HomeGames & TechUnpopular Opinion: PC Gaming Used to Be Much More Exciting!

Unpopular Opinion: PC Gaming Used to Be Much More Exciting!

Recently, my friends and I were reminiscing about our first gaming PCs. What exciting times those were! Nowadays, I almost always prefer a console over a PC. The reason: PC gaming isn’t as exciting as it used to be!

At least, that’s how I experience it. It’s partly because the PC and its operating systems have become more user-friendly over the years and partly because I’m about three decades older myself and know more or less what I’m doing on a PC.

Still, I look back fondly on what feels like the middle ages of the gaming industry. Nowadays, non GamStop casinos on Justuk Club are trying to recreate the atmosphere of nostalgic gaming by offering classic slots, table games, and cards.

The Quest for a Gaming PC

I must have been about eight years old. In the early 1990s, I had an NES under the television, so I enjoyed computer games to the fullest. Mario, the Turtles, Zelda: I knew these franchises like the back of my hand. Still, I sometimes dreamt of having a PC in the house, especially after seeing the one humming in my cousin’s bedroom. The graphics that were possible on it went way beyond what the NES managed to squeeze out. A gaming PC almost felt like a mythical beast that I, as an enthusiast, had to aim my arrows at.

And by arrows, I mean a pair of innocent children’s eyes aimed at my parents. I harassed my father with pleas for months. I did everything I could to get such a futuristic system at home.

I used to nag about it every night when my father quietly read the newspaper at the dinner table, followed him to every potato field where he worked to remind him of the existence of the PC, and even enlisted the help of a family friend, who, at the age of forty, was at least as enthusiastic about the technology as I was.


I can no longer recall the redeeming word itself, but my persistence finally paid off. A brand new, cream-coloured Intel 386 came into my father’s home office. A friend of the family installed ‘SimCity’, ‘Hugo’s House of Horrors’ and a shareware version of ‘Wolfenstein 3D’ on it, and great gaming times began in the Muster’s house.

That family friend had given me a crash course in MS-DOS, but as an eight-year-old brat, I understood almost nothing. I barely knew how to start a game, though I didn’t understand the difference between C: and D: and why some games needed a floppy while others seemed to magically reside on my computer. Furthermore, I especially enjoyed typing dirty swear words on the black screen with green letters, whereupon the computer informed me that it did not understand anything.

Lessons for Life

I remember much more. For example, the beeps and groans the 386 made when I started it up. The lack of a sound card made the mechanical sounds that the Nazis and sheepdogs in ‘Wolfenstein 3D’ made via the computer sound all the more ominous.

Even the wonderful smell of new technology that emanated from the computer during the first few months and filled my father’s office still tickles my nose hairs with a little imagination.

The computer and all its possibilities also irrefutably contributed to my learning and creative development. I slowly but surely learned the basics of modern Windows thanks to a child version of the operating system — which I still had to boot from DOS. I trained my spatial skills by drawing maps of the levels from Wolfenstein 3D on paper, and I typed a complete trilogy of fantasy stories based on the otherwise not-so-much-platformer Hocus Pocus.

A Journey to the Future

It wasn’t until the late 1990s that the next PC came into the house, which was allowed to be placed in my bedroom this time. I can’t remember the type, but it had Windows, which suddenly made running the system feel a lot less abstract. I bought brand new games like ‘Grim Fandango’, ‘Trespasser’ and ‘The X-Files Game’. I marvelled at the lifelike graphics compared to my PlayStation and Nintendo 64. ‘Grim Fandango’ looked like a computer-animated movie, ‘Trespasser’ made me feel like I was in ‘Jurassic Park’, and, damn, ‘The X-Files’ was just actual movie footage!

Once again, it felt like I had made a trip to the future with one purchase (again with my father’s wallet, of course). Besides gaming, I could entertain myself for hours, just exploring Windows, clicking through the many folders and emptying the trash.

There was no internet yet – at least not in my neighbourhood. Sitting in front of a computer screen was fun because you were sitting in front of it, not because you had to look something up online. That may sound extremely dull to newer generations, but believe me, it was a wonderful time!

Relive Old Times

And after the conversation with my friends, it’s also a time that I suddenly miss enormously. I have a (seven year old) gaming PC at home and a Steam account with a lot of unplayed titles. I haven’t actually done anything with it for years. The games look almost the same on consoles, and the experience of starting a game and letting it run well has also been almost equalised on both console and PC. I work on my laptop. I certainly don’t do a bit of clicking around on my computer or laptop – I do have better things to do!

Where I used to look at that brand new PC from my bed at night, and the possibilities screamed through my head, I no longer find it exciting to sit in front of a PC screen outside working hours.

Maybe I should start gathering information for a new gaming PC. I may be able to bring old times back to life. A few thousand euros is just a change for my second youth, right? But, wait a minute… is this a gamer’s midlife crisis?

Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip is the Editor of Entertainment Focus and the Managing Director of agency Piñata Media.

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