With yet another killer winter snow storm bearing down on the American north east, it can feel like all the pleasures of modern society are about to be wrenched from your cold, frozen fingers in an instant. When it'll happen, why it'll happen, and where it'll happen is ancillary to the biggest question:
How can you keep gaming?
People everywhere might find themselves without basic necessities, but if you're fortunate enough to be inside, bundled up, and bored keeping the screens on can be a challenge. Turning your new next-gen console into a portable is prohibitively expensive and totally inefficient when it comes to managing battery or generator power. Let's focus on practical solutions to keep gaming going:
With our focus on portable gaming devices here, it should be a no-brainer that Nintendo's 3DS XL handheld is the best money can buy with the biggest selection of software. Must-play titles range from racing and action genres to hardcore JRPGs and life-simulations. Nintendo has evolved the 3DS hardware with XL and 2DS lines as well, but the software is the same no matter which unit you pick out. With persistent updates and even more software to get excited about in 2014, now's as good a time to invest as any. Click through for information on extending your 3DS battery life.
Hyperkin 3DS Powerplus Extra Battery Life
We reviewed one of Hyperkin's 3DS battery packs a while back, and despite upgrading to a 3DS XL shortly afterwards, it's still the best way to extend your playtime on Nintendo 3DS. The battery pack attaches to your 3DS and adds a little extra grip to the smaller handheld. When buying battery extenders for your portable gaming hardware, make sure to get the unit appropriate for your device. This product, for example, will not attach to 3DS XL or 2DS units.
This 3DS emergency power attachment plugs into your 3DS handheld and adds up to 2 hours of additional play time. It's the last little power boost to get you to a save point or the end of a level, but when you're dealing with freak winter snowstorms, sometimes that's all you need.
Sony's PlayStation Vita may not have the sure-footing of Nintendo's handheld, but what it lacks in software, it makes up for in hardware promises that can't be beat. With two touch panels on the front and back, dual analog sticks, and loads more functionality unlocked once the power and your PlayStation 4 come back on, you can't really ask for a better piece of portable hardware. Besides, it only takes one game to make the Vita a must-have portable when you consider PlayStation Plus and the added value you'd get from an existing subscription. That one game is, of course, Persona 4 Golden. Click through for information on extending your Vita's battery life.
Nyko Power Grip
When PlayStation Vita hit market, gamers only really had one thing to complain about and that was the 3-5 hour battery life. While the latest PS Vita model trades the OLED screen for improved performance, the battery life still doesn't leave much to write home about. Enter the Nyko Power Grip. Anthony reviewed this item near Vita's launch, but it's still one of the better accessories to own as it doubles the Vita's battery life, in addition to increased ergonomics.
This portable battery pack holds 1.5 times the capacity of PS Vita's internal battery, meaning you can leave this charged and ready for a last-minute plug-in. It obviously doesn't have the same benefits of the Nyko Power Grip, but it won't make you look like a tool either.
MOGA makes several different accessories for when lights go out but gaming must go on. In addition to controller accessories for iPhone and Android devices, MOGA offers several different power solutions as well. Pictured is one of their Android phone control+power accessories. These will let you game with precision and recharge your device as you go.
Eventually, all the electricity you've ever come to know and love will leave you. In the mean time, use fire to light the way. Fire looks cool, reacts when you blow at it, and also destroys things, so be careful! Fire is rated M for mature audiences only, but the next two items on our survival list aren't.
Monopoly takes hours and hours to play. You can play it for days on end if you're really determined to make it out of bankruptcy on the basis that you own Boardwalk with a hotel. Monopoly is fun for all ages (8 or older as the box suggests) and it can really sour a relationship with a room mate or loved one you just can't stand to look at in the dark anymore. Still, don't get the electronic banking edition pictured here. Get classic or nothing because you'll look like a douche whipping out Big Bang Theory Edition.
Settlers of Catan
If you want a game that really takes the candle-light atmopshere and makes you feel like a peasant with it, try Settlers of Catan. There are a ton of expansions for hardcore nerds like me, while the game is easy enough to learn for a newcomer trapped in your house and untrained in the art of gaming. Truly, any board game will do but Settlers of Catan just has that "we don't even need the power to come back" charm.
If you have suggestions for gamers without power during this season's winter storms, drop them in the comments below!