Grown Up Gaming

Which brings us neatly to our third point. Again, there's no room for the ‘consoles are for kids' argument anymore: Mass Effect, Bioshock and Haze are as grown-up as games get in terms of content and subject matter. However, the PC does offer a wider range of games than any console, including the more serious strategy, adventure and simulation titles that console owners normally miss out on. We get the sort of FPS, sports, racing, RPG and action titles that the consoles call their own, but we also get fiendishly accurate flight sims, in-depth historical strategy games, ultra-realistic driving simulators and rich and fully-featured RTS games. Whether you're 17 or 71, you can find something to keep you occupied.
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High-resolution monitors and the classic keyboard/mouse control scheme give the PC scope for rich real-time strategy games like Company of Heroes.

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In addition, PC games frequently last longer. It might take you four or five hours to get into Company of Heroes, Battlefield 2142 or Medieval 2: Total War, but once you do you could be playing it for months on end. The consoles do have games in the same league - particularly RPGs or the big online-friendly FPS games - but a surprising number get polished off in eight to twelve hours then never see the light of day again.

In addition, the PC is still the only serious platform for Massive Multiplayer Online games. They are - we're told - coming to the PS3, Wii and 360, but right now PC gamers have a bewildering choice, ranging from Lord of the Rings Online and World of Warcraft through to City of Heroes, EVE Online, Tabula Rasa and Guild Wars. Again, these are games that can keep you glued to the screen for months or even years, and offer a rich, incredibly immersive experience you can enjoy with other adults, not just shrill-voiced US teens who like to tell you how much they have ‘pwned your ass'.
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If you want to get involved in online worlds, the PC is the only platform worth serious consideration.

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In fact, the online experience is still an area where the PC scores highly. We get larger-scale action games like Battlefield 2 with up to 64 players online at a time. We expect for free the online gaming, chat and community features that you pay for - albeit in a slicker form - on Xbox Live. Meanwhile, most PC games also have a stronger community feel. There are more mods, options and extras available to PC gamers, and some of the best of these are absolutely free. They're built by fans for other fans to enjoy, and they're built with a real love and enthusiasm. This is the strength of a truly open platform. The consoles are catching up, but they're still a long way behind. And online games on the PC can have a ludicrously long lifespan. While console gamers tend to flit from one big game to the next, PC games can retain an audience for year after year after year. There are still people out there playing Quake III, for Pete's sake!

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