Think a PC isn't a viable gaming platform? Well think again. Here's 15 reasons why a PC is the best device to play games on.

I, like many others, have on occasions belittled the PC as a serious gaming platform. However, while it may have had its problems and serious-lack of good games, it still beats an console every time. Here's 15 reasons why the PC is the best gaming platform available.

1. PCs are scalable

Sure, it's a glass half-full or half-empty proposition, because component upgrades often vandalise (and scandalise) your wallet. Question is, would you rather have a platform that can play nearly anything, past to present, contingent on do-it-yourself propensity? Or be locked into a restrictively governed molding that's changed out only once every half-decade or so?

2. PC games can be endlessly manipulated

Another 'your mileage may vary' point, because tinkering's not for everyone, and plenty of people just want something that works. On the other hand, if you've played Far Cry 2 only on a console, you've been prowling around in visuals that only shadow the game's tricked-out PC sibling.

And while stuff like nVidia's PhysX is accessible on nVidia-derivative consoles, don't expect Mirror's Edge to ever look as gleefully dissolvable on a PS3 or Xbox 360 as its physics-enhanced PC version. Also: Two words = mod scene.

3. PCs ape consoles in emulation

Here's a point often missed. PCs can be nearly any past-tense console, by hook or by crook. Miss stuff like Rare's Wizards & Warriors? The original tag-team Mario Bros? Mega Man? Berzerk?

No need to track down a mouldering Atari 2600 or original NES, or Edward Stratton III's original Tempest arcade box. Just find an emulator and a stack of ROMs, or a Flash or Java site such as PlayNES.net running scads of these in ostensibly legal emulation (including save-state options!) and you're golden.

4. PCs can be anywhere

If you're living in the 1970s, you think computers still hunker in lightless basements, or converted linen closets, or musty-carpeted lofts. I've never parked my PC anywhere other than a desk/armoire/piped-and-fluted-hybrid in a living room within cabling distance of my Dolby-fied flat-screened piece-de-resistance.

Swapping between a desktop LCD and your larger living room variety is a snap, not to mention that doing so offers more audio/video playback options than any of the console manufacturers.

5. Keyboard and mouse beats all

We've yet to see an interface as intuitive and broadly commanding (and that's including Nintendo's  vaunted Wiimote and nunchuk).

Get free games downloads. Visit PC Advisor's dedicated Games website to download hundreds of the latest titles, to read gaming news and reviews and to pick up tips and discuss your favourite games in the popular PC Advisor Games forum

Laptop Advisor: latest laptop reviews, plus tips & tricks, new products and laptops news

Next page: PC gaming is forever

  1. Forget your PS3, all you need is a PC
  2. PC gaming is forever
  3. Price and piracy

Think a PC isn't a viable gaming platform? Well think again. Here's 15 reasons why a PC is the best device to play games on.

6. PCs do gamepads, surprise!

Take that, all you blinkered qwerty mockers. Got an Xbox 360 controller? Plug it into your PC and games such as Dead Space and Gears of War adapt instantly.

What's more, I dare anyone to invoke a console's comparably foggy web browser and tap out a response to this point, cycling through detached-panel ASCII symbols and frantically pulling triggers, one tedious sequential character at a time.

7. Consoles go kaplooey, too

I'll see your 'blue screen' and raise you a 'red ring' or two (or 33 percent of total, if those early estimates were accurate). Leave your pity for PC gamers at the door, because consoles are just as prone to bellying up when something short circuits in quality control. (Because, hate to break it to you, consoles are PCs too!)

And memo: Game-breaking creepy-crawlies and PC-style firmware updates and patches have consoles on the hook these days, too.

8. Consoles could vanish tomorrow, but PC gaming is forever

Planning to solve for the unified theory of everything while lounging on your sofa in front of your new 50in plasma power-gobbler? Chances are, not so much. Feng Shui your heart out, you still need a place to spread the tree-ware and focus without distractions.

