If you’re a gamer, you’ll be familiar with those times when you can’t seem to catch a break. No matter what you do, you keep getting beaten, whether it be by another human or a particular level on a single-player mode. Don’t despair. We outline the crucial strategies you can use to improve your gaming skills and get back on the leaderboard.
Depending on your temperament and how long your slump has lasted, you can find yourself rage-quitting, metaphorically throwing your toys out of the pram and declaring the game stupid and the other players cheaters.
Alternatively, perhaps you’re someone who is new to gaming and you’re struggling to get to grips with the mechanics of one of the titles you’ve bought, or you can’t seem to find an approach that helps you progress through the levels.
It doesn’t have to be this way though, there are some simple steps you can take that will help you improve your gaming skills and make you a tougher opponent overall.
4 key strategies to improve your gaming skills
1. Play Other Games
While you may want to specifically improve your skills at one title or a single genre of game, you can learn a lot by playing a variety of different ones. While not everything is applicable, you will find skills you learn in one game can be applied to another.
This is true for pretty much any type of game, including AAA titles and ones you’d find in a casino. Most online casinos have hundreds of games to choose from, including classic options like blackjack and roulette as well as modern video slots like Blazin’ Bullfrog and Sticky Bandits 3. Since they all require a similar skill set, you’ll find playing one could help you become better at another.
Playing other games might also help to improve your hand-eye coordination and give you finer control over the mouse or analogue sticks. For example, if you currently play a racing game like Forza but spend some time playing Call of Duty: Warzone, you’ll become much more precise with your inputs.
This is because shooting games like Call of Duty require you to be accurate with your inputs if you want to be able to shoot your opponents faster than they can shoot you. Then, when you return to playing Forza, you can be more accurate with the steering inputs you make, helping you to stay on the racing line, prevent oversteer, and overtake opponents without hitting them.
2. Read Up On Gaming Strategies
You won’t be the only person that has struggled to play a particular game before. While it is nice to know you’re not alone, this also means that someone has likely already written a guide that’ll help you make improvements.
In years gone by, the main source of gaming strategies and help was books. Companies like Brady Games published official strategy guides for video games while former players and coaches wrote in-depth analyses of games like chess and blackjack.
While books are still a great source of information, they no longer have a monopoly.
Instead, you can find plenty of great help online for free. Many gaming sites publish guides, complete with pictures and even videos, that will help you learn how to do just about anything in a game.
For example, if you’re playing Grand Theft Auto Vice City and want to know where all of the hidden packages are, you can find maps and photographs of all their locations online. Similarly, if you want to find out where the unique stunt jumps are and what you need to do to activate each one, you can watch video guides on YouTube.
For games like chess and darts, books can be useful if you want to focus on a particular area of strategy. For example, Advanced Chess Tactics by Lev Psakhis provides in-depth analysis of individual attacking plays while The Amateur’s Mind by Jeremy Silman looks at the way different players think.
3. Watch Others Play
Before a game, professional sports coaches will watch videos of their upcoming opponents playing. This gives them an insight into their usual tactics and helps them to learn what they’re likely to come up against.
Gamers can do something similar. Watching others play, particularly professionals, you can see the techniques and strategies they use to beat their opponents.
For example, in a racing game, you may find that a talented player will actually accelerate more gently or even later than you so that they can keep the car balanced and to prevent losing time by having to correct a snap of oversteer. You can then apply this to your own play, hopefully improving your technique.
There are plenty of places you can go to watch others play. Some of the best options include Facebook, YouTube and Twitch. These sites all have thousands of hours of content for just about every game you can imagine.
It may also help to watch the replays that games show you either after a level or when you get killed, as this may provide useful information. For example, Call of Duty’s “KillCam” shows you what your opponent did in the few seconds leading up to them taking you out. If you believed you’d hidden yourself well, watching the KillCam will reveal whether that was the case. More often than not, you’ll see that your character stuck out like a sore thumb. If that is the case, you can refine your approach next time.
4. Practice, practice, practice…
Once you’ve spent some time learning about the different techniques, tactics and strategies you can deploy in your gaming sessions, it’s time to put them into practice. There is no substitute for this, you will have to spend hours toiling away to be able to perfect your craft.
Thankfully, this shouldn’t be too taxing since you most likely enjoy the game anyway. If you find yourself winning a lot, try to find new opponents that aren’t as easy to beat.
It’s not rocket science, but with some dedication and a bit of application, there are certainly ways you can improve your gaming skills.
Nathan James lives for gaming, and is a fan of everything from vintage Pong to the latest virtual reality games. He also loves to tinker with hardware in that never-ending search for more power and speed.