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When it comes to buying accessories for your new gaming console, if you’re going into it without doing your homework then you could feel like you’re playing Zork. Remember the text-based game made popular by the Commodore64? Going into the underground area unaware resulted in the line: “It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.”

Don’t Be Eaten by a Grue – Research Before You Buy

While you won’t really be eaten by a grue if shopping for a new video game console accessories without having done your research, you could find that your lack of information results in having a salesperson eating away at your budget. Accessories like headsets, specialty controllers, and cooling units add up. And what’s worse, if you’re new to gaming and not familiar with the terms, you could buy buying items that you won’t ever use depending on your gaming needs.

Sure, you can play games on your Wii, Xbox 360, or PlayStation 3, but today’s video game consoles are one-stop multimedia devices that allow you to watch television, listen to your favorite music artists, and play games with other people from around the globe. Knowing what is available is the first step in preparing to buy accessories for your console. The bottom line is this; do your research about gaming accessories before you shop.

Categorize Accessories into Wants and Needs

There’s nothing worse than walking into an electronics store with a credit card in your hand and not having a list of things you need. Yes, I would like a 42” flat screen television with an HDMI cable so that I can use it as an accessory to my gaming console. However, I don’t need it and while my teenage children would agree with me, my wife would prefer we spend the money on much needed new carpet for the living room. Here are some popular accessories and their uses. Maybe some of these items are things that you’ll add to your list as well.

  • Special Edition Items – My children and I spend plenty of rainy days playing Gears of War. So when Xbox came out with the limited edition Gears of War 3 console in time for Christmas of 2011, I used the bigger hard drive as justification for putting it at the top of our family’s wish list for Santa. Gaming items with special designs are offered in limited quantity and as long as their quality holds up, you could find their value soars after the manufacturer stops offering them for sale.
  • Controllers – Two controllers aren’t enough for proper gaming. Let’s be realistic here. Four controllers often aren’t enough for proper gaming. The split screen feature of games like Portal, Call of Duty, and Minecraft is fun for playing while hanging out with family and friends. However, make sure at least one controller is tricked out with the latest features for when you’re the only one playing the online version of your favorite console game, but you have to keep up with opponents on the other side of the globe.
  • Remotes – Because most consoles also act as a hub for apps like Hulu and Netflix, or at the least works as a DVD player, who wants to try to remember whether it’s X for rewind and B for stop or A for play and X for pause. A remote control for your console is similar for one that works for your television, which makes it very user-friendly.
  • Batteries and Chargers – Wireless gaming is the bomb-diggity , as my youngest teenager likes to say. Rechargeable batteries allow you to play from across the room without pesky wires getting in the way. And when the batteries run low, plug your controller back into the console for a quick way to boost power.
  • Headsets – A headset is essential for connecting to a party for gaming together while in different geographic locations. It’s a great way to join together in games like Call of Duty or Halo that encourages working in teams or small groups.
  • External Hard Drive – Yes, there is a hard drive in your console but with the external hard drive acting as a spare you can use it to share videos, pictures, or music through your gaming console.

Gaming has come a long way from meeting friends after school at the local arcade for an afternoon of slipping quarters into pinball, Space Invaders, and Pac-Man arcade games, just to name a few of my retro favorites. When buying accessories, there are a lot of third parties that claim to have less expensive products. However, many of these are made from cheaper materials, not licensed by the company that produced your console, and could break easily.

Writer and research hound Benjamin Baker enjoys spending time with his family, but he also loves playing his guitar. When turning the spare bedroom into a multimedia room to house video games, music items, and other items associated with their family’s big hobbies, he and his wife turned to for tips and advice. However, no matter how cool their multimedia toys are Benjamin and his family prefer being outside and often spend weekends in the woods around their Colorado home where they take part in activities such as camping and fishing.