How Much Geek Cred Do I Lose By Not Owning A Gaming Console?

August 13, 2008

Despite my love for technology, I don’t currently own a gaming console, and don’t plan to. I’m just not that into console games. The starting point: Blu-Ray. The standard nerd solution: “Buy a PS3.” Then there was the recent Netflix / Roku box I picked up, which garnered the question “Why didn’t you just buy an XBOX 360? The Netflix service will show up there in the fall.”

Yes, my non-love for consoles gets some strange looks, and I feel my “geek cred” dwindling by several points.

So let me explain why I don’t own a console. This list is largely based on my use of a PS2 over the past few years:

Anyhow, I recently realized I hadn’t turned on the PS2 in nearly a year. So I sold it, along with a pile of games I never played. I heard some of them were rather good, but I’ll never know.

Now, I do like some games. I’m a big fan of the Blizzard stuff, and am looking forward to Starcraft III and Diablo II – both on the computer. Spore also looks very intriguing. I really liked Katamari Damacy, and have enjoyed playing Rock Band with others. I also really like the classic arcade games of my youth.

But just from this list of games, you can tell what games I can handle: ones with simple controls, third person views (the game isn’t immersive), and more simulation (turn based) rather than realism and real-time action. From what I’ve seen, that eliminates a lot of console games, or at least makes purchasing a console highly questionable when you may only play three or four games.

So I don’t currently own a gaming console, and am uninterested in buying one in the foreseable future. I realize for many uber-nerds, that reduces my “geek cred” significantly, but I don’t buy gear I’ll never use just for the “cool” factor. Have you lost all respect for me?

Comments

  1. papa says:

    U r a Luzr ;-0

    Kidding. Kidding. I think you have the cred since you are still a “gamer”. Your platform of choice just happens to be the PC.

    My primary gaming platform for a long time had been the computer. Of course, as a long time Apple user, I envied all the games on Windows. So eventually I got a PC just for gaming. I only got into console gaming a couple years back with the PS2 (my first console since a Colecovision). I enjoyed it somewhat. I then tried out handheld gaming with a PSP and discovered I didn't really like handheld gaming so much.

    Most recently, I got a PS3 for the blu-ray capability and for some gaming. I don't do much PC gaming these days since I no longer own a windows machine (I'm not counting my boot-campable Intel Macs).

    Here's what I like about console gaming:
    * The wireless controllers: You can lounge in the couch and play games. It's very satisfying and relaxing.
    * Compatability: You don't have to mess with hardware requirements and the like or constantly upgrade to the newest graphics card. Yes, this comes at a cost, but it's sure as hell easy to just grab a title that says PS3 and pop it in and not fret about framerates, overheating your machine and the like.
    * The social aspect: Games can be social? Surprisingly…yes. Side-by-side play with one or more individuals, imho, is one of the best aspects of console gaming. Now I love online gaming too, but sitting next to someone or with a group of people playing a game has a completely different feel/vibe.
    * Online aspect. This used to be where PC games dominated. Now that online for consoles is finally evolving and improving, I can play others online, get my coop/versus fix and download a lot of fun demos.

    Regarding some of your other points:
    * Time commitment: This strikes me as a universal point. I think World of Warcraft, Civilization, GTA et. al. involve similar time commitments. The solution? Play shorter games and/or break gaming sessions into bite-sized chunks. Soul Calibur lets you play and finish a match in a couple of minutes. There are also plot/story driven games that can be completed in 6 hours or so. I'll do those over the course of a week or two (kinda like watching mini-series — Heavenly Sword and Call of Duty 4 are two great examples).
    * Cost for a title: One solution here is to rent games. It's way cheaper. There's also a lot of good games now available via the playstation online store for under $10.
    * Can't help you with the lack of interest in sports games. I will say that if you like sports and racing games (I like the former, not the latter) — a console seems to be the way to go.
    * Spousal apathy: Wish I could solve that one! I have the same problem :-(

    The way I see it is that there are a lot of different gaming platforms that appeal to a variety of different gamers and gaming needs (i.e. some platforms are better for certain genres — like the PC excels at strategy imho which I used to love but takes too much time for me these days). Not being into consoles is no big deal ( I don't care for handheld/portable gaming — I hope that doesn't destroy my cred). It took me a while to appreciate the lure of the platform. But now I like it pretty good to say it's my primary gaming platform (barring the future purchase of a PC gaming rig). But honestly, I only really have time for one platform, and it sounds like you only have time for one too. I guess that's the cost of being married, getting older and having other interests.

    Btw — I just realized that strategy games used to be my favorite game genre (on PC). But I had to stop playing them b/c (1) I'd pull marathon gaming sessions which I cannot do anymore and (2) I found the learning curve too steep and the game mechanics too complex to just get up and running. Go figure! Diff'rent strokes for different folks.

  2. ITBlogger says:

    If you like simpler games and simpler more easy to use control schemes, then I suggest you get a Wii. It's worth it just for Mario Kart.

    But yeah, the console will never be very good for certain types of games, like the Diablo style of games or RTS style games, where a mouse really is needed.

  3. webomatica says:

    Truth be told, the wii is the one console I had been eyeing, since my
    wife can play some of those games and I can definitely handle that
    controller.. I wonder if they'll ever add a Blu ray player?

