Console gaming is hardly different from PC gaming, and much of what people say about PC gaming to put it above console gaming is often wrong.
I’m not sure about you, but for the past few years, I’ve been hearing people go on and on about PCs "superiority" to the console market. People cite various reasons why they believe gaming on a PC is “objectively” better than console gaming, often for reasons related to power, costs, ease-of-use, and freedom. …Only problem: much of what they say is wrong. There are many misconceptions being thrown about PC gaming vs Console gaming, that I believe need to be addressed. This isn’t about “PC gamers being wrong,” or “consoles being the best,” absolutely not. I just want to cut through some of the stuff people use to put down console gaming, and show that console gaming is incredibly similar to PC gaming. I mean, yes, this is someone who mainly games on console, but I also am getting a new PC that I will game on as well, not to mention the 30 PC games I already own and play. I’m not particularly partial to one over the other. Now I will mainly be focusing on the PlayStation side of the consoles, because I know it best, but much of what I say will apply to Xbox as well. Just because I don’t point out many specific Xbox examples, doesn’t mean that they aren’t out there.
“PCs can use TVs and monitors.”
This one isn’t so much of a misconception as it is the implication of one, and overall just… confusing. This is in some articles and the pcmasterrace “why choose a PC” section, where they’re practically implying that consoles can’t do this. I mean, yes, as long as the ports of your PC match up with your screen(s) inputs, you could plug a PC into either… but you could do the same with a console, again, as long as the ports match up. I’m guessing the idea here is that gaming monitors often use Displayport, as do most dedicated GPUs, and consoles are generally restricted to HDMI… But even so, monitors often have HDMI ports. In fact, PC Magazine has just released their list of the best gaming monitors of 2017, and every single one of them has an HDMI port. A PS4 can be plugged into these just as easily as a GTX 1080. I mean, even if the monitoTV doesn’t have HDMI or AV to connect with your console, just use an adaptor. If you have a PC with ports that doesn’t match your monitoTV… use an adapter. I don’t know what the point of this argument is, but it’s made a worrying amount of times.
“On PC, you have a wide range of controller options, but on console you’re stuck with the standard controller."
Are you on PlayStation and wish you could use a specific type of controller that suits your favorite kind of gameplay? Despite what some may believe, you have just as many options as PC. Want to play fighting games with a classic arcade-style board, featuring the buttons and joystick? Here you go! Want to get serious about racing and get something more accurate and immersive than a controller? Got you covered. Absolutely crazy about flying games and, like the racers, want something better than a controller? Enjoy! Want Wii-style motion controls? Been around since the PS3. If you prefer the form factor of the Xbox One controller but you own a PS4, Hori’s got you covered. And of course, if keyboard and mouse it what keeps you on PC, there’s a PlayStation compatible solution for that. Want to use the keyboard and mouse that you already own? Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Of course, these aren’t isolated examples, there are plenty of options for each of these kind of controllers. You don’t have to be on PC to enjoy alternate controllers.
“On PC you could use Steam Link to play anywhere in your house and share games with others.”
PS4 Remote play app on PC/Mac, PSTV, and PS Vita. PS Family Sharing. Using the same PSN account on multiple PS4s/Xbox Ones and PS3s/360s, or using multiple accounts on the same console. In fact, if multiple users are on the same PS4, only one has to buy the game for both users to play it on that one PS4. On top of that, only one of them has to have PS Plus for both to play online (if the one with PS Plus registers the PS4 as their main system). PS4 Share Play; if two people on separate PS4s want to play a game together that only one of them owns, they can join a Party and the owner of the game can have their friend play with them in the game. Need I say more?
“Gaming is more expensive on console.”
Part one, the Software This is one that I find… genuinely surprising. There’s been a few times I’ve mentioned that part of the reason I chose a PS4 is for budget gaming, only to told that “games are cheaper on Steam.” To be fair, there are a few games on PSN/XBL that are more expensive than they are on Steam, so I can see how someone could believe this… but apparently they forgot about disks. Dirt Rally, a hardcore racing sim game that’s… still $60 on all 3 platforms digitally… even though its successor is out.
See my point? Often times the game is cheaper on console because of the disk alternative that’s available for practically every console-available game. Even when the game is brand new. Dirt 4 - Remember that Dirt Rally successor I mentioned?
Yes, you could either buy this relatively new game digitally for $60, or just pick up the disk for a discounted price. And again, this is for a game that came out 2 months ago, and even it’s predecessor’s digital cost is locked at $60. Of course, I’m not going to ignore the fact that Dirt 4 is currently (as of writing this) discounted on Steam, but on PSN it also happens to be discounted for about the same amount. Part 2: the Subscription Now… let’s not ignore the elephant in the room: PS Plus and Xbox Gold. Now these would be ignorable, if they weren’t required for online play (on the PlayStation side, it’s only required for PS4, but still). So yes, it’s still something that will be included in the cost of your PS4 or Xbox One/360, assuming you play online. Bummer, right? Here’s the thing, although that’s the case, although you have to factor in this $60 cost with your console, you can make it balance out, at worst, and make it work out for you as a budget gamer, at best. As nice as it would be to not have to deal with the price if you don’t want to, it’s not like it’s a problem if you use it correctly. Imagine going to a new restaurant. This restaurant has some meals that you can’t get anywhere else, and fair prices compared to competitors. Only problem: you have to pay a membership fee to have the sides. Now you can have the main course, sit down and enjoy your steak or pasta, but if you want to have a side to have a full meal, you have to pay an annual fee. Sounds shitty, right? But here’s the thing: not only does this membership allow you to have sides with your meal, but it also allows you to eat two meals for free every month, and also gives you exclusive discounts for other meals, drinks, and desserts. Let’s look at PS Plus for a minute: for $60 per year, you get:
2 free PS4 games, every month
2 free PS3 games, every month
1 PS4/PS3 and Vita compatible game, and 1 Vita-only game, every month
Exclusive/Extended discounts, especially during the weekly/seasonal sales (though you don’t need PS Plus to get sales, PS Plus members get to enjoy the best sales)
access to online multiplayer
So yes, you’re paying extra because of that membership, but what you get with that deal pays for it and then some. In fact, let’s ignore the discounts for a minute: you get 24 free PS4 games, 24 free PS3 games, and 12 Vita only + 12 Vita compatible games, up to 72freegames every year. Even if you only one of these consoles, that’s still 24 free games a year. Sure, maybe you get games for the month that you don’t like, then just wait until next month. In fact, let’s look at Just Cause 3 again. It was free for PS Plus members in August, which is a pretty big deal. Why is this significant? Because it’s, again, a $60 digital game. That means with this one download, you’ve balanced out your $60 annual fee. Meaning? Every free game after that is money saved, every discount after that is money saved. And this is a trend: every year, PS Plus will release a game that balances out the entire service cost, then another 23 more that will only add icing to that budget cake. Though, you could just count games as paying off PS Plus until you hit $60 in savings, but still. All in all, PS Plus, and Xbox Gold which offers similar options, saves you money. On top of that, again, you don't need to have these to get discounts, but with these memberships, you get more discounts. Now, I’ve seen a few Steam games go up for free for a week, but what about being free for an entire month? Not to mention that; even if you want to talk about Steam Summer Sales, what about the PSN summer sale, or again, disc sale discounts? Now a lot of research and math would be needed to see if every console gamer would save money compared to every Steam gamer for the same games, but at the very least? The costs will balance out, at worst. Part 3, the Systems
Xbox and PS2: $299
Xbox 360 and PS3: $299 and $499, respectively
Xbox One and PS4: $499 and $399, respectively.
