PC gaming, my wallet says No but the games say Yes

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I gave up on PCs long ago but it looks like I’m coming back.

Okay, so I have to admit that the allure of indie games for me has historically been their price point – they’re cheap. That sub-$20 price point is huge for me. There was a time and place where I had lots of time to dump into gaming and thus I could justify more expensive games, but that time and place has long passed me by.

That doesn’t mean I can’t (don’t) spend lots of time gaming but I can’t commit to long couch sessions like I used to do. I’m limited to more “hour here, 30 minutes there” type of stuff…and that’s if I’m lucky. The smaller, arcade-sized category that indie games often fall into is spot on…where there are cheap, arcade-style titles, that’s where I’ll be.

You might think, “well, then you must be a PC gamer,” and while that would make sense, the answer right now is “No” – but that might be changing soon.

By far, the PC has the deepest well of indie games available. I used to invest quite a bit into PCs but once the consoles caught up, I stopped and jumped onto the console wagon with everyone else. Keeping my PC upgraded just became too costly and too much trouble. As is the case with consoles, they just work. I liked that, plus I really like playing on my big TV…in my living room…on my couch. My PC couldn’t offer that.

Do I really want to go back to this? Maybe…

Owning a console is easy

The XBox 360 was the first console to really have a great offering of indie games. Between the XBox Live Arcade and Indie Arcade, you could find yourself a new game every day for $10 or less. Most of them ranged from crap to okay, but many were really a lot of fun. It was my addiction for a while and just cemented to me that indie games are more my tune than most AAA titles being sold for $60 or more.

But consoles have a limited lifespan and the 360 was no exception. With the roll out of a new XBox, Microsoft decided to backseat their indie games. During that time, Sony picked up the baton and started offering some solid titles on PSN. So when it came time to buy a new console, I went back to Playstation.

The PSN indie catalog is pretty good but also pretty expensive. Between what XBLA offered and the rise of App Store Pricing, we now expect a lot for a little, and PSN is falling a bit short for me. I’m just not seeing a lot of the games I dig, nor for the price I want to pay.

And then just this past week, Nintendo announces an indie game lineup that looks incredibly solid and fun. I doubt they will be “cheap” but if a game can deliver on entertainment, then I’m more than willing to pay. Thing is, I’m not about to buy a Switch. For one, good luck finding one…and second, I just can’t drop $300+ like that. I made my choice and it was a PS4. I’m hesitant to say I regret the purchase but I can’t help but feel I made the wrong choice.

Steam to the rescue

Meanwhile, my Steam library has been growing and growing. Thanks to the Humble Bundle sales and other various gems found on Steam, my collection of indie games has grown far beyond that of my PS4 (and maybe even the 360). But I’m not a PC gamer, right?

Maybe I am afterall.

I bought a lot of the Steam titles because they were on sale and I find it hard to say “No” to a good deal, even if I won’t be playing them all that often. And to be honest, half of the titles in my Steam library I didn’t even want, per se…they just came with a Bundle, but hey, works for me.

And since I got my SteamLink, I’ve found myself playing more and more PC games in the living room like a proper gamer. It’s been nice but if I’m going to dive back into PCs as my primary gaming platform, that means it’s back to a world of RAM, video cards and CPUs. Ugh.

But going the PC route is really the best way to have your cake and eat it too…at least for the most part. Many games get a Steam release first and then make their way to console. And in cases like Cuphead, it’ll be available for PC but otherwise only console exclusive for XBox.

I’m tired of chasing games and platforms, and it seems PC is the ultimate common ground…but even I know it always has been. I just didn’t want to play games on a computer monitor, sitting in an office chair. It’s taken a while but now that I can do that with PC games, I’m back.

And hey, at least I can buy computer parts piece by piece over time rather than dropping several hundred at once. Now to see how many lawns I can mow before winter gets here.

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Brian is a staff writer at TMA. He races Hot Wheels at RedlineDerby.com while watching cartoons with his kid. You can follow @morningtoast on Twitter.

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