If you want to try the console gaming experience without the jaw-dropping cost, step back from the hype and consider older models. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Marcus Ingvarsson (right) tests out the PlayStation 4 virtual reality headset Project Morpheus in a demo area at the Game Developers Conference 2014 in San Francisco on Wednesday. Jeff Chiu/AP hide caption

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In The Novelist, the Kaplans are struggling to keep their little family together. You play a ghost that tries to help keep the peace. The Novelist/Orthogonal Games hide caption

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Nidhogg is a fast-paced sword fighting game that pits two players in an intense, steel-on-steel battle of tug-of-war that harkens back to the old days of arcade battles. Messhof hide caption

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Desktop Dungeons is an easy-to-pick-up puzzle, strategy, single-player role-playing game. It can be difficult, but the ease of repeat play and deep strategic elements will keep you coming back. QCF Design hide caption

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A screenshot of Half the Sky, where virtual successes sometimes lead to real-life donations. Games For Change hide caption

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Kelly Kelley, who goes by the gaming pseudonym MrsViolence, streams her play nightly for her many fans to watch. Twitch.TV screenshot hide caption

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A screenshot of the iPad game If, which aims to teach kids how to navigate interpersonal challenges and failures. NPR hide caption

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Independent developer Jonathan Blow's time-warping, mind-bending puzzler Braid turned a hackneyed plot — little guy rescues a princess — into a melancholy meditation on love and loss. Microsoft/AP hide caption

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Recently released sports video games are touting how their high-powered graphics portray players like the Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant realistically. The realism extends to audio as well. 2K Games hide caption

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The Sony PlayStation 4 sells for $399. Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images hide caption

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