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The Best Gaming Setup: A Gamer’s Equipment Guide

Nice colourful gaming setup

When gamers want to game they want only the best. The best titles, the best specs, the best graphics, the best internet speed. Gamers always want more from game and console developers. Gamers always want to have the best gaming setup, so we're here to help. We are going to cover everything you need to create the ultimate gaming setup for you from consoles to computers, mice to monitors. Since we've already gone through how to build your own PC, lets start with console gaming and how to make the most of it.

The Console Wars: PlayStation V Xbox

It is a battle as old as time itself, which console is better? Everyone has their favourite, just like in the Apple V Android debate. There are many different reasons to like each side. Each have exclusive titles to the platform, different features, and different specs. Some stick with one system over another out of loyalty while others heavily weigh the options on both consoles. Lets compare the specs to see what the real difference is. If you aren't interested in the nitty gritty, tech heavy details, then you might want to skip this bit. With the latest release of the Xbox One X, both platforms are almost neck and neck in technical specifications as shown below.

The specs of the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X


The Xbox One X had almost year of technological advancements to utilize since the release of PS4 Pro in November 2016. It comes at a higher starting price point, even more so since the PS4 Pro went down a lot in price between it's release and the Xbox One X release. Each console has their own signature titles. Xbox lays claim to the Gears of War series and Halo, while PlayStation buyers enjoy games like Uncharted and The Last of Us. While these are only available on certain consoles, there are a plethora of games just like them that are available across both consoles and PC. Another thing to consider when choosing is who you will be playing with. If you want to game with your friends then you'll have to choose the console they have, since we still don't have cross platform play. Whichever one you choose, it will be a great edition to an epic lounge room gaming setup.

What about Nintendo?

Mario looking sad.
Nintendo Consoles has never really been considered in the console wars.


Nintendo has been releasing consoles side by side with the big companies. The Wii came out just over a year after the Xbox 360 and brought a new idea to gaming, motion gaming. Wii U moved towards a handheld experience, allowing gamers to play their games from anywhere in the household using the gamepad. Nintendo's Switch was the most recent release, a powerful fully portable console that is able to be taken and used anywhere. As Nintendo has grown we have seen a shift to more remote gaming. While the Switch is able to be hooked up to a TV, most people still consider it more of a handheld console. This is one of the reasons why Nintendo usually isn't included in the console war. The other reason is the power in their consoles. The graphics and capabilities of Nintendo's consoles has never been able to rival the Xbox and the PlayStation. The Nintendo Switch is becoming a competitor though. With great titles like Zelda Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, the Switch is being considered more of a must have in any gaming setup.

The Brains of the Gaming Setup: The PC

 

5 MSI Gaming Computers
Which of these gaming computers would you want for your setup?

 

The PC is the way to go for true gaming (sorry console gamers). They have been ahead of consoles for a long time. Their performance is unparalleled compared to any other gaming machine and is constantly getting better. To get the latest and greatest in a PC will set you back a lot of money. But you don't need to have the best to play the best. The beauty about PC gaming is the variability of it. You can get a very decent gaming PC built for around $800. If you just want a PC to do as good as a console, you can make it for less than a console. PC's price point and power makes it a must for all gamers and their gaming setup. We made a great guide on what to consider when buying or building your own PC.

Input and Output, the PC Peripherals

A PC alone does not a gamer make. For the ultimate gaming setup, you need the right tools. You want to start with the right gaming mouse for you. We listed a couple of things to look out for and a couple of good choices. Ultimately, it comes down to individual choice as each person will look out for different features in their gaming mouse. The input machine for any computer, the keyboard, is another important choice. There is a lot to consider when choosing a gaming keyboard. Light up or not, ergonomics, price, and style are all important considerations. Lastly, you need great sound when playing the latest titles. Choosing a gaming headset is a tough choice but we made it a little easier for you. Just make sure it will fit right and sound good and you will have a great gaming setup.

Where to Play your Games

Gaming or movie room
Now THIS is a room that I could game in.


Any gaming setup needs a wonderful spot to enjoy your games. You want to be comfy while getting the best visual experience when gaming on console or PC. There are a couple of gaming lounges that you can check out for the living room. If your looking to choose a gaming chair then check out what you should look for in your gaming chair choice. You'll want to make sure that the quality of your TV or monitor will match your gaming machine of choice. All the latest consoles come with 4K quality and anything on a PC can be up to 4K.  You need to pick a monitor or TV capable of displaying that quality though. Pair all this with your PC or console of choice and you'll have the best gaming setup.

The Ultimate Gaming Setup Guide

ultimate gaming setup
Is this the ultimate gaming setup? Check out this video to find out.


So what is the ultimate gaming setup? If you decide on a console, get the one to play the exclusive titles you want with your friends. A super comfy couch is great to game and relax on and a worthwhile investment. Make sure to get a TV that will be able to display the 4K quality and a good sound system to immerse yourself in the game. Try to get the best our of your budget when building your PC. Don't forget to factor in your mouse, keyboard, monitor, chair and desk. They might seem insignificant but they all come together to make the gaming setup. If one of these is worse than the others, you will notice it. No matter what, just make sure your comfortable and enjoy your gaming experience.

The Future of Gaming Setups

More ways to enjoy gaming are coming out as technology advances. Virtual Reality gaming is the latest technology craze. More and more games come with VR compatibility but only the PlayStation 4 supports VR. If you want to invest in VR gaming, you will need to put a fair bit of money in to a PC and have a lot of space. It's not something for everybody but definitely something that everyone should think about ass it gains more traction. With VR getting bigger and bigger, it won't be long till we have full immersion gaming rigs. Something like this:

Give yourself plenty of space for your next gaming peripheral and stay ahead of the gaming setup scene.

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How to Choose a Gaming Chair

When you think about building and playing on your very own gaming PC, you don't often think about what you'll be sitting on while playing. However, choosing the right gaming chair for you is very important. You need something that suits your style and will be comfortable for as long as possible. You can jump from cheap chair to cheap chair but it's better to invest in a long term solution. Gaming chair's come in all different styles, sizes, and have all different functionalities. You can go for an office like chair for pure ergonomics. Or you might want something flashy for your viewers, to match your new gaming keyboard and gaming mouse, or just to show to your friends. So let's look at what you need to know before getting your gaming chair.

Style

Racing style chair next to office style chair
Which style do you prefer? The racing style bucket chair or the cushy office style chair?


When looking at buying a gaming chair you will see many different styles of chair. One of the main styles of chair you will see around is the racing car style chair. While they are not optimised for long gaming sessions, they can still be quite comfortable and look very cool. You will often see a lot of gamers who stream using this style of chair. More often the racing style chair has more features designed for gamers like the Bathurst chair which allows you to lean back for extra comfort. The other major style of chair you will find is ones you would find in a office. These range from the high end CEO style chairs to the everyday cushioned office chairs. This style is made for longer periods sitting at a desk so are worth looking in to if you are at a desk for long periods of time.

Chair Technology

No I don't mean the technology behind making a chair. I mean technology in your chair. We're talking about chairs with speakers inside of them, to really immerse you in your gaming experience. The place to go for these amazing gaming chairs is X Rocker. They have a whole host of different styles of chairs which are compatible with a lot of different audio set ups. You might want to get an office style chair that can still immerse you when you need it. The Deluxe Office chair comes with Bluetooth connectivity while still being comfortable and ergonomic. If you're looking something to really kick it back in and don't mind being low to the ground, check out the Pro H3. It sits very low to the ground to allow you to really relax and also comes with some great audio features.

Why a Good Gaming Chair is so Important

A chair for your gaming setup might be the last thing on your mind. But good posture and a healthy back is important to everyone. Your whole nervous system is located in your spine so you have to look after it. And no one likes having a sore back after a long gaming session. Maybe you have a stiff neck or find that your arms are sore after hours of gaming. Different components of any good chair will help solve this problems. Don't know what chair feature will help what pain? Well let's get in to what component will make your gaming chair perfect for your posture and pains.

