How to Play Video Games
Choose a platform. Playing video games no longer requires a dedicated console or a souped-up gaming computer. There are an increasing number of quality games available for your laptop, old computer, smartphone, or tablet. Get a taste for these first before you shell out hundreds of dollars for a console or computer upgrades. Once you’ve decided to explore new territory, keep the following in mind:
For the largest number of available games, get a desktop computer running the latest operating system, and install a good video card.
For a cheap, easy to set up option, purchase a console. Choose a latest-generation console (PS4, Switch, or Xbox One) to play new games, or an old one (PS3, Wii, Xbox 360 or even earlier) for a large selection of cheap, used classics.
Choose a handheld gaming system for a specific game you can’t get on your phone.
Check the game rating. Game rating systems vary between each country, but an explanation should be available on the packaging or online description. Games rated M for mature or for an age range 17 or higher typically contain extreme violence or disturbing scenes.
Read the system requirements. If you are using a console, you should be able to play any game for that console. Computer gamers need to find out their computer specifications and check them against the requirements on the game packaging or website. There are typically two sets of requirements listed:
“Required” lists the bare minimum. If you fall short of any of these requirements, don’t purchase the game. If you barely meet these requirements, the game will probably be slow and/or look much worse than trailers and screenshots show.
“Recommended” requirements should let you play the game with shorter loading times, no lag or visual glitches, and better graphics settings.
Watch video reviews. Games are a huge business, and the actual gameplay sometimes fails to live up to marketing hype. Find at least one review before you purchase an expensive game, preferably a video one so you can watch the gameplay first hand.
Hear about new games and old classics. If you have gamer friends, you’ll probably hear about new games whether you like it or not. Other sources of information include gaming blogs and magazines, which you can find with a quick online search, or browsing the vast collection of computer games on Steam, the free game store.
Feel free to jump into sequels. Don’t feel obligated to play the first game in a series. The sequels often have improved gameplay and graphics, and often don’t even follow the previous story directly.
Be cautious with competitive games. If you don’t consider yourself a gamer, there are certain genres that you may not enjoy. First-person shooters, fighting games, “battle arenas” like League of Legends, and to a lesser extent sports games tend to be fiercely competitive. These are often extremely difficult for a new player to learn.
If you have your heart set on learning one of these genres, pick one with a single-player mode that lets you learn on your own, such as Halo.
Some specific games in different genres fall into this category as well. The Starcraft and Dark Souls series are not recommended for inexperienced gamers.