A Tale of Two Gamers

It’s funny how shared hobbies can both bring us together and tear us apart. I experienced this frustrating rollercoaster of emotions recently when a friend’s husband casually namedropped a rather obscure auto-racing simulator in a chat about videogames (the subject of roughly half the conversations shared in my circle of friends). It was a moment of pure serendipity. Finally, we had both found someone we could reliably race with and against online, without having to wade through lists of anonymous potty-mouthed 12 year olds and demolition-derby wannabes.


But that shared joy quickly turned into an argument when we discovered he plays his racing simulations on a PC, whereas I prefer to spin my wheels on PlayStation 4. Playing on different platforms means we may as well live in different universes. We can’t be online racing buddies.


“But why?!” he asked, with the same tone of bewildered disgust Chicagoans reserve for people who put ketchup on hot dogs. “The graphics are so much better on PC!”


True. But as I explained to him, my PC resides in my home office and is generally reserved for roleplaying and strategy games. For action and racing games—especially racing simulators—my media room is where it’s at. And that’s where my PS4 resides.

After all, a few lines of resolution and some blocky textures are a small price to pay in exchange for 12,800 watts of room-filling surround sound—the Doppler-shifted roar of opponents sneaking up beside me in Project CARS 2; the rumble of a virtual LT4 engine rattling the frame of my Sparco racing cockpit and pounding me right in the chest; the subtle-but-butt-puckering chirp of my pretend rear tires breaking traction as I grip my Logitech G29 steering wheel and sling a pretend Corvette Z06 around the twisting pretend turns of a pretend Mazda Raceway.


“Try that without dragging your big, ugly black box of a PC into the living room!”


“Pfft. Who cares about the sound?” he scoffed. And just like that, our budding bromance died on the vine. Because, really, how can I be gaming buddies with someone who doesn’t understand that audio is at least half of the experience?


Sadly, for now, I’m afraid far too many people share his opinion—his quick dismissal of the undeniably superior experience of gaming in the home theater. In my next post, I’ll explain why they’re dead wrong.

—Dennis Burger

Dennis Burger is an avid Star Wars scholar, Tolkien fanatic, and Corvette enthusiast
who somehow also manages to find time for technological passions including
high-end audio, home automation, and video gaming. He lives in the armpit of
Alabama with his wife Bethany and their four-legged child Bruno, a 75-pound
American Staffordshire Terrier who thinks he’s a Pomeranian. 

  • Jeff

    There are plenty of beautiful sff PC’s that easier would fit in your theater room. Why not have the best of both. Console gaming on a amazing setup is a waste.

    October 7, 2017 at 1:40 am
  • The simple fact of the matter is that I can only afford to maintain one good gaming PC, and I like having it off in my out-of-the-way office, where I can play The Witcher 3 or Dishonored or Divinity: Original Sin 2 when the missus is watching a movie. Plus, when it comes to my home theater gaming system, I like for everything to work at the push of a button. Flawlessly. No tweaking. No constant driver updates. No *.ini files to edit or a million and three sliders to tweak. My buddies who play Project CARS 2 on PC seem to spend more time tinkering with the setup (or recovering from system crashes) than racing. And to be frank about it, the results look no better than what you get by simply plugging the PS4 Pro in and turning it on.

    There’s also the fact that many of the games I prefer to play in the home theater (Uncharted, The Last of Us, etc.) are PlayStation exclusives.

    There are many things that PC is undeniably superior at, and there are tons of games I would never consider playing on anything but my desktop system. But for convenience and reliability (and the occasional brand exclusive), you can’t beat a console.

    October 8, 2017 at 3:14 am