Video games are complex beasts there’s so many of them out there as it is, and then you have to factor in what you use to play it as well! There’s currently 7 main ways to play video games
PC – the vast majority of games are or will be made playable on PCs. You can still get disks if you want them but more often than not games will be digital and bought from online stores such as Steam, Origin and the Microsoft store. Many of the games will also have ‘mods’ available these allow games to be edited to add new features by the community. The main downside to computers is you need to upgrade the components fairly regularly and this can be very expensive. A PC is NOT a Mac, the apple computers can manage a little bit of gaming but they are not designed for it at all, and many games will not work on them.
+ Can play almost any games
+ Able to use the highest settings for games
+ Allows for mods in games.
+ More functionality than just gaming
– Expensive to get a high end model
– High end is outdated within 6 months
– Complex set up, requiring payment to get the operating system, compared to consoles
PlayStation 4 – PlayStation consoles have been around since 1994. They are made by Sony and in my personal opinion have the best selection of games for the current generation. It also functions as a bluray player, media centre and has a VR headset you can buy for it. There are also a series of games currently being released called playlink which allow you to play as a family or as friends using your phones as controllers. You have 3 opinions for the ps4 at the moment – original, slim and pro. If you have a 4k television go for the pro, otherwise go for the slim. The main downside is you need to buy a subscription to Psplus if you want online play, though this also gives you at least 2 free games a month. Accessories are also expensive, controllers will. Set you back at least £30 and the PSVR starter kit is £299. The PlayStation 5 is rumoured to be in development at the moment.
+ Wide range of games in many genres
+ Easy to set up
+ Good parental controls
– Subscription required for online play
– Shorter lifespan than a pc
– Accessories are very expensive
Xbox One – the console that is most popular amongst teenage boys at the moment. This is Microsoft’s home console offering. In all honesty it is very similar to the ps4 with only a few different games. The controller is much more comfortable for prolonged use as well, though like the ps4 they cost at least £30. The great feature with the Xbox one is the cross platform play – games bought on this can be played in your computer and the online functionality of games can link over other console types too giving a wider range of connectivity than the ps4. It also has backwards compatibility with games from the Xbox 360 and the original Xbox. As with the ps4 it can function as a bluray player and media station. There are 3 types of Xbox one, the original, the Xbox one s and the Xbox one x. I’d sight getting the s unless you have a 4k television then get the more powerful x. The negatives are again similar to the ps4 with the expensive accessories and the needing a subscription for online play. I would add that the Xbox community in general is more toxic than the PlayStation one asked on personal experience – this means you are more likely to run into nasty players online with the Xbox.
+ Cross platform play
+ Good parental controls
– Requires a monthly subscription for online
– Toxic playerbase
– Expensive accessories
Nintendo Switch – Nintendo don’t make consoles with the same graphical fidelity and power as the other 2 companies. Instead they are focused on making their experience more fun. The switch embodies this perfectly. It can work connected to a television or can be unplugged and played handheld which is amazing. Many of the games made for the switch are suitable for younger players whilst still being enjoyable and challenging for adults. Nintendo have also made links with 3rd party publishers and starter releasing bigger games for an older audience such as Skyrim and DOOM. This is my number one console for families as it covers such a wide age range and covers them all well. At the moment you just need a Nintendo account to play online although Nintendo have said they are looking to monetise it in late 2018. As with all consoles the downside is that accessories are expensive and with the wear and tear this console will probably get that’s note of an issue than with the others. Also the portability can be a curse as well as a blessing as you may end up moving the argument to about when to turn it off from in the living room to in the car.
+ Family friendly
+ Great games selection
– Expensive accessories
– Higher risk of breakages
– Subscription model is coming soon
Mobile Telephones – often overlooked as gaming devices are mobile telephones however the games on them are household names – clash of clans, candy crush saga etc. It’s short, snappy gaming but its still gaming. The biggest positive is that many apps have been developed that are educational games for children helping them to learn. The biggest negative is microtransactions, small payments that get you boosts in games. These have become a bane on gaming in general recently, especially as designers have turned to concepts more commonly seen in casinos to entice people to spend more money on them. There are also many apps out there that aren’t quite what they make themselves out to be – make sure you keep an eye on what your kids are playing and don’t link your credit card to your Google Play or iTunes store without needing very strong passwords your kids can’t break.
+ highly portable
+ can be educational
– cowboy app developers
– addictive gameplay
Previous generations – this 7th category is for all the consoles that came before the current generation. There are many different old games consoles out there. Many of them have some brilliant games on them and some are still having games developed for them. My advice is to make sure you research what you’re getting and be aware that games for them may be limited as they are no longer made. Also for many of them there are Emulators and ROMs out there for computers a d mobiles which let you play the old games of your youth – though the legality of them is fishy so be warned.