To think that only 20 to 25 years ago our gaming options were fairly limited. Dedicated expensive hardware such as PCs and games consoles were the main methods. The internet could only handle pretty simple games, and mobile phones were limited to games like Snake (as awesome as it was). Well, things have definitely changed. Let’s take a quick look at some of the best new methods to enjoy digital gaming, of recent years.

Mobile gaming
Since the aforementioned days of Snake, on early Nokia phones, mobile gaming is perhaps the area that has moved on the most. It was arguably Angry Birds and Candy Crush that were the first mainstream games that had everyone and their granny playing. This really did make everyone ‘gamers’ whether they wanted to be labelled as one or not. And since then, games have evolved into a huge spectrum from incredibly simple games like Flappy Bird, very clever, fun games like Cut the Rope and Geometry Dash, to big multiplayer games such as Clash of Clans. Another one that recently took mobile gaming to a whole new level was Pokémon Go. Basically, the phone in your hand really is a games console in its own right now.

Browser based online gaming
One area that has seen a continual improvement is browser based gaming. With every new browser and every increase in internet bandwidth the area just keeps on improving. Online games used to be simple, whether it was in the MSN environment or sites like Miniclip, but over the years the complexity possible within the browser has hugely increased. The area of online gambling sites, such as Michigan Online Casinos, is certainly one area that has continued to improve the quality of gaming in the browser, from technical backend functionality to frontend user interaction. Now we are also seeing more and more cloud streaming gaming services. From the short-lived Google Stadia to newer niche platforms like the retrogaming Antstream Arcade, there are always new ways the boundaries are being pushed.

Handheld gaming devices
Sometimes gaming doesn’t have to be online or ground breaking. It can just be done well. An area that has seen huge competition even in the last two years is the handheld gaming market. There are so many new players in this area. The Nintendo Switch made handheld gaming cool again and the Steam Deck brought super high end gaming to handheld, but there are three new players on the market too. The Evercade and Analogue Pocket have brought licensed cartridge based retro gaming back to the fore, and the many Anbernic devices available to play your favourite ROMs have brought a flexibility that many gamers were looking for. The choice in this sector is huge. In the Anbernic product range alone there are options to have vertical format devices in the style of the original Game Boy or horizontal format devices, more like the Game Boy Advance or Switch. All the aforementioned devices are being made extremely well, and gone are the days of handheld devices not having backlights or needing 10 AA batteries each hour.

VR gaming
Perhaps the most cutting edge gaming genre in recent years is the rise of Virtual Reality gaming. VR has gone through that frustrating stage of over-hype and under-delivering to now having viable products on the market which offer genuine gameplay that is gimmick free. Developers are learning how to design specifically for VR and maximise the benefits of the technology, particularly with the hardware features of the latest Meta Quest 3 and PS VR2.

FPGA chips
One of the most recent gaming solutions on the market has been the rise of FPGA chips. These Field-Programmable Gate Array chips are essentially adaptable microprocessors that physically mimic, nay recreate, the chip from any given devices. This is not software emulation, this is hardware simulation. An FPGA chip can be a cheap way to create one specific chip, as it does in the Spectrum Next, or it can be a highly adaptable chameleon as in the MiSTer gaming machines. The MiSTer has revolutionised retrogaming many would say, as one little MiSTer device can physically recreate the chip core of umpteen retrogaming devices, right up to the N64 and others of its peers.

The options for gaming these days are many, and they are all being done very well. It has never been a better time to be a gamer.