If you’re a gamer, you need to be looking for more than just more of the same. For a lot of gamers, this means making the switch to other platforms. Consoles, in my experience, offer some of the best controls and most intuitive set-up. But by sticking solely to them you’re missing out on a whole range of games you might adore. So here’s what you need to know about jumping over to the PC.
Getting the machine you need
The first thing you need is a PC. A good one, too. We know that this will be the first barrier of entry to many who are curious. “I’d love to play more on PC, but it’s so hard to set up”. Not good enough! Nowadays, it’s easy to get the real PC gaming experience on a prebuilt machine. Take a look at sites like http://www.falcon-nw.com/falcon/experience/detail to see what’s involved. Otherwise, take the time to slowly build up your knowledge of what you need to keep a PC up-to-date.
PCs can be high maintenance machines. That’s true even when you’ve got the hardware side of things all done. Performance can lag, memory can suffer. A great machine can soon turn into a sub-par one if you’re trying to play a certain game. That’s because we tend to bog our machines down with a lot of unnecessary stuff. Check out tools like http://www.pcdecrapifier.com/download. They keep your machine a lot more clean. Which means less fuss when trying to run a brand new game.
You don’t have to stick to mouse and keyboard
There’s no denying that mouse and keyboard are the best way to play certain PC games. You won’t be playing much StarCraft 2 with a controller. FPSes are much easier to excel at with mouse and keyboard. But then there are games like Dark Souls which suffer greatly from lacking the traditional experience. But it’s far from difficult to set up a controller for your PC. At the moment, you can either buy controllers or use some from other consoles. Right now, it’s easy to set up an Xbox One, Xbox 360 or PS3 controller to your PC. PS4 controllers should hopefully be a lot easier to accommodate in the near future.
Finding good recommendations
Once you’ve got everything set up, it’s time to jump into the games. But don’t just go for the big titles. There are loads of games on the PC with niche, dedicated audiences worth exploring. Steam is the biggest PC game distributor and Steam Curators are the easiest way to find new Steam games for you. Then you have sites like http://steamcuratorcurator.com/. Now you can actually better find curators to better find games you will better like. Talk about efficiency.
Don’t jump into the early access frenzy
Let’s clear this up at the beginning. No, early access games are not evil. Darkest Dungeon proved a success, in which early access actually proved much to its benefit. I’m still excited about the long awaited Overgrowth project. But there are still plenty of bad experiences to be shared. Early access games with in-game charges and paid DLC. Early access games that simply vanished. We know people want to show their support. But don’t put your money into an early access game if it hasn’t already proven to have the kind of support it will need. Otherwise, you never know whether your money will actually get used to finish the game.
Don’t rely entirely on Steam, either
Steam’s great. It’s easy to be wary of those who seem to monopolise a market. But time and again, Valve have changed Steam practices to be a good deal more consumer friendly. Such as getting rid of flash sales that leave many with a raw deal. But there are plenty of other alternatives to find good games. Sites like https://www.gog.com/ and the Humble Bundles. Sometimes, they can provide you with experiences you might not find on Steam, either. So don’t feel like you have to rely solely on Valve’s behemoth of a platform.
The PC market is diverse
It’s not just about places to buy new games, either. There are plenty of places to just play them. Flash sites like Kongregate are still going strong with exploring that easy access platform. There’s a thriving indie scene with absolute gems that may never see the light of a wider release. Keep an eye out for those gems. Keep an open mind. Last year’s critical darling, Undertale, came from those kind of humble origins, after all.
Hunt down the best free experiences
As we’ve mentioned, Kongregate is a mighty good place to find flash games. Which only goes to show that there are plenty of great free experiences on the PC, as well. My recent diamond of a find was the games of Orisinal. A series of totally zen games that are sometimes just the short, relaxing experience I need. Use Reddit and other channels to chat and discover free experiences. You don’t just have to look through the catalogue of the newest releases to find something worthwhile.
A whole other level
Speaking of worthwhile, the PC platform has one benefit that’s leaps and bounds beyond consoles. We are talking, of course, about modding. Modding has been with us since the original inclusion of map building tools for old id software FPSes. Minecraft’s popularity exploded because of mods. The Elder Scrolls series are famous for being able to turn into completely new games. Your game about journeying from a lowly warrior to a medieval king could turn into a feudal Japanese wargame. A strategy game about Europe could turn into the Game of Thrones simulator you always wanted. If you want the best PC games have to offer, you need to look into the modding scene.
The above tips will help you not only make sure you’re able to game on your PC, but find some of the best experiences too. No longer do you have to sit on the side-lines and turn your nose up at them. Now you can just get involved.