The Headrest

A Headrest
A lovely spot to rest your head that helps your posture - the headrest.

 

Obviously the head is one of the most important parts of your body. A headrest is exactly that, a place to rest your head. Many gamers will use their PC for activities other than gaming like reading or watching videos. When leaning in a reclined position, a headrest will provide comfort while also supporting your neck. With a good chair back and a more protruding headrest you will be given better posture as well. The head rest will be able to push your neck in to a better position for your overall posture. While definitely not a must have in every chair, a headrest can help both your posture and your relaxation.

Armrests

An armrest adjusting.
Adjustable armrests allow you to obtain the optimal comfort setting for your arms while gaming.

 

If you're able to, try reading this article or typing something out while sitting on a chair with armrests and one without. You can immediately feel the difference between the two chairs.Wwhen using a chair without armrests your arms have no where to rest and are pulling down. Backcare & Seating tells us that this will start to cause more stress on your shoulders and eventually lead to pains in your neck. The other problem you might run in to while not using armrests is wrist pains. Your elbows will be set lower meaning that your wrists will have to stretch more and become weaker. I recommend getting a chair with adjustable armrests for your different needs. Sometimes an armrest might be in the way or a friend might find it to high when using your chair. Having an adjustable armrests gives you and others the comfort you all deserve.

Back Support

No gamer should have to deal with a bad back so back support is essential.

 

We've all had back pains once in our life. It's no fun and only gets worse the older you get and the more times you let your posture slip. Thankfully a lot of office and gaming chairs are designed to help with this problem. As shown in this article, the lower part of your back naturally curves in towards your stomach so chair designers help support that position with a curved design in the region called lumbar support. You would be hard pressed to find a new chair that does not come with lumbar support. If you are unfortunate enough to have found such a chair, there are lots of slip on lumbar supports out there. If you can't get your hands on that, use a small pillow to replicate the shape. A good back is important for a good healthy life so you best look after the one you have with a good gaming chair.

Which Gaming Chair should I get?

I've only scratched the surface of the many different gaming chairs that are out there. There's so many different designs and features that you might want to consider in your gaming chair so make sure you shop around. I personally picked up the Bathurst chair from Officeworks that I mentioned earlier and I am really enjoying it. Adjustable armrests and a great lean make it perfect for my gaming needs but it might not be for yours. You can check out their full range of office and gaming chairs online or go in store and have a little sit in each one. Look for the features you like and make sure you test every chair you can before making your purchase. It might not seem like a big decision but your back and butt would say otherwise, so look out for them.

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Cheap Energy Drinks: Where to Find the Best Value

Looking at a can of monster

Some people like to have coffee in the morning to help themselves wake up. Others like a nice cold shower or a run. But for some, an energy drink at the right time can help them perform at their peak. If you drink an energy drink a day then you're obviously after the best price. You want value for what you're spending your hard earned dollars on. We wanted to look at the most cost effective way to buy energy drinks from different locations. We started looking at different places that sold energy drinks and different ways to buy energy drinks, eg. in bulk. Our mission is to find cheap energy drinks for you so lets start at somewhere to avoid, the petrol station.

Petrol Station Robbery

Caltex with energy drink advertisement
A quick stop on any road trip but definitely a place to avoid if you're looking for cheap energy drinks.

While you're filling up, you might have the need for a quick energy boost. As most of us know though, prices for food and drink at petrol stations is ridiculously high. They do usually offer energy drink deals which may entice you to think that it is a good idea. "Two for the price of one" or "Get it for $2 when you spend $30 on fuel" might sound like a great buy. The petrol stations buy them at a ridiculously low price so can easily still make money when charging a lower amount. Tying together buying more fuel with cheaper prices means that you are still giving them more money than intended. Although it might seem that they have cheap energy drinks because it's on sale, they are really making you spend more to get less. The average price of an energy drink at the petrol station came to $4.70. If you end up buying a can a day while getting petrol on your way to work, it's going to add up very very quickly.

Big convenience, big price tag

Convenience stores or corner stores are just that, found on the corner or in a convenient spot. They are closer to you than the big supermarket to make shopping easier. However their prices just can't compete with the bigger brand markets out there. During our research, we found one thing lacking at all the stores we checked out. All of them only have a limited range. This limits you from your favourite energy kicks and the prices were not spectacular. While one place didn't even have listed prices, the ones that did were quite high. 250mL cans started at around $3.50 with most of the larger cans being upwards of $4, some (Red Bull 473mL can at 7/11) even reaching close to the $6 mark. You might get lucky and find a market that sells out of date energy drinks for as little as 50c. If you are banking on that though, you're going to be leaving there without an energy drink 9 times out of 10. Although they might be convenient on location, they're definitely not convenient for your wallet.

Battle of the brands: Woolies VS Coles VS Aldi

The top of some energy drink cans
So many supermarkets and so many drinks to choose from. Which will be the cheapest?

For the money conscious of the world, we always look to the big supermarkets for our everyday shopping needs, including our cheap energy drinks. They just offer a price that cannot be beat and usually some great specials. Let's start with the cheapest, Aldi.

Aldi

Although Aldi does have the cheapest priced energy drink, at 99c for 250mL, there is only one choice and it doesn't taste great. Personal preference might mean that you really enjoy Flying V but otherwise, I'd say to steer clear of this one. They do sometimes get name brand products, like Red Bull or V energy drinks, in at a cheapish price but more often then not they are very similar prices to other supermarkets. Better to stick to the other big supermarkets for cheap energy drinks.

Woolworths

Woolworths comes in strong with some decently priced energy drinks compared to what we've already looked at. Not counting specials due to their fleeting nature, Woolworths' cheapest energy drinks come in around $2.59 for a Rockstar. Unfortunately the drinks at the lower end of the scale are of course the smaller varieties. At 250mL, less than an average can of coke, you end up paying quite a bit of money for not a lot of energy. The larger cans come in at a much more decent price, around $3-$3.50 for a 500mL boost of energy. However some still can't come down that low, with Red Bull, one of the large brands, sticking to $4.40 for 473mL (not even 500mL). What Woolworths and Coles have that the other stores don't is larger packs of energy drinks. Starting just under $10 (4 pack of V Energy Drink for $9.33) and moving all the way up to $16.40 (Mother 6 x 500mL) bulk buying energy drinks seems like a great idea. However when we compare these to the price per individual can, you aren't saving that much. While I could buy a 4 pack of Mother for $10.95, I could also buy 4 individual Mother cans when I need them for $11.20 all together.

Coles

Coles is often seen as the cheaper of the big supermarket chains of Australia. With a big range in almost all stores, you would think that buying energy drinks from Coles would seem like a better idea. Through our research, we found that their prices barely differ from those of Woolworths. With the smaller cheaper cans starting at $2.70 and the average 500mL can being around $3.45, there is very little difference. The only difference we found was the variety of bulk buying options. There was a few more options at Coles (including a huge 15 x 375mL Mother cans for $20) compared to Woolworths. Yet again, the prices of the bulk purchases are very similar to buying the product individually. While it is still cheaper to buy energy drinks in bulk, it is only very slightly cheaper so consider what you need it for before purchase.

Online: The way of the future?

Person ordering cheap energy drinks online.
Almost anything can be bought online and sent to your home, including your energy drinks!

Everything is online nowadays. Even energy drink's can be brought online. However there are very limited places selling energy drinks online. Woolworths and Coles both offer online shopping but we've already been unimpressed by their prices. The only real place to buy cheap energy drinks online is eBay. When looking through their listing however there was only really one cheaper option, bulk buying a case of energy drink. While this may seem like a good idea, the price of a case is quite large. Maybe if you were holding a party, this would be the place to go. But if not, buying energy drinks online is not a cheap option yet. 

So where's the best place to get cheap energy drinks?

