I suck at PC games

I am terrible at PC games. I don’t know why this is–I cut my teeth playing games on computers and didn’t really pick up a controller until I bought myself a Playstation 1 in 1996. It’s not that I lack proficiency with the games themselves, it’s that I can never finish anything. If you’re wondering why I haven’t written much about the Penumbra series, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, or The Path, it’s because I haven’t finished them and I don’t like to write about games I haven’t finished. I really enjoyed all of those games, and in the case of The Path I actually was almost finished with the game when I decided to start it over again. I just restarted my Amnesia game a few weeks back because my understanding of this genre is woefully incomplete without it.

It doesn’t help that I’m playing on a laptop and most of these games are meant to be played on desks with mice. But that’s hardly an excuse. The real problem is that my computer does so many other things that I become distracted between play sessions and forget to come back to the game. I also do not use Windows, which limits my access to some games (most recently Dear Esther).

Last week my second child was born (hooray!) and I’ve found myself up at strange hours of the night, alone, without much to do. So I’ve been putting some time into Jasper Byrne’s Lone Survivor, which is a 2D, retro-art game that feels more like Silent Hill 2 than just about anything I’ve played. It’s fantastic, and I recommend it wholeheartedly, and I will write about it when I finish it.

I promise.

11 thoughts on “I suck at PC games

  1. I played a bit of Lone Survivor, it’s pretty cool. I’ll try to put more into it later.

    Also, Congrats on the new addition to the family!

  2. I played the lone Survivor Demo. It was pretty fun. I’ll probably buy the game once the semester ends and I have a little more time for games.

  3. Congratulations on the baby! I figured you’ve been really busy lately, but I had no idea.

    As for PC games, I have the -exact- same problem. Playing on a computer just feels wrong. Despite the superior graphics and customization options… and even after Steam rolled out achievements… I just can’t look at my PC as a gaming device. It’s a shame, because I tried out Amnesia and really liked it, but I got distracted and never beat it. That wouldn’t be the case if they released it on consoles, because I’m very particular about finishing every game I start.

    I think you hit the nail on the head with the fact that PCs handle so many other things besides gaming. When gaming is only one of the machine’s many functions, it somehow feels… less focused. Less purposeful. That’s probably why I have a hard time recognizing phones and tablets as legitimate gaming devices too.

  4. Congratulations on the new baby!

    I too dislike gaming on the PC. The action buttons feel a bit sluggish and the touch pad for my laptop is a poor substitute for a right analogue stick. I think a PC controller would solve that. I prefer to unwind a few feet away from the screen not hunched over like a typist.

  5. They’re all great games(Bar Penumbra Requiem), you owe it to yourself to finish them. I don’t mind PC gaming, but I enjoy it for the mods- Amnesia has a bunch of good custom stories.

    I can’t wait to hear your views on Amnesia and The Path. I think Amnesia was great but is overrated while the Path is a fantastic experience that really leaves an impact. I’d say they contrast each other well even- Amnesia is a visceral, scary experience in game but leaves little impact post gameplay, yet The Path isn’t particularly scary in game, is certainly hauntingly beautiful and creepy, but it really lingers after the game.

  6. Congrats on the new addition to your family 🙂

    Have you considered expanding the writer base for your site? I know you’ve had a few people write items for the site before, but you could easily get in help/volunteers from others. I’d be more than willing to help!

    Dear Esther is really good, especially the recent remake. I’ve spoken to Pinchbeck about it a few times, and generally like his stuff.

  7. Kudos on the kid.

    Look forward to seeing your posts on PC Games, there are some crackers, but I barely use mine for games.


  8. I guess I am the anomoly. I have been gaming since the early days of Atarai and pong and.. well, colecovision. So when I think of gaming (well, electronic gaming) I don’t really compartmentalize and segregate what is and isn’t for me. I have done it all. Currently the only real video games I don’t play are portable gaming, mostly because as I get older my eyesight isn’t happy squinting at a little screen for hours on end. When I have the means I do want to grab a PSP and wire to hook it to my tv though. Imperfect or not, there is a lot of games on that system I’d love to try out and play.. just not..tiny.

    I’m glad you are still fighting the good fight and trying (at least to a degree) to consider gaming for the PC. I do see how doing it on a laptop is a bit futile, especially if you’re gaming with a touchpad et al.. but still.. Some effort is better than no effort.

    One thing that can help make a difference is to grab a wired xbox 360 controller to use with modern games. It helps a lot because after a few minutes you feel less like you’re pc gaming a more like just regular old console gaming(because not all PC games are mouse required). It also helps to have a decent pc to do said gaming on, a comfortable set up, and a decent sized monitor so you don’t feel like you’re being ‘punished’ for playing on it.

    I will also issue the congrats for having another child. That in itself can be pretty rough on the nerves and patience, so I can see you not as inclined to play horror type games when you’re already a bit ragged. Sadly, that is a state you’ll be in for a LONG time so.. this column may very well stall for a while. A necessary evil I guess..

    Good luck. I look forward to any new blogs you toss up about those and other games in the coming weeks!


  9. I’m not much of a gamer, and solely a PC gamer, but for those of you who aren’t comfortable with standard PC controls – couldn’t you use GlovePie or some other key assignment program to connect an Xbox controller and play through that?

    (Disclaimer: I only tried this briefly myself, and chalked up my inability to handle the game well due to the fact that I’m not comfortable with Xbox controllers, rather than lag or an awkwardness in translation from PC to Xbox control. Therefore, this might be a dumb post.)

    Just a thought.

  10. Also, I forgot – congratulations, Chris! Babies are pretty cool, and after lurking on this site for a few years it’s pretty obvious you make an awesome dad.

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