Playing games, be it any board game or cards or a video game has always been the popular way to spend a leisure day. As a child, I still remember buying the latest board games and video games to play with my friends and family. With the advent of technology, most importantly the computer and the Internet, board games have been replaced by online games. Online gaming is nothing but a means of connecting various players through latest technology, where games are played across a computer network. Today, these games are played typically over the Internet by multiple players simultaneously and are very interactive, hence deriving their name.
According to online gaming enthusiasts, the advent of online games can be traced to the 1980’s when the first multiplayer online game “MUDs” was invented, which used textual messages instead of graphics to enable players. As technology developed, however, the online gaming scenario also changed and what started as simple text based games evolved into complex games using complicated graphics. After “MUDs”, came the “First Person Shooter” games, which used graphical representation but was limited to fewer players. Online gaming became truly popular with the advent of the Internet and the creation of real time strategy games, which allowed players from across the globe to play with each other.
Technological advances in the form of sophisticated browsers introduced various browser games that were both single player as well as multiple player online games. These games used web based graphic programs like Java, Flash etc to enhance the entire online gaming experience. Open source networks ensured that online gaming took a completely different meaning by introducing various console based games into the foray. These included popular games like the Xbox, Play Station 2, Nintendo and GameCube.
Today, given the easy availability of broadband internet, the online gaming scenario has changed to include Massively Multi Player online games that allow hundreds of gaming enthusiasts to play simultaneously. Such games are popularized by the creation of various Online Gaming Zones by various sites, like MSN and Yahoo! that offer different types of games like card games, puzzles, arcades, race and many more. Some websites require a monthly fee while some allow you to play for free.
Online gaming allows you to play your favorite games from within the precincts of your own home and yet enables you to meet new people and socialize. All good things have their disadvantage, likewise online gaming, which by many is considered to be very addictive. There is definitely a threat of isolating yourself from the external world if you indulge in excessive online gaming. Also, excessive online gaming may lead to detrimental repercussions like gambling.
Online gaming does not allow much time to bond and interact with family members and friends, which in a traditional board game situation is possible. Having said all that, online gaming still remains the most popular mode of spending free time.
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