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Achieve the ultimate gaming experience

Long gone are the days when gaming was confined to teenagers watching a little yellow face chomping on white blocks while being harassed by multi-coloured ghosts.

As good as the classic PacMan game may have been, the viewpoint of gaming has changed dramatically over the past 30 years, and the industry recently saw its annual revenue overtake that of the Hollywood movie trade. In the past year, a total of 150.7 million games consoles were sold worldwide, while more money was spent in 2009 on gaming than on the cinema, music, nightclubs and sporting events.

A Change In the Market

Today’s gamers are no longer just teenagers and young men. The Nintendo Wii and DSi, with its sports, fitness and brain training games, have seen a dramatic shift in the demographics of gamers.

We now see businessmen tapping away on a DSi on the daily commute, women toning their bodies using Wii Fit and families gathering around the TV screen playing Mario Kart. In fact, with new technology such as the Xbox Kinect or PS3 Move, families are coming together to enjoy gaming like never before. With Kinect, gone are the controllers, with gamers using their bodies to control characters with arms, legs, feet, hands and even voices directing movement on the screen.

The Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3 are the consoles of choice for the hardcore gamer, offering smooth HD graphics and sounds. The impressively realistic games command hype more akin to the latest Hollywood blockbuster, causing gamers to flock to midnight store openings just to be the first to get their hands on games such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto.

Online Gaming

These gamers are also now able to challenge each other worldwide with vast online gaming communities springing up for almost every game available for either console. They can download game demos, new content, videos and music, or even speak to another gamer over Xbox Live or PlayStation Network.

Simply by connecting their consoles to the web via high speed broadband, gamers can challenge friends on the other side of the earth on the battlefield or in the sports arena. International tournaments attract gamers in their millions on some of the biggest titles such as the ever-popular FIFA franchise.

Gaming Accessories

With games consoles now adorning nearly every household, the next phase in setting up a gaming paradise is to deck out your room with the latest gadgets to ensure you become the envy of your mates with a gaming experience that is as big and as loud as possible.

A console on its own is a lonely piece of kit, so to get the most from it you could bring it to life with a big screen high definition television, surround sound and accessories. A large HD television – the bigger the better – with enough cables and sockets to fit your console, surround sound and your Sky+ box will deliver four times the standard number of frames per second, making for ultra-smooth viewing even during fast-moving gaming action.

To really ensure the ultimate realistic gaming setup, you need the latest surround sound system to blast out the heart pumping sounds of explosions, or music to motivate you while you exercise – whichever is your preference. Then why not add to the latest accessories, such as a Band Hero set of drums or a couple of Mario Kart steering wheels – you can even match your Wii with your décor with the latest black version.

If you complete your ultimate gaming setup, you’ll be able to immerse yourself into your game – rather than just playing it, you’ll live it along with other gamers across the globe. You’ll feel like you really are dancing with your favourite pop stars, leading the British Grand Prix or scoring the winning goal in the World Cup.

Helen’s first-ever games console was a Super NES – but she never did manage to complete Super Mario World.

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