Do you want to play games online but aren’t too familiar with what’s currently out there or how to get started? Here’s a quick overview.
Most online games are free, supported mostly by ads, though some games charge users for premium features. Casual games are the most popular because they are user-friendly, easy to learn and can usually be completed in 10 minutes or less. Massively multiplayer online games are fast gaining popularity and are the next major potential game market. Recent surveys conducted by Nielson show that 72.5% of households in the US have broadband connections. Homes with broadband connections are naturally the hottest target for online games. Also advances in software technology, especially the introduction of Java and Flash, have given a boost to playing games online. Here’s a summary of the various online gaming options now available —
–Online First Person Shooter Games
These games allow you to enjoy an arena style of play whereby you take on your competitor head-to-head. Since the introduction of DOOM in the early 90’s this type of online gaming has become extremely popular among the younger teenagers. What makes it a rage is its amazing graphics featuring exciting armed combat scenarios, deadly arsenals, and a cast of nefarious enemies to shoot at. Kids worldwide have been thrilled with the release of Doom 3, Far Cry, Halo2 and others. Another, older online game, also of the first person shooter type, is what has been described as “The best game ever” by the PC Gamer Magazine. In Half Life 2 the player is tasked with saving Earth from deadly aliens who have attacked our world. It has won more than 100 gaming awards. Another popular game is The Jackal, which takes you to Africa in the search of a mysterious killer. To succeed in your mission you have to exploit and play on the weaknesses of various warlords through crafting plots, using force and planning surprise attacks.
Another way to play games online is real time strategic games, which match you against other players or you can join a group or a board and form lobbies in the game rooms. Some popular options to select from are Pokemonindigo, where you can team up with as many as 6 members and battle your rivals to prove your team’s supremacy. This is a free game and can be played indefinitely. Another award-winning game is Microsoft Age of Empires, where players have to build up their tribes’ wealth and civilization by waging and winning war, thereby adding to their wealth. If you are a Star Trek movie fan, then Netrek is the game for you where two teams representing two different forces fight for control over the galaxy by combating enemy spaceships and conquering planets.
–Web Browser-Based Games
With the advancement in web technologies like JSP, HTML, Flash and Java, complex web browser-based games were created by developers which use Windows Explorer web browser as a client. These are mostly single player games where a user can create huge scores, but nowadays many multiplayer games are also being developed. The biggest advantage of these games is that they do not require any software installation at your end. The most popular of the browser-based online games is the famous arcade game Pac Man. Other free arcade games can be searched at Freearcade.com. Browser- based pet games are also very popular, such as Neopets an Net Pet where you can “virtually” adopt and play with your own pet. You can even buy them collars, food, toys and the like. This type of game is a big hit among grade-school-age children who play games online.
–Massively Multiplayer Online Games
As said, high speed broadband access has created a huge market for massively multiplayer online games (MMOG’s) where people from all over the world can login and play simultaneously. There are various types of MMOG games, the most popular being massively multiplayer online role playing games or MMORPG. The best example of MMORPG is Cyberdunk, the basketball MMORPG where you can be a player, a trainer or even own your own basketball team. As in any role playing game you have fictitious “avatars” whose looks and actions can be controlled by you. If you want to, you can outfit your avatars with training equipment and different accessories. The various players can even interact with each other. Some MMORPGS are also based on fantasy themes like sword fights, comic characters and even science fiction. Already, this sector of the gaming business is taking in a cool billion bucks a year.
Another popular type of MMOG is MMORTS or massively multiplayer online real time strategy games. Like in strategic games, people can form groups and teams. Maybe you can even appoint yourself head of the team or General of the Army. The first MMORTS game was developed in 1998, called Mankind. It let you be a miner, mercenary, warrior or merchant, in each case involved in a quest to build an empire. Another popular MMORTS is Shattered Galaxy which was developed by Nexon Inc, Japan, and is a sci-fi type adventure game. At present, there is a fast-emerging concept of browser-based MMOG’s which are a comparatively cheaper way to play games online than the original MMOGs available in the market.