Sometime around mid-December, parts of my family abandoned their game consoles and went very, very PC.
It’s not that we don’t love our game consoles: I’m finally getting around to building out island homes in Animal Crossing: New Horizons for Nintendo Switch with my daughters. My brother Pablo scored a PlayStation 5 against all odds before the holidays were in full swing. Mario Kart Live was on some of our wishlists.
But several nights a week since then, my brother, his fiancée, and some of our friends and family have been getting online and playing PC games together, such as the old zombie-shooting classic Left 4 Dead 2 or a more recent scary squad game GTFO. After the holidays, Red Dead Online was on sale for $5 and we all jumped in on it. Now, we’ve spent dozens of hours completing bounty hunting missions, purchasing ugly ponchos, and getting mauled by bears in our pursuit of big-game meats to cook. As we’ve all been spending more time on PC games, I began to wonder if newcomers or upgraders really need a super-expensive, high-end machine to keep up. Are they required?
My friend Jeana, who wanted to join in on some zombie-gaming after dipping her toe into multiplayer games such as Jackbox and Among Us, invested in a well-equipped gaming rig and a huge, curved monitor. Just before that, my dad finally got a decent gaming setup, handed down from my brother with a few new parts. My brother handed down the machine to indulge my dad’s decades-long love of Microsoft’s Flight Simulator franchise. Dad has since added a VR headset, a Christmas gift from my brother, to play Flight Sim and other sims such as Star Wars: Squadrons in even more immersive virtual reality.