You’ve bought your monitor, updated your computer’s graphics card and put the likes of Far Cry 4 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on your wish list, but have you thought about gaming accessories?Keyboards, mice and controllers can enhance your gaming experience, giving you a platform on which to establish yourself as a serious player. Here’s a quick guide to what you should look for when it comes to accessories.
We’ll start the guide with probably the most important gaming accessory of all: the keyboard. Unlike consoles where you just bash five or six buttons repeatedly, PC games require a multitude of key combinations for your on-screen avatar to react to your wishes. As keyboards are so important in gaming, special hardware has been designed, representing the top-of-the range in terms of the keyboard market.
Look out for keyboards with in-built mechanical switches: most gaming keyboards now incorporate these, allowing for faster ‘typing’ and enhanced durability – this is literally key when you consider all those gaming hours and button pushes in front of you!
Gaming keyboards are often further adapted to enhance appeal among gamers. Colored backlighting looks cool and allows stereotypical gamers to play right through the night, while keys can be customized, either physically, with colored keycaps denoting different functions, or technically, with programmable macro keys.
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As with keyboards, the increasing popularity of gaming has resulted in clickers that go above and beyond the call of duty of your average, office-dwelling mouse. Basic models are sturdy, responsive and react quicker to gamers’ impulses, while some even offer adjustable size and shape, meaning you can customize your mouse to sit comfortably in the palm of your hand.
In PC gaming, there are two different types of mouse, each tailored for different genres and styles of play. Simple or FPS (first person shooter, the genre they’re adapted for) mice are basic and incorporate standard left and right buttons. However, they are modified to allow rapid firing and quick scrolling and you can quickly and easily alter DPI (dots per inch, the measurement of a mouse’s sensitivity) depending on whether you need to spray someone with an Uzi or you’re carefully sniping a target.
MMO or MOBA mice are designed for online multiplayer titles, such as World of Warcraft or Guild Wars. These games involve more than pointing and clicking, so MMO mice are more complex, and tend to feature a larger selection of buttons, allowing you to quickly fulfil the duties of the game.
As with normal mice, wireless capability is almost expected nowadays, and don’t forget to invest in a larger mousepad – you don’t want to be restricted in your movements!
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Keyboards and mice are all well and good, but the potential of some gaming titles is only fully unlocked with a controller or ‘gamepad’. Essentially, these are mini-keyboards, incorporating the most important buttons on to a controller that is easy to wield. Think Xbox or Playstation controllers which, incidentally, can be used with PCs – indeed, many gamers prefer to use these as, once you’ve got used to them, they function almost like a second hand, with you not having to think about input.
Again, the perfect gamepad depends on the games you’ll be playing. Basic things to look out for include ergonomic features, such as wrist and palm support, or improved controls, such as mini joysticks, that make it easier for you to play. Logitech offer budget controllers that mimic the design features of the market leaders, but try before you buy, if possible – gamepads will sit differently in the hands of different gamers; you’re just looking for one that makes you feel comfortable.
Experts recommend: Redgear has a great selection of gaming controllers that suit the needs of a large section of gamers.
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