How to Play Video Games

Choosing a video game or learning how to play one can be overwhelming for someone who is unfamiliar with them. Fortunately, the abundance of options means that you will almost certainly find a game you enjoy. With a little guidance and advice, you’ll be able to start exploring a virtual world in no time.

Part 1 Finding Games

1. Select a platform. Playing video games no longer necessitates the use of a dedicated console or a powerful gaming computer. A growing number of high-quality games are available for your laptop, old computer, smartphone, or tablet. Before you spend hundreds of dollars on a console or computer upgrades, try these out first. When you’ve decided to venture into new territory, keep the following points in mind:

Get a desktop computer with the most recent operating system and a good video card if you want to play the most games.

Purchase a console for a low-cost, easy-to-install option. Choose a newer console (PS4, Switch, or Xbox One) to play new games, or an older console (PS3, Wii, Xbox 360, or even earlier) to play a large selection of cheap, used classics.

Choose a handheld gaming system if you want to play a game that isn’t available on your phone.

2. Examine the game’s rating. Each country’s game rating system is different, but an explanation should be included on the packaging or in the online description. Extreme violence or disturbing scenes are common in games rated M for mature or for ages 17 and up.

3. Examine the system prerequisites. You should be able to play any game for that console if you’re using a console. Computer gamers must determine their computer specifications and compare them to the requirements listed on the game packaging or website. Typically, two sets of requirements are listed:

The term “required” refers to the absolute bare minimum. If you don’t meet any of these requirements, don’t buy the game. If you barely meet these requirements, the game will most likely be much slower and/or look much worse than trailers and screenshots suggest.

“Recommended” system requirements should allow you to play the game with faster loading times, no lag or visual glitches, and higher graphics settings.

4. View video reviews. Games are a massive industry, and the actual gameplay does not always live up to the marketing hype. Before you buy an expensive game, read at least one review, preferably a video review so you can watch the gameplay firsthand.

5. Learn about new games as well as old favourites. Whether you like it or not, if you have gamer friends, you’ll probably hear about new games. Other sources of information include gaming blogs and magazines, which can be found by conducting a quick online search, or browsing the vast collection of computer games on Steam, the free game store.

6. Feel free to start working on sequels. You are not required to play the first game in a series. The sequels frequently have improved gameplay and graphics, and they frequently do not directly follow the previous storey.

7. When playing competitive games, exercise caution. Certain genres may not appeal to you if you do not consider yourself a gamer. Competitive games include first-person shooters, fighting games, “battle arenas” like League of Legends, and, to a lesser extent, sports games. These are frequently extremely difficult for a new player to master.

If you’re determined to learn one of these genres, choose one with a single-player mode that allows you to learn on your own, such as Halo.

Some specific games from various genres also fall into this category. Inexperienced gamers should avoid the Starcraft and Dark Souls series.

8. You should always try before you buy. If you’re not sure if a game is for you, look for a free demo version. If this isn’t an option, consider renting the game from the Gamefly website or a physical store.

Part 2 Getting Specific Recommendations

1. Try out some free introductory games. If you’ve never played a video game before, you might want to start with a few free ones to see what you like. A quick search for “free games” online or in an app store will yield thousands of results, but here are a few suggestions you should be able to find in an online search:

Puzzle games are widely available in mobile app stores and on flash game websites. If you’re tired of classics like Tetris and Minesweeper, try Loops of Zen, 3D Logic, Lightbot, and many others.

Most free action games on mobile or online aren’t good stepping stones to more “gamer”-oriented counterparts. Path of Exile is a more extensive introduction if you have a decent computer.

Try Hearthstone (collectible card game), Plants vs Zombies (tower defence), or Battle for Wesnoth if you enjoy strategy games (turn-based strategy). All three are available for both computer and mobile platforms, with the majority of versions available for free.

2. Look for more puzzle games. Candy Crush and 2048 are two of the most popular casual “coffee break” puzzle games. Take it to three dimensions and add a quirky storey to find the critically acclaimed Portal and Portal 2. Play Braid if only the most cerebral and fiendishly difficult games will do.

