Ever tried to play Control on a sunny day? Though Remedy Entertainment’s third-person shooter is a terrific game it’s also a dark one, both literally and thematically. Trying to gun down Hiss in full view of a sunny window is like trying to look at a solar eclipse without protective eyewear. It won’t work, you might cause permanent damage, and everyone, including CNN, will make fun of you.
Well, now that we’re in the homestretch of spring, the sun’s due to shine unceasingly for the foreseeable. And thanks to the underwhelming nature of a certain government’s efforts in combating a certain crisis, summer 2020 is going to look very different compared to summers past. That means fewer picnics, beach trips, and al fresco brunches, and more days spent inside playing video games.
Playing video games on sunny days means one thing: You’re bound to deal with some serious glare. Glare is maddening, for sure, but there are things you can do to mitigate it. Here they are.
Of course, I am but one man. So if you have any tricks up your sleeve, please do share. I’d love to play Control during the day this summer.
If you’re anything like me, you accept the default brightness option a game presents you on startup. Why try to make the logo barely visible when you could just play the game already? Usually, such impatience doesn’t have a negligible impact on the game you’re playing. But when you’re dealing with some serious glare it really does make a difference. Open up the game’s settings and play around with the brightness and contrast sliders. They should hopefully be under “video,” but hey, video game menus don’t always get it right.
It’s not just game settings you should mess with, though. Most modern TVs have robust visual options. You can play with brightness (turn it all the way up) or contrast (tweak to preference) manually. Or you could dive deep into your television’s energy-saver functions. Just be mindful what setting you choose. Sometimes, such settings are a simple matter of on or off. More often than not, these choices are static; turn it on, and your screen will just dim permanently to consume less electricity. But if there’s an “auto” choice, or something like it, try that. Such features let some TVs automatically adjust screen brightness based on the ambient light in your room, including from natural sources. (Bonus: There’s solace in knowing you’re taking one small step toward a more eco-friendly lifestyle.)
You’d think mounting a TV on the wall is generally a one-and-done process. But you can save yourself a lot of grief by choosing a wall mount that rotates, pivots, swivels, or otherwise does something more than “nail this heavy, expensive piece of equipment in one static place.” Once you install that, simply rotate your TV away from the window when the sun’s at full blast. Depending on how your furniture is arranged, you might end up trying to play games from an angle, which isn’t ideal. But hey, it beats a gnarly glare.
Most big-box retailers sell perfectly fine swivel TV mounts for around $50. At that price point, you’ll be able to find something that supports screens up to 50 inches. If your TV is bigger, though, you may have to dish out twice that amount.
You can’t talk about reducing glare without talking about the various products on the market that are designed for that express purpose: anti-glare sprays, glare-busting screens, stick-on films. Sure, these products exist, but tread with caution. Do your research. Read the reviews. Double-check the instructions, and read any warranties—twice. Buying the wrong product can be useless, at best, and irreparably damage your TV, at worst. Caveat emptor.
It’s the easiest trick in the book: Move your lamps behind your TV to mitigate glare. Even moving lamps to the side of the TV can work wonders. The key is to make sure any external light sources aren’t directly parallel to your screen. Swapping out your curtains is also a glare-busting panacea. Blackout curtains, which you can get at your local home goods store for $30 or less, won’t help you land on any Elle Decor Instagram roundups, but they’re guaranteed to block out unwanted sunlight. Of course, the single best thing you can do to banish glare is to invest in a recessed TV cabinet. That way, your TV will be blocked off on the side from any light sources. Just don’t face it toward the window!
You know you can play that thing handheld, right? Make the most of it! If your area, like New York, looks like it’ll be shut down for about as far ahead as calendars go, some stoopside Paper Mario: The Origami King might be the only quality outdoor time you can get this summer.