Rounded up a few dollars, that’s $1,000 - $1,300 in day-one consoles, just to keep up with the games! Crazy right? So called budget systems, such a rip-off. Well, keep in mind that the generations here aren’t short. The 6th generation, from the launch of the PS2 to the launch of the next generation consoles, lasted 5 years, 6 years based on the launch of the PS3 (though you could say it was 9 or 14, since the Xbox wasn’t discontinued until 2009, and the PS2 was supported all the way to 2014, a year after the PS4 was released). The 7th gen lasted 7 - 8 years, again depending on whether you count the launch of the Xbox 360 to PS3. The 8th gen so far has lasted 4 years. That’s 17 years that the console money is spread over. If you had a Netflix subscription for it’s original $8 monthly plan for that amount of time, that would be over $1,600 total. And let’s be fair here, just like you could upgrade your PC hardware whenever you wanted, you didn’t have to get a console from launch. Let’s look at PlayStation again for example: In 2002, only two years after its release, the PS2 retail price was cut from $300 to $200. The PS3 Slim, released 3 years after the original, was $300, $100-$200 lower than the retail cost. The PS4? You could’ve either gotten the Uncharted bundle for $350, or one of the PS4 Slim bundles for $250. This all brings it down to $750 - $850, which again, is spread over a decade and a half. This isn’t even counting used consoles, sales, or the further price cuts that I didn’t mention. Even if that still sounds like a lot of money to you, even if you’re laughing at the thought of buying new systems every several years, because your PC “is never obsolete,” tell me: how many parts have you changed out in your PC over the years? How many GPUs have you been through? CPUs? Motherboards? RAM sticks, monitors, keyboards, mice, CPU coolers, hard drives— that adds up. You don’t need to replace your entire system to spend a lot of money on hardware. Even if you weren’t upgrading for the sake of upgrading, I’d be amazed if the hardware you’ve been pushing by gaming would last for about 1/3 of that 17 year period. Computer parts aren’t designed to last forever, and really won’t when you’re pushing them with intensive gaming for hours upon hours. Generally speaking, your components might last you 6-8 years, if you’ve got the high-end stuff. But let’s assume you bought a system 17 years ago that was a beast for it’s time, something so powerful, that even if it’s parts have degraded over time, it’s still going strong. Problem is: you will have to upgrade something eventually. Even if you’ve managed to get this far into the gaming realm with the same 17 year old hardware, I’m betting you didn’t do it with a 17 year Operating System. How much did Windows 7 cost you? Or 8.1? Or 10? Oh, and don’t think you can skirt the cost by getting a pre-built system, the cost of Windows is embedded into the cost of the machine (why else would Microsoft allow their OS to go on so many machines). Sure, Windows 10 was a free upgrade for a year, but that’s only half of it’s lifetime— You can’t get it for free now, and not for the past year. On top of that, the free period was an upgrade; you had to pay for 7 or 8 first anyway. Point is, as much as one would like to say that they didn’t need to buy a new system every so often for the sake of gaming, that doesn’t mean they haven’t been paying for hardware, and even if they’ve only been PC gaming recently, you’ll be spending money on hardware soon enough.
“PC is leading the VR—“
Let me stop you right there. If you add together the total number of Oculus Rifts and HTC Vives sold to this day, and threw in another 100,000 just for the sake of it, that number would still be under the number of PSVR headsets sold. Why could this possibly be? Well, for a simple reason: affordability. The systems needed to run the PC headsets costs $800+, and the headsets are $500 - $600, when discounted. PSVR on the other hand costs $450 for the full bundle (headset, camera, and move controllers, with a demo disc thrown in), and can be played on either a $250 - $300 console, or a $400 console, the latter recommended. Even if you want to say that the Vive and Rift are more refined, a full PSVR set, system and all, could cost just over $100 more than a Vive headset alone. If anything, PC isn’t leading the VR gaming market, the PS4 is. It’s the system bringing VR to the most consumers, showing them what the future of gaming could look like. Not to mention that as the PlayStation line grows more powerful (4.2 TFLOP PS4 Pro, 10 TFLOP “PS5…”), it won’t be long until the PlayStation line can use the same VR games as PC. Either way, this shows that there is a console equivalent to the PC VR options. Sure, there are some games you'd only be able to play on PC, but there are also some games you'd only be able to play on PSVR. …Though to be fair, if we’re talking about VR in general, these headsets don’t even hold a candle to, surprisingly, Gear VR.
“If it wasn’t for consoles holding devs back, then they would be able to make higher quality games.”
This one is based on the idea that because of how “low spec” consoles are, that when a developer has to take them in mind, then they can’t design the game to be nearly as good as it would be otherwise. I mean, have you ever seen the minimum specs for games on Steam? GTA V
Actually, bump up all the memory requirements to 8 GBs, and those are some decent specs, relatively speaking. And keep in mind these are the minimum specs to even open the games. It’s almost as if the devs didn’t worry about console specs when making a PC version of the game, because this version of the game isn’t on console. Or maybe even that the consoles aren’t holding the games back that much because they’re not that weak. Just a hypothesis. But I mean, the devs are still ooobviously having to take weak consoles into mind right? They could make their games sooo much more powerful if they were PC only, right? Right? No. Not even close. iRacing
CPU: Intel Core i3, i5, i7 or better or AMD Bulldozer or better
Memory: 8 GB RAM
GPU: NVidia GeForce 2xx series or better, 1GB+ dedicated video memory / AMD 5xxx series or better, 1GB+ dedicated video memory
These are PC only games. That’s right, no consoles to hold them back, they don’t have to worry about whether an Xbox One could handle it. Yet, they don’t require anything more than the Multiplatform games. Subnautica
So what’s the deal? Theoretically, if developers don’t have to worry about console specs, then why aren’t they going all-out and making games that no console could even dream of supporting? Low-end PCs. What, did you think people only game on Steam if they spent at least $500 on gaming hardware? Not all PC gamers have gaming-PC specs, and if devs close their games out to players who don’t have the strongest of PCs, then they’d be losing out on a pretty sizable chunk of their potential buyers. Saying “devs having to deal with consoles is holding gaming back” is like saying “racing teams having to deal with Ford is holding GT racing back.” A: racing teams don’t have to deal with Ford if they don’t want to, which is probably why many of them don’t, and B: even though Ford doesn’t make the fastest cars overall, they still manage to make cars that are awesome on their own, they don’t even need to be compared to anything else to know that they make good cars. I want to go back to that previous point though, developers having to deal with low-end PCs, because it’s integral to the next point:
“PCs are more powerful, gaming on PC provides a better experience.”
