Video games are quickly becoming one of the largest and most common forms of media and hobbies. For people cooped up inside, it allows them to explore another world in a way.
If the game is a multiplayer one, it allows them to get in touch with their friends in a way that they might not be able to do otherwise. Talking to friends over voice chat and interacting with them in a game is much better than just over text.
PC gaming has becoming wildly popular, especially among teenage audiences, in the past few years. Part of the allure of PC gaming is that the gamers can pick out their own parts and assemble their own PC.
From the outside looking in, it seems like a complex process, but it’s really not that hard. Many young teens are fully capable of assembling their own PC assuming they just watch a few videos on it and work carefully.
For an aspiring PC gamer, the best thing you can get them is a few parts. Certain parts are usually chosen by the individual themselves, but there are a few you can get them started with that anyone would be happy to own, and don’t need to be picked out precisely.
For example, a solid SSD would be a great start. This storage device will house their operating system and all of their files, so be sure to get one with plenty of storage space. Around a terabyte will do just fine.
If you can find one available, a good graphics card is also a fantastic option. These are often the most expensive part of the build, and for good reason. They’re a complex part that provides the best looking graphics for realistic looking games.
Assuming you already have an idea of what style the person wants to go for, a case is another great starting point. Once they have a case, they can start mounting the other parts into it as they buy them over time.
Monitors are also important for PC gaming. When it comes to the size of the screen, you don’t want to go with something too big, but not too small either. Around 25-27 inches is good for most people.
You should look for a monitor with a high refresh rate and a low response time. This will mean smoother animation and graphics with a higher refresh rate, and quicker reactions with the low response time.
As far as resolution goes, you should look for a monitor that has 1080p or higher, all the way up to 4K. Beyond that, and you’re going to see diminishing returns at that screen size.
Console gaming is still more popular than PC gaming, and understandably so. It’s less complicated to set up, you don’t need to assemble it, and many people are just more familiar with it.
As far as consoles go, you’re going to be limited in your options, but each one is a fairly safe bet. Two of them can play almost all of the same games, and the third one tends to be universally liked.
The first option you’re likely going to see is the PlayStation 5, or PS5 for short. The PS5 is in very high demand right now, but if you’re fortunate enough to get your hands on one, especially at retail price, it’s worth it.
For the retail price tag, the PS5 packs a ton of power into one machine, playing a ton of great titles. It can also play any PS4 titles your gamer might have missed out on. The PS5 does have its fair share of exclusives, and also plays most common titles.
The other option you’re going to see commonly is the Xbox Series X and Series S. These are not to be confused with the Xbox One X and S, which is the previous generation console.
This unfortunate naming convention makes it easy to get them confused. That aside, though, the Xbox Series X is very similar to the PS5. It plays a fair share of exclusive games, but also plays most common big name titles like Call of Duty.
Unfortunately, just like the PS5, the Xbox Series X is hard to find at the moment. You may have to either foot the rather high price people are selling them for new, or wait for a retailer to have some available to buy at MSRP.
The third option is the Nintendo Switch. While it’s much more readily available, it does admittedly serve a slightly different purpose. The Switch is like the odd one out when it comes to the three main consoles.
It mostly plays Nintendo branded games, which are very highly regarded and are exclusive to the Switch. What some people don’t like is the Switch’s inability to play certain 3rd party games, such as Call of Duty.
That aside, the Switch serves a good purpose, and if your gamer doesn’t have any console, this is definitely a good one. If you get one, look for the Nintendo Switch OLED, the latest model with the best screen.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, there’s also the upcoming Steam Deck. It supposedly runs PC games, but in a handheld and display console much like the Nintendo Switch. Early reports seem rather positive, so it could be a good option.
One of the most wondrous advancements in gaming in the past few years is virtual reality. Virtual reality is available on lots of different levels, but high end virtual reality is truly something for the whole family to behold.
If your gamer already has a PS5 or PS4, you should look towards getting the PlayStation VR. It works with the PS4 and PS5, and provides a fairly decent and realistic VR experience.
The only downside to the PSVR is that it’s a little bit limited compared to its PC counterparts. That being said, it’s much cheaper and requires less space. However, if you’ve got a larger budget and plenty of room to work with, PC virtual reality is unmatched.
When it comes to virtual reality on the PC, you’ve got three main options to pick from. There’s the Oculus Quest, the HTC Vive, and the Valve Index. All three are great options with their own unique pros and cons.
The first thing you need to worry about is whether or not any of these will actually work with your current setup. All of these headsets require around a 6×6 foot space, if not a little more, as well as a decently strong PC.
If those are already accounted for, then it’s time to start looking at different VR headset models, starting with the Oculus. For beginners and people working within tighter budgets, this is going to be your best option.
