Odds and ends Gamers overlook: PC Gamers part II

Hey welcome to the second part of my article about things gamers tend to overlook. The first one I went over things console gamers overlook, the TV, headset, and chair. Anyway, this time I’ll be catering to PC gamers. The truth of the matter is that PC gamers have a whole lot more things to consider. You have keyboard, mouse, monitor, chair, and desk. There’s probably other stuff but those of course are the main ones. This is considering that the centerpiece of it all is your gaming system, which is probably the thing you spend the most money on along with games for it. Like I said in the last article, that’s great because that’s where you get the most bang for your dollar.

So what’s the best things to keep in mind when you are out looking for a keyboard, mouse, monitor, chair, and desk? Well let me cover the monitor first. This is much like the situation with the gaming TV for console gamers, you want something that doesn’t have much input lag. There’s also this spec called refresh rate, and a lot of gamers swear by having a high refresh rate like 144hz. This will smooth over the visuals and perhaps even react faster than other people. Obviously there are all these new resolutions out there for monitors now too. I’d suggest going with a 1080p or 1440p max if you want to keep your performance at an all time high. Too many pixels without enough system juice will mean a slower experience.

Keyboards and mice are pretty easy. And there are so many options. I can’t believe how many peripheral manufacturerers are out there now. I’d suggest just sticking with a company like Razer because you know you’re going to get quality with them. There is a lot of rip offs out there and I’ve been burned a few times with things that break in a couple months.

Chairs and desks. You know, not a lot of people think about this just as with the console gamer not thinking about where they park their tukus. Well start thinking about it because if you’re like me and do some serious gaming… I’m talking hours and hours at a time, you need a good freakin chair. Sure you might spend a couple hundred on it but its better then going to Walmart and getting a piece of crap that kills your back and gets uncomfortable after an hour of gaming. Go on Amazon and order a good one and your going to thank me for it. Desks aren’t as important but you don’t want something too high or low or you increase your chances of getting carpal tunnel. Also you don’t want something to small or your going to overload it with crap and not be able to find anything.

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Odds and ends Gamers overlook: Console Gamers part I

For most gamers the focus lies on the game and the machine you are relying on to power said game. And to be honest that’s where most of the focus should be. For console gamers, this is your xbox or playstation or wii. And then its the game you pop into them, your game of choice. Of course for PC gamers this gets a bit more complicated because of customization of systems. You can have a powerful rig or not so powerful. You can play on max settings or low settings. So many times people will focus spending their money on graphics cards and processors, the two main workhorses of the gaming computer. But for gamers there is more than just these tools. If you look beyond these basics, there’s a whole world out there.

I think the big one for console gamers is the TV, headset, and chair. The visual experience, audio, and comfort level can all be enhanced to have the most fun possible.

A legit TV is a must have for a serious gamer. Did you even know there are TVs that are better for gaming than others? It comes down to a spec called input lag. Its like internet lag but its the delay between the time an action is taken in game and it appears on your TV. Some TVs have way lower input lag times and that’s what you should be gaming on.

There is this little company called X Rocker, you may have heard of them. They create pretty cool gaming chairs that have audio speakers built in. Also you can rock in them so if you get excited your body can express itself.

Last but not least is a headset. You want one that attempts to replicate a surround sound experience. Why? Because this gives you an advantage. Especially when you turn the sound all the way up. Have you ever run around corners or through a building in call of duty and someone is just waiting for you and you get gunned down without even a half second to react? The other player probably has a surround sound headset like one from Turtle Beach. They can hear you and the direction you are coming from. Boom your dead.

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My list of gaming sites – a complete resource

Over the years I’ve built up a bookmark list of gaming sites that I frequent. I have probably seen all of the popular ones, and spent a great deal of time on each. But there are some that time and again I agree with their ratings and opinions the most. Of course, this is like just my opinion too so take it or leave it.

Reviews of games

There are so many sites out there that review games. It’s an easy business to get into, you buy a game, play it, than write about your experience. If you’re already playing video games then its not much trouble to do reviews. Anyway, here are some of my favorite game review sites:

  1. Metacritic. This gives you a good overview of the game in question. It synthesizes information from a bunch of review sites.
  2. PC Gamer. Obviously no console game reviews here, but this magazine has been around for a long time and has some of the best writers and reviews of PC games anywhere.
  3. Lazy Game Reviews. This is a really cool YouTube channel that has tons of stuff. It’s something just for fun to check out as it has some funny reviews on it.
  4. The Video Game Critic. This site has been around since 1999 and is my favorite independent reviews site.

