Since the early 1980’s, playing video games has gradually become an integral part of most young people’s lives, and thanks to the constantly morphing tech of the twenty-first century, we can game in a variety of ways: old-school consoles, portable devices, and even smartphones. Despite being viewed as pure entertainment and just a way to kill time, video gaming requires dedication, especially if you plan to become a master gamer. To achieve such an ambitious goal, you need to realize that just because it is a video game, does not mean it doesn’t take practice to master. As with anything in life at which you may want to perform at the highest level, becoming a great gamer can take as much practice as, let’s say, becoming a good football or tennis player, even though it will take a lot less physical activity. However, to achieve your goal, you have to be as mentally strong; you must face challenges; you must be willing to lose; and you must be willing to examine your failures to spot your weaknesses. By fixing your mistakes and learning from your failures, you will eventually improve your gaming skills. Here follow 25 Easy Tips to Help You Improve Your Gaming Skills that won’t let you down.
Feature Image: Radly J Phoenix via Flickr
Turn down the music
It’s very possible that you probably don’t realize the damage loud music is doing to your game play, but it’s been scientifically proven that when you listen to music while doing something else (like playing a game or even worse, studying), a small percentage of your brain is actually listening to the music instead of concentrating on what you’re doing. So next time you feel like something’s distracting you, you’d better turn down the music.
However, if you happen to be one of those folks who needs noise to function, then you will definitely want to wear headphones since they will help you concentrate on your game even more. This way you will remove a lot of the noise inside your home (and won’t drive your parents or siblings crazy) and increase your focus.
Know your controls
This is a very basic thing every gamer should do, but most don’t. If it’s a computer game, and you are using a keyboard and mouse, know which keys perform which functions. Usually the game manual or Help screen will give you this information. If it’s a console game or you are using a control pad or joystick, know all the buttons and what movements they enact.
Adapt your skills
Don’t get frustrated if you do poorly at first. Figure out what you’re doing wrong and fix it. When you reach the highest level, return to the lowest and move up again just to make sure you got it.
Improve your ability to do certain “special” movements
If you’re into fighting games such as Street Fighter, for example, you will definitely need to find out how to hurt your opponents with special kicks or punches that can take away more than half their energy.
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Don’t let frustration or anger take over your mind
Playing a video game at the highest level requires your mind and spirit to be in excellent condition. So, if you want to reach peak performance by eliminating all obstacles, both physical and psychological, you will have to learn how to handle defeat, and more importantly, how to minimize the negative emotions you associate with defeat in advance.
Watch other people play
This might sound boring to some, and yes, it’s always more fun to play instead of watching others (not to mention it can make you jealous), but as with sports and other activities, watching others—especially those better than you—play can help you improve big-time.
Find the best time during the day to play
This is another important secret that many gamers seem to forget or ignore that they shouldn’t. As with studying and working, some people perform better during a certain time of day, and you should find your own “magic” moment.
Play on the easiest difficulty (as a novice)
When you start a new game, don’t try to act too tough or brave because you will never learn. Of course, you should always choose the difficulty you are most comfortable with, but if you’re a newcomer, you should start off on easy mode so you can improve steadily and gradually. Over time, your skills will improve, and you’ll feel comfortable selecting medium and harder difficulties.
Make use of practice areas
In sports video games especially, there are many practice areas that offer you a chance to train and learn tricks that will help you impress your friends and score nonstop when you play against them or the system. For the designers to put them there, they probably know something you shouldn’t ignore.
Eat properly before you play
Studies have shown that playing video games can make teenage boys eat more food (of junk quality) after gaming is over. A small study in Canada of twenty-two normal-weight teenagers found that the boys ate a big lunch before they played a video game instead of spending an hour relaxing, which led them to gain weight. So, eating properly before you play will not only help you be more focused while playing video games, but will save you from obesity as well.