This one isn’t so much of a misconception as it is… misleading. Did you know that according to the Steam Hardware & Software Survey (July 2017) , the percentage of Steam gamers who use a GPU that's less powerful than that of a PS4Slim’s GPU is well over 50%? Things get dismal when compared to the PS4 Pro (Or Xbox One X). On top of that, the percentage of PC gamers who own a Nvidia 10 series card is about 20% (about 15% for the 1060, 1080 and 1070 owners). Now to be fair, the large majority of gamers have CPUs with considerably high clock speeds, which is the main factor in CPU gaming performance. But, the number of Steam gamers with as much RAM or more than a PS4 or Xbox One is less than 50%, which can really bottleneck what those CPUs can handle. These numbers are hardly better than they were in 2013, all things considered. Sure, a PS3/360 weeps in the face of even a $400 PC, but in this day in age, consoles have definitely caught up. Sure, we could mention the fact that even 1% of Steam accounts represents over 1 million accounts, but that doesn’t really matter compared to the 10s of millions of 8th gen consoles sold; looking at it that way, sure the number of Nvidia 10 series owners is over 20 million, but that ignores the fact that there are over 5 times more 8th gen consoles sold than that. Basically, even though PCs run on a spectrum, saying they're more powerful “on average” is actually wrong. Sure, they have the potential for being more powerful, but most of the time, people aren’t willing to pay the premium to reach those extra bits of performance. Now why is this important? What matters are the people who spent the premium cost for premium parts, right? Because of the previous point: PCs don’t have some ubiquitous quality over the consoles, developers will always have to keep low-end PCs in mind, because not even half of all PC players can afford the good stuff, and you have to look at the top quarter of Steam players before you get to PS4-Pro-level specs. If every Steam player were to get a PS4 Pro, it would be an upgrade for over 60% of them, and 70% of them would be getting an upgrade with the Xbox One X. Sure, you could still make the argument that when you pay more for PC parts, you get a better experience than you could with a console. We can argue all day about budget PCs, but a console can’t match up to a $1,000 PC build. It’s the same as paying more for car parts, in the end you get a better car. However, there is a certain problem with that…
“You pay a little more for a PC, you get much more quality.”
The idea here is that the more you pay for PC parts, the performance increases at a faster rate than the price does. Problem: that’s not how technology works. Paying twice as much doesn’t get you twice the quality the majority of the time. For example, let’s look at graphics cards, specifically the GeForce 10 series cards, starting with the GTX 1050.
1.35 GHz base clock
2 GB VRAM
This is our reference, our basis of comparison. Any percentages will be based on the 1050’s specs. Now let’s look at the GTX 1050 Ti, the 1050’s older brother.
1.29 GHz base clock
4 GB VRAM
This is pretty good. You only increase the price by about 27%, and you get an 11% increase in floating point speed and a 100% increase (double) in VRAM. Sure you get a slightly lower base clock, but the rest definitely makes up for it. In fact, according to GPU boss, the Ti managed 66 fps, or a 22% increase in frame rate for Battlefield 4, and a 54% increase in mHash/second in bitcoin mining. The cost increase is worth it, for the most part. But let’s get to the real meat of it; what happens when we double our budget? Surely we should see a massive increase performance, I bet some of you are willing to bet that twice the cost means more than twice the performance. The closest price comparison for double the cost is the GTX 1060 (3 GB), so let’s get a look at that.
1.5 GHz base clock
3 GB VRAM
Well… not substantial, I’d say. About a 50% increase in floating point speed, an 11% increase in base clock speed, and a 1GB decrease in VRAM. For [almost] doubling the price, you don’t get much. Well surely raw specs don’t tell the full story, right? Well, let’s look at some real wold comparisons. Once again, according to GPU Boss, there’s a 138% increase in hashes/second for bitcoin mining, and at 99 fps, an 83% frame rate increase in Battlefield 4. Well, then, raw specs does not tell the whole story! Here’s another one, the 1060’s big brother… or, well, slightly-more-developed twin.
1.5 GHz base clock
6 GB VRAM
Seems reasonable, another $50 for a decent jump in power and double the memory! But, as we’ve learned, we shouldn’t look at the specs for the full story. I did do a GPU Boss comparison, but for the BF4 frame rate, I had to look at Tom’s Hardware (sorry miners, GPU boss didn’t cover the mHash/sec spec either). What’s the verdict? Well, pretty good, I’d say. With 97 FPS, a 79% increase over the 1050— wait. 97? That seems too low… I mean, the 3GB version got 99. Well, let’s see what Tech Power Up has to say... 94.3 fps. 74% increase. Huh. Alright alright, maybe that was just a dud. We can gloss over that I guess. Ok, one more, but let’s go for the big fish: the GTX 1080.
1.6 GHz base clock
8 GB VRAM
That jump in floating point speed definitely has to be something, and 4 times the VRAM? Sure it’s 5 times the price, but as we saw, raw power doesn’t always tell the full story. GPU Boss returns to give us the run down, how do these cards compare in the real world? Well… a 222% (over three-fold) increase in mHash speed, and a 218% increase in FPS for Battlefield 4. That’s right, for 5 times the cost, you get 3 times the performance. Truly, the raw specs don’t tell the full story. You increase the cost by 27%, you increase frame rate in our example game by 22%. You increase the cost by 83%, you increase the frame rate by 83%. Sounds good, but if you increase the cost by 129%, and you get a 79% (-50% cost/power increase) increase in frame rate. You increase it by 358%, and you increase the frame rate by 218% (-140% cost/power increase). That’s not paying “more for much more power,” that’s a steep drop-off after the third cheapest option. In fact, did you know that you have to get to the 1060 (6GB) before you could compare the GTX line to a PS4 Pro? Not to mention that at $250, the price of a 1060 (6GB) you could get an entire PS4 Slim bundle, or that you have to get to the 1070 before you beat the Xbox One X. On another note, let’s look at a PS4 Slim…
800 MHz base clock
8 GB VRAM
…Versus a PS4 Pro.
911 MHz base clock
8 GB VRAM
128% increase in floating point speed, 13% increase in clock speed, for a 25% difference in cost. Unfortunately there is no Battlefield 4 comparison to make, but in BF1, the frame rate is doubled (30 fps to 60) and the textures are taken to 11. For what that looks like, I’ll leave it up to this bloke. Not to even mention that you can even get the texture buffs in 4K. Just like how you get a decent increase in performance based on price for the lower-cost GPUs, the same applies here. It’s even worse when you look at the CPU for a gaming PC. The more money you spend, again, the less of a benefit you get per dollar. Hardware Unboxed covers this in a video comparing different levels of Intel CPUs. One thing to note is that the highest i7 option (6700K) in this video was almost always within 10 FPS (though for a few games, 15 FPS) of a certain CPU in that list for just about all of the games. …That CPU was the lowest i3 (6100) option. The lowest i3 was $117 and the highest i7 was $339, a 189% price difference for what was, on average, a 30% or less difference in frame rate. Even the lowest Pentium option (G4400, $63) was often able to keep up with the i7. The CPU and GPU are usually the most expensive and power-consuming parts of a build, which is why I focused on them (other than the fact that they’re the two most important parts of a gaming PC, outside of RAM). With both, this “pay more to get much more performance” idea is pretty much the inverse of the truth.
