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Whatever you do in life, there are always times when you need a break from the norm and to be able to do something different for a few minutes. And while there are plenty of ways to spend that five minutes, it’s great if you can find something that both entertains you and helps you to unwind at the same time. Online games are great for those moments and there’s an absolute wealth of games to play today – from online bingo to online Risk!
From early roots in Plato IV, a 1972 shared learning environment which students customised to create their own multiplayer games, online games have developed and diversified. Now we have vast and intricate online worlds which are just as popular as quick and cheap Facebook apps. The modern gamer really is spoiled for choice.
Facebook games like Candy Crush or Criminal Case or Farmville are always diverting, and easily accessible. They’re great for playing on your mobiles or on your desktop, but with the temptation to invite your friends for extra in-game goodies, you can quickly find your friends list depleted. How many times have we all seen our friends complaining about being invited to your virtual farm? Leave the pixellated livestock alone!
I’m old enough to remember MUDs, but the kids of today play the next generation of these games: MMORPGs. The most famous is World of Warcraft, of course. So big it had its own episode of South Park, it’s not a secret that WoW is incredibly addictive. But there are other MMORPGs which are gaining popularity too. Apparently League of Legends, although less well known outside of gaming circles, has already overtaken WoW and has clocked 1.3 billion hours of play versus WoW’s 622 million from 2011-12. There’s even a whole website dedicated to recommending and reviewing MMORPGs: MMORPG.com, naturally.
One of the more exciting games to come out at the moment is the free-to-play Rift. Rift‘s slogan is ‘No Tricks, No Trials, No Traps’, meaning players can enjoy the game from beginning to end without paying a penny – although there are plenty of perks and bonuses if you become a monthly subscriber or patron. In Rift, players take the role of Ascended – the inhabitants of the world of Telara, who fall into two camps: Guardians and the Defiant. Regulos is the dragon god who hopes to destroy Telara, and the Guardians and the Defiant battle the monsters of the land in a bid to destroy Regulos for good. The game is titled after the rifts which open up between dimensions, spewing out various critters that have to be fought, and allowing open groupings where players can team up.
Retro Games are back in. Sites like Game Oldies let you play games from systems such as the Sega Master System, Game Boy and NES, such as Power Rangers, Pokemon, NES Open Golf Tournament, T2 – The Arcade Game, Dragon Ball Z and everyone’s favourite oldie – Street Fighter II!
Classic Arcade Games, meanwhile, lets you play arcade games such as Pac Man, Mortal Kombat, Sonic the Hedgehog, Castlevania and Ghostbusters. You can even play Angry Birds!
Best of all, I found my childhood favourite – Streets of Rage – at Retro Gamer, which also has Sonic & Knuckles, Golden Axe and Shinobi III.
Which online games do you play? Where do you find them? Any tips or links you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments below.