How We Test Play Equipment

We’ve reached a point in history where just about everyone is playing. Sure, maybe mem mem and pep pep don’t light up “Crysis 3” between “Monk” episodes, but donut dollars they slip into a smartphone and light up their “Angry Birds” when they line up. Face it, eventually everyone will have to buy some gaming gear, whether it’s a PS5 headset or the latest and greatest desktop monitors. Luckily for you, we regularly review all sorts of gaming tech here, and here are some of the headings we use whenever we give things a spin.

How We Test Play Equipment

Before we get to the ‘how’, we need to get to the ‘what’. Gaming equipment is anything used to play a video game, across all platforms where games are commonly played. This could include a flashy new peripheral like the Alienware Tri-Mode Gaming Mouseor a full-fledged console like the Nintendo Switch OLED. The net we cast is quite wide. It could also easily cover the best gaming laptops and gaming chairs. After all, it never hurts to get informed recommendations on what to buy when putting together a gaming rig.

How we test consoles

Sony PlayStation 5. Xbox Series S/X. Nintendo Switch. Each of these game consoles has its fanboys (me included). But previous prejudices must be left at the door. A console should be judged on its technical specifications alone and how those specifications apply to optimizing the gaming experience. This includes processing and graphics output, but it also takes into account all aspects of the console and how it affects the way things play from game to game. PS5 Dual Sense controllers feel very different from Joy-Cons and offer different levels of immersion. It doesn’t hurt if a console has really stellar exclusives. Where available, we use benchmark applications such as GeekBench to truly gauge processing speed (CPU), frames per second (FPS), and color output. Here are some things that are considered when reviewing consoles.

Gameplay: How are the games played? Ideally, games are optimized for the system on which they are played. If a game is console exclusive, does it take full advantage of the platform it’s on? Consider how DualSense 5 “Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart” haptic feedback helps make the game as immersive as possible, or how satisfying a game like “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” can be even in portable mode on the Changer.

Versatility: Entertainment centers can get bogged down quickly with the sheer amount of HDMI-enabled devices, from game consoles to streaming sticks, and even a few messy cable boxes. Dedicating a DisplayPort to any console isn’t just a choice, it’s practically an investment in real estate. Can the console do more than just play video games? With all the processing and graphics output that Xbox, Sony, and Nintendo pack into their consoles, using them as standalone game consoles seems like a wasted opportunity.

Aesthetic: Any modern console worth its salt should look great. Of course, this is all relative. “Good” in the late 70s and early 80s meant “wooden accents”. Head-turning potential aside, a console shouldn’t be bulky. These powerful rectangles should ideally be able to rhyme with any screen they hang from, especially in the middle of a living room or playroom.

How we test games

“Every game has its place.” There are swaths of titles that hardcore gamers can laugh at, but we’re always willing to keep an open mind. Sure, “Among Us” might not provide the same endorphin rush as “Elden Ring,” but there’s no denying that the mobile game is perfect for hanging out at dinner parties or family get-togethers. Having universal appeal is nice, but if a game offers a unique experience, it also deserves some consideration. There are entire genres that many might gloss over when heading to the latest Final Fantasy or Nintendo release.

But even casual board games and sports titles should be ranked on their own merits. “Does this game perform well, given its genre and target audience?” Its good. “Does this game break the mold so badly that it can appeal to almost anyone?” It’s fantastic. In general, the more versatile and profitable a game is, the more likely we are to recommend it. Where possible, we play games across multiple platforms to glean which experience is the best.

Immersion: Video games, like movies, television and other artistic media are a form of escape and one of the best ways to relax. Some games like “Silent Hill” are high in tension factor, but that makes them better, not worse. If a game can rip feelings out of you, it’s done its job.

Gameplay: Whether you’re playing an indie game developed by one person like “Stardew Valley” or a multimillion-dollar powerhouse like “Cyberpunk 2077,” a game lives and dies by how it actually plays. The game’s difficulty runs the gamut from Kirby-easy to Dark Souls-hard, but the actual mechanics of how the game plays should be solid and ideally follow Nolan Bushnell’s classic law of “Easy to pick up”. hand, difficult to master”.

Charm: Visuals are important, that’s for sure. But a game hits hardest when it gives you butterflies. Do you plan new strategies for new executions in “Hades” when you’re not playing it, in the middle of the workday, writing an article for your work on a popular science website? Are you obsessed with the “Undertale” tradition with friends at social gatherings? Does the game inspire passions in you, both positive and negative? Dude, you have a great game on your hands.

How We Test Gaming Accessories

Whether you’re gaming in a shared living room TV or you’re lucky enough to have a private gaming enclave, eventually you’ll need a second gamepad. But that’s where the accessory adventure begins. We are a long way from the era of rock bands, where plastic drums and guitars cluttered entire rooms only to be shoveled into thrift stores years later. But even pared-down accessories can bog down any gaming setup if you hoard enough of them. When testing any given accessory, from arcade sticks to Bluetooth headsets, one often overlooked facet must be considered: space. Real estate is expensive, whether it’s an office workstation or a drawer in an entertainment center. Nobody wants to have to untangle a hydra of ropes every time they want to do a few rounds of “Apex Legends” before bedtime. Of course, build quality and durability are important, as is how any accessory reviewed adds to the gaming experience. Even the most affordable offerings will be put through their paces to see if they can withstand sessions. intense gameplay and occasional “rage stops”.

Design: It is necessary to think about the appearance of an accessory. We are long past the Dark Ages of Madcatz. Like the consoles themselves, storing a collection of gamepads, “game enhancers” and other plastic peripherals shouldn’t be a chore in and of itself. It doesn’t hurt if an accessory looks good too, but as long as the design is solid, much of the aesthetic can be left to the eye of the beholder. If the accessory is held, ergonomics must be considered. Gamepads, mice, and keyboards should be comfortable to use for hours on end, and cramping should be a rare occasion, even for hardcore gamers. Accessories that require massive investments like OLED monitors will be scrutinized a little harder than impulse buys. Ideally, 4K and 8K monitors should double as workstations, and their brightness and color capabilities should work flawlessly whether you’re playing Counterstrike or editing in Final Cut Pro.

Versatility: It may not be a rule that everyone can or should follow, but I would never buy a new gamepad unless I can use it on at least two different platforms. It just doesn’t make economic sense. Yes, the second console in question is almost always “PC”, but devices locked to the console are usually useless. That goes triple for technology that should be universal, like audio accessories, including headphones and microphones.

Durability: If a given controller can’t at least make it through an entire generation of consoles, it doesn’t deserve to take up space anywhere other than a dumpster. That includes the device that doesn’t shatter in your hands, of course. But that also includes joysticks that don’t drift, buttons that have a good response time, and wireless controllers that don’t disconnect.

This post was created by a non-specialist editorial team at Recurrent Media, owner of Futurism. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked in this post.

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Robert P. Miller