A Brief Introduction

PC Gaming originated on the early mainframes of the 1960s. Early games had limited or no graphics at all, instead they were text adventures, interactive fiction.
Today, PC gaming is a billion dollar a year industry, requiring the cutting edge of hardware to experience them to the fullest.

PC gaming offers a multitude of opportunities. Older games may maintain playability for years, sometimes decades, after their release. PC gaming includes all genres of games, from casual puzzle gaming, all the way to "hard core" first person shooters.

Notable Examples of PC Games are: Zork, Doom, Warcraft III, World of Warcraft, Half Life, Spore, Sim City and the Battlefield Series.


Why game on PC?


consoleVsPc.jpg
images courtesy of worldofwar and hykra

Advantages of PC Gaming


Customization - The PC is a very flexible and customizable platform. No other gaming platform provides as many customization options as far as hardware and software

Control Scheme - For many genres of video games, such as real time strategy games and first person shooters, the mouse and keyboard is a superior way of controlling on screen action than a controller

Emulation - PCs can emulate just about any older generation consoles so that they can play classic games as well, if not better than the original platform

Cost of Games - games are generally cheaper than their console counterparts, as there is no royalty or licensing fees associated with developing on the PC

Indie Gaming - gaming by far has the largest indie gaming community. Many free or cheap games are made by independent developers, which allows them to take more risks with their games, and pioneer more new ideas

Graphics - PC have more powerful hardware than comparable consoles, so they are able to render better looking graphics at higher resolutions more smoothly than it's console counterpart

Disadvantages of PC Gaming


Cost - The gaming PC is twice, or sometimes three times more expensive than a comparable generation console
Installation - most console games do not require an initial installation of new games. The game is ready to play as soon as the disc is inserted into the tray

Ease of use - console games don't have patches released as frequently as PC games, so lengthy update downloads are less common. Additionally, console patch downloads are usually more streamlined than PC downloads

DRM - PC games are frequently packaged with extensive DRM (Digital Rights Management) measures, such as CD-Keys which much be inputted into a text box prior to playing the game, or DRM software, which in many cases hinders or cripples gameplay

Compatibility With Televisions - consoles are designed to be used with large screen televisions, and as such, have more compatible inputs, such as Component and HDMI inputs. Although PC's are slowly becoming more and more tv-friendly, the keyboard/mouse control scheme does not lend itself well to gaming on a couch

Split-screen play - What used to be a hallmark of console gaming, and is still very popular is split screen play, which involves players using the same console and different controllers to play the same game with each other. While the PC technically supports this capability, because of the way most PCs and PC games are set up, it is almost never intuitive or worth trying.

PC Gaming Hardware Hardware.JPG

-Graphics cards
One of the biggest of a PC gamers' hardware has to be the graphics card. Special emphasis has been put on this piece of hardware because it controls the way the game looks overall. When a gamer is playing, they look for the most possible frames per second, or FPS. the more FPS the card will put out, the smoother the game will look and run. They also take into account the shading and quality of the picture, but not as much as the flow of the game. Now, PC's have evolved to the point to where certain motherboards can support 2 or even 3 graphics cards with Nvidia SLI technology or ATI Crossfire technology that will work in sync together to produce image quality even that much better

-Processors
The processor of the computer is the brains of the computer as you may know. A decent gaming computer will also require that it also have a good processor. There is a wide variety of processors to choose from made by the two main manufacturers Intel and AMD. Both companies feature generally the same types of processors that are good for different applications. A good processor that would be suitable for a PC gamer would be a top of the line dual-core processor or a mid to high-end quad-core processor. It is best to make your decision on which to get based on not only the types of games that will be played, but which ones interact better with the type of motherboard that the computer has.

-Memory
When it comes to memory, the majority of memory available can be used in a gaming PC. There is, however, special memory that it made to increase performance of gaming PC's. This gaming memory has a couple different features that make it differ from the rest, the main thing being the memory timings. These better memory timings allow the memory to interact with the other system hardware easier and more efficiently to increase overall system and game performance. Another factor that makes this memory unique is the addition of head spreaders and fans. These spreaders and fans main purpose is to increase the speed of the RAM by dissipating the heat that is generated.

-Hard Drives
Hard Drives are a good piece of hardware to upgrade, but is not really necessary to have a high performance computer. There are hard drives though that are made that are better for gaming PC's. An example of one of these hard drives is Western Digital's VelociRaptor 300gb SATA hard drive. What makes this hard drive unique is that unlike a standard 7,200 RPM hard drive, the VelociRaptor is a 10,000 RPM hard drive. This gives the computer superior performance for loading game files in almost an instant making game loading times almost cut in half.

-Power Supplies
This piece of hardware is the power source for any computer. The reason you would want a power supply with high wattage in a gaming computer is to power all the high performance components, especially the graphics card, which could eat up at least 400 watts or more.

-Sound Cards
This piece of computer hardware can be used for a few different applications such as music quality, music production, and for this application, video gaming. This will give the gamer the edge by enhancing the audio that the game puts out. This may mean hearing the chatter of your enemy or even hearing their footsteps coming from a distance. This puts you at an advantage that not every gamer has the privilege of having.

-Keyboards, Mice, and Headsets
These hardware components are probably the most personal pieces of the gaming PC. They are what the gamer uses to not only play the game, but fully interact with the game as well.

-Keyboards: A keyboard plays a big role with a PC gamer. They have different designs that make it easier for the gamer to press the keys and interact with the game. The most notable feature of a gaming keyboard would have to be the dedicated macro keys. This allows the player to set multiple actions that must be done in a game to one single key where one press will allow them to perform all actions.
-Mice: As it is concerned with game interaction, the mouse is one of the biggest features to look at. An example would be with a first-person shooter game. A player only has a split second to react and turn to look around. That's why a gamer will rely on a mouse that has a high DPI level as well as a fast USB connection to the PC. That split second that can occur with a lesser mouse could mean the difference between winning and losing.
-Headsets: Finally, the headset is a big player that coincides with the sound card. A good quality headset will immerse the player in the game and not only helps the player to hear their opponents approaching, but to help the gamer have the absolute best gaming experience. A good headset will have clean crisp sound from all directions as well as rich bass response to bring out the life in in-game explosions.


Play Games on PC's Requirement:

Each Game has different system requirements as given by the developer and publisher of the game. These represent the absolute minimum required to play the game, as well as the recommended settings for smooth game play.

The following table are the system requirements for World of Warcraft, a popular Massively Multiplayer Role Playing Game.


Limit Requirement
Recommend Requirement
Computer
100% DirectX 9.0b compatible computer
Operating System
Microsoft Windows XP SP2 / Vista
Prosessor
Intel Pentium 4 1.3 GHz or AMD Athlon XP 1500+
Dual-core processor, such as the Intel Pentium D or AMD Athlon 64 X2
RAM
512 MB (1GB for Vista)
1GB (2GB for Vista)
Graphic
3D graphics processor with Hardware Transform and Lighting with 32 MB VRAM Such as an ATI Radeon 7200 or NVIDIA GeForce 2 class card or better
3D graphics processor with Vertex and Pixel Shader capability with 128 MB VRAM Such as an ATI Radeon X1600 or NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT class card or better
Hard Drive
At least15 GB
At least 15 GB or better
CD ROM or CD/DVD ROM Drive
4X
Sound Card
100% DirectX 9.0b compatible Audio Device required
Input Device
Keyboard and mouse required



References

http://www.gamespot.com/pages/forums/show_msgs.php?topic_id=25742203
http://www.systemrequirementslab.com/referrer/srtest
World of Warcraft System Requirments
The First Video Game?
Bestbuy.com