Mat Langford’s Gaming World: Where do you play?

Gaming has evolved a ton since the Pong era. Its widespread popularity has taken it to a variety of mediums: Consoles, PC’s and mobile devices have all officially become gaming machines. You really can’t argue that gaming is one of the biggest industries out there. But with all of these platforms, what is truly the best place to get your gaming fix? Let’s take a look.

Console gaming is the heart and soul of gaming in my opinion. It’s where it all started. There’s nothing like cracking open a fresh Xbox360 game, with its fresh off the press smell, popping it into the console and playing for hours. Graphically, consoles have become powerhouses. There used to be no comparison to PC gaming, but since the introduction of the 360 and the PS3, some games really blur that line between the two mediums. The controllers have become such an iconic part of their consoles’ branding; they’re one of the consistent things that has kept gamers coming back. By now, we’re all used to a specific controller type. Hardcore PS3 and Xbox gamers swear by their controller scheme (the side-by-side thumb sticks of the PS3 controller, or the offset thumb sticks of the Xbox controller), and feel uncomfortable using the other. During a gaming tour I was on, I would often see kids (whose lack of skill was CLEARLY evident) swear that the only reason they lost a game was that they were used to playing it on the – insert opposite system here – and it was the controller that screwed them up. Plus the sheer variety of games available for consoles is amazing, and the customer base is always there, making it the go-to platform for publishers.

Which do you use?
Which do you use?

Mobile gaming is great as well. Gaming on the go has been a part of my life ever since I got my first Game Boy for Christmas one year. In the car, on the bus, in a plane…I could game anywhere. Granted, I was playing Bugs Bunny’s Crazy Castle, which wasn’t the most graphically intense game ever made, but it still counts! It used to be that you could only game on the road if you had one of the big companies’ systems like the Nintendo DS or the PSP. Now that mobile phones have taken over the mobile gaming market (let’s get real, it’s because of the iPhone), publishers are making games for smart phones at an incredible rate! It’s also a very lucrative business to try and create the next big smart phone game. As of 2010, Rovio games’ Angry Birds – I don’t need to explain what that is, as I’m sure you all know – had grossed nearly 10 million dollars in game sales. All from a game where you slingshot birds into things!

A $10,000,000 "smashing" idea!
A $10,000,000 "smashing" idea!

The only problem I have with mobile gaming on a smart phone is the lack of physical controls. It’s maddening to reach a part in a game only to lose because your finger slipped off the virtual thumb stick. Often, the controls are not as touch friendly as you would hope and end up being much more of a hindrance then help.

And lastly we have PC gaming. There’s no arguing that while console gaming may be close, PC’s graphics are always going to be a bit better. It’s not fair really, with the fact that you can practically upgrade your PC every few months with the newest video cards and processors. Once you play a game like Crysis 2 on the PC with graphics turned to full, you’ll wonder why you ever played games anywhere else! Although I’m a console gamer at heart, I’ve recently – with the purchase of a screaming gaming rig – gotten into PC gaming. I love the feel of the mouse/keyboard control combo, it has always felt more responsive to me. That and the fact that lining up a headshot with mouse is infinitely easier than trying to do it with a thumb stick. You can also do a lot more with games on the PC with things like game mods and console commands. Show me anyone that has played The Sims without giving themselves a bank full of money to build things with and I’ll be surprised!

Gaming Rig.
Gaming Rig.

In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. Heck, you spend time at home and on the road all the time, why even choose? Get consoles, a PC and a smart phone!

What’s your favorite gaming medium? Let us know!

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