While many confine themselves to the world of console gaming, PC gaming brings a whole new level to the gaming experience. It can be slightly more work initially, but the rewards are well worth it. Here are some guidelines for purchasing PC games.
- What kind of games do you like to play? Do you like adventure games? Puzzle games? First person shooters? At one time, the first person shooter was almost exclusively limited to the PC! It is important to analyze your likes and dislikes, so that you can target certain games in the area of PC gaming. If you're not sure what you like, you can (of course) jump right in and sample whatever titles seem interesting to you, but if you have your sights set on a genre, it will be easier to pinpoint the best titles in that genre and make sure your computer can handle them.
- What are your computer specs? The most frustrating part of playing PC games for those new to the field is making sure that the computer on which games will be played can handle them. When shopping for new PC games, it is important to know the following about your computer:
- The amount of free space on your hard drive (5GBs free will handle just about every PC game)
- Amount of RAM (512 MB is sufficient for most games)
- Processor speed (2Ghz is on the high end and will handle most games)
- Video/graphics card (The NVIDIA GeForce series is compatible with most games)
- Operating system (Windows XP is becoming the standard; Windows is generally more compatible with PC games than Macintosh.)
For some games, you can get away with less than what is listed, but the above will take care of most new games. On most PC games, there will be a sticker on the back of the box that specifies the "Minimum System Requirements." These specify the least possible values for all four of the pieces of information listed above that are needed to play the game in question.
When buying PC games, the following question is also important: Are you willing to upgrade your computer? Upgrading one's RAM, for instance, can cost a couple hundred dollars, but the capabilities for gaming (and the ease with which the user will be able to complete other computing tasks) will be greatly expanded. If you are not willing to upgrade, then you will notice a point in the PC game timeline after which many new games are not playable on your computer.
- Do you have an Internet connection? If you have an Internet connection (particularly a high-speed connection), then a whole new world of PC games will be open to you: Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs). These are games which function as RPGs, but which can be played with millions of people across the globe over an Internet connection. Popular examples of this genre are EverQuest (EQ) and World of Warcraft (WoW).
- Choose a game that fits your needs. Choose a game that falls into your price range ($60 is about tops for the PC games of today), fits your computer specs, and looks appealing to you. Buy the game, bring it home, install and play. If you have any trouble, contact the game tech support.