The PC master race is over: the Xbox Series X won
I spent a lot of money purchasing an Xbox Series X. I’m encouraged to rationalize my purchases to make myself feel less bad about spending money on luxury instead hiding it away for a rainy day when I’m older and more broken than I am today. As always, I write honestly but, given the circumstances, take anything I say here with a grain of salt.
It’s a bit of an understatement to say that I was introduced to video games at a young age. Somehow, I got my tiny little baby hands on a copy of Doom. Soon enough, I was blasting away at hordes of demons with high powered weaponry. I’m not surprised that my younger more impressionable self became so engrossed in video games, as you know, I think some of them are quite compelling.
I started out as a PC gamer but that didn’t last long. From the time I was given an original PlayStation console as a kid until I bought a PlayStation 3 with a hard-earned paycheck from my first summer job, I’ve been doing most of my gaming on consoles.
A few years after buying the PlayStation 3, I started working at my first internship and spent a few paychecks worth of money on building the biggest dick gaming PC you can imagine (at the time). I’m writing this on that same PC actually. Since then, it’s gone through a couple of upgrades and I’ve had to resurrect it more than once, but it works…
I’ve been using it for so long that the next time it dies on me, it won’t be worth the effort to bring it back to life again. I’ve been looking to purchase a new PC for a while now. But, as you may know, we’ve been experiencing major global shortages in graphics cards because of supply chain issues caused by COVID-19, scalpers, and cryptocurrency miners. Because of this, I don’t expect to be able to buy a more reliable and beefier PC for a reasonable price anytime soon.
So, I signed my PC gamer soul away and started looking to get my hands on one of these new consoles. You can’t buy a PlayStation 5 right now because of supply shortages so I ignored it and set my sights on an Xbox Series X without thinking about it too much.
Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft’s monthly subscription service that gives you access to a large library of games that you can play on PC or on the Xbox One, Series X/S. There’s a bunch of interesting games on there I’d like to play like Wasteland 3. Unfortunately, I can’t play these games on my TV through Steam Big Picture (I talk about how I run games on PC and stream them to my living room TV here). These days, I try to do most of my gaming on my couch to try and separate my job from the rest of my life as much as I can. The only way for me to play these Xbox Game Pass games comfortably is by getting a console.
So, Xbox Series X it is. I spent a week with a tab open on a website that alerts you whenever the Xbox Series X is in stock somewhere online. Everyone is looking to buy a console right now; the Xbox Series Xs seem to sell out within a few minutes of them being in stock. So, to snag one, you have to be lucky and quick.
I heard the alarm and smashed the “Buy Now” button as fast as I could a few times. I was mostly unsuccessful. Eventually, I got lucky and it worked. I unboxed an Xbox Series X the next day, signed up for Xbox Game Pass and started having a great time.
This console rocks. Here’s a few reasons why.
I’ve got a very old gaming PC, it’s not able to run most AAA games well anymore. Spending a quarter (or less) of the price I spent building my PC to purchase a console that can run games way better is objectively great. But what makes it such a good deal, is undeniably Xbox Game Pass. They doubled the price of the service a few months ago, and they’ll probably do it again, but for now ten to fifteen US dollars a month is an amazing price for what you get. Especially now that most of the games that ZeniMax Media / Bethesda Softworks has developed and published (the Elder Scrolls, Prey, Dishonored, Doom Eternal, etc.) have been added to the service as well as all of the EA Play (Electronic Art’s version of Xbox Game Pass) games. It’s a really good deal for someone like me who plays games once and rarely goes back to play them again.
If you want to play Xbox Game Pass games on your couch with a great controller, the Xbox Series X is an easy way of doing that.
It’s hard to convey just how good the new Xbox controller feels in my hands. In the past, when given the choice, I’ve gravitated towards using the modern PlayStation controllers over the Xbox ones. But… The new Xbox controller feels so goooooooooooood. The d-pad is the best d-pad I’ve touched in my entire life. The triggers are buttery smooth. The textured grip of the controller feels like a freshly groomed dog’s fur. Using this new Xbox controller has convinced me to ditch the DualSense controller I purchased a few months ago, and buy another new Xbox Controller to use when I play games on my PC.
There’s only so much I can do to convince you that these new controllers are the bomb, you’ll have to try it yourself. If you’ve played games on the Xbox 360 or Xbox One with those controllers, take a moment to imagine how that feels…
It’s not perfect but it’s pretty good. Right? Well, this new controller is better in all the ways that you can (or can’t) imagine.
If you’ve touched those old controllers at some point in your life, you might also have some nostalgia for older Xbox games. If so, the Xbox Series X has you covered.
Surprisingly, a good number of Xbox and Xbox 360 games can be played on the Xbox Series X if you’ve got the disks laying around. If you don’t, a smaller but significant number of them can be purchased digitally for reasonable prices (at least compared to Nintendo LOL). The Xbox Series X can run all Xbox One games and you’ll see some performance improvements on some of them. Games have changed a lot since the older Xbox consoles came out so I don’t expect to be playing many older games myself. But I can’t deny that what Microsoft has achieved with backwards compatibility is impressive and that you might be interested in it.
Backwards compatibility is great for players who want to dive into games they’ve enjoyed in the past. This next feature, and the most interesting, is thrusting us forward into the future.
“Quick Resume. Quick Resume. Quick Resume.”
waves arms around hysterically
Quick Resume is a feature that makes pausing a game and coming back to it later as seamless as possible. If I’m playing a game to relax, another game to write an essay about and a fun local cooperative game with family (this is a pretty common pattern for me these days), I can switch between all these games at will, the console will remember exactly where I left off in each them and put me right back where I was as soon as I decide to play the game again.
It makes it so easy for me to take a step back from the games I’m playing whenever I feel like and come back to them whenever I want. Quick Resume is a substantial evolution in console design that makes playing games much more convenient than they were previously. I imagine Quick Resume would be a godsend for people who had Xbox consoles as kids, who’ve grown up and might have kids of their own now.
So, ya. That’s it. The Xbox Series X is really cool. I’m glad that I make enough money to feed myself, put a roof over my head and buy myself boxes that I can play video games on. But, things don’t make you happy, experiences do. I can’t have many experiences right now and so I’m happy to live vicariously through the video games I entertain myself with for the time being.
I’ll see you on the other side.
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