“The console giants are bad for game developers, Steam doesn't treat developers as bad as Microsoft or especially Sony.”
Now one thing you might’ve heard is that the PS3 was incredibly difficult for developers to make games for, which for some, fueled the idea that console hardware is difficult too develop on compared to PC… but this ignores a very basic idea that we’ve already touched on: if the devs don’t want to make the game compatible with a system, they don’t have to. In fact, this is why Left 4 Dead and other Valve games aren’t on PS3, because they didn’t want to work with it’s hardware, calling it “too complex.” This didn’t stop the game from selling well over 10 million units worldwide. If anything, this was a problem for the PS3, not the dev team. This also ignores that games like LittleBigPlanet, Grand Theft Auto IV, and Metal Gear Solid 4 all came out in the same year as Left 4 Dead (2008) on PS3. Apparently, plenty of other dev teams didn’t have much of a problem with the PS3’s hardware, or at the very least, they got used to it soon enough. On top of that, when developing the 8th gen consoles, both Sony and Microsoft sought to use CPUs that were easier for developers, which included making decisions that considered apps for the consoles’ usage for more than gaming. On top of that, using their single-chip proprietary CPUs is cheaper and more energy efficient than buying pre-made CPUs and boards, which is far better of a reason for using them than some conspiracy about Sony and MS trying to make devs' lives harder. Now, console exclusives are apparently a point of contention: it’s often said that exclusive can cause developers to go bankrupt. However, exclusivity doesn’t have to be a bad thing for the developer. For example, when Media Molecule had to pitch their game to a publisher (Sony, coincidentally), they didn’t end up being tied into something detrimental to them. Their initial funding lasted for 6 months. From then, Sony offered additional funding, in exchange for Console Exclusivity. This may sound concerning to some, but the game ended up going on to sell almost 6 million units worldwide and launched Media Molecule into the gaming limelight. Sony later bought the development studio, but 1: this was in 2010, two years after LittleBigPlanet’s release, and 2: Media Molecule seem pretty happy about it to this day. If anything, signing up with Sony was one of the best things they could’ve done, in their opinion. Does this sound like a company that has it out for developers? There are plenty of examples that people will use to put Valve in a good light, but even Sony is comparatively good to developers.
“There are more PC gamers.”
The total number of active PC gamers on Steam has surpassed 120 million, which is impressive, especially considering that this number is double that of 2013’s figure (65 million). But the number of monthly active users on Xbox Live and PSN? About 120 million (1, 2) total. EDIT: You could argue that this isn't an apples-to-apples comparison, sure, so if you want to, say, compare the monthly number of Steam users to console? Steam has about half of what consoles do, at 67 million. Now, back to the 65 million total user figure for Steam, the best I could find for reference for PlayStation's number was an article giving the number of registered PSN accounts in 2013, 150 million. In a similar 4-year period (2009 - 2013), the number of registered PSN accounts didn’t double, it sextupled, or increased by 6 fold. Considering how the PS4 is already at 2/3 of the number of sales the PS3 had, even though it’s currently 3 years younger than its predecessor, I’m sure this trend is at least generally consistent. For example, let’s look at DOOM 2016, an awesome faced-paced shooting title with graphics galore… Of course, on a single platform, it sold best on PC/Steam. 2.36 million Steam sales, 2.05 million PS4 sales, 1.01 million Xbox One sales. But keep in mind… when you add the consoles sales together, you get over 3 million sales on the 8th gen systems. Meaning: this game was best sold on console. In fact, the Steam sales have only recently surpassed the PS4 sales. By the way VG charts only shows sales for physical copies of the games, so the number of PS4 and Xbox sales, when digital sales are included, are even higher than 3 million. This isn’t uncommon, by the way. Even with the games were the PC sales are higher than either of the consoles, there generally are more console sales total. But, to be fair, this isn’t anything new. The number of PC gamers hasn’t dominated the market, the percentages have always been about this much. PC can end up being the largest single platform for games, but consoles usually sell more copies total. EDIT: There were other examples but... Reddit has a 40,000-character limit.
This isn’t to say that there’s anything wrong with PC gaming, and this isn’t to exalt consoles. I’m not here to be the hipster defending the little guy, nor to be the one to try to put down someone/thing out of spite. This is about showing that PCs and consoles are overall pretty similar because there isn’t much dividing them, and that there isn’t anything wrong with being a console gamer. There isn’t some chasm separating consoles and PCs, at the end of the day they’re both computers that are (generally) designed for gaming. This about unity as gamers, to try to show that there shouldn’t be a massive divide just because of the computer system you game on. I want gamers to be in an environment where specs don't separate us; whether you got a $250 PS4 Slim or just built a $2,500 gaming PC, we’re here to game and should be able to have healthy interactions regardless of your platform. I’m well aware that this isn’t going to fix… much, but this needs to be said: there isn’t a huge divide between the PC and consoles, they’re far more similar than people think. There are upsides and downsides that one has that the other doesn’t on both sides. There’s so much more I could touch on, like how you could use SSDs or 3.5 inch hard drives with both, or that even though PC part prices go down over time, so do consoles, but I just wanted to touch on the main points people try to use to needlessly separate the two kinds of systems (looking at you PCMR) and correct them, to get the point across. I thank anyone who takes the time to read all of this, and especially anyone who doesn’t take what I say out of context. I also want to note that, again, thisisn’t “anti-PC gamer.” If it were up to me, everyone would be a hybrid gamer. Cheers.
Does anybody else disagree with the popular narrative that NVDA is at all revenue reliant the crypto currency wave?
