We spoke in our previous segment about pairing games with movies in order to prolong a gaming experience. This helps with the before or after, but ignores the enhancement of the game as an individual plays. There are many ways to do this, but one in particular stands out as a solution that can be as simple or complex as a gamer wants to make it. While all games come with environment and mood built into the experience, there are ways to enhance or dilute these predetermined factors by simply adjusting your own environment.
Room for Improvement
The first and easiest step is taking a look at the place you play. Whether you have a studio apartment or a castle, your location of play is very important in creating the best experience possible and facilitating your style of gaming. While a secluded den may work best for playing long sessions of WoW, those wanting to entertain a party with a Wii or Rock Band may need a bit more space.
Another factor to take into consideration is what type of game you’re playing. Most horror games will prompt you to turn up the volume and turn off the lights, which is great advice if you want to get the most out of the jump scares and general unease that these games produce. If you’re the type that gets a bit too freaked out by these conditions but still want to play, ignoring this advice or going in an opposite direction can prevent the gaming session from being too intense.
I’ve compiled a list of games and what I feel is the most appropriate setting for enhancement of game play. I’ve also gone as far as to describe the best case scenario for maximum enhancement, which may or may not be feasible for most due to limitations to finances or reality.
Horror Games (Resident Evil, Silent Hill) – Whether its an FPS or third person adventure with a locked perspective, these games are all about making you uncomfortable. Wait til you’re alone, find a darkened room and turn up the sound to guarantee spilled beverages and wet pants. Nighttime is the right time, but overcast days and heavy rain do the trick as well.
Best Case Scenario – Try and find a location that best mirrors the one that you explore in the game. A game about a creepy haunted house will really get to you if you are actually playing in a creepy haunted house.
Sports Games – Sports games, like real sports are best played in open areas with lots of other people. While online multiplayer has given us the ability to compete globally, actually having your competition in the room is a far better experience. Find a large well lit location in your home, remove your breakables (as fist pumping and celebratory high fives tend to get out of hand after while) and make sure there are appropriate levels of snacks and seating.
Best Case Scenario – Much like horror games, sports games could get even sweeter while overlooking aforementioned game’s field or stadium of choice. While I wouldn’t recommend an outdoor location, your favorite suite could make for an exceptionally over the top session of Madden.
(MMO)RPG (World of Warcraft, Maple Story) – Despite being built around a multiplayer experience, MMOs tend to be best played without a lot of distraction in the room. Chaining spells together and planning for difficult battles takes concentration and concentration comes from quiet, comfort and low light. Seclusion is key, especially if you live with others or else you may just lose focus at the worst possible time. Take into consideration that you’ll be sitting in one place for a long time and may not have a pausing option, so the closer you are to a restroom the better.
Best Case Scenario – The TV tray, laptop and recliner combo provides for an optimal experience. Add in a catheter or diapers and those of us with true dedication can expect long bouts of uninhibited questing.
Party Games (Guitar Hero, Dance Dance Revolution,Wii) – If its not obvious from their categorization, then one should know that party games are best played at parties. For those of you that really related to the MMORPG section, this may be a foreign idea. While a party can involve four people or four hundred, games such as those mentioned above are best enjoyed within the scope of a small get together as opposed to a giant blowout. Follow the same rules as with sports games (especially breakables) and be sure that the people invited are the types that enjoy such festivities. The saddest thing I have ever seen is a man smashing Guitar Hero solos while everyone else is making out upstairs.
Best Case Scenario – Multiple systems, multiple big screen televisions and a venue such as a bar or club. Like karaoke, party games seem lame to some until a few drinks and peer pressure get involved.
Game Connoisseur – Gaming is already a very stimulating and often times personal experience, but every gamer thirsts for a way to take that experience to the next level. This series will deal with ways that video game enthusiasts can enhance or even alter the way they play in order to prolong the longevity of a beloved title or discover something new.