After looking around quite a bit, we identified where we definitely don't want to be getting our energy drinks from. Woolworths and Coles are definitely your cheapest option for buying energy drinks and often have energy drinks on sale to make it a bit cheaper. They also offer bulk options which are a slightly cheaper way to stockpile enough energy drinks to get you through the week. However, the cheapest place to get your energy drinks in Australia has to be REIZE. Of course, being on this site you already must know how cheap it is. But compare our most expensive option to the supermarkets and it's easy to see the winner. REIZE starts from well under $1 per drink and that includes free delivery. If you want to save money when buying your energy drinks, ignore the supermarkets and get yourself some REIZE.

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How to choose a Gaming Headset

A pair of headphones with a red wavy line in the middle.

My first experience with true gaming sound came when I got Dead Island in 2011. I pre-ordered the pack that came with the Turtle Beach X12 gaming headset and it changed how I played. I used to get by on using ordinary earphones and the speakers on the TV. But this headset changed everything. The clarity of audio meant that I could hear every little zombie creeping up on me and had a huge advantage in multiplayer games. The bass boost was amazing and the quality of the audio and microphone were fantastic. Gaming headsets can help you hear things others might not, including enemy footsteps, altering your gaming performance. A good gaming headset does not come cheap so if you can't afford it, stick with what you have until you can get something great. There are some good cheap headsets out there however so we will look at them later. Let's first check out what you need to look for in a gaming headset.

Ergonomics - a Gaming Headsets best friend

If you're gaming for a long time you want a headset that will be comfortable for the whole time.

Gamers wear their headsets for long periods of time so they have to be as comfy as possible. If they're too heavy, the user will start getting headaches or neck pain. Ear cups or pads aren't comfy? Gamers will be constantly adjusting and saving up for their next pair of headphones asap. You need to look for a lightweight pair of headphones that have a good cup or pad for your ear. Many gamers will prefer a cup over their ear to help cancel out outside noise so there is a wide variety of ear cup sizes out there for you to try. A lot of gaming headsets now go for a long oval design to try and fit every size of ear out there. Checking the fit and feel is the most important step so get down to your local JB Hi Fi if you can or check the user ratings on the headset you're getting.

Should I be all about that Bass?

Music nowadays is all about the build up to a crazy bass drop. Gaming headsets have also moved towards more bass for the user as well as other audio perks. Bass boosting is nothing new but helps the gamers feel more immersed in any scenario. Having a loud thud in your ear as a bullet is shot or a foot hits the ground helps you know the environment better. Some gaming headsets now come with active noise cancelling as well. Sennheiser, some of the best in the audio business, have the PC350 SE headset for your noise cancelling, gaming headset needs.  Maybe you want a headset that can do it all, PC gaming, console gaming, EQ settings, modifications, and more. Astro A40 TR and Mixamp is the package for all those needs. This gaming headset is just phenomenal and compatible with PC, Mac and your choice of PS4 or Xbox One compatibility. Perfect for chat in multiplayer games on the PlayStation Network or over Xbox Live.

Wireless Gaming Headset technology

The Astro A50 wireless gaming headset looks sleek, has great audio quality, and all without the hassle of cables.

In the previous gaming PC articles I have been all about choosing wired technology over wireless. Latency issues with wireless keyboards and mouses are just so high so it's better to stay connected for the precision. With headsets, however, wireless technology has come a long way and is extremely viable. Cord management can be a big problem so having wireless functionality on your headset can really help. Although wireless technology does make these headsets a couple pennies more, you can still find some great deals. The Corsair VOID wireless gaming headset can be found around the $100-$150 mark and has some great features coupled with good quality sound. If you want the best wireless gaming headset out though, everyone recommends the SteelSeries Siberia 800. Sound quality, range, comfort, and performance are tied with the best but what puts it above is it's battery management. The headset comes with two batteries, one to power the gaming headset and one to have on charge and change to once the other runs out of juice. It's the little things that really matter.

Gaming Speaker systems

There's one big reason people prefer to get a headset for their gaming setup over a speaker system. Team chat, a staple for any MMO fan. While it's great to have good speakers for a party, your gaming buddies won't want to hear themselves repeated through your huge speakers. However, if you only really play single player games or want to use the system more for social events at your house, then here's what I've found for you. If you want to really splash out and get the best than the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 speaker set is for you. The sub is small but very powerful and the speakers look sleek while outputting amazing sound. With volume and sub control on the speaker itself as well as compatibility with TV's, consoles, and other audio devices through it's audio jack, this little set has all your needs in one place. If you're after a much cheaper set, Logitech has your back with the Z313 2.1ch speaker set. Definitely not the greatest sound or amount of control but really darn good at that price.

Cheap Gaming Headsets

Closeup shot of Logitech G430 gaming headset.
The Logitech G430 gaming headset is one I personally recommend and it comes at a great price.

If you really don't have at least $50 spare for a headset then I recommend that you wait. You can get some headsets at a cheap price but chances are they will have terrible audio and physical quality. We will be looking at a bit higher quality but a lower price range with everything under $100. Let's start with something I recently picked up and has been wonderful so far, the Logitech G430 gaming headset. The around ear cups are super comfy and the headset is very light weight. The microphone is easy to maneuver and the audio quality is great considering the price range. You are getting some great sound for a starter headset. Rated 5 stars on PartPicker, the Cooler Master STORM PULSE-R gaming headset comes in at a great price. It comes with a lot of cool features as well including mic lighting to show whether you're muted or not. Another great gaming headset to enjoy on a budget.

Insane Headsets

My favourite part is too always look at what ridiculous stuff I could get if many wasn't an obstacle. The world of headphones has plenty of outrageous products out there to help or enhance your experience. Maybe you have a friend over and want to play games together. But the neighbours just had a baby so you can't be loud. Time to crack out your matching Wearhaus Arc bluetooth headphones. These headsets allow you to send sound to multiple units at one time from one source, meaning you can all listen to the same game with separate headsets. VR has allowed us to feel more immersed than ever in video games. However they still don't give us the feeling of being in a game. The KOR FX can get you more immersed with their use of vibrations. Strap this bad boy on to your chest and feel the thundering bass sounds of your machine gun as you mow down your enemies. Check out what Lew from Unbox Therapy though of this piece below.

Which gaming headset should I get?

Hopefully I've helped you better understand what to look for when buying your next gaming headset. There is a whole lot of technical details we could go in to but it's a lot to understand. As always, the best option is to try everything before you buy. This rings more true with headphones as the wrong set can put strain on your head, one of the most important parts of the body. Just get out there and try on whatever you can to find the perfect fit and sound for you.

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How to Choose a Gaming Mouse

Unless you're an absolute whiz with your gaming keyboard, you're going to need a mouse to be able to control your sweet new gaming PC. When picking a gaming mouse, there is a world of possibilities out there. Gaming mouses (gaming mice?) are made for precision to make sure every click is where you need it to be. These aren't your dad's old mouse. Here we are looking at all sorts of things to consider when getting a gaming mouse. What does DPI mean and do I need more of it? Is wired or wireless better? How many extra buttons is too many? Will my gaming suffer without a gaming mouse pad? Should I really spend this much on a mouse? Don't worry if this seems overwhelming. I'm here to help you get through this, starting with wired or wireless.

Wired Vs Wireless 2: Electric Boogaloo

If you have been following the "How to Computer Gaming" series then you have seen how I feel about wired versus wireless. Having something plugged in means faster connection and no worrying if your batteries are going to die in the middle of a team fight. Wired is more often than not a good option for a gaming mouse. But sometimes that just might not work for you. Your gaming computer might be too far away for a cable or you might have limited access to the USB ports. Wireless technology has come a long way recently so there are a lot of feasible wireless gaming mouse options out there. But why not have the option of both? The Razer Naga Epic Chroma has both wired and wireless options. It comes with a wireless charging dock whose cable can be plugged straight in to the mouse for wired gaming when you need it. Problem solved.

What is DPI and why should I worry about it?

The Logitech G502 Proteus has a whopping 12000 DPI, but is it necessary?

