How do I begin playing video video games? A amateur’s manual


Heard loads about Grand Theft Auto or Uncharted? Want to provide games a pass however no longer positive where to begin? Here’s a quick creation

Recently, several non-techy pals have sidled as much as me and asked, in hushed, conspiratorial tones: “Keith, have to I be playing video video games?”

It’s an interesting question for two motives. First, I write about video games for a dwelling; that’s my job. So what did they assume I changed into going to mention? “No, they’re a huge waste of time”? Secondly, a few years ago, humans my age had been feeling responsible for playing video games, now there are humans feeling guilty that they’re now not. This is development.

So for all of the potential gamers out there who’re thinking about taking on a joypad, however, don’t know in which to begin, or which video games to strive, or what a joypad seems like, here is a brief guide:

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So ought to you play video games?



Yes! The medium has matured hugely over the past five years, and there’s a significant variety of studies available, from massive blockbusting open-world adventures approximately marauding gangsters, to teeny, incredibly personal indie video games approximately popping out. Games are respected enough for Bafta to just accept them into its remit, sufficient for Moma to place various titles into its everlasting series, and enough for main art areas just like the Barbican and the Grand Palais museum in Paris to run exhibitions.

Games have been shown to enhance hand-eye coordination, cognitive flexibility, decision making, even vision. Despite popular stereotypes, games are sociable and inclusive, with large, supportive groups and a few wonderful activities. If you’re glad to watch TV for 3 hours a day or usually peruse celebrity gossip websites and social media streams, you can’t – with any diploma of self-recognition – name video games a waste of time.

Snoop Dogg plays a PlayStation four.
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Not losing his lifestyles … Avid gamer Snoop Dogg. Photograph: UPI / Landov / Barcroft Media
What you need to play video games

If you have already got a cellphone or tablet, then super, you’ve got a games gadget. The contemporary Apple, Android and Windows handsets characteristic powerful processors, big presentations and sizeable app shops crammed with games (you’ll have more choice in case your telephone is the modern day version, and your working machine is updated). If you’re looking for a brand new handset, the cutting-edge iPhone and Android fashions are the first-rates (Windows isn’t so nicely supported with the aid of recreation builders): the Samsung Galaxy Note four, Sony Xperia Z3 and LG G3 are all incredible alternatives for gaming. Budget fashions just like the Motorola Moto G and older iPhone models are satisfactory for much less stressful ‘informal’ titles.


If you’re searching out the most superior gaming enjoy with the excellent visuals, you’ll want to shop for a PC (you could play video games on Apple Macs too. However, there are fewer titles to be had – unless you dual-boot, however, we aren’t going there). Running the state-of-the-art big price range movement video games at the absolute peak of their competencies – and ensuring you could accomplish that for two or three greater years – would require some thing within the region of an Intel i7 4790 processor, an Nvidia GTX 980 portraits card and possibly 16GB of device reminiscence (though 8GB is presently fine for games). It would be exceptional to have a newish Windows install too, although masses of games help the open supply alternative, Linux.

However, you don’t ought to spend big on a top-of-the-range mega beast: if you’re glad to show a number of the images settings down, £500-600 gets you a respectable system with an Intel i5 processor, AMD R9 280 portraits card and 8GB of memory. Even an old pc with Windows XP and 512MB of ram will permit you to play a ramification of smaller indie games and older titles. Classic point-and-click adventures, approach titles and vintage shooters are reasonably-priced and without difficulty available on-line (Good Old Games has loads of them), and don’t require today’s hardware.

If your eyes glazed over at all that speak of processors and portraits playing cards, that’s nice: go to a terrific PC supplier like PCSpecialist, Overclockers or Chillblast, provide them your finances and let them construct a device that suits it. You will need to expand a few understanding of computers and operating systems, though, specifically if you plan to improve your pix card or reminiscence sooner or later. We have a piece of writing on building a gaming PC – it’s a little dated on the specifics however nevertheless sound on the sorts of things you need to reflect on consideration on.


Just about edging it … PlayStation four.
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Just about edging it … PlayStation four. Photograph: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images
For the majority, a console is a great alternative to the PC. They’re cheaper, they’re equipped to play properly out of the box, and you don’t should worry about masses of hardware compatibility problems and images settings. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are the modern fashions (both retailing at around £350), and technically they’re extremely similar. At the moment, the PS4 is promoting higher, and developers appear to be getting more out of it regarding images performance. However, it’s near – and you must test which one your friends have, simply in case you need to play on-line with them.

Alternatively, you may purchase a Wii U (cheap and exciting with 3 or four exceptional titles which can be fantastic for families) or step a generation again with a PlayStation three or Xbox 360. They each have loads of games available, and at around £150 every is an inexpensive starting point. Even picking up an old PlayStation 1 or Dreamcast and a gaggle of games at your local automobile boot sale will give you an concept or whether you like gaming or now not.