The Adventures of A New PC Owner - A History

So I've been playing PC games for over ten years. Well, when I say playing PC games, it's usually only one game that occupies me at any one time, and I had no concept of the rich technicalities of the platform. My first PC love was SimCity 2000, a true classic in my mind. This was followed by a game I still rank among my top five games of all-time; Age of Empires II: Age of Kings. Now because I was such a PC dumbass, I never explored the multiplayer aspect of the game, but still played that damn game for at least 250 hours. My next love was The Sims, another greatly addictive experience. Next up was the original Splinter Cell. Ubisoft aren't known for being a PC heavy developer (in recent times they've become a villanous figure for the PC community thanks to their DRM bullocks), but Splinter Cell was a great experience on the PC. Next was another game I still hold up as one of the greatest games I've ever played, the truly transcendent Half-Life 2, my first experience of first person shooters the way they were "supposed" to be played. Another landmark experience followed with my immersion into the world of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, I game I still regard as my favourite of all-time. Of course being a PC-tard, I never dabbled into the wonderfully strange world of the mod community.
 
A completely different landmark moment occured in 2007 with the purchase of my third laptop, a Dell XPS designed very much for playing high end games. For a few months, I played Oblivion on my laptop and loved it. Then two instances broke my heart and dashed my appreciation of the PC as a platform. First, there was the complete headache that was trying to get The Witcher to run properly on my PC. Again, not a tech expert, so had no clue that this game was problematic even for people who were savvy. The second was a game that three years later is still a benchmark for PC graphics; Crysis. I honestly thought that this behemoth of a game would work fine on my laptop, bought it and was very quickly crushed to find out I had to choose between stellar graphics moving at seconds per frame, or a silky smooth running game that would have been deemed ugly in 2001. I was so disillutioned that I turned my back on the PC and in late 2007 I bought my Xbox 360, my first current gen console. I did play some PC games during my so called PC "dark age", including old favourites like Roller Coaster Tycoon, an update of an old favourite The Sims 2, and engaging new experiences like Torchlight.
 
So fast forward to the past few months. It's been a really shitty year for me and making bad financial decisions. I bought a PS3 back in early summer, despite having 360 games I'd yet to play (Condemned 2, Red Faction Guerrilla, Arkham Asylum etc.). Not long after, despite having so many games I haven't played, I started to contemplate building a strong gaming PC. You can date my fascination with the PC back to late 2009, when I played Dragon Age: Origins on the console and loved the hell out of it, but still felt annoyed by people raving about the superior PC version. I was sort of fascinated by the buzz surrounding StarCraft II, but the straw that broke the camel's back was Civilization 5. I played a little of Civ 4 on my father's PC and in recent months have been completely addicted to Civ Rev on my DS, and so really wanted to play a ton of Civ 5. And so, after negotiating with my mother, Dell and myself, I eventually bit the bullet.
 
I now have a high-end powerful PC, with 8GB of RAM, an nVidia GeForce GTX 460 graphics card, an i7 Intel processor and 1TB of harddisk space (laptop had 160GB, now I have 1TB. That's a lot more bytes). I've been messing around a lot with PC stuff for the past week or so, and have decided that I want to chronicle my PC adventures in blog form. So join me in my strange journey of wonder and mystery as I try to work out exactly how everything works, just how much power I have at my fingertips, and whether I can really become "that PC guy". Will this leviathan eat me up, chew me out and send me running back to my consoles, or will I start abandoning my gamepads in favour of my new romance?
 
My first act has already occured. I started a thread in the PC forum asking for general advice and recommendations for programs and games people consider essential to the PC experience. I got a lot of good feedback to work with, and I'm starting to feel really good about the future me and my PC will share. Always good to have the GB community helping me with my complete fucking technological ineptitude.
 
Next time on The Adventures of a New PC Owner - The Joys and Terrors of Steam

12 Comments
12 Comments
Posted by Atlas

So I've been playing PC games for over ten years. Well, when I say playing PC games, it's usually only one game that occupies me at any one time, and I had no concept of the rich technicalities of the platform. My first PC love was SimCity 2000, a true classic in my mind. This was followed by a game I still rank among my top five games of all-time; Age of Empires II: Age of Kings. Now because I was such a PC dumbass, I never explored the multiplayer aspect of the game, but still played that damn game for at least 250 hours. My next love was The Sims, another greatly addictive experience. Next up was the original Splinter Cell. Ubisoft aren't known for being a PC heavy developer (in recent times they've become a villanous figure for the PC community thanks to their DRM bullocks), but Splinter Cell was a great experience on the PC. Next was another game I still hold up as one of the greatest games I've ever played, the truly transcendent Half-Life 2, my first experience of first person shooters the way they were "supposed" to be played. Another landmark experience followed with my immersion into the world of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, I game I still regard as my favourite of all-time. Of course being a PC-tard, I never dabbled into the wonderfully strange world of the mod community.
 
A completely different landmark moment occured in 2007 with the purchase of my third laptop, a Dell XPS designed very much for playing high end games. For a few months, I played Oblivion on my laptop and loved it. Then two instances broke my heart and dashed my appreciation of the PC as a platform. First, there was the complete headache that was trying to get The Witcher to run properly on my PC. Again, not a tech expert, so had no clue that this game was problematic even for people who were savvy. The second was a game that three years later is still a benchmark for PC graphics; Crysis. I honestly thought that this behemoth of a game would work fine on my laptop, bought it and was very quickly crushed to find out I had to choose between stellar graphics moving at seconds per frame, or a silky smooth running game that would have been deemed ugly in 2001. I was so disillutioned that I turned my back on the PC and in late 2007 I bought my Xbox 360, my first current gen console. I did play some PC games during my so called PC "dark age", including old favourites like Roller Coaster Tycoon, an update of an old favourite The Sims 2, and engaging new experiences like Torchlight.
 
