If you’ve streamed just about all that Netflix has to offer during the coronavirus lockdown, you may be looking for some other at-home hobbies to take up. Gaming is the perfect social-distance-friendly activity to occupy your time and connect with new and old friends.
But if you’re new to the online gaming scene, you might not be sure where to start. With hundreds of games to choose from and complex computer lingo to breakdown, getting into gaming can seem a little intimidating at first, but it doesn’t have to be!
In this post, we’re demystifying the world of gaming and sharing 4 steps to help you understand the culture, get the gear you need, and finally, get your game on.
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Step 1: Dive into the gaming culture
Online gaming has always fostered a tight-knit community that seems hard to break into at first, but the truth is, gamers are really passionate and welcoming to newcomers. If you’re hoping to expand on your skill and learn the lingo, a great first step to take is to learn about the history and culture of online gaming.
A brief history of online gaming
While this may seem like a newer trend, online games actually started with packet-based computer networks in 1970s.
- Commercial games started taking off in the mid-80s, and the 90s marked a new decade of online gaming with increased internet availability around the world.
- The 2000s introduced new platforms like video game consoles and game design that evolved into the complex, design-centric examples we see today.
If you want to learn more about the people behind consoles and computers and connect with your fellow new gamers, think about joining a gamer social network. In addition to chatting via messenger, you can also set up group messaging, video chats, and online events.
Step 2: Find out what games you’re into
Once you’ve joined a group of gamers, you’ll be able to learn a lot about the types of games that are out there; what’s cool, what isn’t, etc. To help you narrow down your options, take a look at these common gaming types:
- Action games — In action games, the player controls the action and typically engages in physical challenges. Examples: Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros.
- Strategy games — Strategy games give players total control over the gamescape and its resources. Gamers implement different tactics to beat challenges. Examples: Starcraft, The Age of Empires.
- Sports games — If you’re interested in playing basketball, baseball, or golf, sports video games may be the ideal genre for you. These games simulate real sporting events and allow gamers to compete with other players. Examples: NBA Jam, FIFA, Madden NFL.
- Simulation games — Simulation games mimic real-life scenarios like caring for pets or building an adult life but give gamers control over their avatars. The Sims is probably the most popular example of a simulation game. Examples: The Sims, Nintendogs, Tamagotchi.
Step 3: Do your research on gaming gear
Depending on the type of gaming you’ll be doing most, you’ll want to get specific gear. If you’re into handheld games like Animal Crossing, you might opt for a Nintendo Switch or game on your smartphone if you’re gaming more casually.
For more action-intensive games, gaming keyboards are a good thing to have as it polishes up your performance and improves accuracy. And for graphics-focused games, you’ll probably want to go ahead and update your graphics card for better rendering and an elevated gaming experience.
Whether you’re buying a new gaming mouse or an all-new setup, it’s wise to do your research. Read reviews, ask fellow gamers, and make sure that whatever accessories you’re buying can be configured with your current setup.
Step 4: Learn from the best
Finally, as you dial in your setup and start honing your skill, take some time to learn from the best in the business. There are plenty of forums, virtual learning conferences, and professional gaming streams that you can leverage and learn from. Plus, in the coming years after the pandemic, you can attend in-person gaming conferences like Comic-Con and PAX.
Did we miss any tips, gamers? Open up the discussion and share your own advice for new gamers in the comment section below!