I play games online but I think that sometimes my parents and teachers don't get it. I'd like to be able to discuss my gaming experience with my parents and teachers so we can all understand the benefits - and do I can protect myself from the risks of online gaming.
Computer games are games which are played by one or more players via a digital device.
Games can be played on several platforms such as consoles (Xbox, Playstation), on mobile devices (iPad, mobile phone) or on a desktop computer.
Online games require an internet connection to play some or all the game’s content.
MOST POPULAR GAMES
There are tens of thousands of games, with new games coming out all the time - all with new features, new ways to play and new ways to compete with others.
The Steam online platform alone released over 10,000 games in 2020 so its pretty hard to keep up. And that's part of the fun: waiting for the latest game to come out.
Here are some of the most popular games with the numbers of people who play them.
PUBG 1 billion
Crossfire 1 billion
Minecraft 600 million
Candy Crush 500 million
Among Us 500 million
Fortnite 350 million
WHAT KINDS OF GAMES ARE THERE?
There are several types of games and you'll probably be familiar with them.
Single player games
You play through quests or levels against computer generated challenges (e.g. the Witcher series).
You play with and against other players (e.g. Fortnite and Call of Duty). You can often buy in-game purchases such as weapons, armour or skins.
Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG)
Here you play with a large number of players who play in a shared environment often role-playing (e.g. World of Warcraft).
Lots of games have been designed to be played on mobile devices. There are lots of mobile games like puzzle solving, building, role-playing or action games which can be single or multiplayer (e.g. Candy Crush, Fortnite, Clash of Clans).
Different types of games. From Maryville University.
HOW OLD DO I NEED TO BE?
Computer games are assigned classifications, usually by the country in which you live - just like movies or TV - based on levels of violence (especially realistic violence), sexual content, nudity, drug use or mature themes.
Most games are now bought online, from platforms like Steam or Xbox Online. You usually have to be 13 years old. Individual games might ask for a date of birth to confirm you are above the legal age for the game. Many platforms have parental controls to restrict game purchases for younger players.
WHAT'S GREAT ABOUT THEM?
Games are tons of fun, for lots of reasons including joining in with friends or just taking a break from school, but also:
Many games give you a rich storytelling experience just like fantasy novels.
Gamers who play with others develop collaboration and communication skills.
Gaming develops problem-solving skills.
Competitive games need players to have fast reflexes and gaming can help you develop them.
There are lots of gaming leagues you can join - and lots of schools are running their own leagues.
WHAT ARE SOME DOWNSIDES?
Multiplayer games can provide a place where abusive and bullying behaviour happens, especially if playing games with random players, and when using headsets.
Some games can include realistic violence and sexual content.
Some people believe that gaming addiction is becoming a problem.
Befriending and grooming of younger players can happen much more easily online.
WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD I ASK?
Does this game require a subscription?
Is this game single or multiplayer?
If the game is multiplayer, will you play with friends or strangers?
What rating does this game have?
Does this game encourage additional purchases?
Does the game require an internet connection?
Is the game purchased through a secure platform (the Apple Store, Google Play or Steam)?
MORE ABOUT GAMING
Often people who aren't gamers don't really understand what the attraction is.
You might want to take a look at this Netflix documentary called HIGH SCORE (MA15+) that's all about the first video games - and about how the gaming industry developed into what it is today.