Ever since I first held that black-and-white brick of a Nintendo controller at the age of 6, I've been a console loyalist I've owned nearly every console made from 1990 onward, from the Super Nintendo to the Sega Dreamcast.
So when my editor asked, "Are you ready to hand over your PlayStation 4?", my hands broke out in a cold sweat — especially when she said I had to use the keyboard and mouse, instead of my beloved controller, for certain titles, such as Mass Effect: Andromeda.
She might as well have asked if I wanted to turn over my firstborn child. (I don't have one, but that's not the point.) At the time, I had just bought Horizon Zero Dawn, had gotten back into Gravity Rush 2 and was still deeply invested in Street Fighter V.
Could I put all my adventures on hold and swap systems midstream? Would I be able to adjust to controlling characters via keyboard? What games would I even play on a PC?
I've touched a couple of PC games — mainly Counter-Strike and a couple of point-and-click adventures — but I never could get fully invested. Admittedly, part of my problem is psychological. I just never viewed PC as a viable gaming option. Three-fourths of my PC usage is spent on Wikipedia, and the rest is used to stream music and podcasts. My PC is basically a radio and encyclopedia, not a console.
Another issue is dexterity. Before I was a console gamer, I used to be an arcade junkie. Fighting games are my true passion, and I would spend laundry bags of quarters loitering in laundromats, pizza shops and video arcades. As the arcade industry died down, I began to play more and more at home, and I got more accustomed to using a controller and lounging around with my feet up on a table.
A couple of years ago, I went to an old-school arcade to try to play Marvel vs. Capcom, and I realized I had lost most of my joystick skills. I'd try to launch a fireball, and instead, I'd just punch the air. If this were 10 years ago, I would have devoted hours to relearning and growing those motor skills. But I can't spend that time now. I worried that the same would happen when I tried to use a keyboard. Would it be worth it to try to play a first-person shooter on a PC, only to continue running into walls and shooting the air?
I admit PC games do have advantages. The graphics and smoothness are unparalleled. Whenever I'd watch videos of PC games or see friends play, I'd be amazed by the sharpness of the gameplay. After all, even the best console games have some sort of latency. As I said before, I'm a big fighting-game fan, and players rave about the virtually nonexistent lag. The ability to play an arcade-perfect fighting game holds a large appeal.
Another reason I'm intrigued is because of the sheer number of indie games. I slowly gravitated toward indie games over the past five years because of how far they've come. I'm always interested in expanding my gaming palate, and PC exclusives such as Hollow Knight are right up my alley. Plus, I have a decent internet connection now. Gone are the days of dial-up, where I could easily get kicked offline, just as a mission started getting good, because of a phone call or because my mother tripped over a wire.
But one thing has remained the same over the years: my love of gaming. I love getting immersed in the adventures, controlling the destinies of my characters and challenging myself in interesting ways. I'm also still a fan of playing with friends. Many a play date revolved around meeting up at a friend's house to play a racing game or do some co-op beat-'em-up game like Final Fight or Streets of Rage.
So with all that said — and considering my potential learning curve — I now have an Alienware 15 in my apartment, access to a slew of Steam and EA games, and six weeks to get acquainted with the PC life. Will I be prepared to make the leap? Stay tuned to find out if I (and my potentially arthritic hands) can tell.