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Search Topic 38:

Play Games Online

Web Search Guides

by J. Nagpal, Assistant Editor

Part I. Overview of Topic

Nowadays, onlines games are a huge business.  The online games market is expected to cross the $13 billion  mark by 2011. Once considered a male dominant field, the online gaming industry is now being catapulted mostly by female users.  Women currently play games online almost half as often as men -- they make up 45% of the industry base.

Online games come in an almost infinite variety of player styles and options-- you can play games online via single player games, multiple player games and the recent craze - massively multiplayer online games (MMOG's). MMOG’s allow thousands of users around the world to login and play the same game simultaneously via high speed Internet.

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 market to be explored. 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 the "play games online" industry. 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 on. Since the introduction of Doom in early 90’s this type of online gaming is extremely popular among the younger teen-agers. What makes it a rage is its amazing graphics featuring exciting armed combat scenarious, 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 to save 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 weakness of different warlords through crafting plots, using force and planning surprise attacks. 

  • Strategic games

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 Browser- based pet games are also very popular, such as Neopets  and 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 almost $1 billion 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.

Rules and Policies Governing Online Games

Of course, traditional board games like chess or scrabble are also a popular online option for anyone who wishes to play games online. So are puzzles, word games and card games. In fact, substantial money can be earned in prize-awarding games online.  But before entering any such game contest, be sure to check with into your state's rules and policies governing these types of games.  All major gaming sites are required to follow rules and regulations imposed by End User License Agreements (EULA) and any cheating or breach of rules can be reported to this organization to ensure fair play. In addition, certain measures have been taken internationally by some governments designed to prevent the addiction of online games among young adults. Notably, the Chinese government has imposed a new rule making it illegal for MMOG players in that country to play more than three hours at a stretch.  A Chinese player is legally required to take a break of a minimum of five hours between gaming sessions. Whatever you may think of this kind of Big Brotherism, it does correctly suggest how addictive these games can become!

That's it!  Our ten minutes are up!  (Okay, maybe twelve or thirteen.)  Below is a listing of Web resources to help you continue your research on our topic, "Play Games Online."

Part II. For Additional  Research

This section provides reviews and recommendations of websites and other online resources. 

Try searching for a list of free online games at Gamessitelist which provides links to more then 500+ online games in different categories. You can even read users comments, reviews and recommendations before selecting a game which suits your mood and style

This is another excellent site that provides you links to numerous online games sites offering free online games, as well as a description about each game. Using this site you can play arcade games, car racing games, bike games, solve puzzles, play sudoku and do much more.

  • If the concept of massively multiplayer online games has caught your attention then Ultima Online, the first MMORPG created in 1997 is a good place for you to begin your tryst with MMORPG. To start with, you can even download a 14 day trial version with the game guide to get a hands-on experience of this new virtual world where you create new avatars and artifacts.
  • Another popular MMORPG which gives your ambitions and dreams wings to fly and  helps you to connect with thousands of players is Everquest2. With amazing videos and graphics, combating danger in tough terrain to attain the goal of freeing Norrath, this game is sure to mesmerize you.

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