Console Gamers are not Hardcore Gamers

As I’m reading the latest issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly talking about Gears of War, I saw the words “hardcore gamers” in a sentence.  I scoffed at the notion of console gamers as hardcore gamers.  There’s nothing hardcore about console games and the gamers that play them, with maybe a very slight exception to fighting games, but I’ll get to that.

You see, there’s a reason there’s a very, very forgiving damage model in most action-packed console games.  It’s the limited control scheme that a gamepad gives you.  The gamepad are great for platformers like Super Mario 64 and Ratchet & Clank.

Here’s a case in point:  My sister’s boyfriend has been playing Call of Duty 2 for months on his Xbox 360 and has beaten it three times.  I watched as he took direct hits of 2 grenades and an ungodly amount of bullets, yet he still trekked on, oblivious to all the damage done to his on-screen persona.  I was amazed, becaused Call of Duty 2 on my computer was a lot less forgiving (not to mention I play on the hardest difficulty.)

Fast forward it 3 weeks later, as he watched me play Call of Duty 2 on my computer.  One direct hit from a grenade sent me to the Load Game screen.  He commented that he never died that easily, and then it dawned on him why.  Forgiving damage modelling for these games to accomodate the limitations of the gamepad and slow response time for these kind of action games.  In fact, it is utterly boring watching anyone play Call of Duty 2 on the console when it is much more fast-paced and visceral on the computer.

Now some fanboys will claim that there are tournaments for console games, but the reason is simple:  to make money.  There’s no talent or skills involved, it’s just to showcase the games and allow console gamers to compete against each other.

When Quake 3 came out for the Dreamcast, PC gamers and console gamers for the first time to my recollection, could compete against each other.  Suffice to say, even the sorriest Quake 3 player on the computer was heads-and-shoulders above those playing the Dreamcast version.  Ping wasn’t a factor, either.  This isn’t the console gamers’ fault, but as I mentioned above, a severe limitation of the gamepad, plain and simple.

Racing games on the console don’t count, they are just giant memory tests, where you memorize a linear racetrack to beat competitors, with a little twitch hand-eye coordination thrown in (drafting, avoiding collisions, etc.)  Fighting games are the only type of games that can be considered hardcore, but not many allow you to go online and compete on any considerable level.

On the other hand, there are numerous tournaments for PC games.  There’s the big ones, like Counter Strike (original and Source), Quake 3 and Quake 4, the Battlefield series, and a multitude of RTS games.  The mouse and keyboard control scheme allows for a much more fluid and responsive control than gamepads, and is the reason why online and offline tournaments on the computer are lightning fast and insanely competitive.

So as you can see, scoffing at the notion of console gamers as being hardcore has me wondering just what the editors at Electronic Gaming Monthly (and any other console gamers) are smoking when they view themselves as hardcore gamers.  Because as it is these days, it’s just not possible.

2 Responses to “Console Gamers are not Hardcore Gamers”

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  1. Jokul

    How can you say ALL console gamers are not hardcore gamers!!! WTF, no offence is intended but heres my reply
    Thats sound a little like a fanboy trashing everything except that PC.
    I’m in my twenties now nearing the 30’s I’ve always had a console AND a PC from NES to 360 and from Win 3.1 to Win Vista (ok XP once it was re-installed) Games are better on consoles cause they are dedicated to the gaming full stop.
    The concept of racing fans on consoles memerising the course is no different to pc gamers or are F1 race tracks on the PC subject to random alterations in the layout of the race track? I dunno maybe you get loop the loops on your Silverstone track.

    As for online play, yeah ok PC’s are better at RTS games like Empire at War, C&C Tiberium Wars etc but WTF where you smoking when you said PC’s only get online tournements, theirs online play every day on consoles, and some, agreed not many are proper competions. How the hell do you not get any lag on your PC competions on line, I have a 8MB broadband and I still get LAG on games because other people playing are using slower broadband speeds or are killing theirs by downloading…ummmm….backups of games they own. I can’t even get a game of online Risk without something going slow or wrong.
    Anyway all thats off the point, the point I wanted to make is I’ve been a gamer since I could walk and talk (well stumble and dribble a bit) so I consider myself a hardcore gamer from the time and money I’ve spent over the years, not because im a one note PC fanboy with a console complex. Oh yeah, first person shooters, lets take Halo, Blood Gulch, A sniper and a pistol and decide which is better at control, a keyboard or a pad, I will concede that I haven’t made my mind up yet about which is better for FPS games.

    PS, please don’t take this the wrong way, I’m sure your a really nice fanboy….I mean person I just hate the fanboy attitudes

  2. I really don’t appreciate the fanboy label, as I have an Xbox 360 and game on the console. You can even see me playing all my games (both PC and Xbox 360) at my other site,

    I’ve also started my gaming on the Atari, then the NES, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Sega CD, and the original Playstation. I’m more a PC gamer though, as I assume you figured out what with all the fanboy accusations.

    I didn’t say all console gamers aren’t hardcore, as some of them own multiple consoles and are also PC gamers. However, your average console gamer that owns one console and plays your usual assortment of softcore games (Devil May Cry 4, Turok, Ninja Gaiden 2, The Club, and just about every game based on a movie, comic, or television show, to name examples).

    These are the types I was addressing, which can easily be said to encompass about 90% of all console gamers.

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