It seems like not so long ago; Gaming was transitioning from “pastime for kids” to “the root of all evil”. Apparently overnight, what used to be a harmless way to kill time (and excuse to flock to the arcade) soon became something we blamed for the youth of today. It didn’t register back then, but this shift represented the change in demographic of gamers as a whole – a symbolic transitioning between “child friendly” content and appeal to more mature audiences.

Today, Gaming has become a multitude of things. To some, it’s an excuse not to do homework. To others, it’s a great way to pass your 8am meetings (sorry, boss) while staying connected to Teams. Some people used it as a coping mechanism for lockdowns, others to avoid a very angry wife just around dishwashing time, but to most it’s a harmless, entertaining, and relatively safe (unless you’re throwing controllers at innocent bystanders) way to spend their time.

We already know (seriously, we’ve covered this in detail) that there are millions of gamers worldwide, and that our community is exponentially increasing. The industry brought in $175.8 BILLION in 2021 alone (which should get you about 10 units of electricity from City Power). There are around 3.1 billion active players (so around the line outside Game on Black Friday), with an average age of 34, and comprising on men, women, and children alike.

Still, to a new or unexperienced player, the idea of picking up a console and getting involved can seem as daunting as seeing “Mom” on your incoming calls when you’ve snuck out the house. It’s enough to dissuade anyone, with many prospective players erroneously thinking that being new at it means you’re doomed to a lifetime of respawns, restarts and 12-year old’s screaming “Noob” through your headset.

We’re here to tell you it’s not, and we’re also putting together this handy guide to help you game without feeling lame…

  1. Play the tutorials

You may think you know what you’re doing, but the first spawn peek that takes you down will tell you otherwise. Seriously, the only thing worse than a tutorial level is skipping the tutorial level and spending the next hour getting flattened. Tutorial levels, while painstakingly slow to an experienced player, were created for the sole purpose of ensuring that exactly what you fear will happen doesn’t. Adding an extra ten minutes to your game can save you a few hours of rage quitting and writing angry reviews online – so start with the small stuff and work your way up (yes, that’s what she said).

  1. Everyone sucks.

Seriously. You’re going to suck. Soldier on, it gets better, if not, learn to laugh at yourself – it will significantly improve your mood, experience, and ability to enjoy what you’re doing. Gaming is not something to be taken as seriously as a State of Nation Address (which isn’t taken that seriously at all – but you get the point). It may take a few tries, a few deaths and a few goals conceded before you get to grips with things, but you’ll get there in the end. Keep at it, find what works for you and you’ll be on your feet sooner rather than later – if not, we’re sure you can find the funny side.

  1. Choose your game wisely.

Choose a game that looks fun and compliments your interests. FIFA is one of the most widely played, universally acclaimed titles in the world, but if you hand it to an NBA 2K fan, they’ll have as much fun as a surfer during level five lockdown. You’ll understand the appeal of a title a lot better if it’s a topic you either know about, care about or are passionate about – and there’s no shortage of options in the world of gaming. From sports to fantasy, mindless carnage to saving the world from zombies, there’s something for everyone (and then some).

  1. Pick your console

Make sure your gear can handle the game you’re playing and is compatible with you. If you’re a person who believes in the power of PC, you’re unlikely to get the same enjoyment from console experiences are you are from your normal machine. Gaming is always better once it becomes familiar, and the right gear makes a huge difference. Pick your weapon (or console) of choice wisely – it will likely define your entire perception of how great (or bad) a game truly is. If, however, you are using a PC, make sure that it can handle the load affiliated with playing – it’s unlikely that your i3, entry level laptop can master the rigorous demands of a high-graphic title.

  1. Just have fun.

Look, Gaming may seem daunting, but it’s not that deep. There wouldn’t be more Gamers than there are fans of Man United if it wasn’t fun. Don’t overthink it, don’t get too worked up about it, and, most of all, don’t forget to enjoy it (also what she said).