Gaming on the personal computer has evolved into a culture. Each year tens of thousands of new users log on and enjoy games online or offline. Games that are simple as solitaire, or comprehensive games based online allowing users to cooperate or compete against each other. The gaming culture has evolved to such an extent that entire worlds are based online where hundreds of thousands of users interact in a virtual society. Private businesses have adopted these ideas and invested in creating an atmosphere solely for gaming. The ideas that has taken form from these businesses are called LAN cafés. LAN café’s are built with forty to eighty computers which can all run on LAN but are also provided with an internet connection for users to join online games.
According to "virtualworldsreviews.com", "A virtual world is an interactive simulated environment accessed by multiple users through an online interface. Virtual worlds are also called "digital worlds," "simulated worlds" and "MMOG's."
Furthermore, "virtualworldsreviews.com" goes on to say, "There are many different types of virtual worlds, however there are six features all of them have in common":
1. Shared Space: the world allows many users to participate at once.
2. Graphical User Interface: the world depicts space visually, ranging in style from 2D "cartoon" imagery to more immersive 3D environments.
3. Immediacy: interaction takes place in real time.
4. Interactivity: the world allows users to alter, develop, build, or submit customized content.
5. Persistence: the world's existence continues regardless of whether individual users are logged in.
6. Socialization/Community: the world allows and encourages the formation of in-world social groups like teams, guilds, clubs, cliques, housemates, neighborhoods, etc.
Virtual worlds have been created for several different purposes. The largest and most common type of virtual world is the "MMORPG" or "Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game." But virtual worlds have also been built for purposes other than gaming. The following section summarizes a few ways, in 2012, in which virtual worlds are currently used:
Commercial gaming worlds tend to focus on a singular fictional theme and consistently follow formal conventions such as character-focused avatars, progression through an interactive narrative storyline, and a series of competitive events. Strongly influenced by fantasy, science fiction, and anime genres of literature and film, the majority of sizable virtual worlds in existence today are commercial gaming worlds.
Socializing / Online Community Building
In addition to the traditional fantasy RPG worlds, there are many commercial community-focused virtual worlds that emphasize socializing rather than gaming. These worlds offer a more open-ended experience and are strongly influenced by the cultures of text-based chat rooms. Although small-scale, casual games may be incorporated into a social world, participants are not necessarily there to win or play a game, but rather to socialize with others and, in many cases, create and decorate a personal space such as a home, room, or apartment. Social worlds tend to use settings based on idealized versions of reality. Most provide some basic building tools and the ability to host activities and events that revolve around a wide variety of topics. Second Life would be an example of this.
Educational worlds come in a wide variety of forms, including 3D recreations of museum and gallery spaces, computer programming tutorials, virtual libraries, and meeting spaces for online university courses.
Virtual worlds can serve as forums for political expression and debate. While real-world political issues can crop up in gaming, social, and educational worlds, there are a few cases in which completely separate virtual worlds have been built for the purpose of political debate or even experiments in various types of self-governing online communities. An example of a virtual world with a political focus would be AgoraXchange.
Virtual world technologies are also being used in some interesting ways by the U.S. military. America's Army is being used as a tool to recruit potential soldiers, while companies like Forterra Systems are working with military groups to develop training simulations.
The games that are produced for personal computers vary in every possible aspect imaginable. Games that are as simple solitaire , unique as simulated fishing or large and complex where empires are created and set in battle against each other. However; most of these games fall into categories such as FPS ( first person shooter), MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game), RPG (role-playing game), Strategy, Sim , Action, Adventure, Racing and many more. Each genre offers a different environment for users to become involved in. Most games allow users to create alias to identified by other players if they go online. As games have evolved and become more unique so have the users who play them. Mostly found on online games ,users have joined together to form clans which are essentially teams that can compete against other clans competing for a placement. Game developers have also aided in providing users multiple environments or scenarios for a single game. These are called patches which can be downloaded and offer new ways to play a game and experience the environment.
The game of poker has been around for hundreds of years however it suddenly became popularized a few years ago. Some attribute this rise of poker to the NHL strike when hockey became non existent. TV stations had to fill their hockey time slots with other sports and poker seemed to be one of them that many people began being interested in. All of a sudden we were watching world tournaments and celebrity tournaments. This sport which can turn the average Joe into a millionaire all by winning a game began to appeal to many people. To further glorify this new found game or as many would call it a gambling addiction some smart computer savvy person decided if people can play on a table why wouldn’t they be able to play online. People of all ages are suddenly able to gamble and a study has deemed that 20% of teenage males are playing poker (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4230630.stm). Many of those young people playing are said to have a gambling addiction (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4230630.stm). Some of the reasons that online poker has become so popular is due to being able to play in the comfort of your own home (doesn’t give the old stigma of a casino). Another reason is you can make money in the comforts of your own home playing a game. It is this attitude of having fun playing a game while making money (http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~brianz/theAddictionOfInternetPoker.html). Another reason online poker is so convenient is that you can access your online funds through a PayPal account (http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~brianz/theAddictionOfInternetPoker.html). Money can be quickly placed into your account as well as quickly leave your account when entering into a tournament. Though there are many reasons why online poker has become so popular is it causing a lot of harm to many people lives especially young people. Governments have not ignored this problem which is evident by the US recent decision to ban online poker! If you think your child could have an online addiction to gambling there is something you can do. Just as you can websites children can go on with special software there is also software that can prevent your children from accessing gambling websites. One of those products is called Gamblock which disables any gambling sites to be processed on our computer (http://money.guardian.co.uk/personal/story/0,,1814286,00.html).
The Xbox, PS3 and Nintendo are fast becoming more than arch enemies in the gaming world. As technology advances the competition will increase, each striving for better graphics and the ultimate gaming experience. Take the Xbox 360 for example. This gaming console offers an online feature that surpasses the other play stations entirely. It is also marketed to be an entire home entertainment device that allows you to play music, movies and really tries to encompass the whole theory of the entire multimedia experience. On the other hand, PS3 is the Cadillac of all gaming consoles when it comes to graphics and in depth gaming. The longevity for gamers is what appeals the most as it has games that takes hundreds of hours to complete. Nintendo has gone the more 'meat and potatoes' approach to gaming. With its new wireless motion console Wii, this allows you to not only become a part of the game physically, but it also makes the Wii remote a thing of the past. There is something for everyone.