Monthly Archives: March 2020

  • How gaming can help in challenging times

    If you’re an avid gamer, the chances are you pray for a reason to be locked away for hours, days, weeks on end. However, when it’s forced upon you by a nasty threat, the shine can certainly be dulled. There isn’t much we can currently do apart from be careful, sanitary and follow the ever-changing guidelines being released by the official bodies.

    At the moment, we are being advised to ‘Social Distance’ in order to limit the risks the vulnerable are facing. One of the key factors of it is not going out to public places unless absolutely necessary and limiting social visits. Hence, more time at home alone.

    Whilst relished by some people, this can become a challenging time for others. Boredom, isolation, inactivity – all can play a part in damaging our physical and mental well-being. So what can gaming do to help? And how can it predict the outcomes of disruptive events, such as the ones we are seeing now?

    Most sociable games to play

    Gaming can be a highly sociable activity, albeit in the virtual sense, if you know what you’re doing. There are certain games which actively promote your interaction with others, and sometimes those outside your social circle too. Stave off the feelings of separation by socialising with online games. Here are our top picks:

    Don’t Starve Together – with the way the supermarkets are being cleared, it’s unlikely many of us will starve so this game isn’t echoing reality. In fact, this is a 4-player co-op survival game where you must survive in a hostile world by finding food, making fires and weapons and battling wildlife. Who will you be able to rely on?

    GTA Online – these strange times could have us wondering about choosing a different path. Rather than a life of real crime, why not perform a virtual bank heist with your friends instead? It’s much less likely to result in prison time!

    Fortnite: Battle Royale – opt for squad mode and you’ll be playing with 3 others on an island with 96 others to fight it out to the bitter end. Find a quiet spot to build your fortress before charging into battle with the others. You can also create your own levels if you want a little more to do.

    Minecraft – enter a fantasy land where you can build impressive structures with the help of your teammates (groups of up to 8 can play together), learning about each other as you go. There are mini-games to compete over too!

    Living in a fantasy land

    If you’re looking for pure escapism from these confusing times, thankfully there are plenty of games out there where you can build a safe environment for yourself and your family, even your pets. Perhaps the most famous is that of SIMS and anyone who has played it will soon see how addictive this can be! What’s more fun than deciding the fate of your homegrown characters?

    If you’re looking for alternatives to SIMS, there are plenty of others on the market too. Our top 5 are:

    1. Two Point Hospital – highly relevant right now!
    2. Cities: Skylines – manage a city, not just a family
    3. Jurassic World Evolution – build a theme park full of dinosaurs
    4. My Time At Portia – create a family, but handcraft items in your workshop too
    5. Stardew Valley – escape to the virtual countryside and be immersed in the local community

    Key tips for safer gaming:

    Try to ensure you don’t worsen the spread of germs in your gaming environment with these top tips:

    • Wash your hands before and after you play
    • Use disinfectant wipes regularly on your kit
    • Don’t touch your face whilst playing
    • Keep gaming nights virtual

    So while the world is a little different than usual right now, gaming can have a positive effect. If you’re new to it, you can kit yourself out with a new PC, or get a better spec with a refurbished PC - there's £15 off all models at the moment to benefit from! Real connoisseurs can build a PC to their own spec too. And if you already have all the gear, then why not look at upgrading some of your peripherals? After all, you’re probably going to be spending a fair bit of time using it so treat yourself!

  • Women in the gaming world

    With International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day both falling in March, it is a month which has us focussing more on the female half of the world. When it comes to gaming, the media often portray it as more popular with men but there are plenty of stats available which show this isn’t necessarily the case.

    The increasing usage of smartphones and other devices, plus the incredible games being released regularly means that a study in 2014 showed that over half of gamers in the UK were actually women. This is challenged by more recent stats saying that around 40% of gamers in the UK are female. But regardless of the exact number, it’s a sizeable portion. And there are plenty of pro-gamers who are female earning lots of money too!

    GAMING INCLUSIVITY

    As with anything, it is important to promote inclusivity and gaming is no different. Historically there have been some issues so it is refreshing to see that with the growing number of female players, comes a more supportive and positive environment. No one should feel uncomfortable in the fantasy world so let's keep pushing for a supportive and respectful community for all!

    Games are generally created by men, for men, so we hope the future holds more for females whereby characters might have a few more clothes and a deeper skillset. After all, no one wants to fight The Boss in a restrictive corset or negotiate a complex quest with a vacuous personality!

    BEST FEMALE GAMING CHARACTERS OF ALL TIME

    Sometimes when a woman is created in the fantasy world, she’s a formidable character. Demanding respect and admiration, these females are enjoyable to play which is why some of the most iconic and popular games have women at the forefront. We’ve picked out a few of our favourites over the years. Take a look at who they are:

    1. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)
    As one of the OGs, Lara had little to no competition when she first appeared on our monitors. She was inspirational to a generation of young female gamers and opened the eyes of male ones when she showed them she was just as capable as any male hero. A few issues arose in later iterations but her most recent exploits have showcased her strength of mind and determination, not to mention her ability to assassinate thus keeping her in a top spot.

    2. Alyx Vance (Half Life)
    Emotionally complex without any of the weakness of a secondary support figure, Alyx’s humanity and outspokenness endear her to her audience. She genuinely keeps it real, avoiding any predictable and convenient dialogue meaning she’s believable and relatable throughout any challenge.

    3. Jill Valentine (Resident Evil)
    A bombs expert, Jill is clever, consistent and reliable. Her slightly questionable fashion choices are forgiven since she didn’t actually choose them herself. She's also an expert in disposing of the undead and is a master in unlocking - traits not to be downplayed!

    For personal reasons, we feel the need to give a special mention to Sonya Blade from Mortal Kombat. A true badass, her skills fought off many an enemy who looked physically more capable than her. Just goes to show what the right attitude can achieve!

    When you're gaming, having the right kit can make or break your enjoyment so take a look at our gaming PCs, refurbished gaming PCs and peripherals to enhance your experience.

    The annual gaming industry in the UK is worth over £2 billion pounds, contributing significantly to our economic health. So well done for supporting our economy, gamers! With the sort of games being released in 2020, we can only forecast this will go up. After all, who wouldn’t want to play these amazing creations?!

    Gender shouldn’t matter when it comes to the enjoyment of gaming so let’s just encourage as many people to get involved as possible. Healthy competition will help us all play better after all!

    *According to Statista’s report on “Share of paying gamers in the United Kingdom as of May 2018, by gender and platform”

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