9 November 2008





Part 1: Iím Not A Racist ButÖ

The modern gaming PC is an amazing piece of hardware. With much more raw power than any console, capable of far superior graphics and glorious surround sound, equipped with near-infinite versatility of control and able to access data with lightning speed from massive hard drives, the PC is the greatest games machine in the world. Or at least, it would be if it wasnít for YOU.

This month, Iíve mostly been playing Raiden 3. When it originally came out on the Playstation 2 in late 2005 I made it my Game Of The Year, but the subsequent PC version is the only way to play it at its best. Itís a vertical-aspect 2D shoot-Ďem-up, so playing it on a normal telly just canít compare to the gorgeous two-foot-high display I get when I rotate my lovely crisp PC monitor through 90 degrees and set the game to its native ďTateĒ mode (which is what the Japanese call vertical-screen games for some reason). Sitting at a desk just 18 inches from the picture, the graphics are so big it feels like youíre right there, your Mark 2 fighter darting around at body speed like a champion boxer in the ring at Madison Square Gardens, a single oasis of tranquility and concentration as tumultuous mayhem explodes all around you.

The other day, I pulled off a near-perfect scoring run through the first stage. With breathtaking co-ordination, reflex and daring, I blasted every enemy at point-blank range for the maximum score multipliers, retrieved every hidden medal and finished off the boss without using any smart bombs in order to snag the points bonus for saving them. I saved the replay for posterity and to impress passing girls, and decided to watch it just to check that I really was as awesome as I thought. For some inexplicable reason, though, the replay menu is in Japanese despite all the other menu options being in English (this sort of thing is a bizarrely common phenomenon in Japanese games Ė itís like having the audio options in the UK release of Call Of Duty 4 be in Arabic), and as a result, rather than watching my virtuoso attack run in all its considerable glory, I deleted it instead. And thatís the first reason I hate PC gamers.

The problem (well, the first problem) with PC gamers, yísee, is that theyíre closed-minded snobs. Raiden 3 is a masterpiece of design elegance and sophistication, but itís easy to understand and easy to play and that means that PC gamers Ė at least those in the Western hemisphere - will never accept it, because theyíre incapable of seeing sophistication unless itís signposted with inch-thick manuals and 65 different control keys. And because snobby Western PC gamers wonít accept anything that resembles an arcade or console game, genius like Raiden 3 doesnít get a Western release with Western text that would save unfortunate players from deleting their hard-won replay files.

Oddly, despite their fondness for tiny electronics and RPGs, the Asian market a lot less hostile to the PC as an all-encompassing games format than youíd expect. They embrace it for its endless flexibility, and in doing so make it twice the platform it is over here (where genre bigotry is seeing overall PC game sales ghettoise and die at a frightening rate). When a machine can do so much, itís a crime that snotty Westerners turn their noses up at half of what the world of gaming can offer, just because it isnít complicated and elitist and exclusionary enough for them. Man, I really hate those guys.

HATE PART 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10


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