For Christmas I was lucky enough to get a new monitor for my PC, a lovely 24-inch BenQ affair. One of the big bonuses about my monitor upgrade? It has an HDMI input, it may sound like a small thing, but it is changing how I actually play games, both on my PC and with my consoles.
A bit of background, my old 19-inch monitor was positioned at an angle on my desk. Why I had it like that, I don’t know, but it would lead me to often sitting at angle with my legs stretched to my side as I lent one side of my body on the desk to see the monitor. It was undeniably awkward, and if I was working like that in an office I would probably get a visit from the health and safety representative who would set things right. In addition, my PS3 was stuck upstairs in my bedroom with a TV sat atop a bookcase which stood a few feet above my bed. With no other place in the room to put the TV, I was let to play on the PS3 from my bed, naturally, due to my low viewing angle the colours on the TV would often appear very dark leading to some a poor gaming experience.
With the size of my new monitor, I had to position it facing square on, this has allowed me to sit facing the monitor face on. No more body contortion required. Further, with the HDMI port, I have brought my PS3 down to my monitor, and what a treat it is. I have always preferred playing games on my PC, one of the reasons being a proximity to the on-screen action, so when playing my consoles at a distance from the screen, I always have a feeling of disconnection from the game.
Being able to sit close to my screen and play my PS3 games gives me a much better feeling for the games I am playing, thought admittedly it does mean that some games are more obviously of a lower visual fidelity than I am used to with the PC. Case in point, Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction which is a 720p title, and from the moment I started to play, it was striking how poor the quality was. Of course, I then played Motorstorm Apocalypse in 1080p and was pleasantly surprised with what I saw, it still didn’t hold a candle to what my PC is capable of, but it was a much more enjoyable experience than playing in 720p.
The advantage of easily switching between input methods on my monitor to switch between the PC and PS3 is also a great bonus, no longer do I need to bring my netbook everywhere I go to keep track of emails, I can just switch input. Of course, the monitor doesn’t have any speakers, so I do find myself using a headset, missing out on my 5.1 set up while using the PS3 is a bit of a shame. I am also now able to use my OnLive microconsole if I so wish (the lack of built in WiFi in that machine has baffled me since I got it) as I am now able to connect it to my broadband directly. However, as I can use OnLive on my PC, I don’t see much need for it at present.
I have also changed how I play on my Xbox 360 in light of moving the PS3, rather than sitting on a large sofa at the back of the room to play, I have taken to moving an armchair closer to the TV when I want to play games in order to give me a similar experience to what I am now experiencing with the PS3. This has also had a similar boost to my enjoyment of playing on the 360, I feel a greater connection with the game I am playing and no longer struggle to read everything on the screen, even when I wear glasses.
One new monitor has drastically changed how I physically approach the playing of games, and will hopefully help with my posture. How do you play on your consoles or PCs?