Since the arrival of entertainment systems to homes, shortly after breaking into arcades around the world, there has been a debate that remains unresolved today: what is the best choice for playing games, computer or console?
Over the years, different generations of devices have been tilting the scales to one side or the other, although either of these two options have always been more than valid for a good gaming session.
The current generation is marked by a great similarity between different systems (although the PC world is advancing faster).
But this was not always the case; genres, technologies, prices and technical advances marked the differences between the proud owners of a console and the hardcore defenders of the capabilities of a personal computer to play.
The 8-bit era
The undisputed reign of arcades in the 1980s made it clear what the winning hardware at home would be: the one that received the best and most accurate arcade conversions. Although there were other determining factors: the region, the almost total exclusivity of titles for both formats and, above all, the difference in control and storage media systems.
World of enterteinment
Don’t forget that we are talking about the 1980s… hence the “region” factor: the options for importing hardware became expensive and complex, the world of entertainment was not as “universal” as it is today. While Nintendo Nes, Master System and soon after Game Boy and Game Gear were taking over the global market, personal computers were becoming more “local”; in Europe, the affordable Spectrum and Amstrad were taking over a market whose elite belonged to Commodore Amiga and Atari ST.
Commodore 64 took over the American market and, in Japan, Sony’s MSX, with a Microsoft operating system, took Konami to the next level with titles like Metal Gear and Maze of Galious and marked the start of sagas like Ys and Bomberman. As we have said, mainly, the differences in control and storage system were the only thing that divided the users… Until the definitive introduction of compatible PCs.
The arrival of the PC and the 16-bit generation
In the 1990s, three forms of multimedia entertainment converged, sometimes coinciding in some titles, but generally dividing their users. The world of arcades is still very much in vogue, followed closely by the consoles whose quality level is beginning to reach the level of technology seen in coin-op.
Finally, the PC begins to gain strength until it becomes a playful alternative at the same level as the others. At the beginning of the decade, the difference is marked by the content and the mechanics: while on the console we can play very arcade, simple, funny and direct titles, PC stands out with graphic adventures and quieter experiences with a high narrative component…
Although we should also highlight the revolution of ID Software and its Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake, true forerunners of the fps genre, which we can now enjoy on any platform.
The rivalry continues to this day
After a couple of decades in which the efforts of manufacturers and developers were focused on separating the experiences between PC and console to the fullest, the last few years have been marked by a total and absolute convergence, almost eliminating the barrier between the two systems. Now it’s easy to find a console adventure game, an arcade title (especially if you look at the indie genre) of PC quality…
We can even enjoy the best Wolfenstein or the best Doom anywhere with a system like Nintendo Switch. And now that the experiences between PCs and consoles are more similar than ever, it is time to position yourself; what are the advantages and disadvantages of each option?