The Oculus Quest provides fantastic VR support while being the cheapest of the three options by a decent margin. It’s not the best per se, but it’s definitely fun and works well. The other two options are a bit more expensive, but they perform better.
The HTC Vive is going to be the second most expensive option available. It was the top tier VR headset available for some time, but was recently moved down a peg by Valve’s Index.
The HTC Vive still provides a great experience, and if your computer is strong, it will give you amazing looking VR graphics. The HTC Vive uses its own bases and controllers to accompany the headset.
The Valve Index is the most expensive option by a margin, but that’s for good reason. It has the most advanced screen, the most advanced controllers, and the most advanced tracking systems.
These qualities make for the most realistic VR experience, but that’s not to say that the other two don’t to a decent job as well. Go with the best one you can get, and you won’t be disappointed.
All of these game consoles and platforms would be nothing without the actual games to play them with, of course. There are tons of different games available, but if you’re not sure what to get for someone of a certain age, then there are safe options available.
For younger kids, almost all Nintendo Switch games made by Nintendo are safe for them to play. They don’t contain any graphic content or anything like that. That being said, one of the most popular Switch games still is Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Though it’s been released for some time, people are still buying it and playing it plenty. However, if your kid already has this, you might consider getting them Metroid: Dread instead. That’s one of Nintendo’s latest titles coming out.
Another recent Nintendo title is their remakes of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, called Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. These are going to be good for kids and adults alike, especially if the adults played the original versions when they were younger.
Mature enough Xbox and PC fans should look forward to the release of Halo Infinite. Players will be able to enjoy their long running favorite shooter series in both single player and multiplayer modes.
PC, PS5, and Xbox players are all going to be excited for Battlefield: 2042 as well. It’s a shooter, very similar to Halo, but takes on a more realistic style and is available on PS5 as well.
For a kid or adult that’s interested in sports, the latest sports games are always new hits with them. Whether it’s NBA, NFL, NHL, or MLB, the latest games are always updating with new mechanics, new music, and new rosters for players to enjoy.
Choosing the exact right game can be hard. If you’re not sure what exactly your gamer is going to like in terms of games, you might consider something like Xbox Games Pass or PlayStation Plus.
These subscription services tend to be cheaper than buying one game per month, and allow your gamer to play multiple different games depending on what’s in the rotation for that month.
The only downside to this is that they won’t own the games necessarily, so they won’t be able to keep playing them if they get circulated out of the rotation. However, this service still provides a great resource even if the gamer still buys games.
Essentially, it provides tons of demos to all the commonly available games. If they’re not sure if they’ll like a game or not, they can try it for free, and if they want to keep playing it for long periods of time they can buy it. Otherwise, they won’t have wasted any money on it.
There are plenty of gaming accessories to go around. All the way back since the 1980s, gamers have bought into additional accessories to either improve their experience or try to gain a bit of a competitive edge in their games.
One of the most common accessories you’ll find, and one of the best, is a good headset. It’s important to note that a headset differs from headphones slightly. While headphones purely output audio, a headset also take audio input via a microphone.
This allows gamers to talk to their friends or teammates while they’re playing games, an important aspect in some games. It also allows them to hear sound more clearly, which is important in competitive games, and avoids making everyone else hear the game.
Headphones can also be wired or wireless, which is largely up to preference. While wired headphones do provide better clarity in both input and output audio, they’re not as convenient as wireless ones.
For PC gamers, a mouse and keyboard is fairly essential, though sometimes not any random peripherals will do. In the case of a computer mouse, most people are used to any random mouse doing the trick.
When it comes to playing games on mouse and keyboard, getting a good one is very helpful. Preferably, one that has adjustable DPI, which essentially just means sensitivity. Some gamers have different preferences for different games in terms of mouse sensitivity.
Keyboards are also a bit special. Though it’s not the same for everyone, many gamers have a sort of preference towards mechanical keyboards. These do make a very satisfying click sound with each key pressed, but the noise might be annoying for some.
There are also different sizes of keyboards available. Some keyboard aren’t full ones, and leave off things like the number pad on the right-hand side. While some people prefer full keyboards, some like the size convenience of a smaller, partial one.
With both keyboards and mice, wired is almost always preferred over wireless. There’s less input lag when you have a direct connection rather than a wireless one. Additionally, running out of batteries while playing a game can be very annoying.
Chairs are also a commonly noted accessory for games. A lot of people tout racing-inspired gaming chairs, and some people do find them comfortable. However, it’s worth looking into standard office chairs as well.
A nice, comfortable leather office chair can be much more comfortable to spend hours at a time sitting in than a stiffer racing gamer chair. However, that’s mostly personal preference. Though it’s definitely worth looking into.