Gamer Louis is a weekly Blast column written by Louis Schuler. It cover all types of video game news and opinions.
The video game industry has been, and probably always will be, in a state of flux.
We are currently in the eighth generation of home consoles, and while it could be said that this has been one of the most lopsided generations we’ve seen between the home console manufacturers Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, it couldn’t be a better time to be a gamer.
I have not owned a home console, nor played any consistently, for 10 years. So, I have decided to rejoin my fellow home console cohorts. As one might expect when progressing through college, the PC arena became my new home after I neglected to get back into home consoles.
In the process, I came to realize that, while some PC games promote social interaction, such as “World of Warcraft,” “League of Legends,” “Star Wars: The Old Republic,” etc., sometimes the opposite is achieved. This is one of the many reasons I decided to leave the PC scene.
Here is why I bought an Xbox One and shunned PC forever.
There is something to be said about playing on a smaller screen for long play sessions.
When I first started playing PC games, “World of Warcraft” (“WoW”) became my life. Never-ending raids, dungeons, duels and arena matches encompassed much of my “WoW” experience. However, I never truly felt like I was in the actual ‘world’ of Warcraft. Sure, the game offers plenty of zones for the player to explore, but it also happens to be one of the most complex games on the market, which detracts from its goal to immerse the player in the game.
In “WoW,” some players have to use at least 20 buttons once they have unlocked all of their talents when they hit the full level cap, depending on the class they choose to play. For me, it was hard to truly experience the game in a personal way when I am constantly focusing on the gameplay mechanics rather than the visuals.
In fact, some RTS games have seen ports to home consoles, which have made them much more immersive in nature. I experienced this first-hand with Smite – a third-person strategy game that is similar to “League of Legends” (“LoL”). Unlike its click-to-move predecessor, “Smite’s” third-person angle only served to make me feel fully immersed in the game – something that I have yet to genuinely experience with any PC games.
The complexity of gameplay and variety of games reliant on birds-eye camera angles are a couple of the reasons why I recently chose a console over the PC.
The Nostalgia Effect
There’s no debate as to which console manufacturer is winning the ‘console war’ for this generation. The PlayStation 4 has been leading in sales by a long shot. In perhaps the most lopsided console war since the N64 vs. PlayStation days – when the PlayStation became the first of only three consoles to sell over 100 million units – the PlayStation 4 has sold more units than the Wii U and the Xbox One combined.
So why did I choose an Xbox One you might ask? The answer is simple: sheer nostalgia.
One of the most memorable experiences I have had in my gaming career was in 2004, when the ‘LANing’ – game sessions where players would connect multiple consoles to different TV monitors – was becoming increasingly more popular. It was during these sessions where true happiness was found in a physical community with many people, along with moments of hilarity and entertaining sequences.
These ties go back to the award-winning Xbox exclusive Halo, which was the most frequent LAN game we would play during these parties.
While many people may tell you that the original Xbox has very few exclusive games worth owning, this simply is not the case. I have had many hours of playtime spent with the likes of “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords” (“KOTOR II”) – which has seen ports to PC and MAC, but not to either of the other two home consoles in its generation. “KOTOR II” offers countless hours of gameplay and replayability, as well as allowing the player to have a sense of destiny and dialogue options that can influence other party members.
“Fable,” which came prior to “KOTOR II,” is yet another Xbox exclusive to have these features. I have played many other games that won me over to the console and its games.
The Xbox 360 also had many games, such as “Gears of War,” “Mass Effect,” “Forza,” “Project Gotham Racing” and many others, that I loved, and all of these barely begin to scratch the surface of the many Xbox games that I have had great memories of with other players.
A Sense of Familiarity
I think it’s simply hard for gamers to change their gameplay preferences, and to say that I am immune to these inclinations would be an incorrect assertion – I love the feel of the Xbox controller. I have attempted to try multiple PlayStation controllers dating back to the original PlayStation, yet I can never seem to get comfortable with them.
PlayStation and PC controls have truly never felt comfortable to me, which has translated into discomfort during my gameplay experiences. I was never able to achieve any of my goals in “WoW” or “LoL,” and I gave up on the latter entirely after realizing that attaining the level cap takes a profound amount of effort and time. I have found that my first game for the Xbox One, “Diablo III,” has been quite easy to adapt to since my hiatus from PC gaming.
Maybe this is how games are supposed to be encountered: in a nonchalant manner. I remember my five-hour long “WoW” stints mostly filled with angry ramblings of losing to another player, or simply the feeling of annoyance when I couldn’t do exactly what I wanted because there were mechanics tied to too many buttons to keep track of throughout the course of the game. This was all attributed to the fact that I never felt comfortable with the control scheme, whether it was the PlayStation controller or a keyboard.
I love my Xbox One, and the prospect of future games that integrate immersiveness, familiarity and nostalgia like “Fable Legends,” future “Gears of War” reboots and many other titles will keep me happy for many years.