaming.

I do play PC games — open-source Linux games, on a machine that was obsolete in 2001. I still play Tribes from time to time, and Warzone 2100 and Neverwinter Nights … yes, all games that were popular back when wireless networks were expensive and 1600×1200 was an ungodly resolution.

So I admit that I’m technically lost in the eddies of PC gaming, and my opinion might not be worth much for that reason. On the other hand, I play games from time to time because I enjoy them and I have a personal history of gaming that goes all the way back to Pong. (Yes, I played the original Pong. Impressed?)

But I really don’t think PCs are the proper gaming platform any more. It takes too much money and too much effort to keep up with the technology in PC gaming. That same high-end laptop I bought almost exactly two years ago was obsolete — and I mean obsolete like, Dell didn’t sell them any more — only three months after mine arrived on my doorstep. And only a few months after that, Dell went to dual core across the board.

So I’m always impressed when someone sinks a serious amount of money on a gaming PC. The technology doesn’t hold to cutting edge, and the value plummets as soon as the plastic is broken. Part resale values arc down so quickly, it might as well be a vertical drop.

Consoles, on the other hand, seem to have a longer staying power. The technology holds at a common level and the games are written to that. I might be wrong, but I think a strong console is a better value than trying to ride the technology arc for PC components.

Let me put it this way: If I was going to buy a gaming system, I’d definitely buy a console over a PC, first because they’re cheaper, but second because I’m not enthused by upgrading over the next half-decade. Keep dumping more money into a PC that can’t play the new games in two years? I think not. Invest once in a system that will be a standard for 48 months, and then sell it off to get the next generation? Now that’s more like it.

Again, the last console system I owned was an Atari 2600, unless you count the secondhand Genesis I found in a thrift shop five years ago, refurbed and sold for $75 on ebay. So I might be way off course. But I do know that if someone wrote me a blank check and told me to buy a gaming system, mine would be a console.

And now I’m going back to playing Astromenace on my lowly 1Ghz laptop with the 64Mb Geforce 440 Go — my much-loved Arch machine. Good night and good luck.


3 thoughts on “An interlude for Halo3

  1. scrooge_74

    Humm, the only console I ever own has also an atari 2600. Now I understand why you had troubles adapting to the controls, in fact I came to understand them after bought my kids a nintendo console last year (and it was not a Wii), seems I am always late with hardware for gaming.

    I never liked to have to upgrade every year to be able to play (in fact I never had enough money for that). I was always playing old games when everybody had the new one. In fact until now I am happy since I can play Wolfstein ET on a low 512 MB 1.2 GHZ laptop. Linux rocks!!!

    I agree the best option is to get a console and use it for gamming. Last year I got my hand one night on an X-box with one of those ET style games….darn MS I almost believe MS is a good company. I went for hours playing I felt like a 12 year old again šŸ˜€

  2. K.Mandla Post author

    šŸ™‚ I know the feeling. I really don’t fault Microsoft for making a good console system (although I understand that some of the early ‘360s were defective, or at least prone to heat issues).

    If I thought Microsoft made a decent operating system, I might also concede that point too. But it’s marketing strategy that has given them the upper hand for OSes, not product quality.

    So yeah, if I got a console I wouldn’t have any compunction about picking up an XBox. And I don’t chide anyone who uses or owns one. I think you’re buying a tangible product with a measurable degree of quality that competes on fair footing with other, similar hardware. And that’s enough to keep me unbiased … probably. … šŸ˜‰

  3. pasquale

    pc is the best place to play games. you have a keyboard and a mouse (better solution for fps games like wolfenstein enemy territory), and you can buy a joypad for arcade games.
    the problem is the hardware’s prices! too high!
    then, people prefer console :p (also because they are more simple to use…i think)
    my favourite game in console is Spyro 2 in Playstation!
    and my favourite at pc is wolfenstein enemy territory


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