So fast forward to the past few months. It's been a really shitty year for me and making bad financial decisions. I bought a PS3 back in early summer, despite having 360 games I'd yet to play (Condemned 2, Red Faction Guerrilla, Arkham Asylum etc.). Not long after, despite having so many games I haven't played, I started to contemplate building a strong gaming PC. You can date my fascination with the PC back to late 2009, when I played Dragon Age: Origins on the console and loved the hell out of it, but still felt annoyed by people raving about the superior PC version. I was sort of fascinated by the buzz surrounding StarCraft II, but the straw that broke the camel's back was Civilization 5. I played a little of Civ 4 on my father's PC and in recent months have been completely addicted to Civ Rev on my DS, and so really wanted to play a ton of Civ 5. And so, after negotiating with my mother, Dell and myself, I eventually bit the bullet.
 
I now have a high-end powerful PC, with 8GB of RAM, an nVidia GeForce GTX 460 graphics card, an i7 Intel processor and 1TB of harddisk space (laptop had 160GB, now I have 1TB. That's a lot more bytes). I've been messing around a lot with PC stuff for the past week or so, and have decided that I want to chronicle my PC adventures in blog form. So join me in my strange journey of wonder and mystery as I try to work out exactly how everything works, just how much power I have at my fingertips, and whether I can really become "that PC guy". Will this leviathan eat me up, chew me out and send me running back to my consoles, or will I start abandoning my gamepads in favour of my new romance?
 
My first act has already occured. I started a thread in the PC forum asking for general advice and recommendations for programs and games people consider essential to the PC experience. I got a lot of good feedback to work with, and I'm starting to feel really good about the future me and my PC will share. Always good to have the GB community helping me with my complete fucking technological ineptitude.
 
Next time on The Adventures of a New PC Owner - The Joys and Terrors of Steam

Posted by yinstarrunner

I'm going to do a quick list of games in different genres that you should check out just from the top of my head.
 
Strategy- Starcraft II and Civ 5, which you've already mentioned I see.
FPS- STALKER is absolutely amazing if you let yourself get immersed in it, and TF2 should fulfill any needs for any competitive multiplayer.  Cryostasis is another eastern european FPS that I can't recommend enough.  It's really methodically paced, but amazing if you get engrossed in it like I did.  Also, might as well pop in Crysis again, and laugh in triumph as you run it on high graphics settings with absolutely no problem (But Crysis: Warhead is better).
RPGs- Since you liked Oblivion, you should definitely check out Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas on the PC, even if you've played them before.  Experience the amazing mod scene and play through them again in a brand new light.  Mount and Blade is a highly addictive sandbox medieval sim/RPG. Obviously Dragon Age plays much better on a PC than a console.
Adventure- Check out Amnesia.  It's a really awesome, immersive horror/adventure game.  If you like that, then look into the Penumbra series by the same guys.
 
Hope I could help you out a little bit.  That's just all I could think of off the top of my head, but there's plenty more where that came from.

Posted by mrhankey

great read man, always excited when someone is getting into pc gaming, Also, now there aren't really any terrors in steam, as far as im concerned.

Posted by Ryax
@mrhankey said:
" great read man, always excited when someone is getting into pc gaming, Also, now there aren't really any terrors in steam, as far as im concerned. "
true story, no terrors on steam what so ever, unless you count the steam sales as a terror because they always make it seem ok to spend money
Posted by Azteck

I'm actually interested in reading these. And I like the way you write. Keep it up.

Edited by HitmanAgent47

How did I miss this great blog. Congrats and I run the same videocard and processor. Well your socket is the LGA 1156, so it's similar enough. Maybe I should bring up my ram to 12 gigs instead, just because I can or sli my gtx 460 because it's getting cheaper. The gtx 460 sure overclocks well, you actually get alot more frames doing that. I think you will definetly like steam, your wallet won't.

Posted by KaosAngel

Why did you get the 460 when you could've clearly forked up the extra for the 480?

Posted by HitmanAgent47
@KaosAngel: lol, the gtx 480 is like more than twice the price.
Posted by KaosAngel
@HitmanAgent47: Damn my mistake, for some reason I thought it was just 70-100 more.  My bad, never mind that statement.
Edited by HitmanAgent47
@KaosAngel: You were probally thinking of the gtx 470 which is closer in price. Seems like they dropped the price of that card.
Posted by KaosAngel
@HitmanAgent47: I don't like this who triple digits Nvidia thing.  Nvidia fucked up big with the 200s and 400s, and it's why I switched to the 5770 after the 9800GTX.  
 
You know, I blame the PS3 and 360...all PC gamers got are ports of those and a simple 8800 can run them on highest without problem.
Edited by HitmanAgent47
@KaosAngel: Depends what you call the highest, maybe 30-45 frames just isn't enough with 4X anti aliasing, of course there are some other optimized games like re5 and dead space that runs well on a 9800GTX and dual core, however add a quad or i7, then the benchmarks practically triples the framerates. Maybe pc gamers wants games like 50-70 frames or more these days with full AA, or even 32X AA from the nvidia control panel. I used to have a 9800GTX myself, also a 9800GX2. I know the limits and there are games you can't run well, without an i7 or quad core with a better gpu. I know you will have trouble with mafia 2, gta 4, red faction guerilla and assassin's creed 2 if it's dual core.