I've heard just about every mainstream finance website and news source talk about the increased demand due to bitcoin / etherium mining. Most people who want to own bitcoin don't need an advanced processing unit to do it, they can just buy it online like any other stock. I mean how many people do they really think are mining these things that weren't already doing it. For a company that has so many significantly lucrative streams of revenue in front of them (computers, video games / wii U, self driving cars, other AI, just about anything that uses a chip), it seems delusional that people are taking this tiny crypto currency mining market to be relevant to the stock price, much less a buy/sell indicator. Edit: Title should be "Does anybody else disagree with the popular narrative that NVDA is at all revenue reliant on the crypto currency wave?" but I'm not gonna resubmit
After each new console release, the immediate question for many is "how long till its games get ported to PC" or if that's not possible, like with Nintendo and Sony's first party releases, "how long till the console is emulated". Homebrew hobbyists and emulator devs aren't the only ones aware of this thirst, however. Opportunist sociopaths with far more sinister goals are more than eager to take advantage of gullible people craving new emulators for new consoles. In the hopes of sparing more people the trouble of doing a complete system format for their malware-infected computers because of their own idiocy or that of an excitable idiot acquaintance, here's a guide that hopefully helps telling which emulators are real and which are that just in name. #1: If it's too soon after the console release, it's suspicious In order for an emulator to be developed, the console first needs to be hacked first so that the following are extracted
system files (like NAND)
BIOS which has its fonts and some code (like LZ compression in GBA, or text display routines on PS1) used by games occasionally
encryption/decryption keys for more recent consoles with encrypted games
the actual game data: most PC optical discs can't read discs past the PS2 era, DS carts don't have existing readers besides their hardware and its dedicated slot, and consoles that use SD cards or external hard drives often take care to encrypt the installed game data beyond recognition or direct usefulness for dumping
The developers need to be able to execute unlicensed code on it to test hardware behavior and properly document it (the latter is sometimes possible with a developer unit, although it might have some limitations). You need to hear of someone reputable managing to load a "hello world" unlicensed program on a console (NOT a web page on a browser, or a video). After all, they need to be able to code their own demos, see how it looks on hardware, and have their hypothetical emulator replicate that behavior. There's lots of work before an emulator can even boot up the most basic of "hello world" demos. Correct hardware memory mapping, timings, console boot-up initializations (even when spoofing services and processes like home menus)... can easily take up a lot of work. This is when hardware documentation provided by the console and GPU manufacturers is useful, and without those this part of development can be set back even further. And even then it doesn't discount cases where the console manufacturer withholds some information from the documentation either missing it in translation or on purpose (like Nintendo with a whole audio mode in GC games). And then after booting simple demos, it can be a while before the first commercial games (often the simpler one, the shittiest ones, or 2D stuff) are booted. Between the actual console hacking, and then preliminary work on a PC emulator getting up to a point it's usable, this can take easily 2 to 3 years. For example, CEMU, often cited as an example of an emulator with impressively fast development, took 2 years of research and internal experiments after the Wii U was hacked to make a demo only able to boot the decidedly not that flashy Shovel Knight and NES Remix. Of course, exceptions exist like the GBA which had its emulator available around the American release (and before the European one), but this was more due to a combination of a massive developer kit leak before the Japanese release, and poor hardware security. Those early emulators were still not without their flaws either. Or the even rarer case of an in-house Nintendo emulator leaking like what happened with Ensata (for the Nintendo DS) in 2005 (Sony and Nintendo do make PC emulators for their consoles, in addition to the traditional setup of dev kits linked to PCs for logging stuff, but they don't release those emulators for obvious reasons). #2: If it looks too perfect from the get-go, it's very suspicious Emulators often don't implement everything in their first releases. Models can be warped, audio may be not supported or oddly-pitched, transparency can be nonexistent and as a result you'd see black rectangles everywhere, lightning and fog effects might not even be there, and so on. Often, the one thing working just like intended would be videos and static images. If you see perfect footage of a complex 3D game that looks just like in real hardware, consider the high likelihood it was indeed recorded off real hardware with a capture card (or just lifted from a trailer / let's play). Some scams have evolved their methods and would slow the video down with distorted audio. One of the more innovative scams used models ripped from other versions (likely PC) of Street Fighter IV, had them in wireframe over a white backdrop and with a HP bar shopped on top and tried to pass this static screenshot as "the first 3DS emulator". #3: If it's just a binary released, exercise caution Scams like these often come as binaries or installers. Installers are NOT standard procedure for emulators as they are perpetual buggy alphas that get updated all the time with not even bothering to keep save state compatibility. Sites usually get basic information about the hardware incorrect. These programs will either come with no source code, or when they do actually bother making a source code (like the emu3DS scam) it actually does nothing, or the github code repository is empty aside from readme files like with the recent Nintendo Switch scam (to get with the times since more emulators now are open source than closed source). The name will be something simple ("switchemulator" "ps4-emulator") or iterating on an existing big name from earlier generations (3DesmumE, NO$GBA 3D, a Dolphin version with Wii U emulation on youtube with download links -and no it's not the wud file browser fork-...) to maximize search engine hits from idiots. Sometimes, scamware include newer versions of dead emulators, like the fabled NO$GBA 2.7 (which was just the latest version, functional but laced with malware). One of the more innovative scams played ".3ds" "roms" which were actually 3DS videos, and the emulator was just a video player for those... with malware. But to its credit, it actually did run something by Nintendo. (the actual work on that video codec was by someone else though) Until this subreddit, or other more reputable modding circles, report on a new emulator, and until semi-reputable sites like emucr host it, if a new emulator that nobody heard of besides you is too good to be true then it probably is. What is it like to get a scamware emulator? This blog documents some of the more notorious 3DS scams before the Citra days, and it makes for a good reading. Parts of the scamware experience includes:
Surveys and lots of surveys. Have I mentioned ads?
Asking for your e-mail
Installers with optional stuff to install (not that the main stuff is that better, mind you)
The computer becoming infected with every conceivable internet STD from adware to malware
Fake menus that don't work
Needing "activation" to run games (but that's more like chasing the trends of old payware emulators)
Needing to download copyrighted BIOS packs from the same website as the emulator, but they never seem to work
As you wonder why everyone is not covering this awesome emulator aside from its heavily moderated youtube channel with disabled votes, the "dev" churns out new "versions" and "packs" to solve compatibility issues, which you go through all the above chasing behind the elusive emulator
I don't believe you!! Why would someone tell lies on the internet? The "developer" gets money from advertisments and surveys. Better if they're directly served to you and rooted in your computer as malware redirecting your browser to ads, logging your personal data, or using your machine's ressources to mine bitcoins for someone else. Some vocal minority of open source advocates unfortunately label any recent closed-source emulator as a virus (even after it's proven false), and it doesn't help many new programs that are not regularly downloaded or ones coded directly in assembly (because hacked programs rewrite some parts of a compiled build in assembly "hacked" on the program like an external tumor tied with hooks and JMP opcodes) are often labeled by anti-virus suites as false positives. In these cases, the best thing to do is to wait for someone else to verify it works, or trust the developer in case he/she proved himself to be the real deal when it comes to homebrew development or reverse engineering the hardware in question.
