XBOX game controller

How do I start playing video games? Gaming guide 2021

Playing video games can be a very therapeutic stress-buster after a long day of work or study. But with so many options opening up in every direction, it becomes difficult for a beginner to decide what to buy and what to play. Console vs PC, console vs console, AMD vs Intel; in this guide we will debunk myths and find out what exactly do you need for a decent level of gaming.

But isn't playing video games a waste of time?

Not at all! In fact, the medium has matured massively over the last 10 years, and there is a huge variety of experiences available for everyone, from massive blockbuster open-world adventures about raiding gangsters in which you can do anything imaginable, to sports titles where you can make your own league and compete your way to the top. Many people have in fact identified gaming as a opportunity and have gone professional, earning tonnes of money and fame.

Games are proven to boost hand-eye coordination, cognitive flexibility, decisiveness and even vision. Despite common stereotypes, games are sociable and comprehensive, with large, substantial communities and a few sensible events. Basically, if you’re happy to observe TV for 3 hours on a daily basis or frequently see celebrity gossips on websites and social media streams, you can’t – with any degree of understanding –  come to a decision that video games are a waste of your time.

So how should you get started?

Whether you are a college student or a salaried individual, it is important to understand that gaming is an investment of time and money. Therefore, you should be thoughtful before making your first purchase in this direction. If you have ample of money on hand then it is understandable to go for everything 4k, but someone with a more humble budget might have to look deeper than the surface.

PC gaming or Console gaming?

A lot of people think that for gaming, they either need a dedicated gaming rig with fancy RGB lights, or they need the latest console to get a good experience. Now this is both true and false depending on your own needs and priorities. If you have a more work/study oriented life and you get less than 3-4 hours to yourself everyday, then a simple plug and play console might be your thing. However if you are more passionate towards customizing your experience, and occasionally plan to stream for fun, you might want to save up and invest in a gaming rig.

I personally prefer a PC over a console mostly because of the sheer flexibility you get with a PC. However, hopping on the PS4 (soon the PS5) with the boys is a separate emotion altogether.  I have done a more detailed PC vs Console gaming comparison here.

Mobile Gaming

If you already have a smartphone or tablet, then great! You have a gaming setup. The latest Apple, Android and Windows handsets feature powerful processors, large displays and vast app stores crammed with games (you’ll have more choice if your phone is the latest model and your operating system is up to date).

Like it or not, mobile gaming has come way ahead of the traditional titles like Angry Birds and Temple Run. With the advent of the digital era in the country and ample of internet for everyone, online gaming with mobile phones has become a major pass-time for a lot of people. Games like PUBG Mobile, Mariokart, Call of Duty:Mobile and many others have grown so much that many gaming clans have come up in India. Mobile phone companies today are launching more and more powerful devices at cheaper prices which are very good for entry level to professional level gamers.

What can you start playing?

Now there are literally thousands if not hundreds of thousands of gaming titles that you can play in 2021. However, if I were you I would start my way up from the free games that are available to see which genres are more likely to pique my interests. I am listing below some of the popular free to play titles that you must try.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive

CS GO banner

CS GO by Valve is one of the most popular first person shooting games of all time. What’s more? The game is free to play on Steam. The game is easy to install and does not take a lot of space on your system. If first person shooting games are your thing, then you can’t go wrong with this game. However this game is available to play only on PC, but will run smoothly even if your specifications are not very great.

VALORANT

Valorant is a relatively new first person shooting game by Riot Games launched in 2020 itself. However, in spite of  this, the game is growing at an amazing speed. The developers are always fixing bugs, releasing new characters, and building new maps. Moreover, Riot has recently launched its Mumbai Servers (full article here). Overall the game is amazing to play and completely free to download on PC.

Rocket League

rocket league game

Rocket League is a vehicular soccer video game developed and published by Psyonix. Described as “soccer, but with rocket-powered cars,” Rocket League involves two teams that use rocket-powered vehicles to hit a ball into their opponent’s goal and score points over the course of a match. The game includes single-player and multiplayer modes that can be played both locally and online, including cross-platform play between the PlayStation and Microsoft Windows versions, as well as cross-play between Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows versions. You can download Rocket League from the Epic Store.

Fortnite

fortnite

Fortnite by Epic Games is a free to play cross platform build and battle first person shooting game. Launched in 2017, this game has arguably one of the largest international following. It has elements like mining and building from Minecraft, first person shooter Battle Royale like Warzone and many other cool in game features. The game grows frequently and the developers drop a new “Season” or “Chapter” almost twice a year. While the game takes a lot of storage space, it is definitely worth a shot.

There are many more free to play games, like Watch Dogs II, Call of Duty: Warzone etc. I haven’t written anything about them here as I haven’t given them a go yet. But you get the point, there are plenty of titles to try once you get going.

Do you want to play for a living?

While this might sound a bit too far fetched, playing video games for a living is not very difficult. The elements of getting your hobby to pay off is consistency and practice, depending on what you wish to do. As a gamer you can earn money in chiefly two ways: as a content creator or as a competitive player. Both ways have their pros and cons. They require different setups and different temperaments. What is important is that you enjoy doing what you do, because gaming is the last thing that you want to worry about.

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