Whether it’s a simulation game that lets you live the life of your own online character, or a sports game that can reproduce last Saturday’s epic match, games let us take a break from our own lives for a while and experience a reality where we can simply press ‘start again’ if something goes wrong. One of the great things about the internet is that it can allow us to do things we are unable to do in the real world. Cooped up inside on a rainy day, too wet to play that game of beach cricket you had planned or the grass too muddy to kick a ball around? Don’t worry, there are entire websites dedicated to bringing you hundreds of different sports -related games in the comfort of your own home. Try www.sportsgamesonlinefree.com and www.onlinesportgames.net
But it’s not just sports that can be recreated through the aid of the internet, role playing games, or ‘RPGs’ for short, allow you to create a your own character and control their whole life. Tired of being a human? www.clubpenguin.com even lets you do this as a cute little penguin. www.moshimonsters.com is all about looking after your very own pet monster. This involves feeding them, making sure they’re not sick, and the best part of all - playing games with them to keep them happy!
If you are aged 13 or older you can also try out a couple more advanced RPG games. www.runescape.com and www.dragonfable.com are set in medieval worlds where you can do battle with dragons and warriors, mine for gold, fish for food, create your own weapons and go on missions throughout the online universe. But be aware, these games are strangely addictive.
Who says games have to have state-of-the-art graphics and complex instructions? Retro games such as Pac-man and space invaders can be just as exciting. Who would have thought running from ghosts and listening to incessant bleeping would provide hours of entertainment? For a blast from the past, visit tinyurl.com/az9qu and www.freespaceinvaders.org Just make sure to protect the computer from parents looking to reminisce on the good old days.
If you’re not sure what kind of game you want to participate in, there are websites out there hosting thousands of fun flash-based games organised into hundreds of categories and sub-categories including action, adventure, arcade, puzzle and strategy. Who would have thought there’s even an entire category for flying games? www.miniclip.com/games/en and www.playedonline.com have fantastic collections of free, fun games.
If you’re more a traditional board game type of person it can sometimes be hard to find enough people willing to play with you in the real world. The internet once again comes to the rescue on this problem. www.nzmonopoly.co.nz/game.php is an online version of the New Zealand edition of monopoly where you can play against your friends or the computer. Hasbro (board game manufacturer) have also put together a cross between an action game and the classic board game ‘the game of life’ to create a fun interactive version of ‘the game of twists and turns’. This can be found at tinyurl.com/6kj7rtw
If just playing games on the internet isn’t enough for you, www.sploder.com is an online community where you can customise your very own platform, 3D and shooter games. You can then share them with other members who can comment and rate your efforts. Once you have registered, you can also play games created by other people like yourself and vote for them to have a spot in the coveted ‘hall of game’.
www.yoyogames.com/make takes this idea a step further. Using the downloadable software, you can create your very own games from scratch, making them as complicated or as simple as you wish. This software can be tricky to get your head around at first, but luckily you are provided with tutorials from beginner through to advanced. These tutorials sometimes even introduce you to basic programming used by professional game developers all over the world.
If you’re still finding all of this a bit too simple for your liking, tinyurl.com/27hy6u and www.foddy.net/Athletics are two of the hardest games in the world. Just getting past the first level of these frustrating games merits congratulations.
So take a break from your regular life and step into someone else’s shoes today. Just remember, once you get back into reality, you no longer have three lives, and jumping on the heads of your enemies to destroy them is completely unacceptable.