One of the widely recognized uses for the internet is that of personal entertainment. People can watch movies, read books, catch up on the news, and listen to music. However, this list lacks one of the large entertainment sectors of the internet industry: gaming. The internet, by putting people in touch with one another and facilitating instant communication and data transfer, has spawned an entirely new subculture of playing games over the internet.
The phrase “internet gaming” brings to mind the stereotypical image of the nerd in glasses, in a darkened apartment or his parents’ basement, playing games such as World of Warcraft or Everquest and swearing off any kind of real social life. Not only is this an offensive stereotype, but it is patently untrue in most cases. There are many types of internet gaming, each with a different client base.
One type is that of online gambling. It is done at a computer, where a virtual representation of a card table or a slot machine is displayed, and as each player in a given game chooses to raise, or fold, or call, the table makes a visual representation of what’s happening. These games can be played for free or with real money, and are favored by many well-adjusted adults. There are also free games, such as those found on addictinggames.com, which are small, easy to play games that are generally played as a quick piece of entertainment, lasting maybe half an hour, and the subject matter can be anything from shooting zombies to dressing up a celebrity.
Of course, internet gaming cannot be mentioned without touching on the Role Playing Genre. RPGs are games where one creates a character, and then oversees that character’s development and adventures, giving them a voice, a face, and a drive. While it is from these games that the stereotype springs, there are as many different types of games as there are players. Text based, playing by post, and Pen-and-paper games played in a chatroom are just a few examples of internet RPGs that don’t conform to the stereotype.