It’s Monday and time for Ask Kotaku, the weekly feature in which Kotaku-ites deliberate on a single burning question. Then, we ask your take.
This week we Ask Kotaku: Do you prefer couch or desktop gaming?
If I can help it, I prefer my couch and my big TV. I work on a computer all day, so it’s hard to have fun and relax when I’m sitting at my desk. I’ll even run an HDMI cable to my TV to play PC games on it instead of sitting at the desk, assuming the game works well with a controller. This aversion to gaming at my desk is also the reason I’m excited to get new consoles. Being able to play games at higher frame rates and resolutions back on my TV sounds nice! Lately, I’ve been playing more games on PC because I prefer the higher performance and I’m willing to sit at my desk to turn those settings and numbers up.
Since I sit at a desk all day long, when I clock out and play video games for fun, I want to sprawl out on a sofa. However, if I were to pick between a sofa, a desk, or the floor, I really prefer sitting on the floor! That’s how I used to play as a kid—and to be honest, it’s been the default for a big chunk of my life, especially in Japan, where sitting on the floor is also often the default.
I like being close to the screen. It’s more personal and intimate. I never was one for couch co-op or big gaming parties. I like when it’s me and whatever game I am playing. No interruptions. No one walking in front of me. I did a lot more couch gaming before I got married and had children. If I’m alone in the house then sure, some big-screen me time might happen. Otherwise, I’m at a desk in a chair with my feet up on something.
Well, before I was paralyzed, at least. Since 2018 I’ve spent a lot of time in a bed. I’ve got an over-the-bed desk which I’ve outfitted with a lovely 4K monitor connected to all my game systems, passing through a game capture box connected to my laptop, which is also on a stand on the desk. I’ve built about as personal and intimate a gaming desk as I can. My keyboards and controllers are never more than a foot or two away. I hate being stuck here while I continue to heal, but I’m making the best of it.
I am irrationally attached to couch gaming. I live on my couch. Literally. I eat there. I work there. I even sleep there despite the fact that I have a rather comfortable bed. It’s a big, black, comforting (like me) piece of furniture that I’ve known for my entire life. My first memories are of hopping from the couch to its matching chair and ottoman with my sister as we played the lo-fi, non-Netflix version of the floor is lava. It went with my family when we moved to a larger apartment and followed us to our new house after surviving the fire that claimed a lot of other furniture, clothes, memories, and my prized Game Boy Color 16 years ago. If I press my face to the leather, I can still smell the smoke. For as long as I can, I’m going to hang on to this old thing, and play my games from there.
I’m with Brian: I spend so much of my day on my computer that when it comes time to unwind, I’d rather do anything else but stay there. Crusader Kings III be damned!
That said, a couch isn’t really my thing either. Not comfortable enough. No, I prefer my bed, which is big and flat and covered in super cozy blankets. I love it. I can sit cross-legged, scoot to the edge and use it like a normal seat, or even lie down. That last one is especially useful when a cutscene runs long or I need to cry into my pillow after a particularly devastating Fall Guys loss.
If you look at the numbers, I’m desktop. Between work, this damn national crisis, and my own proclivities, I sit here 8-12 hours a day. Awful, but reality. It’s my default place to be. That said, I aspire to enjoy that carefree couch-potato lifestyle. It sounds so appealing to just bounce onto the couch and enjoy a vidya game from more than 18 inches away.
Two things need to happen. First, I need to rework my living space so the loveseat I’ve had my entire adult life can be within range of a screen.
More dauntingly, I need to hack my brain. Adding even minor intermediary steps between the start of an activity and its payoff greatly reduces my likelihood to switch over. (My brain’s more inclined to just keep looping at whatever I’m already doing.) This makes me less likely to move my chair six feet to the left, grab a controller, turn two devices on, grab headphones, navigate UI, wait for loading, and engage in that new activity.
So, team desktop by default. But as 2020 has intensified my unhealthy sitting-centric lifestyle—especially with my beloved sport, badminton, on perma-hiatus—it’s more obvious than ever that I need to get up and move more. If I would start getting up sometimes to move shop to the TV, shit, I’d be running 5Ks in no time.
I hate playing games on my desktop. Maybe it’s because that’s where I spend most of my day working. Maybe it’s because I have a really shitty chair. So I bought a tiny couch for my tiny home office because I would much prefer to be lying on it with my legs dangling over the edge than deal with the slow burn of lower-back pain as I click through one more turn on my favorite 4X game (spoilers: it’s Endless Space 2). I’ve occasionally streamed PC games to the TV seven feet away from my PC using a Steam Link for this very reason. I’ve even tried to play Destiny 2 on my tiny 24-inch PC monitor while lounging on the other side of the room.
Once during college when I was waiting for my external Wi-Fi card to arrive so I could hook my desktop up to the internet I set it up on top of two liquor boxes sitting in front of my couch like a coffee table so I was within range of the modem. This is how I played Age of Empires II for many hours and this is how I would play every game if I lived alone.
Kotaku’s weighed in, but what’s your take? Desk, couch, or exciting dark-horse option à la Ian? Have your say. We’ll be back next Monday to deliberate and debate on another nerdy issue. See you in the comments!