Reviews of gaming supplies

As the gaming past time has grown, companies have sprung up everywhere. It always seems like there’s a new peripherals company just around the corner. The cool thing is that means there’s a lot of competition for your money, and a lot of choices. That choices part can be troublesome sometimes though because how do you know the options and what is best for your situation. Here are some sites I have used:

  1. Tom’s Hardware. You have to do a little bit of digging in this site, but there is a large helpful community that backs it up. If you have a question there’s usually a couple people that will share their opinions with you.
  2. Kotaku. This is a crowdsourcing site and shifting through the comments and review sections can usually give you a lot of good ideas.
  3. High Ground Gaming. This is a newer site that has many overviews and reviews of gaming equipment and peripherals. Another place to go for option ideas.
  4. PC Gamer. I already mentioned them above but they also have a reviews section for PC gaming stuff. They cover a few popular items in depth and test them thoroughly.

 

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Nerds vs. Jocks: I’m tired of it

I’m happy to say that I think this cultural dynamic is beginning to die out, especially among younger generations. The line has got more blurry than ever, nerds play sports and jocks play video games. It is still perpetuated by some media outlets and some jerks out there that nerds live in their mom’s basement and jocks are the supreme beings of our society. But the bottom line is people are starting to see video games as a more acceptable past time. They are starting to get the idea that nerds are responsible for many of the good things in life. eSports may also be a contributing factor to this development. People are starting to make money from playing video games, just as people started making money from playing sports a century or so ago.

There are still signs of resistance against the nerds. Recently some guy from ESPN said he would quit if he had to provide coverage of eSports. This is exactly the sort of attitude that perpetuates stereotypes and keeps the hate train rolling down the tracks. Its okay though progress takes time.

Another cool thing is that a cool nerd culture is rising. I think this development goes hand in hand with the rise of other sub cultures within the United States. It seems as if more people are celebrating what they do and instead of turning their back on the activities of others they look to enjoy the best of what that sub culture has to offer. There doesn’t have to be one form of entertainment via cable television. With the internet, people can choose to consume the type of media that fits their fancy best.

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Types of games that resonate in this day and age

The Shooter: otherwise known as the first person shooter or 3rd person shooter, the action game genre still seems to be living large. In multi-player format, I think the basic formula of killing before you get killed appeals well to the lizard brain. It’s just enough reward to want to keep going round after round. When you go on a killing spree, or are the top kill death ratio on your team that is like the big bonus. But these games also require skill. Reacting quickly, using the right weapons for the right situations, placement of grenades, using the right combination in the character set up, and knowing the maps are all things that can be learned and improved upon. Rage may consume the gamer at times, but staying cool is part of the game. In single player format, it is fun to feel like a God and go around destroying your enemies against the odds. But the story is also very important here. The fact that there is a clear starting and ending point makes all the difference. Winning the game becomes a point in the future defined by the game maker, whereas the multi-player can seem like a bit of a treadmill at times.

The Sandbox and the Openworld: of course Minecraft is the first game that comes to most people’s minds, but this type of game is spreading like wildfire. On the PC, many times this openworld formula is seen in the embodiment of the massively multiplayer online game genre. But other games such as Skyrim, Witcher 3, Garry’s Mod, Fallout, Assassin’s Creed, Grand Theft Auto, Farcry, Terraria, and the upcoming Everquest Next are just a handful of additional prominent examples. Being able to create things and see how they effect the environment is an engaging experience. Here the developer hands you the tools, sets a broad scope of parameters, and let’s you play with the world as you see fit. Cooperating with others is a big part of some of these types of games. It reminds us that much more can be accomplished than working by oneself.

The Competitive or eSports Category: this type of game has seen a significant rise over the last few years thanks mostly in part to the multi-player online battle arena genre (MOBA). The big names like Defense of the Ancients, League of Legends, and the upcoming Heroes of the Storm from Blizzard are titles most of us gamers have heard of. But we also see shooter titles in this category as well such as Counter-Strike and the Call of Duty series. I think the attractive part of this category is that if a person can get good enough at a specific title, there is the possibility of making money from that skill via streaming on Twitch, winning tournaments and competitions, or even sponsorships and a salary. But also I think it goes further than that. I think the thrill of winning is more exciting for some individuals. It feels good and some of us are plain more competitive than others.

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