TSR Wiki > Life > Computing and Technology > Gaming
There are many different games and systems that are available for people new to gaming to get very confused with. This is to iron out any questions you may have as to what console is best for you, pros and cons of each console and any other general info that is helpful in deciding what to do if you want to start gaming.
The Xbox 360 is Microsoft's own console. It was launched nearly a year behind its first competitor in time for Christmas 2005. There are 3 different packages available for purchase. Firstly there is the Xbox 360 arcade. This comes with 1 wireless controller, a 256mb memory card and 5 free arcade games and is the cheapest of the 3 packages at around £135. The next package up is probably the best value for money. For around £160, in the premium package you get the console with a 60gb hard drive. Some bundles come with 2 wireless controllers, some come with only 1 so shop around to see which one you want. Then at the top end of the price range is the Xbox 360 elite for about £190, this comes as a black console, not white, and includes a 120gb hard drive and an HDMI cable. All packages come with an Xbox live headset for voice communication (aside from the Arcade) and one months free subscription to Xbox live gold. The welcome screen is also known as the dashboard and is where the control of the console is given.
When the console is first turned on, the gamer has to create what is known as a gamercard. This is an online identity and is used across all games. Using the gamercard, when playing games, this means that the gamer doesn't have to subscribe to lots of different services to play on lots of different games. The gamercard also tracks all the games that are played by that gamer ever and will record achievements. Achievements are a feature added in the Xbox 360 where when a game is played, the gamer unlocks them. These can be for things like completing a mission or completing the single player. Each achievement is rewarded with gamerscore and this is just a way of boasting.
Arguably, the best internet gaming network on all of the consoles. Xbox live comes in two different flavours. Firstly there is the silver subscription. This is free and allows you to connect to Xbox live. You can create a friends list of all the people you know who have xbox live and also chat to them. You can also sign in using your window live ID to messenger and be able to chat to all your messenger friends. Gold subscription allows you to play online with other people in multiplayer games however this cost around £35 for one years subscription.
The Xbox Live Marketplace is located on the marketplace blade of the Dashboard. This is where gamers who are connected to xbox live can download new content. The marketplace works on a points system which can be purchased through pre-paid cards in most gaming retail shops or directly through xbox live by giving card details. Once you have the points they can be spent on a number of things. They can be used to buy new content for games such as map packs or extra levels. They can be used to purchase new arcade games. These are smaller games than those bought on disk and take up to 200mb of room. These are usually sold for either 400 or 800 Microsoft points and developer regulations say that the games must offer 12 achievements with a maximum of 200 gamerscore points. Other than games, you can purchase picture packs to uses as gamer pictures, these usually retail for 80 Microsoft points. You can also purchase themes to decorate the Xbox dashboard.
In December 2007 (06 in the US) Microsoft launched the video marketplace. Here gamers can pay for and rent full length movies. One standard definition movie costs 360 points and a HD movie in 720p definition costs 540 points. As the marketplace was only recently launched in the UK, there is not a lot of content, however in the US the marketplace has already been trading for 1 year and so there is a lot more content. Hopefully, in the new year more content such as TV shows are added.
The Wii is Nintendo's shot at gaming console success. Launched in autumn 2006, many in the industry dismissed the console as a gimmick without great specifications. However, since the launch of the console, with its active game play and games for both the family and the gamer, it has seen lots of success and is now viewed as a console all will enjoy. Many of the games differ from that of the Xbox 360 and PS3 as they make use of the intuitive motion sensing feature of the Wii remote, which is a breakthrough in gaming technology.
The PlayStation 3 is a game console which also has extensive media features. It was released in March 2007 to Europe and since then has grown into one of the most popular consoles on the market. It is capable of playing Blu-ray (Profile 2.0) discs, and possibly expandable to future profile versions. It supports Adobe Flash Player, e.g.. you can watch videos on YouTube and streaming of music, videos, photos and so on. The PlayStation Network (PSN) offers free online gaming.
five main versions of the console have been produced, though only the latter two remain in production:
- The 60GB version - The original model, with a 60GB hard drive. This system has 4 external USB ports and is backwards-compatible (i.e it can play most PS2 and all PS1 games). It also has a flash memory card reader. This version has now been discontinued, though used systems can be purchased from eBay or a number of highstreet games stores (e.g., Game, Gamestation) - due to the backwards-compatibility, these models can fetch a high premium.
- The 40GB Version - Released in a bid to make the PS3 affordable, this system has a 40GB hard drive, lacks the backwards-compatibility of the original 60GB model and only has 2 external USB ports. Later versions of the 40GB model included a DualShock 3 controller (rather than the older SIXAXIS controller), adding rumble functionality. This version of the console was about £150-£200 cheaper than the original 60gb version at the time of release. This version has now been discontinued.
- The 80GB Version - For a long time the primary version, the 80GB was sold alongside the 40GB version, being essentially the same except with a larger (80GB) hard drive. This version has now been discontinued.
- The 120GB PS3 'Slim' - The PS3 'Slim' was released in September 2009, and is 32% smaller, 36% lighter and uses 34% less power than previous models. All features of the console remain the same, except that it is not possible to install the Linux operating system onto the PS3 'Slim', a (little-used) feature of older versions.
- The 250GB PS3 'Slim' - Identical to the 120GB version but, as the name implies, with a 250GB HDD installed.
The PC is probably the most versatile gaming platform of them all. The keyboard and mouse tend to allow for a more accurate and precise gaming experience than the other consoles, which for some games is very important. The PC however, tends to be the most expensive platform to buy, but to counter this, games for the PC tend to be cheaper than for the Xbox and PS3 (Games tend to start at £25-£30 rather than £40). In addition, within a year or two of a console's release, reasonably high-range PC hardware will give better graphics and outperform that of the console, depending on how well the game in question is optimised for the PC. It is also worth remembering that even if you purchase a PS3/Xbox, you will still want to have a PC/laptop in order to send email, use facebook and the like, so it may be worth spending a bit more to purchase a gaming PC.
-The cost of a PC vs a Console is very based on if a TV is required. When playing the PC the screen can be smaller as you sit closer it.
One major benefit of the PC platform is user-made modifications, or "mods". Many developers include construction sets or modding tools with the game to allow the player to add new levels, events, characters, graphics, etc; the possibilities are near-endless, and offer almost unlimited replayability. A great example is the original Operation Flashpoint, which had a shelf-life extension of probably five years due to third-party, freely distributed addons and mods, which benefitted from increased computing power available years after release date. While many mods are of poor quality, many - thanks to the mod makers not facing any deadlines, expectations or having to tailor to the mass market to maximise sales - offer unique, innovative gaming experiences for many years after the release of the game, all at no cost to the user.
The PS2 or Playstation 2, the successor to the original Playstation and Playstation One, was launched around March 2000. It remains one of the best selling console systems to date having sold 120 million units world wide by September 1st 2007.
The Nintendo DS, or Dual Screen, is Nintendo's handheld gaming device and is easily recognisable due to its twin-screen set up and stylus control. The stylus is basically a small pen that is used on a touch screen (the bottom of the two screens). This device demonstrates Nintendo's continued attention to hand held systems, an area it has always excelled in, and its commitment to innovative new gaming styles.
Computers and equipment - There are numerous websites for computer equipment, the best idea is to compare the cheapest places, usually it fluctuates between: Ebuyer.com, Tekheads.co.uk, Oyyy.co.uk and Overclockers.co.uk with Ebuyer being the most consistent in cheap prices, all aforementioned have been used personally and can be trusted.
Computer gaming modding and cooling - limexb360.co.uk (despite title, still sells some PS3/Wii equipment) and specialtech.co.uk