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Gaming and Projectors: The Starting Bit

Hello all! My name is Pete Connolly and I’m very excited to start helping out here at Projector Reviews.  I spend a lot of time in front of the big screen with a controller in my hand and hope to share some of my thoughts and experiences on pairing video games with home theater projectors.  I will be doing this by adding a video game section to future reviews, as well as contributing here in a gaming focused blog. Before getting into specifics, I’ll give a quick overview of my “method of madness”.  It’s nothing too crazy…I’ve simply found genre to be the number-one factor in determining how well a projector provides for a video game.   As you can imagine, projectors do very well with most types of games, handle some better than others and some just aren't made for projectors.  Throughout the next couple months I’ll be sharing some more detailed thoughts on specific genres and how they perform on the big screen. I have written a supplement article to this first blog titled, “The Breakdown”.  Regardless of your gaming skills, I encourage you to take a look.  It is meant to serve as a “gaming genres 101” to some of you newbies out there, but it also provides a more complete look into how I chose to separate and combine some the popular gaming genres. So, with that out of the way...where to begin? Well, I’m frequently asked what types of games I enjoy most on a projector, and I figured this as good a topic as any to tackle first. Video games are much more interactive than movies, and the ideal environment can change completely depending on what type of game you are playing.   It may sound obvious, but the large size of most projector screens allows for an entirely different level of immersion than a traditional sized television.  For movies and TV shows this is great! And for video games it usually is too.  However, some video games lend themselves more to this type of experience than others.  Who holds the trump card? Hands down…RPGs. (Role Playing Games) Yea, yea…I know…RPGs really are the “gamers’ game” and they are not for everyone, but the fact still remains, on a projector, I think they work best. Many would agree, RPGs and slower paced 3rd person shooters (which I tend to lump into the RPG family) are some of the most visually impressive and graphically detailed games.  This is only becoming truer in modern titles, as game developers use more realistic graphics and complicated physics engines.  As a result, RPGs tend to stand out as extremely impressive, especially on the big screen. Though this boost in graphic performance is notable, it is not the reason I consider this genre to be the “holy grail” of projector gaming.  I can be as equally swept away by old school RPGs like Chrono Trigger (16-bit SNES) or Legend of Zelda (N64) at 120” as I can be by a graphics powerhouse title like Resident Evil 5.  Again, it comes down to properly matching environment with genre. RPGs are usually free flowing and slower placed in terms of camera angle and game play.  There is little need for extremely fast panning or quick response times (not that projectors can’t handle these).  Many RPGs are more comparable to watching a movie than playing a traditional video game.  Because of this, I find that RPGs consistently lend themselves to a projector’s environment more so than any other genre.  If RPGs are your cup of tea…I say game on! I do realize everyone has different interests.  I’m not trying to say if you don’t like RPGs you shouldn’t game on a projector, because there are many other genres outside of RPGs that a projector can make more enjoyable.  But if you are looking for a new gaming display (possibly a projector?), or are looking to better incorporate a game system to an existing home theater, I cannot stress enough the importance of having a clear understanding of what types of games you play and a realistic expectation of a projector’s performance.  It doesn’t matter if you are a hard core game guru or a casual party gamer, genre focus is key. Next time, I’ll dig into some thoughts on first person shooters.  They have become an extremely popular genre both for casual and professional gaming, and many are curious as to how projectors hold up to the fast pace and accuracy that these games demand.   That’s all for now ----   Pete          

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