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Work on your eye-hand coordination
Improving your eye-hand coordination will help you not just with your gaming but also with other activities in which your sight needs to be coordinated with your hand movements. This way you will use a fine motor skill that develops shortly after birth in the most enjoyable and fun way—by playing video games.
Strengthen your hand muscles with exercises
Your skills in gaming rely a lot on the muscles in your wrists and hands. If you’re someone who plays for more than an hour a day, then you definitely know the feeling of strain and less responsiveness in your hands. How many times did you quit just because you couldn’t take the pain in your fingers? Find the best hand exercises online such as squeezing tennis balls, thumb opposition, and so on to start building some muscles.
Check online for tips or tricks
There’s no doubt that you can learn many useful and interesting tricks online that you wouldn’t have learned otherwise. Every game has its own little secrets, strategies, and tricks that can be used.
Buy the ideal (for you) mouse or controller
Having a mouse or controller that you find comfortable and easy to use can really make a huge impact. It’s true that many gamers make the mistake of compromising by using the mouse or controller that came with the system. Try out the many alternatives that can make a big difference in how comfortable you can get with a different mouse or controller.
Customize the controls
Many games allow you to tinker with the sensitivities and layout of the controls. Don’t take this for granted. Go to the options and test the waters until you get a perfect level of sensitivity; it will make a subtle but fundamental improvement in your performance that you may not even be aware of.
Join an online community
It’s not only fun and cool to play against players from other parts of the world, it can also help improve your social skills. You don’t necessarily have to leave your house to make new friends nowadays.
Play many different games
It’s true that we all have our favorite games to which we’re addicted and can’t stop playing. However, this can be a big negative sometimes as it will narrow not only your game choices but also your gaming skills and transform you into a one-dimensional player. Play different games to learn new things and further develop your knowledge and skill; it won’t harm you if some of them aren’t your favorites.
Play against good players
The purpose of joining an online gaming community, other than making new buddies to play with, is to improve your gaming skills, and to do that, you will have to pick better players than you. So once you’re involved in an online community, make sure to play against higher-ranked players to benefit from the tough competition.
Understand your game
Not really comprehending the ins and outs of a game is a common mistake many gamers commit and as a result, get frustrated or even abandon the game for good. Many of us have bought games for all the wrong reasons: they were popular, someone suggested them, or it looked good in the advertisement. However, if you’re not willing to “study” your game and follow the tips and tricks available (online or in the directions booklet that comes with the game), there’s a serious chance you will never fully understand it and find it too boring or difficult to enjoy or play successfully.
Make the screen brighter
This is an extremely valuable tip that most gamers don’t know, and if they do, they often underestimate it. Some experts and professional gamers suggest that when your screen is darker than it should be while playing a game, the colors don’t stand out, and there’s no contrast. As a result, the player’s focus and concentration decrease significantly, leading to mistakes during play that you wouldn’t normally make if the screen was brighter.
Sharpen your mind before the game
Studies have shown that players who did something creative before playing, such as solving math problems, painting, or reading a book, usually perform better than someone who just lazed around and had a boring day before he grabbed the controller. It always helps to loosen up before a game, and it’ll really help with your hand-eye coordination, thinking, and reflexes.
Play old-school video games
Old-school video games from the 8-bit era were truly unforgiving to their inexperienced players. They required precise timing if you hoped to see the next level, and the publishers of many of these classic games first released them in arcades. This meant that if you wanted to keep playing, you had to get extremely good or have parents rolling in quarters. To make a long story short, playing old-school video games is the best practice out there.
Never give up
No matter how badly you may want to turn off your console or even throw your controller at the wall when you’re losing or getting frustrated with how bad the game is going for you, try to compose yourself and keep going; no player ever gained a thing from giving up when things got tough.
Take care of your body
A very important thing that younger gamers in particular ignore is how your physical well-being and health can negatively affect your gaming life. So if you want your reflexes to be on point, you better start working out because being in shape always helps.
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