Taking a road trip to the beach or your favourite holiday resort somewhere in the bush is something many of us can relate to in South Africa. Our country is filled with some of the most beautiful getaways in the world, which is all good and well, but what about gamers? Leaving our favourite pastime at home is just not an option. You have to take your gaming on the road and there are certain bits that can make it a fantastic experience away from home.
If you’re compiling your emergency car kit then this is most definitely going to be a part of that setup for gamers, and it’s probably a good idea to check whether your car insurance plan would cover expensive pieces of tech you might leave in the car.
Portable gaming system
Whether you’re playing on PC or console, unless you have a custom-made installation in your car, you’re not going to play your favourite games on-the-go. There are however some fantastic alternatives in this day and age, and that could come in the form of a laptop, 3DS or Nintendo Switch. A laptop will give players access to some fantastic games, but it’s a little bulky compared to Nintendo’s two options. The Switch is perhaps the best option. Not only can you play it anywhere and everywhere you want to, but once you arrive at your destination you can hook up the dock and play on your TV too. It’s made for a road trip.
That’s not to say you should exclude some older options. The original DS, PSP and PS Vita are going to serve you just as well, but good luck finding the hardware in anything other than pawn shops or online classifieds. The last and most obvious option is the mobile phone in your pocket. By now we expect that you have a good number of games downloaded on your phone, so be sure to give it a bash. It’s by far the most portable option you’ll find and most suitable for a road trip.
Depending on the length of your road trip you are likely going to run out of battery power. Of course, you can turn down the brightness and completely turn off the vibration feedback to squeeze out another five to ten minutes on your piece of tech, but at some point, it’ll run dry. A power bank can be the difference between you enjoying a memorable road trip, and the most boring second half of a trip ever. Power banks are fairly easy to get hold of these days and will charge more than one piece of tech, which makes it all the more essential.
On the surface, headphones play a simple part in our everyday lives, but when it comes to privacy and playing games in the same space as other people, it’s something that saves both yourself and the other passengers. Chances are that you have to turn down the sound on your gaming system when playing, to not annoy other fellow road trip passengers. Understandably any person would get a little frustrated with video game sounds when not participating. However, should the shoe be on the other foot, and fellow passengers are listening to music or are loud, the headphones would be saving you. When it comes to headphones there are various types to choose from and what you decide on is up to you, but whatever you do, do not forget this essential tech when packing the car.
It might sound like the most obvious inclusion. I mean, the power bank should come with a USB cable… But if you don’t have a power bank then it means you might not consider this important little cable. Most consoles and pieces of tech will connect to most other ‘things’ with a USB cable of some sort. Again, the most common use for it is to charge with it. Whether you’re charging via the power socket in the car or using the leftover battery in your laptop to power up your gaming device that has met the end of its life – you are going to need that USB cable. Do not forget it! It saves lives! (the gaming type).
Gaming can be a messy affair. When you’re not searching through your various games, you’re digging through the cables, headphones, more cables and other various tools that make gaming what it is. There is nothing as bothersome as sitting in the back of the car with a bird’s nest of tech next to you. A neat carry bag can make all the difference in ensuring you end up finding what you need fast and not losing any of your valuable tech while on the road. Keeping everything in one bag is also a great way to make sure you don’t leave your favourite game in a hotel room somewhere when you head home.
This is purely for those of us who enjoy a good game on our mobile phone. Most great games are available to play offline, but there are some that’ll require an online connection to function at all. Should that be the case you are going to need some mobile data. Yes, we know it ain’t cheap, but it’s either that or kilometres and kilometres of boredom. It’s also useful for comparing leaderboards with other friends online, lets you do ALL the other things on your mobile, and allows you to download other games that might peak your interest once you’re on the road. It’s not like we all have hours and hours free to search our phones on a daily basis for games we want, but as a passenger in a car, you have all the time in the world.
Talking about games, it’s probably the most important ingredient. Without a good game variety, you will end up looking out of the window, wishing you stayed at home. The concept is to include games from various genres you enjoy. There’s no point in filling your library with games that all play the same. While on a road trip there will be moments that something else will grab your attention, so it’s best to include games that you can play in short bursts. If you are in for a very long road trip it’s probably a good idea to include some lengthier games that’ll help the time fly by. There is no perfect library to take on the road, but as long as you include a good number of games, you are going to end up with the shortest and most pleasant road trip of your life.
Disclaimer: This article was commissioned by Hippo.co.za. The content was created in-house and we chose the topic and tone of the article.