If you haven’t yet got into gaming, then you are in a shrinking demographic. At a global level, around one-third of people have played at least one video game, but in advanced economies like those in North America and Europe, that proportion rises to around 50%.
It’s easy to see why, too. Games used to be seen as a niche hobby enjoyed by men under 30 and the selection of titles that was published reflected this, with a focus firmly on shooting, racing, and fighting. But today, there is something for everyone with thousands of titles in just about every genre you can imagine.
Gaming is also much more accessible. You don’t need a chunky box beneath or aside your television to play your favourite titles, all you need is the smartphone or tablet that you probably already own. And with the invention of the “casual” and “hyper-casual” formats, you don’t even need to commit hours at a time, since these games can typically be enjoyed in short bursts of even just a few minutes.
So, if you’re yet to dip your toes into the gaming pond, then here’s a handy guide on how you can do it.
Choose Which Platform You Want to Play On
Gamers have more choice today than at any time in the past. You can play your favourite titles on a fixed console like the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series S/X, a hybrid machine like the Switch, a computer, a smartphone, a tablet, or a VR headset.
The type of device you choose will depend on a few factors, such as how much you want to spend, how long you plan to play each game, where you want to play, and the type(s) and genre(s) that interest you most. If you want to get into gaming because you want to join your friends, then you’ll also need to consider what device(s) they use.
Find Some Games That Interest You
Gaming is supposed to be fun, so it doesn’t make much sense to play something that you don’t enjoy or aren’t interested in. As we’ve already touched on, there are games in just about every niche and topic you can imagine. So no matter whether you fancy the idea of launching aggressive birds at some green pigs in vengeance for the theft of their eggs, driving a tank in combat, or running around another planet as you battle an alliance of aliens, you’ll find what you’re looking for.
If you are completely naive to what’s on offer, check out the app store on your smartphone or tablet to see what some of the most popular titles are. Alternatively, if you’re going to play on your PC, the EPIC Games Store and Steam both have large libraries that you can explore.
Once you’ve found some games that interest you, do a little more research into it. For example, on Steam, other users often leave reviews that you can use to decide if a game’s the one for you. Similarly, if you are thinking about trying out some slot games, you’ll want to read up on what features it has, its TRP, and whether there are any promotions available.
Test Out Some Free-to-Play Games and Demos
Some games can cost as much as $60 or $70 to buy, which is a lot if you’re not sure whether you’ll like them. There are a couple of ways you can try them out at no or low cost. Some come with time or feature-limited demos that let you get a feel for the full game without access to the rest of it.
Others are completely free to play with no restrictions, though they give you the option to buy in-game items or cosmetic upgrades. Free games used to have the stigma of being poor quality, but modern free-to-play titles are often on par with pricy AAA games.
Even if the exact game you want doesn’t have a demo or a free-to-play version, you can try a similar one that is free first before making the commitment.
Failing that, some platforms such as the Oculus Quest Store have refund policies that let you return a game and get your money back for a short period after your purchase, provided you haven’t played it for too long.