The Complete Beginners’ Guide to Gaming

What was once considered a niche hobby for geeks and children has exploded into a multi-billion dollar industry. However, for the uninitiated, words like PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo might seem like a foreign language. If you’re ready to jump into the world of gaming, this beginners’ guide will walk you through everything you need to know.


The best equipment for video gaming has been a hotly debated subject for decades that even spawned an entire television series called, “Console Wars.” However, the truth of the matter is that there isn’t one perfect be-all-end-all piece of gaming equipment.

If you have a smartphone or a tablet, there are hundreds of free or low-cost games you can download for your device. Many of these games are considered “casual” titles, which is a good place to start for beginning gamers. However, there are mobile versions of pretty much every gaming genre out there.

The next best piece of equipment for a beginning gamer to acquire is a dedicated video game console. There are plenty of casual games to be found on console systems, but there is also a much larger variety of bigger and more complex games to choose from than what you will find on a mobile device. Many of these games are also available for Macs and PCs, but consoles are much easier to set up for a beginning player. The three most popular consoles are the Playstation 4 or 5, Xbox One or Series X and the Nintendo Switch.

Playstation, Xbox and Nintendo Console Cost

The Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X were just released, making them the most expensive current options at $399 to $499 for the Playstation 5 and $499 for the Xbox Series X, though there is also an all-digital version, called the Series S for $299, if you can actually find any of these consoles in stock.

If you don’t need the latest and greatest, you can pick up the Playstation 4, or Xbox One for about a hundred dollars less than their newer counterparts or save even more money by purchasing a used or refurbished model. Nintendo hasn’t released a newer version of the Switch yet, which retails for $299 for the regular model and $199 for the Switch Lite.

As a beginning gamer, it may be well worth it to purchase one of the previous generation systems at a discount price, rather than springing for the newest models. There is already a library of hundreds of games, many of which will also cost less than the newer games, to choose from. By the time you work your way through the older library, the price of newer games and consoles will likely have dropped.

Best Games for Beginners

Inexperienced gamers may want to stay away from action games with complex control schemes until they get more used to operating a controller. Mobile games with touch controls, such as “Florence” or “The Room,” are good places to start. For PlayStation and other console gamers, puzzle games, such as “Tetris Effect” and adventure games, such as “Kentucky Route Zero,” are beginner-friendly choices.

Wifi Requirements

Even if you aren’t interested in playing games with other people, you are going to need a decent internet connection to get the most out of your gaming experience. If you want to purchase your games digitally, you will need to download the entire game over the internet and even disc-based games usually require large downloads for error patches and game updates. The latest PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo consoles all have wifi connectivity. You will need a connection speed of 10 to 20 Mbps for playing online and downloading games and faster is better. If your router is an older model, it may be worth upgrading to avoid bandwidth issues on your network.

Health Concerns

While many gamers get a bad reputation for sitting on the couch playing “Fornite” for hours on end, gaming addiction is fairly rare, affecting about 1-3% of players. However, it is still a good idea to moderate your gaming time.

The ability to play games on all kinds of devices, in addition to the PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo consoles makes gaming more accessible than ever. You probably already own at least one device you can start your gaming adventure on today.