Vive la PC! In the end, PC gaming soldiers on in part because the business-to-casual range of our daily activities remains wildly PC-centric.

9. PC games are stylistically unbounded

It's like the Irving Berlin song: anything consoles can do, PCs can do better. There's nothing consoles offer that PCs (and PC games) can't, and we're talking strictly one-way negotiation. Anything that requires fast-switch precision movement's out the window on a 360, Wii, or PS3.

Real-time strategy games are a tangled mess on consoles, and while certain tactical third-person shooters work well enough, a decent mouse/keyboard gamer will repeatedly roast anyone wielding a pair of comparably clumsy thumb-sticks. Don't get me started on the complete lack of console support for serious simulations and wargames.

10. PCs are the creative heart of video gaming

This is where the grandest, wackiest, coolest, hippest, least predictable stuff in gaming's happening, folks. Hands down and bar none. Don't believe me? Then you need to try more stuff like Crayon Physics, DCS Black Shark, Synaesthete, Fret Nice and for goodness sake spend some time with Iron Dukes.

Get free games downloads. Visit PC Advisor's dedicated Games website to download hundreds of the latest titles, to read gaming news and reviews and to pick up tips and discuss your favourite games in the popular PC Advisor Games forum

Laptop Advisor: latest laptop reviews, plus tips & tricks, new products and laptops news

Next page: Price and piracy

  1. Forget your PS3, all you need is a PC
  2. PC gaming is forever
  3. Price and piracy


Think a PC isn't a viable gaming platform? Well think again. Here's 15 reasons why a PC is the best device to play games on.

11. PC games cost less

I'm not saying it makes sense (it doesn't) but the most popular games cost more when the debut on consoles than when they are made available to PC users.

12. Online PC matchmaking is free

I realise it's only Microsoft dragging its base through the mud here, and analysts claiming Xbox Live offers something unique are simply wrong. Still, it's worth mentioning that online PC matchmaking and multiplayer are, and always have been free. It's not a luxury item, it's not a special service, it's not a value proposition - it's an entrenched and completely reasonable customer expectation.

13. Piracy ain't just a PC problem

Console piracy rates barely scratch the PC's reportedly onerous numbers, but the former's aren't exactly waning. The more people playing console games, the more the scene laser-targets each console's proprietary padlocks, the more increasingly end-user-friendly workaround hacks and mod-jobs and firmware-fooling pre-insert ROM disc tools flood the market.

While there may be cash to have short-term by switching gears, abandoning the PC over piracy rates may turn out to be yet another iteration of the 'grass-is-greener' myth.

14. PCs excel at family-hotseat-group-play, too

First of all, You Don't Know Jack was working the lines long before the likes of Scene It!. Second, sure, there's stuff like Buzz Quiz and Amercan Idol Encore 2 on tap, but they're still a tiny fraction of the broader number of family-friendly party games you can pull up (many for free) and play on your PC, whether piped through an office monitor or jacked into your Dolby/plasma master-lounge-center.

15. PC display screens trump living room TVs

The old anti-CRT/NTSC argument is finally weakening now that HDTVs with 1080p have a foot in, but I'll still see your 1920x1080 max lines of resolution and raise you 3840x2400 while you're waiting for market momentum to clumsily foist the Next Big Thing on entertainment centers (while online entertainment providers ironically bleed the life out of picture quality by compressing the heck out of on-demand digital video).

Okay, so picture quality's not as big a deal these days for non-videophiles, and graphics bickering is pretty 1990s. Still, I needed a 15th point, so there you go!

Get free games downloads. Visit PC Advisor's dedicated Games website to download hundreds of the latest titles, to read gaming news and reviews and to pick up tips and discuss your favourite games in the popular PC Advisor Games forum

Laptop Advisor: latest laptop reviews, plus tips & tricks, new products and laptops news

  1. Forget your PS3, all you need is a PC
  2. PC gaming is forever
  3. Price and piracy