  4. ITBlogger says:

    You'd probably have to wait at least 3 years to get a Nintendo system with Bluray drive. One of the main points of the Wii was design it to keep overall cost down to a price point that drives sales. It's one reason why it's been so successful despite a lack of content and last gen hardware specs in many ways.

  5. ITBlogger says:

    I'd recommend waiting for Oppo to come out with a Bluray player, though. http://www.oppodigital.com

    They are well known in home theater circles as the company that comes out with top notch players for less. Their DVD players are pretty much the best you can buy for any price and their most expensive is $400, but kicks the butts of players that are 5 times more expensive.

  6. rodaniel says:

    I cut my teeth on videogames back in the Atari 2600 days before moving on to PC-based games, so I fully understand how today's controllers feel entirely foreign in your hands. The keyboard/mouse combo just feels right.

    So, I'm in the same boat since we don't own any videogame consoles (unless you count my wife's ancient SNES that's boxed up in the attic in the hopes that in another dozen or so years it'll be a priceless antique that we can sell on eBay for a small fortune) or plan to purchase one anytime soon.

    Almost as bad, we exactly 1 television. Yup, we have a 42″ plasma in the living room and no TVs in any other part of the house.

  7. Mark Dykeman says:

    Wii is cool – finally tried it a few days ago and loved it. Mario Kart Wii was great!

  8. webomatica says:

    Cool, I'll keep an eye on that company. My ideal is to get a stand
    alone bluray player for about $200. I hope I don't have to wait forever.

  9. webomatica says:

    Yeah we never had an atari but I started playing games on the apple 2.
    Now that I think about it that probably dictates my current of centric
    state.

  10. ITBlogger says:

    My rather muddy crystal ball says you'll have to wait 2 to 3 years. But that's just a best conservative guess based on how long it took DVD players to get down to that price.

  11. webomatica says:

    Oh, and we only have one television too, which definitely impacts the
    gaming action — especially if my wife wants to watch a dog / romantic
    comedy.

  12. webomatica says:

    It's good to get some sympathy instead of berating I was expecting :) .
    I think despite all my intellectualizing, your last point rings very
    true. I definitely had a lot more time to play video games as a
    bachelor. This bleeds into other areas as well, as in asking what tv
    show to watch instead of watching a whole bunch and deciding for
    myself. I totally love the married life, but it's true a lot of my old
    proclivities just sort of faded away.

  13. DaFerret says:

    You don't have to be a gamer to be a geek. Nor do you need a console to be a gamer. Wasn't the first game on a computer? >_>

    Anyway, for me I'm a one console person (which so happens to be the PS3). But the Wii is pretty nifty. Everyone I know who has it, loves it. Even my Aunty and Uncle who I would never guess would play a video game. I also have a PSP and a DS (not to mention a gaming rig). But I love video games. A lot of it has to do with escapism and they tend to stoke my creativity.

  14. papa says:

    Nothing beats the 8 directional 2600 “stick” with 1 button. Nothing except a 4-directional joystick or a plain old roller ball!

    (oh, i forgot about those pong paddles too)

    That being said, it took me some time to “learn” the Playstation controller, but now that I've sort of got it, I really like the dual analog stick configuration. Much less thumb numbing than the older style gamepad used on earlier nintendo systems).

  15. Mike says:

    Totally understand where you're coming from. I own a GameCube I picked up on sale, once the Wii was announced (didn't realize the Wii would be backwards compatible). I barely play it – I don't even have a TV in my room anymore, needed to make space for more computers. :)

    The nice part is, though, that you can pick up old and used games on the cheap. Check the reviews at IGN.com, and head to a GameStop or something. I really enjoyed Metroid Prime, at least until the point where I couldn't get past a major boss. Luigi's Mansion was fun, too.

    I really think Nintendo “gets it”, while the others don't really, so much…

    For what it's worth, I also play most of my games on the computer (Windows games in Boot Camp, mostly). Even then, I spend way more time browsing sites like FriendFeed and whatnot than playing games. Go figure.

  16. webomatica says:

    I'm also a fan of the old-school leaf switch type joystick like on the
    classic arcade games. I still have to get an X-Arcade stick like you
    have.

  17. webomatica says:

    Yeah the older people liking the wii thing is an interesting subject.
    Although I wouldn't care to admit it, I'm drifting into the “older
    person” demographic.

  18. webomatica says:

    cool, another vote for nintendo – the wii is certainly shaping up to
    be more my speed. And as for spending time on the internet doing other
    things – one might even consider writing a blog and participating in
    all the social sites like FriendFeed, a MMPORG in itself. So maybe
    we've been spending ample time playing a game of sorts but just don't
    think of it that way :)

  19. Martindale says:

    Meh, not so much losing geek cred. I don't own a console either, so I'm right there with you. :)

  20. Diet Pills says:

    I am actually switching from macs and pcs to consoles. Call me weird but here I go.

  21. Rakeback says:

    I think if you dont own one you do lose some points. But then you can manage I guess :)

    I wanted to but that was to attain the geek status.

  22. Well there is nothing to lose! Don't worry!

  23. furniture says:

    Man dobt be geeky! :p

  24. zara clothes says:

    yeah, the console instrument never be really respectable for indisputable types of games, like the Diablo call of games or RTS communication games, where a pussyfoot real is necessary.

  25. not a gamer says:

    I'm not big on gaming console too. I do play games when I'm bored buy only a simple one, something like arcades or flash games.