Real Or Fake: 10 Gaming Peripherals That Make Gaming Better

Play Better Or Just Look Good?
Gaming Peripherals

Gamers are always looking for that extra edge when playing their favorite game. Anyone wanting to be competitive in multiplayer games is always looking for a way to get the jump on the competition (pro tip: cheating doesn’t make you better, it makes you a scumbag). In single-player games, we’re always trying to find ways to shave a second or two off a personal best time or maximize the time spent in the game. When it comes to peripherals chasing that new high score or kill count can get expensive very fast. To make finding the right peripheral a little easier, we’re taking a look into 10 gaming peripherals that make gaming better.

Surround Sound Headphones

Better Gaming Verdict: Real

 

If you are gaming with other people in the same room then there’s no denying that a set of headphones are required, but is it worth it to pay the extra money for a ‘good’ set? If you play any kind of shooter or battle royale then the answer is a resounding yes. And while you’re at it you need to make sure the headset you choose has surround sound support, be it through hardware or software. Surround sound is the difference between knowing which direction your enemy is coming from and a bullet to your brainpan.

Anything RGB

Better Gaming Verdict: Fake, with a side of fake.

Just like racing stripes adding 10 horsepower to your car, many people think RGB makes you game better. Just about anything that connects to a computer – even the computer itself – has a multitude of RGB options these days. Keyboards, mice, and headphones (you can’t even see them while you’re wearing them, come on!) all have RGB options. It gets even crazier when you toss some ambient lighting on the wall or, god forbid, get something as silly as an RGB video cable. Other than making a lot of pretty lights around your desk the only real benefit of RGB is the extra $10-20 that consumers are willing to pay manufacturers.

Gaming Chair

Better Gaming Verdict: Fake, but your butt will be happier

How can a gaming chair make you play better? All the esports teams and streamers use them, so maybe there’s something they know that I don’t. I just finished up a gaming chair review and from my time with it, I learned a couple of things. The chair is more comfortable than the similarly priced office chair I had been using. But did it make me play better? Not really, though I can sit for longer periods without a sore or sweaty back. I’m not sure that’s really a good thing though.

Gaming Mouse

Better Gaming Verdict: Real

Years ago I made the transition from a generic two-button mouse to a Razer Naga MMO mouse. With 12 thumb buttons, it was the perfect peripheral for any game that uses a hotbar, not just MMOs. It quickly became my mouse for everything gaming and I lived in ignorant bliss for nearly a decade.

It wasn’t until a year ago that I finally checked out a gaming mouse designed for the first-person shooter crowd. It turns out I wasn’t doing myself any favors by limiting myself to just a single mouse. I quickly realized that an FPS mouse didn’t just look cool, it felt better in my hand. 

Now when I need something with a lot of buttons I grab my Corsair Scimitar but when precision is needed for success I grab my Mad Catz Rat 8+ and am almost guaranteed one or two kills per round.

Gaming Desk

Better Gaming Verdict: Fake, but cool looking

Just like gaming chairs, gaming desks absolutely make your gaming area look good. And if you look good you feel good, and if you feel good you play good. Or at least that is what Deion “Primetime” Sanders said. So if you’re in the market for a new desk and want to create the ultimate gaming station you could at least check them out. If nothing else most of them come with a full-surface mousepad, a headphone hanger, and a cup holder so at least you’ll be a little more organized.

High Refresh Rate Monitors

Better Gaming Verdict: Real, to a certain point

Out of everything on this list, monitors generate the most debate about whether paying for an upgraded version is worth the money. We all know that moving from 30 frames per second to 60 fps is worth it (quit reading and go back to your console gaming if you won’t accept this truth) but at what point does a faster refresh rate become superfluous? Many people can tell a difference up to at least 144Hz but, beyond that, it is even tough for the pros to benefit from the increase.

High-Resolution Monitors

Better Gaming Verdict: Real

 

Monitor quality isn’t about just refresh rate. 1080p, or full HD, is the base standard for gaming these days but both 1440p and 4k monitors are finding their way into gaming setups. Higher resolutions do offer an improved gaming experience, whether it’s from the increased fidelity of 4k or the extra screen real estate that an ultra-wide monitor offers. Just be sure your video card is up to the task or all those extra pixels could push your system below the 60fps threshold.

Specialized Controllers

Better Gaming Verdict: Real

A mouse and keyboard or an Xbox controller are fine if you’re playing The Sims 4 but many games require something a little more suited to the genre. There’s no doubt that a steering wheel and pedal setup will get you faster lap times in your favorite racing game and a HOTAS will give you better control and increased immersion in your flight sim a more realistic feel. You can even pair something like the Razer Tartarus with a mouse if you want something a little more compact and ergonomic than your full-sized keyboard for gaming. Even if you insist on using a controller for every game, some are better than others. If you aren’t scared away by the thought of spending $180 for a controller, grabbing an Xbox Elite Wireless Controller 2 is like trading in your Honda Civic for a BMW.

Mechanical Keyboards

Better Gaming Verdict: Real

 

If you’re like me, as soon as you hear the clickity-clack of a mechanical keyboard you have to question what would make someone use one. That reason is feel – mechanical switches give tactile feedback as the key is pressed that membrane keys don’t give. 

If you know any keyboard snobs you’ve probably heard them go on ad nauseam about different switches – brown, red, black, blue, Cherry, Kailh – the list seems to go on and on. All of those colors and brands are what make different mechanical keyboards feel different. Some take more pressure to push down, some require less travel before activating, and there are even switches that don’t make that stupid clicking sound. Long story short, there’s a mechanical keyboard out there that will suit you and once you find it you’ll never go back to membrane.

VR Headset

Better Gaming Verdict: Realish

A year ago I would have put a VR headset on the don’t buy list. There were a handful of games that found interesting ways to utilize the tech, but the hundreds of dollars needed for entry into such a niche market just wasn’t worth it. When Half-Life: Alyx, one of the best games of 2020, released in March everything changed. The price for a good headset is still way up there but Alyx has shown what a developer can do with a game that is created specifically for VR.

Written by
Old enough to have played retro games when they were still cutting edge, Mitch has been a gamer since the 70s. As his game-fu fades (did he ever really have any?), it is replaced with ever-stronger, and stranger, opinions. If that isn't the perfect recipe for a game reviewer, what is?

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