Set-up is everything. Here is our starter guide on how to kick off a love for video games, for any budget and creature comforts
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Playing video games requires a great deal of stamina. While you may not be playing a physical sport, you are still essentially exercising parts of your body than can get affected badly when not given the right support. Whether you are playing video games for half an hour or for a few hours at a stretch — we do not recommend the latter but we’ve been guilty of our own long-haul gaming marathons — we point you in the right direction of setting up your desk and/or lounge for a healthier environment to minimise the strain.
Having a good monitor can make all the difference. You do not, however, need to break the bank and buy a massive 4K monitor. You could go with a 2K setup up to 32 inches. You would benefit more from a 4K setup if you are going for something bigger than that. But remember: with 4K, the prices will increase significantly. Instead, you could save yourself some money and get a 2K high refresh-rate monitor with GSync or FreeSync.
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Curved and Ultrawide monitors are another story. Ultrawide is perfect for productivity. Go for them if you like your games to extend up to your peripheral vision. Curved monitors are worth buying only in larger sizes. It will reduce neck strain. But you have to get used to the curve though. If you are looking at a 27-inch curved display, do not bother buying it unless it is ultrawide.
Also, prioritise a refresh-rate of 75hz and above; your eyes will thank you later.
Gaming chairs, modelled after racing car seats, have grown in popularity. With styles and colours to match your gaming setup, it screams out you are a serious gamer to anyone who happens to spot it on a video call.
Keep it cool
- When you push your PC or console to the limit, it overheats. And, with the summer setting in, you could get a heatstroke. So make sure you maintain a cool airflow in your gaming space. If it is in a corner, then make sure it is adequately close to the AC or a fan. To save power, you can run the AC for an hour, then let the fans circulate that cool air.
- To keep your mind clear, make sure you take breaks. Take deep breaths. Plants are the new thing that livens your setup. Decorate your area with a few plants. I have a fern named Fernicate on my PC case and a monstera named Bob in my console gamespace. To keep your head cool, choose a headset with cloth earpads and not leatherette. Most headsets come with both options; if they don’t, you can order the cloth fabric easily. The same goes for your chair; fabric is cooler and does not make embarrassing noises when you move around.
Buying a gaming chair online can be a daunting task as you cannot test it. It is important to check if it has an adjustable lumbar support in addition to the height and backrest settings. Also, these chairs tend to be heavy. So, make sure you look at the support and base — it should be made of metal with a low percentage of plastic; else it will not last long and could even cause injury. You could go for the ones with the back massagers.
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Gaming chairs are usually expensive. Make sure you research a bit, or consult a sports medicine doctor for more specifics.
Get yourself a large anti-chafing desk mat, first. There are many options with snazzy prints and RGB lighting that will be perfect for placing your mechanical keyboard. You can either opt for an off the shelf mechanical keyboard or you can go down that rabbit hole of building your own —from mechanical switches to keycaps to body in 60% to numpad-less 100%.
Gaming mice are varied and too many to list. When choosing one, make sure you know which grip you use. Choosing the wrong grip could cause discomfort and sometimes worse — like carpal tunnel syndrome.
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A good lighting setup will accentuate your gaming experience. With the smart bulbs and LEDs available, your setup will look amazing. There are other benefits to a good RGB lighting setup other than making your gamespace look like a Navratri party. Having a backlight reduces eye strain, especially if you like gaming in the dark to avoid glare.
There are several kits to get you started. Some of the advanced ones sync the lighting to what you see on screen (check out the Philips Ambilight solutions). Just make sure you position the light so it bounces off your walls to create an aesthetic ambience. Also, choose warmer colours at night.
End note: If you feel any strain, dizziness or nausea, do put the gaming aside and consult a qualified health professional. Because, yes, simulator sickness is a real thing!
The writer is a tech and gaming enthusiast who hopes to one day finish his sci-fi novel