Many of us in the over 50’s age group will have spent time trying to understand the fascination that COMPUTER GAMES have for the younger generations.
We will have worried that our offspring were spending too much of their time on the computer (instead of doing schoolwork) and were even becoming obsessive in their pastime of playing computer games. And yet we have often ignored the benefits and may ourselves be missing out on a fascinating hobby or pastime.
Computer games started out on dedicated consoles such as the SEGA MASTER SYSTEM or the NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM and games like SONIC THE HEDGEHOG or Super Mario which are mostly quests following a complex matrix of challenges to some ultimate goal. Many include fights with a “boss” victory in which is essential to move on to the next level.
However games have evolved far beyond this format. They have moved into the realm of simulation and adventure. THE SIMS 3 enables players to create families and has no set goals. If a player wishes he can make all his Sims incredibly successful or simply let them all sit around watching television. You can even control entire civilisation shown by CIVILIZATION V. One of the most interesting parts of this game is the civepeida, which explains the true history behind the building you build and the laws which you follow.
These games have however made increasing use of THE INTERNET to become interactive and are now often played on a normal computer as opposed to a console. The consoles themselves like the PS3 now connect to the Internet and have become more like computer terminals. MMORG’s (MASSIVELY MULTIPLE ONLINE ROLE PLAYING GAMES) have completely changed the gaming world. Games like WORLD OF WARCRAFT are in many ways at the forefront of social media. Players form clans, set common objectives and talk to each other over VOIP communications systems.
The characters sometimes known as AVATARS evolve, sometimes to such an extent that they create real world value and are traded. The scenery can be quite stunningly graphic and the need to keep pace has led to a continuing improvement in computer graphics. It is probably no exaggeration to suggest that some of the evolution of PC’s has been down to the need to keep pace with the gaming world.
Some so called games are really virtual worlds such as SECOND LIFEwhich are an alternative reality in which people (through their AVATARS) move around, communicate and build property. These pastimes help users build a good working knowledge of computers with virtually all younger gamers being able to touch type.
And so the gamers or participants in these virtual worlds, far from being no good drop outs will often come into the workplace ready, willing and able to bring their online skills honed in the virtual reality of games to the online social communities that are increasingly forming such an important aspect of every organisation.
And why shouldn’t we over 50’s enjoy some of these activities and learn from them? You can even KEEP FIT PLAYING GAMES though you do need a console for this such as the NINTENDO WII and other consoles which use the GAMES CONTROLLERS to simulate sports such as tennis or golf.
Apparently the AVERAGE SOCIAL GAMER IS A 43-YEAR-OLD WOMAN and many people over 60 play games online so age is no barrier.
Their are 3 generic payment models types for online games-
Free- the entry into the game is completely free, money is generated through advertising or by the purchase of extra content into the game. For example the purchasing of a new hat in TEAM FORTRESS 2.
Monthly Subscription- a recurring subscription which must be paid. For example the newly released star wars mmorpg SWTOR.
One time payment- a single payment thus allowing access to all of the game content. Often used by first person shooters such as the CALL OF DUTY franchise.
So here are a few suggestions for online games you might enjoy. Some require subscriptions to play.
LEAGUE OF LEGENDS- strategy, free
FIFA 2012 (FOOTBALL) – sport, one time payment
WORLD OF WARCRAFT – fantasy, subscription
WORLD GOLF TOUR – sports, free
THE SIMS 3 – STRATEGIC LIFE SIMULATION GAME, one time payment
CIVILIZATION V – strategy game, one time payment
One of the best sites recommended by serious gamers which has lots of free and reasonably priced games is STEAM. This is explained in much more detail in the section on how to buy games on the internet.
And here’s a site with a SELECTION OF FREE MMORG’S (MASSIVELY MULTIPLE ONLINE ROLE PLAYING GAMES) and ANOTHER SITE FOR FREE GAMES.
And if all of this is way too much then there's always an online SCRABBLE CLUB where you can try your word skills against other players!
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Where to buy?