3. Look for action games. This is a broad and well-known genre. Look no further if you enjoy fighting and platforming (leaping and climbing around). These games’ atmospheres and settings range from horror (The Last of Us) to family-friendly (Legend of Zelda) to historical (Assassin’s Creed). Try a competitive first-person shooter (such as Call of Duty) or a family-friendly platformer if you enjoy testing your reflexes but aren’t interested in storey or immersive experiences (such as Super Mario Galaxy).

Try Super Smash Brothers (family friendly) or Grand Theft Auto V if you’d rather mess around or have fun with friends than explore and follow a storey (the opposite of family friendly).

4. Play story-based video games. Do you like sprawling fantasy settings? For a pseudo-medieval experience, try Dragon Age or Skyrim, or one of the more recent Final Fantasy games for a Japanese perspective. More disturbing examples set in dystopian utopias include Bioshock 2 and Bioshock: Infinite.

5. Get a few strategy games. In Civilization V or Civilization: Beyond Earth, you can use turn-based strategy to build an empire. Fast-paced “real-time strategy” games, such as the challenging multi-player game Starcraft II, will put your reflexes to the test. Try any Total War game to put your single-player tactical skills to the test or to take on the role of a famous historical figure.

6. Experiment with games of exploration and creativity. When it comes to building a world, there are few games more appealing than Minecraft if you don’t care about graphics. Maybe controlling a house and family in The Sims 2 is more your speed, or maybe you prefer Sunless Sea’s more detailed world and atmosphere.

7. Play an online multiplayer role-playing game. This genre, in which you play online with thousands of other players, was popularised by World of Warcraft. WoW is still alive and well, alongside Star Wars: The Old Republic, Lord of the Rings Online, and a plethora of other titles. Most of these are partially free to play, but before you get involved, learn about the payment system in the full version. These games are notoriously addictive, and once hooked, you may find yourself spending a significant amount of money on monthly subscription fees or in-game purchases.

Part 3 Playing the Game

1. Learn to have fun. Most games include tutorials that will walk you through the game’s mechanics. If you prefer to learn on your own, consult the instruction manual or the “documentation” section of the main menu or website.

2. Turn down the lights (optional). This is especially recommended for adventure and horror games. Aside from providing a greater sense of immersion, this will reduce glare that interferes with your ability to see the screen.

3. If you prefer, you can reduce the difficulty. Games don’t have to be about pain or pushing yourself to your limits. Set the difficulty to Easy if you’re playing a video game to unwind. The higher difficulty levels are frequently designed to be difficult challenges for people who have spent years playing similar games.

If a game has both single-player and multiplayer modes, the single-player mode is almost always the easier option.

4. If necessary, adjust the controls. You can skip this step unless there is a problem, but if you find yourself pressing the wrong button or straining your fingers, go to the menu options. There’s almost always the option to change the controls to the key you prefer.

Some games are extremely difficult to play with a laptop trackpad. A real mouse is a significant improvement.

If you prefer the feel of a console controller, you can connect one to your computer using the appropriate adapter. However, not all games support this.

5. Save frequently. Most games have an auto-save feature that saves your progress on a regular basis. If you have the option to save manually, use it frequently. Nothing is more frustrating than losing hours of work because your system crashes or the power goes out.

Create three or four save slots and rotate between them if you have the option. This allows you to load an old save to explore a different storey branch, or to recover your game if a bug corrupts your most recent save.

6. Experiment and discover. When compared to other forms of art, one of the most appealing aspects of video games is the ability to insert hidden content that you must actively search for and discover. Here are a few pointers to help you get the most out of your games:

Try to move through or attack walls that appear out of place in platformers, role-playing games, or even racing games.

Try new tactics in strategy and action/adventure games, even if they don’t seem to work. Later stages of the game (or more difficult competition) frequently necessitate the ability to recognise when an unusual weapon or strategy has a chance to shine.

Use every dialogue option and read carefully for hints in games where you can talk to “NPCs” (non-player characters).

7. When you’re stuck, seek assistance. Why spend hours losing to the same fight or stuck on the same puzzle unless your only goal is bragging rights? You can find strategy advice or answers for every part of the game by searching for the game’s name and the word “walkthrough” online. If you prefer to solve it mostly on your own, seek help from friends or gaming forums. Helpful hints and advice can make the game a lot easier!

It could be a bug if you are unable to follow the walkthrough advice (for example, talking to a dead character), or if you are following the instructions but nothing happens. If you search for a description of your situation online, you might find other players who can assist you in resolving it.

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