Online gaming is a way of life – and a trendy one.
Video games (and online gaming culture itself) has come a long way from its initial negative reviews. According to the World Economic Forum, the industry is expected to have made almost $160 billion in 2020. This number is only set to rise as the amount of time we spend in front of screens skyrockets due to coronavirus. However, video games offer more than a way to while away the hours after work – multiplayer games bring people together, fantasy games help people relax, and many of these games give us a much-needed break from reality.
If you’re interested in getting into gaming culture but aren’t sure where to start, you’re in the right place. We break down the basics of video game culture, from the setup you need to all the best games to play below.
Getting the setup right is crucial to your video game experience. According to the New York Times, most gamers play on a computer, mobile device, or TV. They recommend using streaming service Twitch to see what your game actually looks like before making a decision and have broken down the basics of each type of game below:
- Computer games: these games are generally the most detailed when it comes to plot and graphics. However, these games tend to favor PC users – there are fewer options if you’re dealing with a Mac.
- Mobile games: the most popular game systems, but beware – these are the ‘pay to win’ games that can very quickly put a dent in your wallet. According to the New York Times, many gamers also say that these games are the least interesting to play, so proceed with caution.
- TV games: PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One are the giants competing for your attention when it comes to TV games. Before running out to buy one of these consoles, consider the types of games you like to play and whether or not it’s worth waiting a few months – both companies are releasing new systems in 2021.
Gaming brings us together – according to research from Venture Beat, 65 percent of gamers play with others or online. Gaming can be a fantastic way to interact with people in your household or around the world. Before picking your game, ask the people close to you if they want to participate. That way, you can turn a game into a bonding experience.
But what are video gamers like these days, anyway? The experts at Chumba Casino break down the most common gamer statistics and misconceptions below:
- Millennials account for 40 percent of gamers, according to recent surveys.
- 55 percent of gamers surveyed were women, with 45 percent being men.
- Women are more interested in winning – 64 percent of those surveyed said that winning was their favorite online gaming aspect.
- Men are more interested in building relationships and the feeling of community, according to the survey.
If you need inspiration for your first foray into the online gaming world, we’ve got you covered. Mashable breaks down the best video games for beginners below:
- Untitled Goose Game: this game is perfect if you’ve got annoying neighbors – you can let off some steam without actually compromising your relationship with Joe and Sue upstairs. Basically, this game lets you take the perspective of a goose determined to wreak absolute havoc on the neighborhood. Not the most intellectually stimulating, we know, but satisfying till the end. This single-player game is available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Mac, and PC.
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons: sometimes you need some wholesome fun, and this Animal Crossing iteration is the perfect tonic to a year of coronavirus. Basically, you build a village of animal friends on an island and live happily ever after, decorating your virtual ‘house’ and playing with your virtual animal friends. It’s the ideal escape – and you can play it on Nintendo Switch with up eight of your friends.
- Journey: lacking a narrative? No problem. This video game marries mythology with a great quest. Mashable describes it beautifully as “a virtual adaptation of Joseph Campbell’s famous Hero’s Journey narrative structure; your mission is both simple and vast. The last of your kind, you must reach the peak of a mountain, soaring through a gorgeous sand desert and overcoming all the challenges a hero must face.” You’re joined by one other anonymous player worldwide, and you bond, surviving the virtual experience together. It’s available to play on PlayStation, iOS, and PC.
And after you’ve finished those games? It’s time to start chatting about them. Gaming forums are a huge part of video game culture. They bring together people around the world who want to talk about video games. The video game experts at Makeuseof.com break down the most popular platforms for discussing your games below:
- Steam Discussions: this platform focuses on PC games, and every game sold by Steam has its own discussion forum, so you’ve got a built-in community.
- IGN Boards: a one-stop-shop for all your video game needs, IGN is the home of news, previews, and reviews about all the latest video games. This is also a platform where you can discuss current events, sports, and anime if you’re struggling to chat video games.
- Reddit (/r/gaming): Reddit is one of the largest discussion platforms in the world, so naturally, they were bound to have a gaming section. Search by game to see what others around the world are saying.
- The Giant Bomb: heralded as one of the most laid-bad game discussion sites, this forum features discussion boards about games as well as things like the characters and the concepts of the games themselves.
- Nintendo Life: this is the place to go if you’re obsessed with all things Nintendo. Chat Mario Kart, Zelda, and all your favorite games on this forum.
Gaming is a fantastic way to meet new people, relax, and escape from everyday life challenges. With these tips, you’ll assimilate quickly and easily into gaming culture. Happy gaming!