DPI stands for Dot Per Inch which basically stands for how far your mouse is moving. Most of you may know that screens are made up of a certain amount of pixels. The DPI number of a mouse shows how many pixels the cursor will move when you move the mouse one inch. The higher a DPI is set on a mouse, the less you will have to move the mouse to move the cursor across the screen. High DPI in a gaming mouse is all a gimmick. Most mouses come with 1800 DPI which is plenty enough for any gamer. Pro first person shooter gamers actually opt for a lower DPI setting for better precision. So when choosing a mouse, don't be impressed by larger numbers. Size doesn't matter, it's about how you use the DPI.

So many flashy buttons...

Any old mouse will consist of the left and the right mouse button and a scroll wheel adding a 3rd button. I thought my parents were living it up when they bought a mouse with a back and forward button on the side. How wrong I was. With the evolution of gaming, especially MMO's, MOBA's, etc. the need for more buttons has risen. These games utilise numerals to use items in game. But using either the numpad or numbers on top means losing use of the important buttons. Adding keys to where your thumb sits on your gaming mouse allows you to use whatever you need with no sacrifice to gameplay. If you want the no frills option, the Razer DeathAdder is simplistic but able to be customised. If you need a MOBA gaming mouse, check out the Corsair Scimitar, with enough buttons for all your needs.

The humble and underrated Mouse Pad.

With this awesome mouse mat, you won't need to worry about your mouse going off the edge ever again.

Many people go day to day without using a mouse pad. Some resort to a piece of paper to get better tracking on certain surfaces. Although some might not see the importance in a mouse pad, it can help a heck of a lot. The mouse pad surface is designed for optimal tracking for the laser in your mouse. You might want to go large and look at getting a whole desk mat. Or you might just need a small mouse pad that looks really awesome. Whatever you decide I highly recommend getting a mouse pad to make your gaming mouse that little bit better. If you don't want to spend too much on a mouse pad then check out the 99c mouse pad. It reduces the total cost (including shipping) to 99c USD and people are still giving away coupons in the comments.

Other things to think about

Weight

This one isn't a huge concern but can be for some people. Your standard wired mouse will be very light since it doesn't need a whole lot for it to run. Wireless mouses hold batteries and wireless technology in them and are hence slightly heavier. In gaming mouses you can actually tailor the weight of some devices to your liking. The Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum comes with tiny weights to put on multiple points of your mouse. This allows you to tailor the balance and heftiness of the gaming mouse to exactly the way you like it.

Price

If only we all had as much disposable income as Fry.

Looking at some of these gaming mouses might hurt your wallet just a little bit. There are a lot of cheaper gaming mouse options out there though. While the top of the line gaming mice cost that for a reason, there is no shame in getting a cheaper gaming mouse. The Thermaltake Ventus X gaming mouse has 6 programmable buttons, and adjustable weight system, and comes in just under $50. If that's still a bit out of budget then check out the Logitech G302 Daedalus Prime gaming mouse. It also comes with 6 programmable buttons in a compact, durable, and lightweight case. Are you really missing out by paying less? Check out what Lou from Unbox Therapy thinks when comparing mice.

Ergonomics

A lot of gamers may not think about ergonomics in the heat of battle. But making sure your wrist and palm sit right is a very important deal. If not looked after, you can be susceptible to nasty joint pains or even carpel tunnel. Almost all mice, especially gaming mice, are ergonomically designed to prevent strain on your hand. However, if your hand is bigger than average or susceptible to muscle strain, you might want to specially customise the fit of your gaming mouse to your hand. Mad Catz came up with a feature to help solve this problem in the RAT 8 gaming mouse. Along with the standard RGB lighting and multiple buttons on almost every gaming mouse, the RAT 8 has adjustable parts to mould to the fit of your hand.

What Gaming Mouse should I buy?

All good choices, but which one should you choose?

Hopefully after reading this you are prepared to get your very own gaming mouse. But if you still aren't sure then just get out there and check them out. Each person is different and will feel differently about each mouse. I recently got the Razer Naga Epic Chroma and am loving it, but you might hate it. Head down to your local PC gaming place, EB Games, JB Hi Fi, or other electronic store and try them all out to see what fits for you. If the prices seem a bit much then try and find your perfect mouse online at PC Part Picker. No matter what you pick, I hope it helps you 360 no scope anyone who crosses you.

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How to Choose a Gaming Keyboard

Now that we have built or chosen the gaming computer for you, it's time to think about the peripherals. First up, we will start with the keyboard. We all need one to be able to interface with any computer. Keyboards are a must have whether you want to type or play on your computer. But you're not here for any old keyboard. You want to game. The gaming keyboard has come a long way and is littered with features, some outrageous, some almost essential. But where do we start? Do you want it to be wireless or not? Should it light up? How many USB ports do you need? What about macros? To start off lets look at the two main differences in gaming keyboards, mechanical and non mechanical.

Non Mechanical Gaming Keyboards

If you're using a laptop or a cheap keyboard that your parents bought years ago, chances are it's not a mechanical one. These keyboards are very common and cheap to buy. Most wireless keyboards are non mechanical and can come with many extra features. If you're looking for something that will get the job done then non mechanical is the way to go. There's plenty of non mechanical keyboards out there to choose from but one that caught my eye was the Microsoft ANB Wired Slim Keyboard. Cheap and comes with some extra functional buttons to make life a little easier.

Mechanical Gaming Keyboards

A keychain to take the sound of your mechanical keyboard with you.

Most gamers will say that mechanical keyboards are the only gaming keyboards out there. The difference is that each button has it's own switch underneath it, giving you very precise keystrokes. This may not seem that big a deal but it helps a lot. If you are looking for a gaming keyboard then 99% of them will be mechanical. If you want to splash the cash then SteelSeries has their Apex M800 keyboard available. It comes with what you'd expect for the price, multi colour back lit mechanical keys, USB ports, and macros on the side. My all time favourite though has to be the Razer BlackWidow Chroma gaming keyboard. Macros on the side with all the mechanical multi colour keys you need. This keyboard has been a staple for a lot of gamers and it's easy to see why.

Wired VS Wireless

When looking at buying a gaming keyboard, a lot of people look past the wireless option. This is due to the latency problems you can encounter when using wireless technology. Wired keyboards have a direct link to your gaming PC and are considered a better gaming keyboard for it. But some builds just aren't made for wired keyboards. For example, a media PC connected to your TV would be better off with a wireless keyboard and mouse. Logitech has the answer with their MX800 wireless mouse and keyboard pack. It comes with the slim, wireless keyboard as well as an ergonomic mouse which is part of the great MX line. If that seems a bit too much for you then check out the Logitech MK550 wireless set. This comes with a simple mouse and a weirdly curved keyboard, packed with extra multimedia buttons for ease of use.

Backlighting

The white backlighting helps you see all the keys whether it's light or dark.

Backlighting isn't just for showing off or seeing yourself in your monitor during load screens. It helps users see each key more clearly in all situations. Of course you can get all showboaty and go for crazy multicoloured lights if you would like. The Razer BlackWidow does just that and is fully customisable through the Razer application. A lot of Apple Mac users will be familiar with the standard white backlighting. This is found in most of their laptops and helps users see each key. A lot of gaming keyboards will have this feature as well, to help gamers see the buttons they need in any lighting situation.

Extra Features

There are other little things you might want to consider when looking at getting a new gaming keyboard. So many gadgets are clogging up our USB ports these days. One solution to this is a USB hub but some keyboards come with extra USB ports in them, helping eliminate the lack of USB ports. You can even get keyboards with USB 3.0 capability in them, meaning faster access at the end of your keyboard. Macro keys are prevalent on a lot of gaming keyboards these days. These aren't part of your everyday keyboard and can be programmed to do whatever you want. You might want to quickly tell your opponents that they played a good game. Or you might want to open a few windows in chrome at anytime. Macros allow you to do a lot of useful things with the press of a simple button.

The Insane

I bet you've never seen a keyboard like this before.

