It’s been a while since we last checked in our game rooms, plus we’ve added a few new members to the writing staff since then and Josh wanted to know what our setups were like today. We explore the Horrible Night staff’s gaming setups at home and ask our readers to tell us or show us their own.
Want in on the weekly conversation? Every Wednesday we pose a question on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. You can answer from Wednesdays through Mondays on Twitter with the hashtag = #RE2ALL, and in our weekly thread on Facebook.com and Google+ posted every Wednesday. Check out this week’s responses at the end of the post, and add to it in the comments!
I play in my main family room on my 52″ HD television. I keep the lights off when I play at night, sit down in my video rocker, connect my laptop, get my drink, and go crazy. When I play on my PC I sit at a desk with a dual screen setup. Basically the standard setup.
Justin L (JDevL)
As I prefer to play in the dark and depending on the content of the game I’m playing I have two setups. The living room is coming together finally as we recently got a new sound system to compliment the 50″ TV. I prefer to game from the couch when possible and have the speakers up unless the girls are sleeping. Then, I move to my comfy Sennheiser headphones to finish up the day with a 1-2 hour game session.
If I’m not feeling like bogarting the living room or I’m playing a mature game when the kids are running around, I’ll move to my office for some PC gaming or hook my console up to my computer monitor. The Sennheiser headphones come with and its funny that sometimes I prefer being closer to my smaller monitor and I notice details in the game that I miss on my big screen TV.
I have dual monitors on my computer, but the main monitor is actually a 24″ 1080p TV. I also have my Hauppauge HD-PVR hooked up to the TV via component cables, so I can attach my Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on the fly and record or just play. When I’m recording or streaming the game, I can keep TwitchTV as well as my email and social apps open on my secondary monitor to keep me in the loop. I have my computer sound and Turtle Beach Ear Force X1 headset hooked into the TV, so I can use the headset for whatever I’m doing without switching cables.
Just to the right of my computer desk is my 46″ 1080p TV with the Kinect. I have an HDMI cable that runs from the TV to the consoles, so if I decide I want to play something with the Kinect or watch a movie, I just yank the component adapter out of the 360 or PS3 and plug in the HDMI. I generally only use it to watch something or play Kinect; I much prefer using my 24″ on the desk for gaming since I’m closer to it and I can keep snacks and drinks right in front of me.
With my setup, I could easily play something on my PC and Xbox or PS3 at the same time while watching a show on the 46″ TV, or even challenge myself to a PC, 360, and PS3 game at the same time. Maybe I should pick up the PS3 version of Battlefield 3 to go with my 360 and PC versions so I can go BF3 crazy.
Justin G (GiffTor)
I either have my Turtle Beach X41’s on or pump the 360 over an optical cable through a 5.1 system. It’s hooked up to a 42″ Panasonic plasma, which I won’t be replacing anytime soon even though some of the advances they’ve made since I bought it are significant. It ain’t broke, so I’m not getting rid of it. Butt-placement wise, I have a hard time sitting back and relaxing if I’m playing anything even remotely fast-paced (which is everything except like, Catan), so I tend to lean forward and not have my feet up. Still, I’m going to have a hard day when I get around to replacing my Spenser-destroyed, duct-tape repaired but very comfortable La-Z-Boy couch. As far as lighting goes, I’m a lights-on-but-dim kind of guy – enough that I can see the controller if I need to, but dark enough that it basically eliminates the glare (which is aided by the blackout curtains I have over my patio door.) Oh. And I dunno if this is part of the setup, but I always have fully-charged batteries ready to swap out in both AA and AAA size. Just in case.
What about tv screen size? Lacey said it earlier – he has an affinity for using a smaller monitor that he thinks gives him a chance to notice subtleties; I think he’s friggin’ insane, but I also don’t know how I’d feel about a 65″ screen, either. Anybody have any thoughts on a “sweet spot” or plasma vs. LCD or other dream-setups?
