How Far Has PC Gaming Come?

Written by Joe Martin

October 19, 2009 | 09:38

Tags: #doom #feature #gameplay #half-life #joe #quake #retrospective #story

Companies: #history

How Far We’ve Come

Not too long ago we published a feature called ‘Is PC Gaming Dying?’ which broached the continuing rumour that consoles are the future and tried to look at the issue as broadly as possible and from both sides. A lot of people who commented on it, we felt, had missed the point and ended up thinking that just because we had asked that question we must hold the opinion ourselves.

That’s not true; we love PC gaming and, as we tried to say towards the end of the article, while we think the platform may be changing, we know that it isn’t dying. Afterall, why would it die? Look how good it is! Look how far ahead of the curve PC gaming is compared to other types of entertainment. Look how far we've come.

Seriously, look how far we’ve come in just the last ten or twenty years – and do it because that’s the best way to see why PC gaming is so strong. We’ve been mulling the topic over in our heads since the last feature and we're convinced that, though there’s more chaff on the market than ever before and that can easily distract gamers from the shape of the overall market, the high points of PC gaming are getting progressively higher.

How Far Has PC Gaming Come? How Far Has PC Gaming Come?
We've come a long way since Wolfenstein 3D

To us it’s an interesting disconnect – the games industry is forever chasing the next big thing, yet all most of us do is sit around waxing indulgently nostalgic about things such as Deus Ex and struggling to get our oldest games working. Whenever a new device hits the market the first thing that anyone ever does is try to get Doom running on it. So, how about instead of thinking about how games were much better back in the day, we instead take a few minutes to think how much better they’ve got in recent years?

We're not just talking about graphics either, it’s also plainly obvious and, frankly, not nearly as interesting as the more subtle advancements. What about the stories and the way that we communicate them? How about considering the way they’ve changed in recent years? It’s a long way from “The Princess is in another castle” to the likes of Braid.

In fact, if you’re as interested in all that as we are then it’s worth taking it a step further and looking at the trends that exist in gaming narratives. A lot of people would dismiss the idea of there being fashions within game development, but just by considering the rise and fall of FMVs and the increasing number of games that copy Half-Life’s refusal to break perspective you can see that there are. There are seasons for everything and while it’s fairly obvious to say that games have got a lot more impressive in recent years, it’s still interesting to stop and appreciate that fact.
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