If you're really looking to go crazy on the features of your keyboard, then this is the part for you. Do you want to get all the style points from your peers? Then the wireless fully wood keyboard (not wood style finish, actual wood) from Orée is for you. Razer has something not quite insane but very rare for your average gamer. The Razer DeathStalker Ultimate gaming keyboard comes with an inbuilt LCD touch screen that boasts a ton of apps to help gamers. The reason I included this paragraph was for the Optimus Popularis Keyboard. Some of you might have heard of this keyboard before as it is truly insane. Each key is actually an LCD screen and can be fully customised. The keys can change depending on what application you open, creating endless keyboard configurations. Check out Unbox Therapy's review in the video below. How about we bunch a whole lot of these features together in a single keyboard with even more features? The Mad Catz Cyborg S.T.R.I.K.E 7 brings together a touch screen, hi speed USB ports, RGB lighting, 24 customisable macro keys, all in to one modular gaming keyboard. Now that is truly insane.

So what gaming keyboard should I pick?

Well that's a hard one to decide on. There are so many different keyboards out there and of course each person is different. Different budgets, different needs, different style choices. Hopefully through this article you have a better idea of exactly what you are looking for. If you aren't still sure then I suggest going with a classic, the Razer BlackWidow. If you haven't noticed yet, I have mentioned it quite a bit in this article, but for good reason. It is a great gaming keyboard for old and new users. It introduces you to a new way of looking at keyboards with it's multiple features and it comes at a pretty decent price. If that is too big a leap for you though, just buy any cheap keyboard that works for you and slowly incorporate more of what you want. Head down to Office Works or JB Hi-Fi and try a few out there to see what you like. There's so many different styles and features on keyboards out there, it's just about finding the right one for you and your situation.

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How to Choose or Build Your Own Gaming Computer

Written by Daniel Nesbitt.

When it comes to gaming, most people think of either Sony's Playstation or Microsoft's Xbox. While these two have their merits and do what they advertise, they are nothing compared to gaming computers. With their superior graphics, faster processors, larger memory capacity, and incredible flexibility and upgradability, gaming computers and gaming laptops break free of the nefarious console wars. The only downside of PC gaming is how much you will want to upgrade your rig (slang for the computer itself). In this article we will be looking at how to choose or build your own gaming computer or laptop. Whether you want to build your own for the first time (like myself) or pick up a pre-built laptop for someone, this is the information you need to know before you buy anything. Check out what you could be making one day, if you had the money that is.

CPU - Central Processing Unit

The CPU is the brain of the computer, running all the functions you need to make a computer work. The most important part of a gaming computer build as it processes all the data of the computer, including the games you want to play. The price of this part will differ greatly but the more you pay, the faster your PC will run. Looking through PC Part Picker, the Intel Core i7-6700k comes with the best rating by the users. It is a bit pricey at $485 but will last for a long time. If you are looking for a cheaper option and an AMD socket, the AMD FX-8350 rates high as well. It comes with 8 cores and a great price of $245, almost half of the Intel CPU.

Motherboard

 

The motherboard, or the nervous system of the computer, is an integral part of any gaming computer build. This is the piece of the computer that links everything together to work as one unit. All of your components will plug in here and the motherboard will facilitate smooth communication between it all. It's a pretty big deal. Certain motherboards only work with certain other parts so it's best to check what components you want first and make sure it will all fit in correctly. The most crucial port to check is the processor socket. This is where your CPU will plug in and there are two very different sockets, Intel or AMD. Make sure to check what your socket your CPU uses so that you don't end up forking out a lot of money for a part that wont fit. Motherboards won't vary too much in price, the average being between $150 and $250. The more you decide to fork out for your motherboard, the more ports you will have access to. This can be helpful if you want more RAM slots with the latest compatibility or expansion slots for graphics cards. There's a large selection of motherboards over at PC case gear for you to browse through to find the right fit.

RAM

Short for Random Access Memory, RAM is the short term memory of the computer and can't be downloaded. It stores frequently used computer functions and runs them at a much faster rate than your hard drive will. This is why the larger the RAM and the more you have, the better your computer will be able to handle large amounts of processes. It is the simplest component of the gaming computer to install and upgrade. The motherboard will contain multiple sockets for the RAM to easily pop in and out when you want to upgrade. The differences you will see when buying RAM is how many gigabytes you will be getting. 8GB will be a sufficient amount of RAM, and if you're looking for a cheap gaming computer build than the G.Skill Ripjaw Series is a good buy at $89. If you want to run more programs at the same time however, look out for the Kingston HyperX Fury RAM. 

Cooling

 

Cooling is there to make sure your computer doesn't overheat and break while running. With our climate and heat, it is even more important for gaming PCs Australia wide. Cooling comes in two major form, fan cooling and water cooling. Fan cooling is pretty self explanatory. You hook up a big old fan to your motherboard and position it correctly in your case and voila. Noise is a big issue with fan cooling but is only an issue with older components. The Noctua NH-D14 is quite and runs at a pretty decent RPM, with a great price of $99. Water cooling requires fans as well but not in the same sense. The fans cool water that is then run directly to your CPU. It's an enclosed system that sends the cold temperatures directly to where it's needed. They will set you back a bit more but run more efficiently and look really cool. The NZXT Kraken X62 Liquid CPU Cooler will set you back around $234 but has RGB lighting and who doesn't want that???

Hard Drive

There's two ways to go when looking at hard drives for your system and I recommend getting both. Lets start of with your normal everyday hard drive. A hard drive is where all your stuff is stored. Your files, photos, music, programs, and games all go on here. The price of this component will mainly change depending on how much space you want. With portable hard drives so freely available these days, I recommend going for a smaller, hence cheaper, hard drive. Western Digital has a couple of choices, the WD10EZEX or Caviar Blue 1TB for $63 or the WD30EFRX or Red 3TB at $158.  Now on to the second type of hard drive, Solid State Drives or SSD for short. These hard drives will bump your price up on your computer but are miles faster than your average hard drive. The PC building community recommends getting a smaller SSD so you can put your Operating System (Windows, Linux) and a few of your favourite games on their so they will start up and run at incredible speeds. A relatively cheap and great SSD is the Samsung MZ-75E250B/AM 250GB drive at a price of $138.

Graphics

 

Now that we have gone through most of the components it's time to look at the most important part for PC gaming Australia and worldwide, the graphics. The higher end and more expensive video card you buy, the more games you will be able to run with crazy good graphics now and in the future. While it is better to go high end on this part, you can get by with a cheaper mid range graphics card. It will still run a lot of modern games at a good frame rate with a good look but will be outdated sooner. You will also be paying for your display ports with this piece. Some higher end GPUs will offer a variety of display ports including HDMI while mid range will offer less display port options. on the higher end we have the EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 Video Card costing about $626. Of course that is a expensive high end piece, but you can get the Sapphire Radeon RX 480 at a lower price of $319 but still with a great rating.

PC Cases

Where are you going to house all this great technology? In the skull, I mean case of course. The right case for you depends on everything else in this article plus how much you want to show off. You want to make sure you choose a case that fits everything and have enough space for air to circulate. Showing off wise, you can get cases to show the insides or light up at the flick of a switch. This all depends on how much money you are willing to spend as there are options to suit every need. The Corsair 760T Black comes in at $235 but is worth every penny. It comes with 2 red LED fans in the front, one in the back, and a plexi side. You can look at all your pretty parts and have a red glow coming from it at night. If you are after a cheaper alternative, the Thermaltake Core V1 Mini comes in at $65. It has a great customer rating and will save you some serious desk space. Of course for all this you will need a power supply. To make it short and simple, look out for something that will fit in well and has a good user rating. The Cooler Master VSM Semi-Modular Power Supply comes in at $135, a nice price for a small powerful package.

Gaming Laptop or Gaming Computer?

