In the world of consoles, life is pretty simple. You hook it up, buy your game and off you go. When you decide to become a PC gamer, however, life can get pretty complicated. For many, that is their biggest complaint with PC gaming, and it is definitely a valid one. But I do believe that if you take a little time to navigate the more complicated waters of PC gaming, overall you will end up having a much more rewarding gaming experience.
The biggest problem is anyone new to PC gaming doesn’t really know what they need to do to accomplish this. They look at the sea of options out there and quickly get overwhelmed. Some just give up and go back to console games thinking that it just isn’t worth it. But I’m here to tell you that it is. In the end, you will enjoy your games so much more and, with a little practice, you should be able to become an even better gamer than you ever have before.
So exactly how do you do this? I’m glad you asked. Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to improve your gaming experience on the PC and become a better gamer.
Start with the Right Hardware
Before you can be a real PC gamer, you need to get the right hardware. Now, this is a site about laptops, so for the purposes of this article I will be talking just about laptops. If you don’t use a laptop for gaming, don’t worry much of the advice here does still apply.
First, you need to find yourself a good gaming laptop. What makes up a good gaming laptop? Here are a few things you need to look for.
- Intel i7 Processor
- High RAM – Minimum of 8GB but 16GB or More is Preferred
- A 15-inch to 17-inch HD Screen or Better
- High End NVIDIA Graphics Card
All of these components are necessary for a good gaming experience. I know, if you are coming from consoles this makes everything way more complicated. However, it isn’t as tough as it may appear. Many laptop makers have specific gaming lines of laptops that feature all of these higher end hardware options. This makes it easy to find exactly what you are looking for. We have also made things easier for you as well, you can always visit our Gaming Laptops Guide to find the perfect laptop for your gaming needs.
Once you have made your hardware choice, you need to spend a little time tweaking the settings. Often you can overclock both your processor and video card and there are many guides out there on how to do it for different types of laptops and hardware. I encourage you to do this if you want to get the most out of your games, but be careful. Heat can become an issue when you run this hardware faster than it was designed. While you may not run into any problems at all, you could experience lock ups or reboots if you take it too far and can’t cool it properly. If you notice this happening, back your overclock settings down just a little bit until you find that sweet spot between stability and raw power.
Grab a Good Keyboard and Mouse
Once you have your basic laptop, you are going to need a way to control it properly. While the keyboards and trackpads on these laptops are usually pretty decent, they are a poor replacement for a dedicated gaming keyboard and mouse.
These keyboards and mice offer precision control like you have never experienced before along with a whole whack of features to make your gaming life easier. Most gaming keyboards, for example, include extra keys that you can program for some of your gaming tasks and often you can program these keys per game. Mice, on the other hand, offer amazingly accurate controls and some even give you a few extra buttons that you can program for some tasks in your game.
Every keyboard and mouse is different, so make sure you know what you want and what you are getting when you pick up a set specifically for gaming.
Consider a Monitor
Sure you already invested in a high quality screen on your laptop, but you may want to connect it to an external monitor as well. If you do, make sure you grab a large monitor with high resolution that will connect to your laptop. You also should keep an eye on the refresh rate of your monitor. If it is too slow, you will notice some ghosting in the image on the screen as you play at a very high framerate and you may even get a bit of lag on some of the most powerful games out there.
Add a Sound System
Finally, you are definitely going to want a set of speakers to your laptop. Even gaming laptops suffer in the sound department. That is because there just isn’t enough room to install the best types of speakers that provide a rich and deep audio experience. When purchasing a sound system, ensure that it will connect to your laptop first and foremost. You may also want to make sure you get a subwoofer with it and you may even want to consider grabbing a surround sound system as these will provide you with a truly immersive sound experience when you play games that support that type of audio.
Connect a Gamepad
If you can’t tell I’m a big fan of gaming on a keyboard and mouse. In most cases you will have much more control over your experience than you ever could hope to have with a gamepad. However, there are PC games out there that really shine when you have a gamepad.
What kind of games am I talking about? Any game that has you driving a car or flying in a plane for example. Games such as Grand Theft Auto offer a great gamepad experience. Actually the way I tend to play those is I use both. I grab the gamepad when I hop into a vehicle and switch over to the keyboard and mouse when I’m on foot and need to shoot somebody.
How you play with a Gamepad is up to you. That is the great thing about gaming on a PC. You aren’t locked into one way of doing it like you are on a console. So hook up a Gamepad to your PC for those games that really need it, but don’t forget how great that keyboard and mouse is for some of the controls as well.
Try Different Game Genres
While there are a lot of different types and styles of games on consoles, for real variety you need a PC. You can find all sorts of games out there for PC that are made just for this platform. Real time strategy and simulation games come to mind first, as they are truly made for the PC platform.
Remember, you don’t have to be stuck playing first person shooters or platform games on a PC. Sure the consoles have some of the other styles, but the controls are often clunky and leave much to be desired. For a superior gaming experience, you need to try these genres on a PC. In fact, sample all the different genres to see which ones really speak to you and give you a fun and satisfying experience.
In the end you will be glad you did and you will expand your gaming knowledge and skills to more types of games that can satisfy your different gaming urges whenever you have them.
Try Online Gaming
If you are coming from a console, chances are you have tried the online gaming experience on those platforms. While they are good in their own way, most games found on consoles lack a little something in the online realm.
What I mean by that is most don’t offer a persistent world that you can log into and enjoy. Sure you can play matches and go up against or play with your friends, but these games on consoles tend to be a little more “one and done” instead of giving you a world to explore and live. Sure some exist, but still there is something different about it.
On a PC you can find so many titles of online games that allow you to live in and even shape the world in which your character lives. They have challenges that you can undertake on your own or with your friends. These scale in difficulty and you can even join the fight in a massive battle against really tough enemies that when defeated give you a sense of accomplishment unlike no other. It truly is a unique experience and one that ever serious gamer should experience at least once in their gaming lives.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Like everything in life, chances are you won’t be very good at PC gaming when you first start it. After all, gaming on the PC can be quite a bit different compared to gaming on a console. You will need to practice. Sometimes you may have to practice a lot. While some of you may be after instant gratification, there is nothing quite like mastering a complicated PC game. It is a very rewarding experience.
If you have a tough time when you first start, don’t get discouraged. PC gaming can sometimes be more difficult if you are coming from a console experience. Give yourself time to adjust to the differences and get used to the new controls of the keyboard and mouse. After all, PC gaming is like riding a bike. In the beginning you may need training wheels and you may even fall off, but once you master it you will never forget it. Sure you may get a little rusty, but after a few minutes back into it you will begin to remember all the skills you have picked up.
The world of PC gaming is a big world, indeed. There are hundreds of titles available to play spanning decades of time. With the right tools and hardware you can play and enjoy them all. While you will probably find games you hate, I’m willing to bet you will find a lot more titles that you love than you ever would on your console.
So what are you waiting for? Head over to our Buying Guides and pick out the best gaming laptop you can find and start your journey into the world of PC gaming. If you love playing video games, PC gaming is definitely the place for you. And I’m willing to bet once you get your first taste of PC gaming, you will never look back. Sure you will still play a few games on your console, but they won’t hold your attention or love as they once did. That is because PC gaming will begin to hold a special place in your heart and it will be a world that you continue to return to whenever you get an itch to play a game, no matter where you are in your life.