Ever wanted to just leave the world behind, forget your day to day tasks, if only for a few hours, and go somewhere else where the rules of the real world no longer apply? Luckily you’re living in 2017, where something like that is easily possible by simply turning off the lights and booting up your favourite video game. The popularity of video games, be it on the PC, gaming consoles or even smartphones, has skyrocketed over the past few years as more and more people chose to play them.
What should I play?
There is an overwhelming number of video games available these days, more so than ever before. In fact, more than half the games on Steam were released in 2016. With so many games at your disposal, it might be hard to decide what to spend your time and money on. Narrowing things down and picking a game of a genre you might enjoy is a good way to start, but it might still be a struggle to find what you’re looking for. Maybe you’re the type that enjoys a thrilling fast paced shooter, maybe you prefer to explore endless fields and forests or maybe you like it when the game gives you a good scare. You finally pick a genre, click the filter and boom, there are 50 pages of games for you to look through. Instead of diving in and playing some video games, you’ll find yourself sifting through lists of dozens upon dozens of games.
The whole experience of picking what to play and making sure it’s something you will enjoy can be a chore. Thank god for gaming sites that do all that work for you. Games journalism, just like video games themselves, has come a long way. Every game seems to have several dozen reviews, videos and “let’s plays” about it. Sites like Metacritic combine reviews from several websites into an easy to digest summary and score, as well as the user reviews where players themselves can express their opinion on a game. It’s not uncommon, in fact, it’s expected, to see gaming sites have “top 10” or “the best of” lists, where they give their recommendation on games they think people should experience, making the whole search a lot less of a chore.
Build a base, grab a gun and watch out for zombies
It might sound like something you’d see in a movie, but it’s just as real in video games. These types of games, where making a makeshift home out of wood, dirt, and rocks, crafting tools and weapons, then defending yourself against anything the night can throw at you, have grown fairly popular over the last few years. You might have guessed it by now; that general is survival games. The type of game that mashes together elements from several different genres to give you an exciting and sometimes even creative experience.
The point of these games might seem obvious, to survive, to not die, but isn’t that the point of all games? Well, survival games bump it up a notch and add in elements such as hunger, thirst and the requirement to sleep. It also encourages the player to be creative; picking a good location for your home base can be vital, hiding it in a dense forest or placing it on top of a tall hill so nothing can surprise you. Once a location is picked, the game gives you the tools to build virtually anything, the only thing limiting you is your own creativity. This is, however, only the beginning.
In these types of games, everything and everyone is out to get you. Be it wildlife, monsters hiding in the shadows or even other players. One of the more exciting elements is facing other living players in a wide open environment, competing for resources, making friends, forging alliances and eventually having everything crumble as you face betrayal. It’s a rush of adrenaline like no other and all this from the comfort of your gaming chair where the only thing you risk is sleep deprivation.
Making the most out of your gaming experience
Of course, to do any gaming you’ll need a proper computer, one that can run anything you might want to install on it. While it’s true that most games will run on virtually anything (games from the early 2000s even run on smartphones these days) you’ll want a gaming rig that can handle the vast open worlds, high-quality shadows and a high numbers of players without slowing your framerate down to a crawl.
A good place to start would be your graphics card, seems obvious enough, but those can get really expensive. There are several blogs, gaming sites and even stores where you could look up or ask for recommendations on how to get the most bang for your buck. A common recommendation is the GTX 970, or if you’d prefer a more expensive alternative that will last you a few years longer, the GTX 1080. If you’re looking for budget buys, then you should consider AMD’s offerings; the RX 480, 470 and 460.
The whole thing doesn’t stop there, however. Once you’re hooked up with a modern graphics card, you want to actually see what it’s capable of, you require a good monitor. A lot about buying a monitor is personal preference, but things one should always look out for is the refresh rate and resolution. For fast paced games, such as first-person shooters, a 144Hz monitor is recommended for that silky smooth experience, or if you’re feeling more on the cheap side, a 60Hz monitor will serve you just fine. Resolutions vary, but anything at 1080p, or 4K if you’re feeling extreme, should be perfectly fine.