 

Now that we've gone through all the components, you should have a pretty sound idea of what you're after. But there's one more question to ask, do you want a gaming computer, or a gaming latpop? There are pros and cons to each so lets start by looking at a gaming computer. Computers are much easier to build and also upgrade. The cases and parts are made to be taken apart and replaced. You will also have a lot more space for components and better cooling with a tower. Of course being so big, it has little to no portability, unless built to be a portable unit. You will have to pay for a few extras, including a keyboard, mouse, monitor and if you want it, a wirless adapter. This can all add up to quite a bit but can be manageable if budgeted well. On the gaming laptop side you have huge portability but little customisation options. No need to buy peripherals (keyboard, mouse, monitor) as they are all built in. You can take it anyware in a backpack or carry case. However with such a small size, cooling can be a bit of an issue. Laptops are a lot harder to upgrade and extremely difficult to build. This means you will need to look at a pre built system which can cost quite a penny. The two main differences between computer and laptop are customisability and portability. Whichever you prefer will decide which system you choose.

But what about...

Yes there is a few components I have missed out on. We haven't looked at keyboards, mice, or monitors, all esential to running a gaming computer. You need more than just a paragraph to look at all these components so we have gone in to more detail about each part. We haven't included a disc drive in this article either. With Steam being huge in the gaming computer community, theres no need to install a game off of a disc. If you do want to go old school or watch DVD's / Blu Ray's on your computer, feel free to look at the optical drive choices available. For gaming there are really only two operating systems to choose from, Windows or Linux. A lot of games just don't have great Mac support so I recommend to steer clear of that. Windows comes at a price (around $130) but is well supported and easy to use. Linux comes for free but can be a little tricky to navigate if you have never used it. For internet connectivity you should definitely pick up the TP-Link TG-3468 Network Adapter. Cheap and it will easily handle Australian internet speeds (thanks government). If you want to, you can go for a wireless internet adapter but you will lose some of the speed and can run in to connectivity issues. The choice is up to you.

Parts sites

 

 

Now that we have gone through every part you need, where do you get it? There are a lot of websites out there for you to start with. A great community to start off with is Reddit's Build a PC community. It might look a bit confusing but read through their beginners guide and then you will understand a lot more on the site. Once you've got the basics down are confident you're ready to build, it's time for the parts. You can just go prebuilt and get a working PC delivered to you at a slightly higher price than building. This could be a great option but building your first computer to what you want is where a lot of the fun is. You could search through all the sites above for the best price or you can use PC Part Picker. It's a great website where users make and share their own gaming computer builds. You can make your own account and create your own build as well. If a part seems a bit too pricey for you, you can create an email alert for when it drops down to a better price. We decide to use this ourselves and created a cheap but great gaming computer build and a high end build for you to check out and maybe even make. So get out there, pick your parts, build your gaming rig, and we will see you on the battlefield.

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Pokemon Games; We look at the great games from 1996 to now!

Written by Daniel Nesbitt.

Pokemon Games have been around for such a large amount of most of our lives. Game Freak celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2016 with a whole host of content. We appreciated an abundance of giveaways, highly anticipated game releases and much more. It was truly the year of Pokemon. Each game has been uniquely different but always able to engage with its audience with similar mechanics. Pokemon Sun and Moon changed the formula but has been a huge success, selling almost 15 million copies. Pokemon Go was a huge success and, despite its flaws, truly went viral having more installs than Tinder and more time spent in app than Facebook in only a week. The Pokemon Anime has been going for just as long as the games, with the Sun and Moon season seeing a complete overhaul. Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire were some of the best GBA games, earning themselves remakes for the 3DS. But where did it all start? It is time to go back to the beginning, to Pokemon Red and Blue.

Generation 1 - Red, Blue and Yellow

 
The most important choice: Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle?

Pokemon sprang into the gaming world in February 1996 with two simultaneous releases on Gameboy: Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue. Developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo, these games were a ground breaking success, partly thanks to a fun new mechanic in gaming: Trade. Red and Blue, who were almost identical bar their exclusive pokemon, required you to complete your Pokedex via cable connection trade with friends. This new mechanic meant that a community began. Just a year later in 1997, the Pokemon Anime aired, giving the universe its emotional core, emphasizing the supportive relationship between pokemon and trainer. Then comes Pokemon Yellow in 1998, introducing a new mechanic inspired by the anime: Pikachu, as your starter and friend, following you around outside their pokeball, as well as giving the player access to all 151 Pokemon without the need for trade. Finally, Pokemon: The First Movie debuted at number one in the US; a testament to how loved this series was. But there that was just the beginning...

Generation 2 - Silver, Gold and Crystal

 

 Silver and Gold followed in 1999. The new Gameboy Colour hand console added vibrancy to our favourite series. It also brought with it 100 new Pokemon to collect which were again, split exclusivly accross the two games. The world expanded as the game thrust us in to a new area: the Johto region. New characters greeted us, new mechanics like breeding began, and even new items to increase the playability were introduced. A stand-out new feature was The Legendary Dog Trio: three hard to catch Pokemon that would flee and scatter without pattern. The act of catching these critters was a game of luck; they would roam around the world, never being found in just one spot. Like Yellow before it, Crystal debuted with the full pokedex of Generation 2 available in 2001.

Generation 3 - Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald

 
Male Pokemon character walking throuhg a puddle in Sapphire
Hoenn - the region of so so so much water.

One year after the Gameboy Advance is released, Game Freak is back with Ruby and Sapphire, my favourites in the series. This generation gave us a huge graphical update, 135 new Pokemon to catch and some innovative mechanical changes. This Generation sprang life into the series with new mechanics like Pokemon abilities, double battles, and a choice of what gender your character could be. And for the first time, the two different games offered more exclusive content beyond just pokemon - Each game also had a slightly different story with different enemy teams too! Ruby's Team Magma wanted to raise Groudon to make more land for Pokemon to run free. Sapphire's Team Aqua want to wake Kyogre to raise the sea level so the Pokemon could always swim. As always, fight with your pokemon friends to save the day. Again, the third installment Emerald combined these two stories, bringing together both legendaries and Rayquaza. The huge additions and world building made these Pokemon games some of the best in the series.

Generation 4 - Diamond, Pearl and Platinum

 

 Diamond and Pearl debuted on Nintendo DS, adding touch screen support to the Pokemon games. It also added 107 new Pokemon to the roster, bringing the total up to 494. These Pokemon games recieved criticism from fans and critics over the flawed graphics and audio. But it did see the start of a huge feature within the games: WiFi connection. Welcome to the Underground, a cool cave system under the Sinnoh region. Secret bases were born and players participated in minigames to recieve items. WiFi connectivity also allowed players to access the Global Trade Station. This game changing technology meant you could trade Pokemon with people all over the world, expanding the community into the online universe. Platinum came in 2008, mashing the two games together and bringing with it the Distortion World, used in later games.

Generation 5 - Black and White

 
The starting Pokemon in the Black and White games.
Snivy, Tepig, and Oshawatt. Which starter did you pick?

Generation 5 was an interesting set of Pokemon Games. The game boasted 156 new Pokemon... but that was it. Only those 156. Well, until you finished the game at least. Whereas in other games, you would see your old favourite Pokemon as well, Gen 5 wanted to give you that whole new world experience. As well as new Pokemon we also received new ways to battle: Rotation and Triple battles. Rare Pokemon spawns became easier to spot with grass rustling or dust clouds formed in caves. Double battles were also brought back but could now be encountered in the wild. The final installment in the generation was actually two installments: Black 2 and White 2. The games take place two years after the originals and introduced Pokemon Forms. This meant that the old Legendary Pokemon returned with a new modern look and even more power. 

Generation 6 - X and Y

 

2013 saw the first worldwide simultaneous release of a Nintendo published game, the first Pokemon game for the 3DS. The Kalos region, heavily inspired by French Culture, gave us only 72 new Pokemon. However, it introduced bigger mechanics to the series: Fairy type and Mega Evolutions. The fairy type balanced the Dragon type Pokemon, changing the entire meta of the game. Mega Evolutions provided fully evolved Pokemon (like Charizard, Lucario, Mewtwo, etc.) with a new temporary evolution. With the use of Pokemon's Mega Stone, a new level of power can be reached for the Pokemon and their trainer. O-powers came in as well, giving the game an extra boost. Horde Battles became the bain of my existence. Beating five Pokemon at once instead of just one!? Gamers loved the extra challenge. However, much the the dismay of the fans, Generation 6 did not get a third installment.

