I’ve Learned To Love All The Finicky Things About PC Gaming

I’ve Learned To Love All The Finicky Things About PC Gaming

Last week, I tried to get a game running on my computer. Something was weird. I went to Google and found a very specific list of instructions for how to fix it. A few minutes later, I’d solved the problem.

If you have spent any time with PC gaming, you almost certainly have your own version of this story. Playing video games on a computer means accepting the fact that you will have to spend a fair amount of time troubleshooting, poking and prodding at finicky parts of your machine until everything works.

Being a PC gamer means that sometimes a game will stop running, inexplicably, and then a few days later it will just work again.

Last week, when I tried playing Far Cry 5 with my DualShock 4 plugged in – it’s just so much more comfortable than a mouse and keyboard; stop judging – I realised that the d-pad wasn’t working. The game would tell me to press the “up” button to use my binoculars, but when I did, nothing happened.

My thought process went something like this: Damnit, there’s no in-game way to fix this. Should I just play the whole game without binoculars? It will be kind of a fun challenge. Should I just order a new controller? I wonder if other people have run into this problem. Should I write about this on Kotaku?

A bit of Twitter searching led me to this solution (thanks, BadgerGlue1):

Bam. I followed those instructions and now everything is great. Not only is the d-pad working perfectly, the button prompts are now showing up correctly. (Before, in Far Cry 5 and other games, I would see Xbox button prompts even with a PS4 controller.) Fixing this particular problem was rewarding in its own way, sort of like solving a puzzle in a video game.

People who play primarily on consoles might read Kotaku articles like this one and wonder just why the hell anyone would use a PC. Why spend so much time on a finicky piece of hardware when you could just plug in an Xbox One and get things working without a hassle?

Here’s one answer: Because the finickiness is part of the fun. Over the past few months, I’ve come to appreciate the weird quirks of high-end PC gaming, and I’ve come to enjoy the puzzle-solving that comes with trying to discern what went wrong.

I might change my mind in a few months, when my computer randomly won’t turn on and I have to waste an entire weekend trying to figure out why, but at least for now, I’ve grown to embrace it all.

Having a super-high-resolution and 60+ frames-per-second is also a good reason to play video games on a PC.


  • playing Cuphead on pc with a Dual shock continually brings up player 2, i have literally played 52% of the game with me controlling player 1 and player 2 (slightly out of sync). great for a last minute life save, not so great everywhere else. The pinnacle of my pc problem solving was most definitely Zelda BOTW on Cemu though, took days to get that working perfectly and the reward of 4k Zelda was most definitely worth it

  • It is the problem of choice – you get the choice in how you play your games and how they look, but that also requires a bit of know how in getting your games to work.

  • Next up; Modding games on a PC.
    Why is my game of Skyrim stable when running 126 different mods, but adding 1 more causes it to crash at startup.
    Plus; Load Orders – are they really that important?

  • weird i rarely run into issues on my PC. but again i built a giant beast of an overkill machine and all i mostly play is Wow and Overwatch >

  • It’s not PCs, it’s that D@#n Steam Client. I have had the same problems with a Logitech F710 gamepad. I would regularly (but randomly) just lose the controller.
    But I do agree with you – fixing the problems is half the fun.

  • Last week, I tried to get a game running on my computer.You haven’t really tried to get a game running until you’ve had to edit your config.sys file for an hour before it will even start.

    • Then the embarrassing moment when realising that you forgot to change the memory settings to XMS and dammit I should have checked that first, aarrgghhh!!!1!

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