I game in my living room on a 42″ TV. I used to have my Wii hooked up to a CRT in the bedroom but when I got Skyward Sword it made more sense to play in the room with more space. I usually play during the daylight hours but occasionally play at night. If my wife is around I’ll plug some headphones into the TV so she doesn’t have to hear the game, but our bedroom and living room are far enough apart and she’s a heavy enough sleeper that the headphones are more for my enjoyment than keeping the sound from her. It’s not the most ideal setup in the world, but it works for me.
When we were house hunting, my wife and I made it a point that I would have an area of the house (that was not the family room) dedicated to the Xbox. With that said I have set up shop in a spare bedroom. I have a 37 inch Insignia TV that stopped producing sound after about a year of use (this is a contributing factor to my dislike of Best Buy). To circumvent the sound issue, I have a stereo that I bought over 10 years ago hooked up to the Xbox or cable box. I play most of my games through the stereo, but when I sit down to play a shooter or a game that has a very intense story line (Skyrim, ME3, Alan Wake, etc) I use my Turtle Beach headphones to help get the full effect or feel of the game. There is no need for headphones with a sports game, but the headphones can make it feel like you are holding your very own Lancer. The light in my room tends to get very, very hot with prolonged use. At night I find myself playing games with just the hallway light on. This is very crucial for games that tend to have a darker setting. Alan Wake just felt better in the dark, and Mass Effect feels more cinematic in the dark as well. I have a futon and a chair in the room to sit on, but more often than not I sit on the floor like a little kid to play my games. Just goes to show old habits are hard to break. I play PC games on my laptop and have no fancy set up to go along with it. I am like Justin and do not have my laptop next to me while gaming (unless I am playing a sports game and listening to an online lecture). The older I get I am finding more way to immerse myself into my games even more. I am already loosely plotting the game room in my next house.
I am constantly dicking with my setups. In my living room I’ve got a 60″ Sharp LCD, trusty old Sony HTIB, and the most comfortable chair I’ve ever owned. I’ve got a gaming-ready HTPC in my entertainment center too. However, just like Big Lace, I can’t seem to get close enough to the screen. When I’m feeling shameless I’ll just pull my comfy chair right up in front of the TV. From three feet away my TV looks real huge, but from 10 feet back that 60″ looks smaller than my 24″ computer monitor at my office desk.
So, to the upstairs I go for my PC gaming. 3x 24″ BenQ LCD’s and a cheap, shitty office chair. Something had to give, but I think I might have chosen poorly. Good lord that thing is uncomfortable. My computer speakers are just adequate, so I rock some Sennheiser HD485’s for my gaming sound.
I actually just ordered a new 32″ Samsung LCD so I can play console games in my office. I justified it by telling myself it was for capturing purposes, but the truth is you can never have enough monitors and TV’s. (Poop n’ Game TV anyone?) Serious business time: How many of you keep a handheld gaming device in the bathroom?
It’s not stored in the bathroom but accompanies me frequently.
I don’t have a handheld in my bathroom, but I never go to the bathroom without my phone. I’m more of a poop ‘n tweet kind of guy. With no poop involved, a majority of my gaming happens in the family room. It’s really the only room in my house where I have a TV. I have a 27″ Phillips CRT in my office which is good for retro gaming, but I rarely play anything in there. So my main TV isn’t anything extravagant but it gets the job done. I’m rocking a 40″ 720p Sony Bravia LCD. Even though it’s only 720p it still has a fantastic picture so I haven’t really had a need to upgrade yet. It gets the job done. My sound runs through a Harman Kardon AVR146 5.1 receiver which has a set of JBL speakers connected to it. I like it to be dark, but not completely. I usually have a lamp on next to me just for a little ambient lighting. I sit on one end of my reclining Lay-Z-Boy couch with the foot rest up.
