BUSTED: 27 Most Dangerous Gaming Myths

MYTH: You need to buy the extended warranty.

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Most times, this is a huge waste. If you're buying an Xbox 360, a PS3, or a Wii, know that each console maker has a pretty generous warranty period--one year in the case of the Xbox 360 and PS3, and even more for the Wii if you fill out the online registration.

Of course, don't expect the retail shops to stop offering extended warranties anytime soon: warranties are a retail cash cow because the failure rate of consoles and games is so slim and the fees are so high. Skip 'em.

MYTH: The Xbox 360 can't handle 1080p.

Actually, it can, thanks to a recent downloadable update. Though Sony argues that the Xbox 360 can't handle true 1080p, this is a technical argument that's mostly splitting hairs. Generally speaking, Xbox 360 game designers will be able to code in true 1080p support for future games. Check out Sega's Virtua Tennis 3** as one key example of an Xbox 360 game that's rendered in "true" 1080p.

As for running existing games in 1080p on the Xbox 360, it's not so simple. Currently, selecting the 1080p option doesn't actually render the game in 1080p: it "cheats" by using the 360's analog scaler to blow up a normal 720p image to fill a 1080p display. This isn't the same thing, though it's still a nice option to have.

MYTH: Cheat codes are put in for the sake of gamers.

They aren't. Q&A departments at game publishers use cheat codes to quickly and easily test for bugs. Typically, these codes are simply left into the final retail product, where they become what we call "cheat codes."

But more and more, cheat codes are being phased out. Why? Mostly because cheat codes tend to shorten the game experience, which leads to more returns and more used game sales, all of which hurt the bottom line of publishers. The longer a company can coax you into playing a game, the less likely you are to sell it back quickly and cost the publisher a future sale. In theory, at least.

MYTH: Wireless controllers don't work as well as wired.

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In reality, both are equally responsive. If you think you get an edge by using a wired controller over a wireless, know this: it's all in your head. Of course, we're not one to discount a psychological advantage, but the truth need be told. Wireless controllers are every bit at fast and responsive as wired ones.

One exception: wireless mice are often incredibly finicky, and that's due to the super-precise nature of mouse movements.

MYTH: You have to spend $500 for a PC video card.

Wrong! Sure, if you've got to have the latest-and-greatest PC graphics experience, you'll need to drop some serious dough. But the truth that Nvidia and ATI don't want you to know is this: for the vast majority of gamers, a mid-range video card like the Radeon X1950 GT or GeForce 8600** GS will give you an excellent visual experience. The price? Under $200, if you know where to look.

MYTH: S-video is fine for HD video.

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No, no, no. Get to the Radio Shack* and upgrade your cables, son. S-video and its close cousin, the composite cable, are strictly standard-def and are relics from another generation. If your TV supports it, you should always shoot for component cables, a VGA cable, or DVI/HDMI. S-Video and composite are dead, dead, dead, and shouldn't be used unless you have no choice.

MYTH: VGA output is better than component video.

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When it comes to HD TVs, component video sits at the top of the analog video cable heap. VGA is an outstanding choice for PC monitors, but the signal loses some of its boldness when converted to a standard HD TV television signal. If you don't believe us, just plug a VGA cable into your Xbox 360 and see how dull and muted the colors look. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as TVs with cheap, lousy component video inputs.

VGA still gives a quality HD experience, but if you're gaming on an HD TV, stick with component for the brightest, boldest color.

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Gary Anthes

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