The Beginners Guide to Gaming: What’s The Right Choice For You?
So here we are at the start of a brand new year and there really couldn’t be a better time to get into gaming, not only due to the amount of exciting titles currently slated for release but also due to the sheer amount of options available, not to mention that gaming is currently at an all time high between the amount of options for gamers and the rise of e-sports. It’s no longer the hobby of choice for the socially awkward and instead something which really brings people together while providing a new platform where stories can be told and experienced, from building a crime empire to living out your action hero fantasties to colourful platforming to puzzle-driven mystery adventures, it really seems these days there is a game out there to suit anyone’s tastes.
Of course the sheer amount of options for gaming also means that it can be slightly overwhelming when your looking to get started, so hopefully this guide will help to make it a little clearer. We have avoided including prices as depending on when your looking to buy your first console the prices really can vary with most stores and online retailers offering decent discounts during their sales, while at the same time you can pick up used consoles at usually around half the price, so we’d always advise shopping around and comparing prices to ensure you find the best deal for your budget. But let’s keep things simple and kick things off with your options for home gaming.
The current favourite, especially with families and those who don’t traditionally consider themselves gamers, the Nintendo Switch offers a wide range of colourful and non-threatening titles alongside party style games that have helped make the previous console, the Wii, such a success for the company. The Switch is unquestionably an impressive piece of kit as it offers you the ability to not only play games at home but also the ability to take your gaming on the go without the need of an excessively long extension cord.
The downside to the Switch however is the lack of strong titles for the more serious gamer with currently Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey being your main choices in a catalogue that seems more focused on providing more quick and pick up play style games such as Arms and Splatoon 2.
Looking ahead to 2018 there are a selection of titles to look forward to such as Yoshi’s Woolly Adventure, but with its high price point we would recommend looking at the games available for the Switch and weighing up how many appeal to your own gaming tastes to decide if it’s worth it for you.
Playstation Vs. Xbox
The current industry heavyweights, the Playstation and Xbox One have their dedicated supporters, who will argue the case for why their preferred console is the best. For the sake of keeping things simple, we won’t get into comparing the technical specs of the two machines, especially as most gamers won’t concern themselves with such things, especially when both machines are capable of producing incredible graphics and gaming experiences.
The main difference for those not fascinated by technical details between the two machines can be found in their game catalogues, which is were Playstation pulls ahead of its competitor as Playstation certainly has nailed down numerous strong title exclusives, including the likes of Uncharted, God of War and Horizon Zero Dawn. Playstation have also built a strong reputation of working with independent developers adding to their catalogue a wide range of fun and unique titles.
Of course Xbox is not without its strengths and while they might not have as many exclusive titles, despite having the likes of Halo and Forza, it is something that Microsoft are looking to correct with their release schedule for 2018. At the same time Microsoft have a strong dedication to making as many titles from former generations, the Xbox 360 and original Xbox, compatible. This of course only further expands the range of games available with the added advantage of most 360 games now can be found heavily reduced, meaning that you can pick up a lot of games cheap either online through Amazon or Ebay or even at any good used games store.
Of the two consoles, the Xbox currently retails cheaper than it’s Playstation counterpart with both coming with the option for a premium version with Xbox having the Xbox One X and Playstation having the PS4 Pro. Both machines being designed for use with 4K televisions and even upgrading gameplay when possible. However, unless you’re the sort of person who likes to have the best of tech or own a 4K television the regular versions will more than deliver.
Gaming aside, consoles are now designed as being complete entertainment centres, with the ability to play Blu-ray’s as well as a wide range of online streaming and on demand services such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, Crunchyroll and Twitch all available and giving you much more than just a games console and when space is at a premium in your TV unit certainly saving you slots.
Now if your willing to spend a lot on gaming you can get into PC gaming. This is unquestionably the more expensive option, but at the same time one dictated by what you’re looking to get out of your gaming experience as there are a large number of games that will run on your standard PC, while others will require you to invest in upgrading your hardware to ensure your getting the maximum output and speed from your games.
It used to be that to get the best from gaming you had to use your PC, but developments within the console market no longer see this as being the case with many gamers choosing to keep their gaming to a console. However, for those who prefer more choice and especially for those who like hardware, then PC gaming can be a rewarding aspect of gaming if certainly not the cheapest.
Compared to the consoles the mouse and keyboard control preferred by most PC gamers suits a number of games which the console gamepads struggle with such as real time strategy games and point and click adventures meaning that it might be more suitable if your looking for more strategic gaming. PC gamers also have access to Steam which services as a digital storefront from which you can purchase not only mainstream games, but also many independent titles with the gaming options being as varied now as the for the console gamers.
Of course it would be impossible to not mention PC gaming without talking online gaming, with a host of MMO’s (Massively Multiplayer Online Games) such as the incredibly popular World of Warcraft and EVE Online as well as highly competitive games such as League of Legends and the more recent PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds, which have seen major competitions built around them while at the same time they are still just as enjoyable for the more casual gamer.
So hopefully this has provided you a starting point to getting into gaming, certainly this is really just scratching the surface of what is a surprisingly varied and unquestionably fun hobby and in future columns we will explore some of the other areas in further detail.