No Retirement Age for PC

The PC is technically the oldest "game console" around. You had the Magnavox Odyssey and the Atari in the early 70's, but people were playing tic-tac-toe on the PC way back in the 50s. The PC is the mother of all game consoles since you can trace the technology used in todays generation back to the personal computer. And with all those years under its belt you'd think it'd be time for it to retire, not so. The PC gaming community is alive and well, and there are various sites they flock to in order to find the best downloadable games available. Listed here are some of the popular sites PC game enthusiast love to visit.

computer(43932)Credit: Ricardo Chahad contains a wide range of demos for those who prefer PC or laptop gaming over dedicated game consoles. You can find plenty of the top computer games with visually appealing graphics and stunning detail over various genres, but in order to appreciate all the eye-catching graphics, you'd need a top-notch GPU installed on your hardware - the reason Geforce exists. Geforce is actually a product line of GPUs from Nvidia and are considered to be among the best GPUs around. It started out as the world's first GPU by Nvidia with the Geforce 256 back in 1999. Being the world's first of anything is a big deal, and Nvidia isn't shy about coining the acronym "GPU". Even so, this can still be misleading as some might think a graphics card and a GPU are the same thing, a GPU can work on a computer integrated on the motherboard minus the graphics card, while in order to achieve superior graphics a graphics (or video) card is needed. Another thing is there were graphics chips long before the Geforce 256, this was just an evolution of those earlier chips, offering better 3D visuals and improved frame rate. The aquisition of 3DFX, a pioneer of the graphics chip industry, allowed Nvidia to attain the intellectual rights and employees which didn't hurt in coming up with the new technology either. So not only do they have games you can download, but hardware to make your games shine!

Bigdownload is another popular site to download PC games from. Owned by AOL, they offer a ton of full games, demos, trailers, patches, mods, podcasts or even theme songs from your favorite titles. You can sort each item by most downloaded or highest rated. There are also cheat engine downloads available to make the game your playing more difficult or easier depending on your skill level. And if you're into MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) games, they have a whole category dedictated to the genre most popular on the PC. Bigdownload also figured that over time people may have a lot of games installed on their PCs making it difficult keeping track of all the patches available on various games, to remedy that, they implemented a tracking feature that lets you know when a new patch needs to be downloaded.


globeCredit: Sachin Ghodke

Steam has features that make PC gaming easier and more organized for users across the globe. They offer automatic game updates so you won't have to search for patches. They also have friends-lists so you can monitor what your friends are playing and join if so desired. And they offer discounts on pre-releases and free games on the weekends, making it a budget-friendly service. Steam was initially a subsidary of Valve, the company who makes the Half-Life games, to help organize updates for other PC games, but was later revealed to be something bigger. Valve touts steam as the world's largest online gaming site and even has a statistics page where you can view how many users are online and a list of all the top games played on the site. They have a community that's free to join and allows you to chat with people, host games and get involved with groups.

PC games may not produce the same quality graphics as game consoles, but still attract gamers worldwide. Popular game systems like the Playstation 3 and Nintendo have ways you can download demos too; Nintendo with their free Wii demos on WiiWare and the Playstation Store via the PS3 network, so other than the price there really isn't an incentive to go from game console to PC. Mainly, people who enjoy PC games over console games do so because of modding capabilities and the fact that it's cheaper. The only console PC can't compete with in the price war is the Nintendo Wii. Buying a Wii will prove to have the lowest cost than a computer since games on the Wii are generally cheaper than PS3 or Xbox 360, and the console itself is vastly cheaper than a computer, which is probably why it's so popular. But then again, almost everyone has a computer nowadays, so why pay an extra 200 dollars for a Wii when you can play games on a computer, and if upgraded can play games with full HD 1080p vs the limited 480p output you get on the Wii. There are numerous reason why some might choose one way to play games over another, but one things for sure, PC games - the oldest game machine around - still has its perks.

computer image from Ricardo Chahad/stock.xchng
globe image from Sachin Ghodke/stock.xchng