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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Fun and Games: New consoles excite video game fans

By Theresa Tanner EVERCANNABIS Writer

It’s a good time to be a gamer.

With all the extra time at home and indoors in 2020, both novice and veteran video game players have relied on the form for hours of entertainment. And with online play, gatherings in a virtual space are a creative and safe way to connect with friends and family scattered across the globe.

Just in time for the holidays, some big developments are on the horizon that will have you even more excited to hunker down at home for a long, cold winter.

Console Wars

Xbox Series X and Series S

Release date: Nov. 10, 2020

Introductory price: $499/$299

The Microsoft consoles are the fourth generation of Xbox models, succeeding the 2013 Xbox One. The high-end Series X will support up to 8K resolution and frame rates, real-time ray tracing and high-speed solid-state drive to reduce loading times. It also includes a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray drive. The low-end Series S uses the same central processing unit (CPU) but with reduced graphics processing, memory and internal storage. It lacks an optical drive, which requires digital game downloads. Both consoles feature backwards compatibility with previous Xbox games, controllers and accessories.

PlayStation 5 (PS5) and PS5 Digital Edition

North American release date: Nov. 12, 2020

Introductory price: $499.99/$399.99

Sony Interactive Entertainment is also succeeding its 2013 PS4 release this season with two consoles that are virtually the same, save that the Digital Edition is not equipped with an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive. With identical technical specifications – instantaneous load speeds, 8K graphics and advanced 3D audio – the choice between the two versions will depend on the preferences of the gamer. If you don’t care about owning physical copies of games and you have reliable Internet that will allow for speedy game downloads, the Digital Edition will save you $100. But if you want to continue playing old PS4 discs on your new console or watch DVD/Blu-rays, the standard PS5 will be worth the extra expense.

Game on

What good is a flashy new video game console without some brand news games to explore? Here are a few titles you’ll want to get to really create the perfect gift package for your favorite gamer, plus some 2021 titles to look forward to in the new year.

“Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War”: Capitalizing on the wave of 1980s nostalgia ushered in by Netflix’s “Stranger Things” in 2016, the latest COD installment pits original “Black Ops” characters against Soviet spies in the middle of the Cold War. The multiplayer game will allow “cross-generation” play, meaning players using different generation consoles and competing platforms will be able to game together.

“Assassin’s Creed Valhalla”: After adventures in the Crusades, various revolutionary wars and Ancient Egypt, the open world, role-playing game takes players to the Viking invasion of Britain in the 9th century. The fast loading times on new PS and Xbox consoles will create a more immersive experience, according to game developers.

“Cyberpunk 2077”: This long-running tabletop role-player game franchise makes the leap to video games courtesy of CD Projekt, developer of “The Witcher” series. Set in an alternative history America, ravaged by war and societal collapse, the open world game features a variety of hacker missions and quests, plus guidance from Keanu Reeves as rock star Johnny Silverhand.

“Spider-Man: Miles Morales”: A PS-exclusive title, this Marvel Comics game brings the new Spider-Man, Miles Morales (as seen in 2018’s animated film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”), into focus as a defender of Harlem and New York City against an ongoing conflict between corrupt energy corporation Roxxon and criminal genius, Tinkerer.

Future releases: “Resident Evil Village,” “Hogwarts Legacy,” “Final Fantasy XVI” (PS exclusive), “The Ascent” (Xbox exclusive), “God of War: Ragnarök (PS exclusive), “Far Cry 6,” “Halo Infinite”

Strain recommendations

One of the great things about video games is getting transported to another world. And cannabis, when used responsibly and with moderation, can enhance your experience. We checked in with EVERCANNABIS’s regular strain reviewer Rick Misterly to find strains that will take your game to new heights.

Strains to help you focus and stay alert during an intense game: Misterly suggests “a good, old school strain like Acapulco Gold or Durban Poison” to provide energy and alertness “while giving an almost out of body focus that will keep you going and take the mind to the next level.”

Low-key strains to mellow you out during a more casual gaming experience: If you’re just vibin’ on your “Animal Crossing” island or trying to keep cool during “Tetris Effect,” a updated version of the classic 1980s tile-matching puzzle game, Misterly offers Shiatsu Kush, Akcademics and Oregon Diesel to “keep you calm … and allow you to slow down, be more analytical and solve complex problems in a game.”

Something that will get you active and moving after a long gaming session: OK, it’s time to put the controller down and get yourself up for some physical activity. Misterly recommends reaching for a strain with a high level of the terpene Limonene to combat fatigue. “Anything with lemon in the name should be high in that terpene and bound to bring you back around: Lemon Sour Diesel, Lemon Haze or good, old Colombian Gold.”

Theresa Tanner is the Health & Culture editor of EVERCANNABIS. Born and raised in Spokane, she enjoys good food and drink, pop culture podcasts, and relaxing at the lake.

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