I know I’m required to write this down, otherwise I might be here forever. Let me apologize for any errors, confusion, nausea or vomiting, epileptic seizures, trouble sleeping, or any other side affects you may experience from reading this novel. If someone appears in your dreams claiming to be me, please notify the nearest member of the Mushroom Cult. An imposter armed with Twitter bots is on the loose. Be warned, he only has ill intentions. Okay, here I go. I was wandering through the woods when that gang of minion bears ambushed me. Honestly, if this whole thing is anyone’s fault, it’s those responsible for my false imprisonment, and that damn lawyer for drafting me into the labor force. Maybe then, we could have avoided the whole apocalyptic end-of-the-world situation. But I’m getting ahead of myself. There I was walking peacefully, lawfully, and responsibly through the woods. I don’t remember walking into any woods, and I know for a fact there are none in the area I live in. I just suddenly found myself strolling under the thick ceiling of these large pine trees. It was as if I had just woken up and started walking. What I do remember is avidly enjoying myself in my new-found surroundings, the scent of pine was thick. There was a cool breeze that made the air comfortable. Sunlight could barely penetrate the trees, and a low fog added to the mystic of these woods. Pine needles crunched under every step I took. I was drifting aimlessly through these woods observing the trees. I touch one of the trunks, and my eyes followed it to the top. The unusually wide branches made it impossible to see the top of the tree. It seemed to stretch on forever. I could barely see the sky. The voices in my head whispered, this place was extremely curious. I moved past the tree, and stopped to observe a growth, not twenty feet from the base of tree I had touched. I bent down. What was growing was a short mushroom, maybe three inches tall. It was bright red, with white spots dotting the top. It shined in the darkness of the woods, reflecting any sunlight that was strong enough to reach the ground. It was beautiful. The voices in my head became exuberant; they all agree I should pick it up. As I went down to pluck it from the earth, just before I touched it, a sharp cry, in a language I could not understand, pierced the air. “DARVEN-KRAX-GHOUL!” I turned around. There were six bears. Well, at least I assumed they were bears. All of them were under three feet tall. If Chewbacca had married a midget, sorry, little person, these guys would be their children. As hilarious as they looked, they were all fully armed with swords, metal body-armor, and helmets. I froze, puzzled, meeting their gaze. What I assumed was the leader was one-step in front of the other bears with his paw extended pointing at me. I wasn’t all that surprised by that sight. I’ve seen a lot, and I mean A LOT, of strange things. This event made more sense to me than what I’d had for breakfast that morning, which I hadn’t remembered eating. Five second pasted in this standoff. Tension was building in the air. The leader never lowered his paw, and again bellowed that God-awful cry. “DARVEN-KRAX-GHOUL!” I made a face of disgust. This was obnoxious and annoying. It was really putting a damper on my whole nature/forest experience. “Right back at you buddy.” I said, giving him the finger. I turned back down to pick up the mushroom, that I was sure was trying to give me all the answers to the universe. The moment its stem left the soil, all hell broke loose. “AH! AH! AH! AH! AH!” chanted the bears. As I turned back around, they charged me from a distance of thirty feet. Not once did their chant cease. Before I had a chance to run, brace myself, or even pocket the magic mushroom, the gang of bears jumped on me. Knocking the mushroom and me to the ground, causing my head to bounce off of a tree root. That hurt, I’m pretty sure I was bleeding. The voices in my head were down for the count. These toddler-sized furries were now crawling all over my body. One of these annoying little pricks was right in my face holding down my shoulders chanting, “AH! AH! AH! AH! AH!” Its breath fogged up my glasses. The whole time they were tying me up with a rope. I got really annoyed with the bear in my face, and started chanting back at him, “AH! AH! AH! AH! AH!” I yelled back at him much more forcefully. He scurried down my body away from my face. Before I had even a minute to realize what was going on, the bears had me completely tied up. They left a loose end of rope at my feet so they could drag me. The leader started speaking gibberish in a very authoritative tone. The persistent chanting stopped. He was now barking orders at his subordinates, who quickly jumped to action. All six bears were now dragging me over their shoulders with the leader taking the front. Apparently, they have a chant for dragging people that is different from their attack chant. The leader started it off, “MA! MA! MA! MA! MA!” The rest of the bears followed suit in cadence. They began to pull me. I didn’t say a word. I didn’t want to give these heathens any satisfaction for their work. I worked my hands out of the rope enough to stick both of my middle fingers up. The bears had no reaction to my gesture. Occasionally, I would do my best to throw off their chanting rhythm. I would yell, “MA!” at instances where it wouldn’t line up with the rest of the chant. It worked a little, a couple of those savages got thrown off and confused. I stared up at the roof of the woods. I still couldn’t see the tops of the trees and could hardly see the color of the sky. I think it was pink. The small, hairy militia pressed on. I lost track of time, but eventually I could see the sky, it was pink. I was out of the woods. I could no longer feel pine needles drag under my back, soft grass had taken its place. The trees had disappeared. From the ground, I hadn’t a clue where I was, or what my surroundings consisted of, but after my imprisonment, in later events, I got a lay of the land. I had been brought into the realm ruled by the power known as the Toilet Wizard, ruler of the bears. (It is unknown to me why the Toilet Wizard is called such a thing, or why he is the ruler of the bears. It is said he is undefeated in Wii Sports Bowling, with a record of 456-0.) The Toilet Wizard’s domain consisted of a circular clearing, surrounded by a wall of trees. The circle had a diameter of about half a mile. In the center was a hill where a small castle, about the size of a small supermarket, sat on top. It was square, with four towers in each corner. It was made of an ancient gray stone. I of course at the time knew none of this. I just knew six armed bears, who were now dragging me up hill, had kidnapped me, which I assumed was due to the mushroom. Once at the top of the hill, the bears stopped their chant. They had brought me to the portcullis of the castle. Which is just the gate. It was currently raised. The bears stood me up, and in one motion, freed me of my bondage. Before I could enjoy my freedom, four new bears appeared and worked quickly to restrain my wrists behind my back. Two bears then grabbed my arms and led me inside the castle. We immediately took a right. The ceiling was low, and the hallway was dark. The only source of light was the small ember emitted from the torches hanging on the walls. The walk down the hallway took forever. The castle wasn’t that big, like I said before, it was about the size of a small supermarket, but we walked straight down that hallway for six hours. I remember glancing at my watch for only a second before being restrained. It had been 4:10pm when we began the walk. By the time we approached a small wooden door at the end of the hall, and I had been tossed into their dungeon, it was 10:13pm. I had been more or less shoved into this dark, windowless room. Like the hallway, only torches hung on the walls. I was laying on my face trying to recover from being thrown into prison. Luckily, the bears had removed my restraints before locking the door with a loud bolt. My feet ached from the walk so I sat against the stone wall. At this point I noticed I had two dungeon mates. One was obviously a knight, dressed in full chainmail armor, and