So back to the TV, Mine isn’t huge, but it’s actually about as big as I can go with where it’s sitting. This brings up the question of is it really worth upgrading to 1080p when you only have 40 inches? I can’t say that I’ve ever thought that a game looks clearer on any of my friends TVs than my own. To be honest, more times than not I prefer the picture on mine. Hate on Sony all you want but their Bravia LCD TVs look pretty damn nice. I’m definitely an LCD over plasma guy and I prefer a matte finish on my screen over the glossy glass.
I always prefer to low-to-no lighting and cranked up audio when possible. My game time is usually within the window of about 9p-1a. My wife is a pretty sound sleeper, so I don’t have to worry too much about waking her up. When she’s sleeping… or even home at all, I still can’t crank the sound like I would want to when I’m in the living room. I guess that’s the beauty of headphones.
There are three gaming areas in my house. Unless you count the handhelds… then the possibilities are endless. I could play on the front porch, back by the fire pit, down in the old well, and yes… most definitely in the water closet… which by way I usually keep the lights on when playing in there.
The first game area is the home of the 360 and PS3. In my house, we refer to the PS3 as the “DVD player.” FYI… if you tell your wife you’re going out to pick up a new dvd player and come back with a PS3, she will probably be upset. Anyway… these are in the living room. I’ve worked to get this setup as close to ideal as I can for the space. It all works great for me. The setup includes:
- 46″ 1080p Samsung LCD – Plenty big considering the couch is about 8 feet away. (although in my opinion, a tv can never be too big… I’m a little jealous of Josh’s 60″)
- Sony 5.1 Dolby Digital Receiver – Certainly not the best money can buy, but it works/sounds great/has what I need.
- Klipsch HD1000 Surround System – Again, not the best money can buy, but really bad ass. Surround sound never gets old.
The second area is for the Wii and legacy systems (NES, Dreamcast, Xbox OG w/ emulators.) This is in the basement, which is a nice little escape from the living room on the rare occasion that the Wii sounds like a good idea. Down there I have:
- 42″ 720p Samsung Plasma – Here I’m sitting about 6 feet away, so still plenty big… 720p is more than enough for the systems down there.
- Yamaha Receiver – This receiver got demoted when I learned it couldn’t do Dolby Digital.
- 2.1 Klipsch (Font) /Sony (Sub) speaker setup – not as nice as the living room, but good enough.
The third area is the office… the home of the PC. This has been where I’ve spent most of my gaming time lately. I feel like PC gaming is the most intimate… like it’s just me and the game. I think it’s because my face is like 3 feet from the screen. I’m with Justin L… I feel like I get more detail from the monitor. Plus I always wear headphones when I play PC, so I can always hear all the detail in the sound and crank it as loud as I want. This setup includes:
- The Rig – I built it a year and half or so ago, but recently got a new vid card. It can run everything I’ve thrown at it on max settings… for now.
- AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Quad-Core
- EVGA GeForce GTX 570 Superclocked
- Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Sound Card
- 8 GB Corsair XMS3 RAM
- VelociRaptor 10,000 rpm HDD
- 27″ Hanns-G Monitor (1920×1200) – Literally in my face. I may slowly be going blind.
- Sennheiser HD 598 Headphones – Sound awesome. Even though they are stereo, the sound card mimics surround sound pretty well through these. Open back so I can still hear what’s going on around me, which I like.
I have a computer equipped with a keyboard and a mouse along with a tv that is connected to a video entertainment gaming center. I like to keep the lights on unless I don’t, then I just turn them off. I have a man cave of sorts that is also a spare bedroom. Visitors need to respect my gaming or they can fucking leave! I don’t need friends, I have my interactive stories!
Do any of you guys use bias lighting behind your screens? I was using a Phillips amBX system behind my computer monitors for a while before I had some driver issues.
I want to set up some lighting behind my TV for that dark nighttime viewing. It helps your eyes and improves perceived picture quality, so says internet experts.
Did you get any new ideas for your game room? Have some tech you’d like to tell us about, let us know and link us to pics in the comments.
REPLY TO ALL – Our weekly conversation where our writing staff offers up their opinions on the gaming topic of the week.
Giant Bomb (images)