All you really need for gaming is the platform, the game, and the time to play. However, gamers know that there are a few inexpensive purchases that can make the experience way more fun. These are some of our favorites.
1) Ethernet Cable
Lag is the worst, and it happens all the time on WiFi. If you’re a serious online gamer, you need to be able to rely on your connection. WiFi is a useful invention, but it’s best for doing work on the couch or downloading a podcast to your phone. For serious streaming and gaming, you need a rock-solid internet connection.
2) Keyboard Wrist Pad
A pad has two benefits: one, it makes you more comfortable while you play. It also helps ward off nasty repetitive stress injuries like arthritis and carpal tunnel. It’s a good long-term investment in your arms.
Dedicated PC gamers always play with a mousepad. Optical mice work way better with a dark surface to track on. The consistent surface is easy to clean, so you can play with the confidence that a piece of gunk won’t keep you from getting fragged at the worst possible time.
4) Compressed Air Canister
This might be our favorite item on the list. Compressed air cleans so many electronics: keyboards, mice, cable ports, optical drives, and computer fans. My air can saved me hundreds of dollars. I used it to clean out the power port for my iPhone C, on which I played lots of NBA 2K16. The phone wasn’t charging because of the dust and grit that got in the way. I cleaned it out and was able to buy the latest phone on my schedule.
5) Tidy Gaming Area
Sometimes, the most frustrating thing about free time can be getting ready to use it. Have you ever had to search your living room for your controller? I’ve had to do it for a half hour or so before, and it put me in such a bad mood that I didn’t feel like playing Zelda any more. Keeping your gaming area clean will set your stress level on low and your comfort level on high.
6) Controller Grips
Have you ever lost a heated console game because you couldn’t get your thumbs to the right control at the right time, or you didn’t put on just the right amount of pressure? With these controller grips, you’ll never mess up that coup de grâce combo move again.
7) Headset Hook
So you bought your $200 headset with great speakers and a mic that makes you sound like the person who narrates movie trailers. You unpack it, game all night, and leave them on your chair. And then you sit on them the next morning.
One of this pack of three hooks will save you the expense of replacing your shiny new headphones.
8) Energy Drinks
If you’re deep in a firefight, or you’re making substantial progress on a quest that you gathered friends to complete, you don’t want to have to log off before you’re finished. You also don’t want to lose the razor-sharp reflexes that certain games require. How about a little caffeine to keep things running?
9) Spare Dice
You’ve invited all of your friends over for a night of tabletop gaming. Everyone is a super competitive Settlers/D&D/Risk player, and serious rivalries and trash talk must be answered. Nachos are eaten, the game is roaring… and then someone loses a die under the fridge. Don’t let your big game night end early—make sure you have some spare dice on hand.
10) Good Lighting
Bright, clear lighting will help you ward off fatigue and stay engaged with your game. It will take stress off your eyes and help you see your controller better. Dim, moody lighting is wonderful aesthetically, but it’s not the best way to get deep into a gaming session.