PC Master

PC Master: Your First (Budget) Gaming PC (Pt. 3)

Welcome to part three of the budget PC series! So far we’ve covered building a cheap gaming computer, and have discussed the types of software needed to make your gaming easier both at the desk and on the couch.
In this part of the series we’ll discuss the various control schemes you can use, and various other odds and ends to make your experience the best it can be. Read on after the break for a list of more PC gaming suggestions!

Control Schemes

Logitech mice are, in my opinion, simply the best.

There’s a segment of the population out there who will claim that a controller is a superior device to a mouse and keyboard in regards to gaming. Whether they are wrong or right (they are wrong), there are times where you’ll want to hook a controller up to your PC, especially if gaming through your TV. So let’s go through some innovative controllers you can use to “console-ify” the experience.

  • The easiest solution would most likely be the XBOX Controller for Windows. If you’re used to gaming on an XBOX, the transition should be easy for you. A lot of modern PC games recommend the controller specifically, though you should be able to get it working with your retro games too.
  • You can also use your PS3 controller to control your games as well. I’ll point you over to MotionJoy, as they offer a software that allows you to hook it all together. There’s a tutorial video under their downloads section, so I’d head there first. As a bonus, you can even hook the controller up via bluetooth, letting you game wirelessly from your couch.
  • You can also hook up your Wii remote via WiinRemote or GlovePie, though the sites are a bit in disarray at the moment, so I bid thee to these with caution.
  • There is also a Chinese company called MayFlash which creates many different adapters. This will allow you to connect many retro console controllers such as your N64 Controller, SNES Controller, etc. to your PC. You can usually find these on Ebay or Amazon for fairly cheap.
  • Maybe you look at the previous suggestions, and think: “Controller, I don’t need no ‘stinking controller.” For you, there’s the Logitech G500.

Odds and Ends

  • Last week I suggested installing XBMC for your living-room gaming needs. However, being the lazy people that we are, that leaves us to get up from the couch and control the user interface via mouse and keyboard. Lucky for us, there’s the Official XBMC Remote. You can now use your smartphone to browse, select, and launch your games from the comfort of your couch.
  • Eventghost: It’ll let you use an IR remote, automate certain features, and set up a ton of macros
  • unRaid: Maybe you’ve always been interested in RAID, but would prefer to mix and match hard drives. unRaid gives the speed of RAID, while letting you take advantage of slowly building up storage over time.

If you’re really industrious, go for a NES HTPC mod.

As each user is different, there are different solutions available for everyone. Hopefully some of the solutions I’ve suggested over the last three weeks work for your needs, and I’ve enticed you to explore the big world of PC gaming. Good luck, and feel free to offer any suggestions/alternatives below!

Read the rest of this series: Part 1 | Part 2