Gaming is a very broad category that includes computer and video games, hand held video games for use by the whole family, as well as computer based games specifically for educational purposes. In general, the term “video gaming” refers to computer games that are played using computers or game consoles, while computer “simulation gaming” refers to computer games that are played using a computer or game console but that have video output. The term “hand held” refers to computer games that are designed to be played on handheld game consoles such as the Nintendo Wii, or on other similar hand held devices like cell phones. Computer video games are also sometimes referred to as “keyboard games,” since the actual key involved in gaming (either a mouse or a keyboard) can actually be controlled by the player’s hands in most cases. All of these categories are very broad, and almost anything goes under the heading of “video gaming.”
To further complicate matters, nearly every kind of gaming experience can now be accessed over the Internet, meaning that a player can interact with a computer or video gaming system while away from home in virtually any environment. Gaming systems are becoming increasingly popular with young people and adults alike, because they allow people to escape into worlds that they have only read about or seen pictures of. These worlds are filled with enemies to fight, vehicles to battle with, and items to collect, all of which allows the player to feel as though they are a part of the action.
Another trend in recent years has been the rise of “MOBA” or multi-player online games. This term refers to a type of game in which more than one player takes part in a game environment. One popular example is that of free online shooting games, in which two or more individuals fire at each other from behind cover or from a predetermined distance, until one player makes his or her way to the finish line. Other examples include games in which two or more people attempt to complete puzzle puzzles, or in which two or more individuals go on an adventure around the world and must coordinate their efforts to complete objectives.
The rise of free online gaming also paved the way for the rise of streaming video services, such as YouTube and Livestream. With these services, video gamers can easily create and share their own gaming videos with millions of viewers. This ability to broadcast video gaming to an audience has brought with it an increased interest in this medium. Many companies have developed specialized services to help gamers to promote their own interests and brands through video gaming videos. Examples include brands like “EA Sports,” which allows users to create their own sports game tournaments and post the results on YouTube.
There are many other ways that the Internet has affected gaming. For instance, gaming devices now use wireless connections, meaning that a gamer does not have to physically connect their computer to a headset or other hardware device in order to enjoy their game. This makes for much longer sessions than is possible with older wired models and creates the opportunity to play for longer periods of time on the go, rather than simply at a single sitting. Also, because wireless connections are so common, many gaming devices come standard with built-in software that allows them to stream games.
Gaming also has a distinct social aspect to it. Many online communities exist for video gamers. These communities welcome players from all walks of life and of different ages. Some popular multiplayer games, like World of Warcraft and EverQuest, have hundreds of thousands of members. These players spend countless hours building up their characters, acquiring weapons, and competing in head-to-head competitions, and some even travel overseas to take part in virtual tournaments.