Sunday, June 3, 2012

How to Survive the Modern Gaming Age

Are you new to gaming and would like to know the best approach to the hobby? Or are you someone who has been gaming for a while like myself, who is discovering how vast the gaming industry has become and it becomes tougher and tougher to experience everything it has to offer? To both and those in between, I have written the following insights as a guide, or a point of reminder if you will, for myself to stay focused in my gaming life while being fully in control of my gaming hobby instead of allowing it to ever control me.

Arming yourself with just a PlayStation Move gun will not be enough to survive.

1) Maintain a Competent Gaming Personal Computer
With the help with Valve's Steam digital distribution service, PC gaming has matured into the best place to game compared to other platforms out there. Before investing money on another platform, whether new or old, the gaming PC has to be maintained properly to take advantage of newer gaming technologies, which usually means a major hardware upgrade every 5-6 years or so with potential graphics card upgrade twice during that period of time. Things have slowed down somewhat these days but this aspect of PC gaming has always been criticized by naysayers: What those people fail to realize is that unlike the consoles, most of your games will survive new PC operating systems and will realistically be that way for the rest of your life. Console gaming has pretty much abandoned the idea of backwards compatibility in favor of profit by re-releasing old games on the new consoles but that is never the case for PC gaming. Also, gaming on the PC will ensure that one is always at the forefront of the gaming universe. PC gaming sets standards that will eventually be followed by the consoles, like high definition graphics, post-release patches, downloadable contents, and eventually, free to play business model as well as digital-only distribution of software. The gaming PC has to take priority over everything else in one's Game Library. Mind you that I am not saying that one should only game exclusively on the PC because that would be a bit misleading. What I am saying however is that the gaming PC should be the core of one's gaming life before one ventures out into the other areas of gaming because it is the best place to game.

2) Never Invest on a Launch Console Hardware
Once something that only happens in the realm of the Nintendo DS handheld, console makers are being so bold about making big hardware changes, as we have seen during this PlayStation 3, X-Box 360, and even the Wii generation. When the "next generation" of consoles role out, I will not get them until a year or two have passed or until the next major hardware revision happens unless the purchase is outside of my direct control. The greatest benefit of this is that once it's time to invest, there will be plenty of games ready to be picked up at whim and their prices would be low as well. Waiting for the new console hardware works extremely well with the first point I made about having a competent gaming PC. While waiting, I won't be missing out on anything really because the PC games will keep me busy. Besides, gaming on the PC in the first place propels the gamer several "generations" ahead of the current or any upcoming, supposedly powerful new consoles.

3) Set a Game Price Budget
I am not going to discuss this one too much because I have written about it in length previously, which you can read by clicking here. Basically, one should always aim for a price that's a lot lower than the current recommended purchase price. This way, one will also be discouraged to just get out there to pick up a new game and instead, one would wait until the price of that game has become significantly lower. Sure, we should always make an exception or two every year like I did with Diablo III recently but make sure that those exceptions are truly few and far between.

4) Play What You Want to Play
These days, gaming allows us to connect with other gamers easily due to the popularity of social connectivity in gaming clients and online multiplayer modes of play. The one mistake that I have made many times years ago was getting a game just because an online acquaintance convinced me to get that very game for online multiplayer purposes. I quickly found out that the sessions never last and then I was left with a game that I really don't have any reason to play on my own. Never allow anyone to convince you what you should or should not be getting. Sure, as a careful gamer, getting other gamers' opinions about a game is a good practice but always allow your own gut instinct to make the final decision and the decision must abide to this rule: that you would be able to have fun with that game without being dependent on having someone else, online or offline, playing the game with you. I know it's bleak to say this but friendships don't last forever and I learned that the hard way so don't risk it.

It is so easy for someone like myself, who wants to conquer everything that the video gaming universe throws at me, to get lost into a violent loop of obsession and unquenchable desire for more and there is a certain danger to those conditions - one of them being someone who ends up with too many games than there are the amount of time to play them. I know that I have not reached that point just yet and I just know that there must be a solid strategy to survive this hobby and that was what prompted me to come up with the important points I listed above. I know that it is hard to resist the ever increasing new promises that the gaming industry has served up for us but I know that adhering the the rules I have laid out will ensure that I will always come out on top at all times.

Update Note: 06/12/2013 - My thoughts on PlayStation 4 and X-Box One


Chalgyr Vokel said...

Those were good. :) I almost feel like adding: and make sure your wife is okay with your gaming habits. :p

Seriously, I have a mix of friends, and like half their wives do NOT sit well with gaming, and are constantly on them about it. The other half (and thankfully I fall into this category) have wives who either play, or just accept that hey - it's part of who we are. :)

Loner Gamer said...

Good point. If your significant other doesn't support your gaming habit, what a horrible life that would be... That advice would fall under "How to Survive a Relationship with a Non-Gamer" lol.