I had a look at the stuff on Bioware’s new epic, Dragon Age and couldn’t make head nor tail of it. Apparently the first rule of Dragon Age club is that you don’t talk about Dragon Age Club. I am a Bioware RPG fan though so I’ll probably check it out when it finally comes out from behind the sofa.
But… Which platform to use? This is the eternal dilemma which has faced geeks since the geekdawn of geektime. Back when I was a youngster and finally realised there was a world outside of digging in sandpits the fight was between the Commodore 64 and the ZX Spectrum. We were quite young so had no concept of the technologies involved, and no ability to get involved in deep arguments, so we used to let our fists decide. Hordes of kids would rumble for their cause, when in reality it made no difference because we had no purchasing power and therefore no choice as to which side we were on.
As time wore on, we became wiser and got jobs and better pocket money and eventually began fighting over the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST. By now we knew what kilobytes were so could argue and sound technical. The ST kids would forever go on about their better sound capabilities, but in reality the Amiga was unbelievably better in all other respects, most importantly in the games department. Realistically, if you bought an Atari ST you were either a peasant (the Amiga was more expensive) or a bit of a masochist.
Around the same time other kids were fighting their wars over the consoles available. Firstly the Nintendo NES versus the Sega Master System. Both were pretty lame compared with the 16-bit computers available, but then some people just don’t have the dexterity to work a keyboard. Eventually the kids became entrenched for either the Sega Mega Drive (AKA Genesis) or the Super Nintendo. Both sides had their plus points and their followers willing to die for their brand.
Nowadays, we are older and have better jobs, so now the hardcore child gamer within us no longer has to pick sides. Our younger selves had to fight for the cause because we could only afford one machine, so we had to justify our decision. Our older selves could, if needed, stray from one platform to another. The loyalty is no longer so strong. Personally I have a PC for work, internet and a few games, and an Xbox 360 for gaming. I ended up with the Xbox because it’s main rival, the PS3, is comparatively a bit overpriced with no discernable increase in game quality for the types of games I like to play. Online play is important to me and I’m wary of anything that’s free. Xbox Live does cost, but in return it’s an excellent service. With the PS3’s online service you get what you pay for. However, if things changed and the PS3 became the more appealing choice I would probably invest in one, because after all, I am no longer the battle-hardened platform zealot of my youth.
So back to the crunch of the matter – When Dragon Age comes out, do I go for the console version or the PC version? At the moment I am not sure. Yeah the PC version will be better, have better mods, be more customisable. But it will also be as buggy as as a beetle colony, be more likely to have hardware conflicts and take ages to get running correctly. The PC online servers are going to be full of hackers, bots and spammers. The console version on the other hand will be way easier to run, and will work well. In multiplayer modes there will be no hacking, but there will be a high likelyhood of getting yelled at by a 13 year old. From Ohio.