Generation 7 - Sun and Moon

 
The Alola Region, a huge change for the Pokemon Games.

Sun and Moon reignited the series when the Alola Region turned the Pokemon games model on its head. The latest release graced us on November 2016 on the 3DS. The usual new pokemon designs joined the game, this time with 81 new pokemon, but it was the Alolan forms people couldn't stop talking about. New updates of your old favourites were made, including a steel type Diglett, a flame weilding Marowak, and blue-eyed psychic Raichu. Not only did this changed the way they looked, it also changed their type and move sets. Instead of the usual gym-based road to the Pokemon League, we were now taking Trials for each island. These Trials had you in battles that lead up to the Totem Pokemon, an uber-powerful version of regular Pokemon found in the area. Once the trial was beaten, you took your reward: a Z Crystal which strengthens your pokemon when held by the corresponding type. Ultra Beasts, new training mechanics, split map, and updated 3D graphics were all added to the game, plus loads more. Check out a whole host of the new features in the video.

 
 

Pokemon games remakes

 

Some games are so nice, you have to play them twice! And for Pokemon, there's been 6 remakes so far! Eight years after the original game, FireRed and LeafGreen storm into the limelight and fans everywhere rejoiced. Borrowing graphics and mechanics from Ruby and Sapphire, these new games dominated the market in 2004. Successful items like 'Experience Share' joined the games but the story and world remained exactly the same. Gold and Silver had a makeover in to HeartGold and SoulSilver for the DS. Touch screen support, beautiful graphical updates, and the return to the pokemon following you as your friend made these Pokemon game remakes shine. A Pokewalker was also introduced; a Pokeball pedometer that connected to the game and let you train your Pokemon while not playing. Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby joined the line-up of remakes on the 3DS. These remakes gained the Mega Evolutions seen in X and Y as well as a 3D graphical upgrade. The Delta Episode also expanded the story and unlocked the chance at rare legendary Pokemon.

Pokemon Go

 
What a lovely spot to catch an iconic Pokemon.

One of the biggest apps in history, Pokemon Go encouraged fans all over the world go outside to catch 'em all. Pokemon Go is an Augmented Reality game where you walk around in the real world to find Pokemon in the game. Players pick between one of three teams, bringing back the feeling of community that made the orginal games so popular. Popular landmarks and monuments are now Pokestops where you could meet fellow trainers and collect essential items, including Pokeballs. The game was a monumental triumph... for a few weeks. Despite the enormous initial success, fans felt frustration due to server overloads and glitching. The issues meant many fans chose to delete the app. However, those who've held on are rewarded as the problems are slowly being resolved and the game gives it's first big pokedex update. Originally the game only spawned generation one characters but on February 6th of 2016, Genration 2 pokemon were released, revamping the game. While we understand the frustrations felt by fans, we have high hopes for the future of this game!

Pokemon Trading Card Game

 

We can't talk about Pokemon Games without mentioning the trading cards and their digital countreparts. Pokemon cards were the hot new thing in the playground when I was a kid. It was a whole new way to catch 'em all, as you collected, traded and battled in this whole new way. The card game even recieved a digital version, the Pokemon Trading Card Game for the Gameboy Colour. Recently an online counterpart has enjoyed success, known as Pokemon TCG Online where you can play on your computer or your phone. New cards are constantly coming out as well, like the Sun and Moon expansion that came out on February 3rd, 2016. Not only is it a competitive game, the cards themselves are also very, very collectible and can be worth serious money.

Other Pokemon Games

 

Several smaller Pokemon Games deserve praise as well. Pokemon Pinball, Pokemon Duel, My Pokemon Ranch, Pokemon Shuffle, the Mystery Dungeon Series, and so much more have made their mark on the community. It's clear that Game Freak and Nintendo have done more than just make a game. They've made a world. Twenty years is no small feat and there's no doubt they'll be going for twenty more. The series is so monumental, that I haven't even had time to discuss all the fan made games, the figurines or the Pokemon Center shops. If you have never played a Pokemon game, grab a copy and discover it for yourself. My favourite, and what I think is on of the best GBA games of all time, is Generation 3, Ruby and Sapphire. Come join the world. Join the community. You gotta catch em all!

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Best GBA Games: Gameboy Advance Games You Should Be Playing

Written by Daniel Nesbitt.

In 2001 we were given the Game Boy Advance (I know, I feel old too) and it brought us some of the best portable gaming of our young lives. Now handheld consoles have touch screens, joystick pads, and figurines to collect. With all these major advances, I decided to take a step back. I want to bring you some of the best GBA games and series that were ever created. Of course, we can't talk about Nintendo and the GBA without bringing up Pokemon, Zelda, and Mario so you'll see all those titles in this best Gameboy Advance games list. Time to dust off that old console, whether it be the original or a Gameboy Advance SP. Or if you were unlucky enough to not own a GBA, check out the Nintendo Wii U virtual console catalogue and get to downloading these great titles. We'll also talk about Gameboy Advance ROMs and Emulators.

Pokèmon

 
I can't find a single Ralts but Wally get's a Shiny one?!?!?!

We can't talk about portable consoles without bringing up Pokèmon. Since its beginnings in 1996, Pokèmon has been one of the best series Nintendo has to offer. It has lasted through 8 different consoles, creating 7 generations and recreating 6 of its most popular titles.

Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald

With the Game Boy Advance came the third generation of the Pokèmon series (my personal favourites), Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald. This brought about a whole host of new Pokèmon, items, gameplay mechanics, a new world, great music, and so much more. It was the first game to feature two slightly separate stories as well as the textbook game exclusives. It was so popular in fact that it actually was given a remake and remodel for the 3DS. With all this behind it, it's no wonder that Generation three are some of the best GBA games of the time.  But Gamefreak wasn't happy with just one title on the newest console.

FireRed and LeafGreen

2004 saw the release of FireRed and LeafGreen, remakes of the original Pokèmon games. A bigger processor in the Gameboy Advance meant that the graphics could be updated from the black and white originals. It gained a similar style to the previously released Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald. It also gained some of the items seen in the previous games. Items that were appreciated by fans, like experience share, were added to the remake to bring it forward into the 21st century. The originals were one of the best games on the Gameboy original and the remakes are one to add to your best GBA games list.  Pokèmon is getting bigger and going better than ever, so make sure you read all about it.

Mario

Nintendo's other major game series is the Mario games. With its variety and numbers, the Mario series brings us some of the best GBA games.

Super Mario Advance

Starting off with a port of the classic Mario games, Super Mario Advance was the perfect launch title. A direct remake of the SNES title and a fan favourite. People that were unable to get their hands on the console itself or a copy of the game finally had a chance to play the classic title. Super Mario Advance 2, 3, and 4 followed closely behind, bringing all the Super Mario games to a portable platform. But Nintendo didn't just stop with the remakes.

Even More Mario

They brought Mario Tennis, Mario Kart, Mario Pinball, Mario Party, and more classic Mario games to the Game Boy Advance. Mario Kart was and still is a very loved game and could now be taken anywhere thanks to the GBA. The graphics were downgraded for the system but the fans were there for the thrill of the race. There was a whole host of Mario cameos in other games as well, including Donkey Kong and Game and Watch. Having all the classics, a heap of new portable content and numerous cameos, the Mario series definitely earned its spot amongst the best GBA games.

