Whenever sophomore Madelynn Mayer doesn’t find herself studying for her next exam, her friends will usually find her passing the time playing video games.
“I own a Nintendo Switch and I play Skyrim, Breath of the Wild, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Super Mario Odyssey, Minecraft, and Civilization VI. I [have] also owned a Wii U, Wii, and 3DS, which I used to play my favorite series, Legend of Zelda, out of which I’ve played, besides Breath of the Wild, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time, and Wind Waker,” Mayer said.
While Nintendo is the more affordable console brand, starting at $199 for the all-portable Nintendo Switch Lite model, and $299 for the original Switch model, Joycon-controllers included, some users have taken issue with the availability of certain AAA-titles on the system.
“Sometimes it’s frustrating when there are games I want to play like Fallout 4 or Red Dead Redemption 2, but I can’t because they’re not available on switch,” Mayer said.
Regardless, the Switch is recognised for its portability factor found to be lacking in other consoles.
“It’s very portable and reliable while retaining its power and ability to play massive, deep games. All of Skyrim fits onto one tiny cartridge, which is much easier to transport than discs. The graphics are also amazing, and the amount of detail I see in every game I’ve played there is amazing to me,” Mayer said.
On the more pricey side of the spectrum is Microsoft’s Xbox One line of consoles. The more expensive model system is the Xbox One X starting at $499, able to run at 4k resolution and a higher frames per second than it’s more on a budget counter-parts: the Xbox One S, running at $299, and the all-digital model for $249. It is worth noting that the all-digital model of the system, only games rated E, everyone, to T, teen, are available; M, mature, and Ao, adults only, rated games are not available on the system’s digital store.
“I play Call of duty, Assassin’s Creed, Watchdogs, Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto, Mirror’s Edge, and also Battlefield, and I play them on Xbox because that’s what runs them better,” sophomore Andrew White said.
Coming bundled with Xbox One systems are the big name titles of NBA 2K20, Gears 5, Jedi: Fallen Order, and Lego Forza Horizon 4. The Sony Playstation 4 is a system also a bit on the pricey side, starting at $299 for the PS4 Slim, and $399 for the Pro model, which can run games in 4K resolution. The Playstation 4 systems come bundled with a choice of Red Dead Redemption 2, Spiderman, Call of duty: Black Ops 4, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Days gone, Kingdom Hearts 3, or the upcoming Ghosts of Tsushima, set for a 2020 release.
“Xbox is good for casual, laid back gaming, where you can just sit back and relax, while PC is good for doing more grindy stuff, or if you want to play seriously, ” White said
Although more expensive and requiring more maintenance than consoles, PCs support some big-name titles that are found to be downgraded performance wise on consoles, or simply non-existent.
“[I own] a Dell, and it is a budget PC that cost about $200. CS GO and don’t stop talking are really the only games I play that I can’t, or at least don’t know if I can, play on consoles. They are not well frame rate wise, but they work,” White said.
On a budget options for PC gaming can cost around $500 on a custom build that runs at 1440p, with upgradeable graphics processing and central processing units, and over 200 gigabytes of storage, with around 16gb of RAM.
“Mine was top of the line-I did that about eight years, now I’m rebuilding it this year on Cyber Monday where I’m gonna order all new components,” AP World History Teacher Eric Wetmore said.
On the other hand a top of the line gaming PC can cost up to $3,600 for the Corsair Air i-160, which can run over 100FPS with a 2Tb SSD, and a two-year warranty. Meanwhile a custom built high end PC can cost up to $1,500 for a system with 1Tb of storage and 16gb of RAM.
“I have a friend who knows all the ins and outs of how that stuff works, but I’ll be going to where it doesn’t cost more than $500. I plan on using 256gb hard drive at the least, and 4gb of RAM,” White said.
While consoles support more action oriented games, PC focuses on more strategic games, which are usually more competitive sometimes require teamwork to complete an objective. This also includes the battle-arena and dungeon crawler genres, as well as MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft.
“[I play] Blizzard games, not [World of Warcraft], but Diablo-I fart around on Diablo alot, but the one I’m really hooked on is the Age of Empires series,” Wetmore said.
Popular games on the PC platform include the shooter titles of Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), Fortnite, and Overwatch, as well as team-based strategy MMOs such as Dota 2 and League of Legends.
“CSGO is a first person shooter game at its base, with some modes. The most common of which is a search and destroy, where there are five players per team. One team’s goal is to plant the bomb and defend it until it explodes. The opposite team’s goal is to either kill all the other team before they can plant their bomb, or they defuse bomb. As the game goes, a player can get [in-game] money, which they use to buy guns, armor, and grenades. The next most common mode is the hostage rescue, where it’s the same rules as previous, but one team has to rescue the hostage and the other team must prevent them,” White said.
Although being similar to other first person shooter games on both console and PC platforms, CSGO is seen as requiring more strategy and being more focused on teamwork rather than individual play.
“The game itself requires very fast reflexes, to counteract enemy players, good prediction skills, to know when to fire [only a limited number of bullets is given], and strategy and cooperation with the team, so a round can be won the most efficiently, as that also results in more money [in-game] to be gained and xp for the player’s profile,” White said.
Meanwhile, console shooters allow for more diversity in play-styles, opening up more game modes for players to compete at and are overall seen as being more casual games to play when compared to games such as Counter-Strike.
“[Call of Duty] on console is much more diverse in how you can play it, with loads of complex modes to choose from, the layouts a player can use for their gun is very often customised heavily, and the community is large around COD, especially due to how large some COD lobbies get. It’s different from CSGO in the sense that the player doesn’t need very fast reactions, because the game goes off of shooting mechanics more suitable for the controller, but yet it still does require some fast reactions. CSGO requires a lot of team coordination, while COD can be played without any interaction with the team,” White said.
On the single player side, series such as the Elder Scrolls hold a prominent place on all current platforms, with its latest single player release, Skyrim, having held the attention of gamers since its release in 2011.
“I love Skyrim because you can truly immerse yourself in the universe and feel like a part of the storyline. When you first begin, the world seems huge and scary because everything is unknown, but, as you explore and become familiar with all of the characters and quests, you begin to know the world like the back of your hand,” Mayer said.
Skyrim involves the player having to embark on quests in order to slay monsters in order to level-up and obtain more weapons and armour. As the game progresses, the player gains new abilities to help them slay both dragons and powerful warriors in order to save the titular region from destruction.
“Sometimes, I like to close my eyes and listen to the Skyrim soundtrack and pretend I’m back in Tamriel, fighting dragons or casting spells or feasting on sweet rolls with my fellow mercenaries. The universe that Skyrim creates is so wonderful, in-depth, and immersive, I can’t even begin to fully describe it,” Mayer said.
Regardless of the platform, console or PC, videogames play an important role in the lives of students and teachers alike. They serve as a way to escape from our anxieties, or just to have a good time with friends.
“I think video games are a wonderful way to bring people together. My little brother and his friends often play Fortnite, and one of my favorite things is hearing him laughing out loud from his room because he’s having so much fun bonding with them. They often visit each other’s houses to play together and I can see how happy it makes my little brother. Without Fortnite, I don’t believe they’d be nearly as close. Video games help me emotionally because they give me hope during troubled times. Whenever things seem low and hopeless, I think back to my favorite games and their stories. I think about all of the hardships my favorite characters had to endure before they reached their goal and found happiness. That helps give me hope and look forward to what the future will bring, and it makes me happier overall,” Mayer said.