had a helmet that hid his face. I thought he looked like he could’ve had a role in Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail. He sat with his back against the back wall of the room. The other prisoner was a full-grown minotaur. He was sitting down, but he looked like he was easily seven feet tall. He only wore a clump of furs and leathers held in place by a giant metal belt around his waist. His upper body was massive, rippling with muscles, like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime. The horns of his bull head were sharp and curved. His snout was pierced with a gold ring. He sat adjacent to the knight, his legs criss-crossed. “What’s up?” asked the Minotaur, his voice sounded surprisingly human. He sounded like he could have easily had said to me, “Hi, welcome to Chili’s.” “Hey” I said with a quick wave. I cracked a smile. I was hoping my time spent in this dungeon wouldn’t lack good conversation. “I’m Dave.” said the Minotaur, pointing to himself. “That’s Groggoniche.” He pointed at the knight. “Russ” I said pointing at myself Groggoniche gave a casual wave, but he didn’t say anything. “What are you in for?” asked Dave. “Taking a walk, picking mushrooms I guess.” I said casually. “What about you?” “Unpaid parking tickets.” Dave looked a little embarrassed, but threw his hooves up as if to imply, “What are you gonna do?” “Bummer, what about you man?” I motioned towards Groggoniche. “I got stopped again last night coming home from an office party. This is my fifth DUI, I’m fairly certain they’ll bathe me in fire again.” Groggoniche said this very grimly. “It happens to the best of us.” assured Dave. “Where you from?” asked Groggoniche. “Dallas” I replied. Groggoniche laughed, “Ha ha, I’m sorry.” I was offended, and became defensive, “Why? Where are you from?” Groggoniche chuckled again and said smoothly, “Ha ha ha not Dallas.” “Oh.” I said flatly. Dave, in an effort to reignite conversation, asked, “Does anyone watch Game of Thrones?” Before I could even comment, a whole army of bears had charged the dungeon door. They were like angry ants, moving in unison. “Oh great.” said Groggoniche, sinking his head. The bears swarmed us. Chanting in gibberish as usual. We were all led out of the dungeon and into the hall. It was a frenzy of fast paced chanting as we were walked down the hall. This time the trip only took around thirty seconds. We turned left and were chaperoned into a large courtroom. The light was surprisingly bright. The carpet was gray; the whole room was furnished in a polished pine, assumedly cut from the surrounding forest. The “ceiling”, if it could even be called that, had no light fixtures, it was like staring up into space. I could see stars and constellations, and I even saw a comet whip by from the far corner of the room. The entire universe seemed over-head. The jury box consisted of bears of all sizes. Some smaller than the ones who attacked me, and some larger than grizzly bears. They roared and hissed as the three of us made our way down the aisle. We sat at a table before the judge. A plaque posted on the front of the judge’s bench read, “THE HONORABLE TOILET WIZARD. RULER OF WEST WUSSELLWAND. CHAMPION OF WII SPORTS BOWLING.” Sitting in the seat was a short old man in a purple bathrobe, his skin pale and worn. His hair and beard were a sharp, silver, long, and unkempt. He wore wire-framed glasses that were hidden under the shade of his tall blue wizard hat. He seemed incredibly agitated with the three of us. His icy stare seemed to cut through us as we took our seats. Tension was building, and I began to sweat. After three minutes of the silent, agitated gaze from the Toilet Wizard, and the continuous uproar of the bear jury, our lawyer appeared. The doors swung open dramatically, making a loud banging noise. A middle-aged man, wearing a navy-blue wetsuit, began power walking down the aisle to where the three of us sat. “I’m so sorry your Honor” began the man, “those damned school kids held me up again.” The Toilet Wizard let out an impatient huff. He was not at all amused with me, Dave, Groggoniche, or this estranged man who was late because he was being mugged by schoolchildren. Our lawyer opened his palm towards the Toilet Wizard, fingers extended, “Five minutes, please! Let me council my clients.” The Toilet Wizard motioned his hand forward, looked up annoyed, he hated being there. The man shook each one of our hands, he seemed to be in a hurry. “How ya doing boys, I’m here to get you out of this. All you boys have to do is follow my lead; no one is going to get eaten by the Pit Lizard on my watch!” “What?” exclaimed Dave. Panic flashed across his bull shaped face. He was trembling. Groggoniche dropped his head at this talk of the Pit Lizard. “Hey!” yelled back our lawyer. “Don’t you worry; you’re all going to be just fine!” He pulled out three cards, and handed us each one. “I’m a professional!” I looked at the card. It read, “Richard Waterpants, Attorney at Law. Specializing in Pit Lizard Defense.” I had no idea what a Pit Lizard was, but based on the looks of Dave and Groggoniche, I really hoped that Attorney Waterpants knew his stuff. “Everything we need to get you out of this is in this briefcase.” Attorney Waterpants slammed a briefcase, that I had not noticed he was carrying, onto the table. “By the end of this, all four of us will be drinking Pomegranate La Croix on the beaches of the Magenta Sea.” He seemed extremely confidant, which lifted my spirits, and ended my sweat. “Why are we all being charged together? What am I being charged for?” I demanded to know. Our lawyer chuckled, “Yeah, right, like you don’t know. All I can say is I’m really glad I’m not you.” He slapped me on the back. “All three of you are being tried together because it’s the end of the year. The Toilet Wizard is trying to get everyone through the system. It’s either get tried together, or run out of time and face the Pit Lizard without trial.” He pointed at me authoritatively, “They’re doing you a favor pal.” The Toilet Wizard spoke in a language I could not understand. His face red, we had obviously exceeded his patience. “What is he saying?” I whispered to my attorney. Waterpants’ face turned white, “You can’t understand him? Oh Christ!” He reached into his pocket and pulled out something wrapped in cling-wrap. He quickly unwrapped the plastic. What was inside was absolutely horrid. It appeared to be a PB and J sandwich, only it was green, dotted with mold, and it reeked of what smelled like gasoline. As I opened my mouth to ask questions, Waterpants shoved the whole thing into my mouth, and made me chew it. I nearly puked, but I managed to swallow it. The room began to spin; the voices in my head were in a panic. I was sure I was going to fall out of my chair. I grabbed the edge of the table to keep myself grounded. After about thirty seconds of this misery, the room began to focus. The voices silenced. I could hear the jury. They no longer spoke their gibberish language, “FEED THEM TO THE PIT LIZARD!” they cried. The Toilet Wizard banged his gavel, “Enough of this delay! The Pit Lizard grows hungry!” The jury box cheered at this statement. “Your Honor,” began Waterpants, “my clients are being held on charges that should be considered criminal!” “They are criminals!” yelled the Toilet Wizard. “The knight is being charged with his fifth DUI this year!” Groggoniche crossed his arms and shrugged. “The Minotaur hasn’t paid a single parking ticket since 2005!” The Toilet Wizard pointed his gavel at Dave. Dave looked embarrassed. The Toilet Wizard then turned his attention towards me. “And you!” his angry gaze was sharp and pierced my soul, “You stand accused by the World Window of bringing eminent destruction to the entire Realm of Wussellwand!” There was an uproar from the jury following this statement. I hadn’t a clue to what I had just been accused of. “My client is completely ignorant of this accusation!” Waterpants sprang quick to my defense. “He was found wandering in the woods, causing no harm or destruction!” “Trespassing! He was trespassing! Not only that, but on my domain!” The Toilet Wizard was fuming. “Regardless of his current or past intentions, the World Window has spoken! To question the World