Wario Ware Twisted

Although Wario is a character from the Mario series, Wario Ware Twisted was such a great concept that it deserves it's own paragraph. Twisted was a sequel to the original GBA game but with a whole new dynamic. It came with a tilt sensor that connected to your Game Boy Advance and gave rumble feedback based on the tilt of your device. The game itself was a collection of 5 second games that had you quickly tilting the device left and right to complete random objectives. The new mechanics and motion hardware made it a must have GBA game. But don't fret if you can't get your hands on it anymore. Nintendo Wii made a sequel to the popular game, WarioWare: Smooth Moves. It utilises the Wiimote motions to bring you a whole host of new 5 second games. You can check out some gameplay of the Wii version from popular YouTube channel Funhaus. Or check out this video of the GBA classic:

 
 

The Legend of Zelda

 

The Game Boy Advance brought a new story to the Zelda series as well as a whole lot of ports of the original games. With The Legend of Zelda being another hugely popular series owned by Nintendo, there was no way that the GBA was missing out on getting a few titles.

The originals

Zelda 1 and 2 got a port to the handheld console with no mechanic changes or graphical upgrades. Although these didn't add to the series, they were a great way for gamers to get their nostalgic fix or possibly play the iconic games for the first time. Zelda: A Link to the Past also received a port to the console as well and came with a new Zelda multiplayer game; Four Swords Adventure. This was the first Zelda game to feature a multiplayer style, cementing it as one of the best GBA games ever.

The Minish Cap

Nintendo had one last GBA title though and released The Minish Cap, a new story in the Zelda saga, in November 2004. This story has Link fighting Vaati who has destroyed the Picori Blade and petrified Princess Zelda. Link also rescues Ezlo, a creature resembling a green cap and a new companion to the series. Ezlo has the ability to shrink Link to the size of the bug-sized race named the Minish. Although it retained the same general gameplay features, it added quite a bit to the series and had a great story. It was well loved by the fans and gained the title of the best selling GBA game in its debut week in Japan. This new portable Zelda title was a great hit, earning it a spot among the best GBA games.

Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town

 
Gameboy Advance classic Harvest Moon - character in a field full of weeds, logs, and stones.
This is going to take a while...

There is a huge hype around Stardew Valley, a very recent game geared around running a farm. But we're not here to look at latest and greatest. We're here to find the best GBA games and Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town is one of them. To me, having sunk so so so many hours into it, this is the original Stardew Valley. Of course, being on a handheld console, the gameplay and mechanics aren't as rich as the new title. But you still came up against a lot of the same problems, challenges, and successes. The graphics are quite similar to Stardew but that's not what you're playing this for. This is a great game to relax in and do what you want to do. There is a large overarching story but you can just farm every day if you want. A great GBA game to take with you on long journeys to make them a lot shorter.

Final Fantasy

 

Final Fantasy by Hironobu Sakaguchi at Square was his last-ditch effort in the game industry. Boy did it pay off. The series still lasts to this day and the Game Boy Advance was lucky enough to receive a few titles in the series.

The Remakes

Final Fantasy I, II, IV, V, and VI were all remade for the portable console. The Gameboy Advance allowed for a graphical upgrade for some of the older titles. However this was the only change, with the story, characters, and mechanics all kept the same. Although this seems like nothing different, it meant that fans of the series could get their hands on rare titles. Having 5 amazing classic games, each with a great story and all in the palm of your hands was a great move for the franchise.

Final Fantasy Tactics

Not only was the GBA a Final Fantasy fan's nostalgic dream, it also got a new title, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. This was not a sequel to the PlayStation's Tactics game but had the same play style and used the same Final Fantasy tropes as all other games in the series. It was a wonderful tactical RPG which produced characters and places later seen in the series in XII. Fans were ecstatic for another tactics game and were overjoyed being able to take it with them in their pocket. One of the best Game Boy Advance games was so loved that it earned another portable title in 2007 on the PSP, War of the Lions. All of this coupled with the fact that characters have been reused makes this one of the best GBA games.

Fire Emblem

 

Fire Emblem Awakening was a highly anticipated 3DS title and 11th in the series, but nothing really beats the original. Of course, it wasn't the first Fire Emblem game in the series, but it was the first released outside of Japan. Fire Emblem is a tactical role-playing game and I know what you're thinking. Yes, it is another one but it brought a very interesting mechanic to the genre, permanent death. As well as a new story (for US and Europe) and a new world, permanent death was a new and exciting concept for the genre. It meant that you had to be more tactful if you wanted to experience and complete every challenge in this dense story line. There were hours of content with a rich fantasy setting, providing the game with a long lifetime.

Advance Wars

 
Best gba title Advance Wars. Great fun in battle on a Gameboy Advance SP
Who will win?

Of course, we can't talk about Fire Emblem without talking about Advance Wars. Made by Intelligent Systems, the developers behind Fire Emblem, the two games shared many similarities. Both are tactical games and both are some of the best GBA games out. But where as you grow and connect with the characters in Fire Emblem, Advance Wars is just that, all out war. You are in control of an army, trying to reclaim the world that has been shattered by warring factions. Advance Wars comes with an array of different weapons, more than 115 maps, a map editor, and multiplayer. Although this game fits in the palm of your hand, it doesn't mean that it was any small feat.

Fan made Gameboy Advance games

Gameboy Advance emulators let you play classic GBA games on your computer or portable device. Bringing the GBA to the PC meant that fans could make games for the GBA. The Pokemon series was so expansive that fans couldn't stop making homebrew Gameboy Advance games for the series. Pokemon Light Platinum is a remake plus some. Based off Pokemon Ruby, Light Platinum offers greater graphics, Pokemon from the next generation, and cool new mechanics. Another fan favourite is Pokemon Ash Gray. Fans of the Pokemon Anime series will love this homemade Gameboy Advance game. The game follows the story of the anime directly, pitting Ash (you) and Pikachu against the same events from the anime. There are so many more fanmade Pokemon GBA games out there so why not download an Emulator and try them all?

So where can I get the best Gameboy Advance games?

 

There are numerous ways to get your hands on some of these great titles. The obvious route is to go to any independent game store and see if they have any old consoles and/or games. A lot of them stock old school games and systems so you might be able to find the one you want. Of course with some of them being so rare, you're never going to get your hands on all of them. To find a new copy of Advance Wars, you're looking at spending more than a limited edition of a recent triple A title. The Wii U now has a virtual console where you can play old Nintendo games that have been ported over. This includes a lot of the games mentioned here, including Fire Emblem and the Minish Cap. Not only does it have those GBA games plus more, it also has a whole host of NES, N64, and even DS games. You can check out the full list of games here and also find the full catalogue on your Nintendo Wii U or 3DS.

What about Gameboy Advance Emulators and ROMs?

 

Unfortunately, I can't tell you where to look for these products as they are illegal. Emulators let you emulate a system on your computer and are perfectly fine if you can make your own ROM from a game you already own. Downloading a ROM from the internet is illegal as you aren't paying for the game. It might be a cheaper and easier way of getting the games you want but it's not the same. You won't get to hold a physical console while playing your old school favourites. I would highly recommend going with the avenues suggested above. Nintendo is adding more and more titles to their library at a very reasonable price. You support the developers and the industry when buying from a legal source.

Moment of Truth: What is the best GBA game?

 
All great games. Which one would you pick?

It all comes down to the player. I would personally rank the Pokèmon series as my favourite Game Boy Advance series. It opened up a whole new world to me which I still love and play to this day. Harvest Moon stole many hours of my time as well. Although I wasn't set on the storyline, I loved just farming day in and day out, as well as fishing, mining, and other activities. Your favourite GBA game might not even be on here. This is only a list of some of the best to give you a variety of games to check out.  So dust off that old GBA (or boot up your Wii U or 3DS) and try out some of the best GBA games to see what you like.

More Info

 

Of course, this is a very short list. There are already a lot of great lists of the top GBA games out there if you search around. IGN released an article of the Top 25 Game Boy Advance games which I greatly agree with. Games Radar recently wrote a best GBA games article with a lot of games I definitely want to try out. Guess it's time to go and find my old Game Boy Advance, put in Pokèmon Sapphire, and embrace the memories. Happy retro gaming!