The fun you can have while playing video games shouldn’t depend entirely on what console or system you’re using to play them.
But it kind of does. Sorry.
Many game and hardware developers don’t really allow for borderless gaming, meaning certain companies are very protective of their properties, requiring you to buy their hardware if you want to play those games.
It’s a bit unfair in the grand scheme of things, but it’s just how the free market has shaken out since the advent of home gaming systems.
As a result, community lines are drawn based on what hardware you use and what you like the best. If you’re an Xbox kinda person, then you’ll have to go to war over why you chose that console over any of the others.
And the PC gaming community, in particular, is pretty odd. It’s both accepting and exclusive at the same time.
One the one hand, it’s one of the most accessible ways to play contemporary video games, instead of having to buy a console that can only handle gaming and little else.
Below you’ll find our guide for those new to PC gaming: Where to Start. Hopefully, these tips will remove some of the bafflement surrounding the practice.
And if you’re feeling nostalgic, check out our list of computer games from the 2000s.
Sure, it’s possible to download new games directly from their developers, but in many cases, it will be much easier to buy games via a PC gaming platform.
Now these are not platforms in the sense that you’ll be playing the games within the software, necessarily. The focus of each is to serve as a marketplace.
Ok, so Steam may as well be the end of the list. If you’re going to be playing games on a PC, you will download Steam at some point.
In many ways, it’s a helpful little program that uses an internet connection to catch you up on the latest offerings.
But if you’re playing from a store-bought PC that hasn’t been optimized for gaming, it can also slow your machine to a chug, which seems to be counterintuitive for a program meant to sell you fun games.
Whether you’re looking for big-name released from developers you like or you’re looking for some smaller-scale indie games, you will find them on Steam.
It’s basically an unofficial standard for the PC gaming community. It’s free to download and use, and Steam takes a percentage of every single sale, so they’re doing just fine.
Good Old Games
Good Old Games is another PC gaming marketplace that’s more of a specialty shop than a big-box chain store.
It focuses on releasing cleaned-up versions of much older PC games, going all the way back to MS-DOS games and games for Windows 95.
If you played any computer games in the 1990s, then GOG is your chance to revisit many of those old classics, all for relatively little money.
The games tend to be priced very low, which makes sense since many of them are more than 20 years old by this point.
The original versions of SimCity and RollerCoaster Tycoon are a couple great places to get started and will immediately fill you with some much-needed nostalgia and childhood joy.
To Build or Not to Build
So now we have to talk about hardware just a little bit. Don’t worry, it won’t take too long.
A very common question we’ve received is, “Can I play brand new PC games on my current off-the-shelf laptop/desktop, etc.?”
The answer is yes and no. Yes, your stock computer probably meets the system requirements for brand new PC games. But that does not guarantee that you’ll be able to take full advantage of what those games have to offer.
It takes a lot of processing power, a great graphics card, and many other components to allow for online play at 60 FPS or gameplay with gorgeous high-def graphics.
And whether you like it or not, if you want to be a member of the PC Master Race, then you’ll probably have to build your own PC at some point.
But if you’re unfamiliar with how PCs are built and which parts you’ll need, then this can be an intimidating undertaking, to say the least.
And if you want to make a PC of decent quality, you will be spending a lot of money on high-end parts and components.
Will the build exceed the cost of a standard gaming console? Almost definitely. Many consoles cost around $300 brand new, and they require no real additional work from the user. You can basically just plug and play.
What building your own PC offers is the opportunity for customization and giving yourself the best gameplay possible.
Find Reviewers You Like
Once you have a machine you’re happy with, stock or custom, then you’ll have to actually choose which games you’d like to play on it.
And this can also cost a lot of money. Many AAA titles sell for about $60 brand new. And once you’ve bought a mainline game and have found that you don’t like it, it can be tough to get your money back.
But that’s why we have game reviewers. Just hop onto YouTube right now and you’ll find more than enough channels specifically dedicated to telling you whether you should play a game or not.
You don’t have to agree with any of them all the time, but it can be helpful to find a few channels whose opinions you respect.
That way, in the future you’ll be able to take their review of new games into account when deciding they’re worth the purchase price.
H3 Don’t Listen to Developers
And as a quick side note here, we just wanted to remind you that you shouldn’t listen to game developers.
Regardless of the circumstances, when they talk about their own games they are trying to sell you something, and this can lead to some misunderstandings or even misrepresentations as to the actual content of the game.
Long story short, you don’t want that. This has happened many times before, especially with games like Fallout ‘76 and No Man’s Sky.
So we just wanted to remind you to stay on your toes and be wary of bold claims from developers.