And for the umpteenth time, Bethan, my long suffering girlfriend, once again vetoed my request for a surround sound system. Please understand, Bethan has nothing in particular against superior sound quality, but she did stress, and I believe this is verbatim, “I won’t have that racket booming through the flat while I’m trying to sleep” – Fair play I suppose, her reasoning was both sound and logical……that’s exactly what would happen. Beyond an insistence on full immersion at all times, I have a proclivity towards obnoxiously loud cursing when I play most videogames – I was already on shaky ground and in no position to barter. Still, valid response or not, I was once again left devastated…….well, mildly disappointed anyway.
“Why don’t you buy headphones?” she nonchalantly suggested.
Yeah, why the hell don’t I get headphones? Heck, why didn’t I get them years ago? Why didn’t I think of that?………Shit! It suddenly seemed painfully obvious. How had I managed, in my 20+ years of gaming, to never even consider headphones? It seemed crazy…….it was. Headphones changed everything.
So, with that in mind. this is a blog for all of you; the idiots like me who never thought of buying a tidy pair of headphones to accentuate their gaming pleasure. Labelling all those without headphones as ‘idiots’ may seem a tad harsh, but honestly, hook a decent pair up to your TV, bang on Bioshock, and believe me, you will rue the wasted years of audio purgatory.
I really cannot begin to stress just how much of a difference this rather basic, and not particularly expensive purchase made to my overall gaming experience. For any videogame with particularly decent audio, the difference is more than noticeable, but put on something like Dead Space 2, which has exceptional audio; audio that plays a major part in the overall experience, and you will be simply blown away by the difference. Every bump, creak and jolt, every subtle use of score, it’s all heightened tenfold – the degree of immersion in a game of that ilk increases exponentially.
Then there is Child of Eden – talk about chalk and cheese. Going back and playing this with headphones was again, a vastly superior, and in some ways, strangely depressing experience. I couldn’t help but think of those wasted hours – Child of Eden was always good, but now, now it was something else entirely. I don’t really like to use words like ‘eargasm’ (what with it not being real word and all), but in this instance, its use seems more than apt. Again, in terms of immersion – it’s simply in a different league. It’s also much easier to nail those pesky score multipliers.
You can pick up a decent enough pair of stereo headphones for under £40 (especially if you keep an eye on the sales), and Child of Eden, I just saw that going for £7 at my local Morrisons – if you have a PS3 or a 360, I strongly suggest you go out and buy both. Of course, what you do with your money is up to you, but on this occasion, I feel like I am obliged to point my fellow gamers in the right direction. Those who have been using headphones for years are probably scoffing at my naivety….and rightly so. I’ve been missing out for far too long, and now that I’m onboard, I feel the need to spread the good word.
In the words of one Michael Jackson – “make that change”.