Window is a crime punishable by Pit Lizard as well!” The Toilet Wizard bent down behind the bench, and emerged with a computer monitor. Silence fell within the court. He faced the monitor towards the court, and slowly, Windows 95 began to boot up on the screen. After a long pause, that seemed to last an eternity, a desktop with a background picture of the Toilet Wizard in sunglasses on a beach appeared. There was only one icon on the screen. A word document. The Toilet Wizard clicked on the document file. The file opened a page with a single line, typed in comic sans, number twelve font, “Russ Jackson will cause the apocalypse ;)” I was wildly confused. The jury gasped. My lawyer turned white. “Indisputable evidence!” the Toilet Wizard swung his arm back and forth punctuating each word. “What say you?” The Toilet Wizard slammed his hands a top the bench, red with rage. “One last piece of evidence, your Honor!” Waterpants was sweating as he faced the briefcase to open towards the Toilet Wizard. He flicked open the case. The only thing inside was a crumbled-up piece of paper with “Lol No he didn’t” written in sharpie. There was a roar of fury from the jury; they simply could not cope with this somehow groundbreaking evidence. My lawyer smiled weakly at the Toilet Wizard. The Toilet Wizard snarled his face in disgust. “And where did this so called ‘evidence’(He used air quotes around “evidence”) come from?” “From the high prophet Bernicus, leader of the Mushroom Cult, reigning world champion of Rock Band.” Waterpants seemed desperate. “Bernicus” pondered the Toilet Wizard, leaning back in his chair, “these are his words?” “Yes!” cried Waterpants. “Upon the trespass arrival of the human” he pointed towards me, “the prophecy was declared.” “The World Window and Bernicus conflict!” announced the Toilet Wizard, spreading his arms wide. “There is much to be considered! I must ponder this!” the Toilet Wizard closed his eyes and began to rub his temples. Silence once again fell upon the court. After ten minutes of silence and self-reflection, the Toilet Wizard sprang to life. “Labor!” declared the Toilet Wizard. “The human, among these two other heathens, will not be fed to the Pit Lizard!” The jury let out a very disappointed cry. “Fret not!” cried the Toilet Wizard, “the human, the knight, and the minotaur, will all work within the southern BitCoin mines for the next one-hundred years! Death will not come to any of them! Hard labor will prevent them from any wrong doings!” “Yes!” said our lawyer, putting his fist in the air in victory. As long as we weren’t fed to the Pit Lizard he considered it a win. “Pleasure serving you boys and good luck!” he shook each one of our hands again, grabbed his briefcase, and sprinted out of the courtroom, with his flippers slapping the ground. Dave and Groggoniche look sick. They were not as thrilled by the verdict as Waterpants was. Groggoniche sank his head, Dave looked like he was going to be sick. I was sweating again. “The chances we survive the first week of working the mines are slim, I’d feel better taking my chances with the Pit Lizard.” said Dave. Groggoniche let out a sigh, “Man I really wish they’d just peel my skin off, like they promised to do last time.” “Rise!” demanded the Toilet Wizard, pointing at us. We all stood to attention. A gang of bears entered the court. “Take these workers to the Southern Stop! Issue them chariots to aid in their journey!” The bears seized us, and we were taken out of the court. Although I knew I could understand the bears, they said nothing as we walked down the dark hall into an even darker room. The room was pitch black. I had no idea how big the room actually was. A bear flipped on a light switch, a spotlight shone in the center of the room. Three BMX bikes were sitting under the light. “Chariots” said one of the bears pointing towards the bikes. Another bear approached us with a piece of paper in his hand. He gave it to Groggoniche. “Map” said the bear tapping the paper in Groggoniche’s hand. The “map” was a crudely drawn on notebook paper. There was a circle with a square in the center, which I assumed represented the Toilet Wizard’s domain. A line drawn in red marker snaked from the drawn square, to the lower right corner of the paper. “Wait here.” said one final bear, pointing to the end of the red line, punctuated with an X. The bears then pushed us towards the bikes. Another bear hit a button on the wall that I had not previously seen, a garage door opened to the outside world. In the distance, the trees stretched towards the sky, which was now blue. The grass was green and lush. We all mounted the bikes. I got the black one. I was thoroughly confused, but the voices in my head were calm. “Go.” said the bears, pointing outside. Groggoniche peddled first, taking off down the hill. Dave and I were in close pursuit. The sun was warm, and its rays highlighted the colors around us. The clouds above us rolled off into the distance. Our bikes rolled smoothly through the clearing. We neared the tree line and I watched Groggoniche disappear into the darkness of the woods. I followed closely behind along with Dave. The darkness of the woods encompassed us. The ride became bumpy as we traversed roots and over growth. Groggoniche was gaining distance. Apparently, the knight was extremely skilled on a BMX bike. I did my best to keep up with him. Dave was struggling too. I could hear his breath become heavy as his powerful Minotaur legs peddled along. After what felt like many hours, we reached a small clearing. Groggoniche stopped and let his bike fall to the ground. I was seconds behind him, and Dave soon followed. I was exhausted, struggling to catch my breath, sweat made my t-shirt stick to my skin, my glasses were fogging up from the heat radiating off my face. “Where are we?” I asked. I looked around; the clearing wasn’t a perfect circle like the Toilet Wizard’s domain. It was an irregular shape. The trees made the area almost claustrophobic. The grass was just as green and as lush as the grass that grew near the castle. There was nothing here. “Is this where the BitCoin mine is?” I asked confused, looking around. “What? No.” said Groggoniche. “This is the bus stop that takes us there.” “What bus stop?” I asked, I couldn’t see anything but grass and trees. “The one right there.” Dave pointed behind me. I turned around. A red bench resting on concrete sat on the edge of the clearing, the sunlight seemed to reflect off it. “We have to take a bus there?” I was puzzled. “What’s to stop us from taking these bikes somewhere else?” I gestured towards the bikes. They had disappeared. “They’ve returned home.” said Groggoniche. “Besides, we’re still in the domain of the Toilet Wizard; he knows every move we make.” He pointed towards the trees. “They speak to him.” The wind blew, and the branches of each tree shook. I shuddered at this. “What now?” I asked. “We sit and wait.” said Dave. He and Groggoniche walked towards the red bench. I followed cautiously behind. The three of us crammed into the bench, it was a tight fit, but we were all seated. I was sandwiched in the middle. Time slowed down. I stared up to the sky. The clouds were creeping at a slow pace above. The blue of the sky was slowly turning pink. I could see the planet Saturn become more and more visible. The voices in my head were making inaudible whispers. I was tired from the trial and the journey. The world began to spin and I felt myself slowly drift to sleep. It felt as if a warm blanket had been wrapped around me. I was felt so serene. As my eyelids dropped, Dave clapped in my face. “No!” he yelled at me. All sleepiness left my body. “Don’t fall asleep! You can’t live with the consequences!” “What?” I couldn’t piece together what he was saying. “He’s right.” said Groggoniche. I looked over at him he was leaning back, puffing on an e-cigarette through the holes on his helmet. He casually looked off in the distance. “What flavor is that?” I pointed at his e-cig. He turned his head towards me without saying a word and threw it over his shoulder. Before it hit the ground, it exploded with a loud crack! “What the —” but before I could finish my sentence, our bus appeared.
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