My first video gaming setup was a Nintendo NES - the one where it came with Duck Hunt and Mario Brothers 1. It was an upgrade from pumping quarters into old video game machines at arcades. If I fired up the ‘ole NES, I could make an attempt at going through the levels. There were no saves, so turning on the system was the same as cracking open a book, but I couldn't go to where I left off. If the game malfunctioned, we somehow figured that blowing on the cartridge would cool it down and we could insert it again and play. It was our little version of matinee for a simple system.
Over time, more advanced game systems and computer games started to come out. My brother was always into computers, and introduced me to PC gaming. The three things my brother had knowledge about were computers, cars, and females. He is 13 years older than me, so when I asked if he had a Nintendo or a Sega, he laughed. He showed me DOOM on an i486 computer. During play, there was an issue with the sound, and this man started to say "its a problem with the sound card driver." Of course I had no idea what that was, but he went through MS-DOS and fixed it really quickly. The same way he was able to fix simple things on his automobiles, he was able to quickly fix issues on the computer. And just how fixing up a car can do more than just get you from point A to point B, the same can be done to make your computer do something better than play a game of Solitaire or word processing.
Going from an NES system to playing on his computer with the graphics looking so amazing, I realized that computer gaming was so much better then my console. But when I tried to run DOOM on the computer that my sister and I shared, I ran into two problems: First, my machine was meant to do simple stuff, not play a first person shooter. Also, my parents saw what DOOM was about and didn't like it at all. Later, my sister and I got a better computer and on that, I played Duke Nukem 3D. I loved it, and that is what really got me hooked into gaming.
The main restriction that I had as a child when it came to gaming on a proper computer was money. The same way you may look at horsepower and car parts for an automobile is very similar to picking the right parts for a gaming rig. You can get something basic, but if you upgrade with aftermarket parts, you can have a much better experience. So, you spend a little money and have a basic understanding of how a computer works. You don't need to be an expert, but over time you learn how everything works and get comfortable opening up a tower and to install something.
Now as an adult, I’ve entered into e-gaming, which is massive. People have the misconception that gaming is for kids, which is not true. It’s for everybody. The benefit of gaming as an adult is that the same way you can customize your car, you can customize your personal computer. Also, as an adult you are more likely to actually afford, and make it a priority, to do things like adding a second or third monitor. So, with a little bit of knowledge and a little bit of money, you can have your own hot rod of a PC.
One of the most important things when developing your set-up is to make sure you follow an old, but simple, rule: You are only as strong as your weakest link. As you expand your set-up needs, you want to make sure that everything is strong and planned ahead. Connections and cabling are very important. I use ASUS monitors with 1 millisecond response time, good quality interconnects and upgraded graphics cards, upgraded memory, and a solid power supply. All these things have come not from going to some computer school, but rather slowly, learning what goes into upgrading.
I’m 33 years old, and NES was a long time ago. There are games I now play on my phone while I'm in the bathroom that my old NES could never run. My computer literally runs three operating systems, has two internal capture cards, three hard drives, upgraded RAM, web cam, professional microphone, multiple monitors and many other items that make my job of making videos, capturing footage, and gaming more enjoyable. If someone who hasn't been around this kind of setup comes in and looks at mine, it would be intimidating. But having grown up with it, I see limitless possibilities.
The internet is an amazing tool for deciding what products you should get for your own setup. Choosing high quality monitors, graphics cards and accessories is easier than ever. You could buy a cheap keyboard and mouse bundle, but that is counterproductive to a good gaming rig. There are multiple articles on this site that will assist you in choosing the right products for your gaming needs. Phones and tablets fill the need to do some simple tasks, but once you have a computer and your setup all done, you realize that a computer rig is way more than that. The same way a car can be way more than a simple mode of transportation - it depends on what you use it for. The performance of my computer allows me to make a living.
Upon writing this article, I played a NES again out in the living room for nostalgia... we have come so far.