The world of online gaming is a vast and varied one. Perhaps this is why it is such a popular genre of gaming and one that attracts many different players, developers and creatives to get involved. Statistics show that the numbers of online gaming enthusiasts continue to grow exponentially, year upon year, as the world becomes more open to the idea of esports played on a larger scale as well as in the home.
However, online gaming doesn’t just take place in massive arenas, of course. It is also a very accessible pastime for people within their own homes, on their journeys to and from work, and in social settings too. Many people use online gaming to switch off from the stresses of everyday life during their downtime, or as a stimulating distraction during ‘empty time’, such as when travelling. It’s a great way to get friends together, either in the same room or over the internet, and challenge each other to show off problem solving skills or build on teamwork ability. So, what are the different types of online games, and how do they work?
MMOs and MMORPGs
Perhaps the most famous and well-loved genre of online game is the MMO or MMORPG. These acronyms stand for Massively Multiplayer Online game and Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, respectively. Some of the most successful examples of these games are RuneScape, World of Warcraft, Elder Scrolls Online and Final Fantasy XIV.
The descriptive names for these titles are apt as the worlds within them are, indeed, massive. This means that players will never get bored and developers can continually add to environments and characters to keep the game interesting. It is most common for people to play MMOs on gaming PCs, rather than using the inferior capabilities of consoles. Because the games themselves have such a high level of detail contained within them, they need powerful computer specs to run them successfully and allow players to really engage with all elements of the game.
These are perhaps the most immersive example of online gaming and, therefore, have earnt the most loyal fans.
For those people who prefer a less fantasy-orientated approach to gaming, there is always the classics. Card games, casino games, arcade games and board games have been entertaining people for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years and that doesn’t seem to have stopped with the invention of the internet.
Whilst you may not always have immediate access to your favourite board game, a deck of cards or a casino, online you can access all of this and more with a simple click. The internet has revolutionised the classic games industry, livening up well-worn titles by offering alternative versions and connecting people all over the world with real opponents, however isolated they are in real life.
Sites like PokerStarsCasino keep things fresh by offering live casino experiences; instead of playing a fairly anonymous game at a virtual table, a live casino game is played in real time with a live dealer. If you’re craving the true atmosphere of the casino but don’t want to leave the comfort of your own living room, then this is the perfect solution.
Action and Adventure
Separate from the aforementioned MMOs and MMORPGs are the action and adventure games that span many different platforms and attract many different types of player. These games are popular on consoles, PCs, smartphones and other devices. The traits that bind the various different titles together under the ‘action and adventure’ umbrella include puzzle solving, an engaging storyline, a cast of characters, dialogue, an inventory, action scenes and a fast pace.
Popular titles in this genre include Unavowed, Outer Wilds, Observation and Heaven’s Vault, but it can be difficult to accurately classify an action and adventure game. There exists a plethora of subgenres including platform-adventure, first person, third person, isometric, stealth, survival and, even more specifically, survival horror. However, the general overarching term ‘action and adventure’ is freely applied to many titles and it is understood what is meant.
With the advancement of smartphones and other mobile devices has come the further development of portable gaming. Massively successful titles like Candy Crush Saga, Flappy Bird and Pokémon Go swept the world by storm when they were first released, creating a tidal wave of popularity and spawning spin offs left, right and centre. The fact that these games can, uniquely, be carried around in the player’s pocket gives them an appeal which is impossible for most online gaming titles.
Although there is some crossover between genres like classic casino and card games and the world of mobile gaming, it seems that the most successful titles in this arena tend to be especially made for the mobile games market. Mobile games are likely to be repetitive, contain a lot of levels that lead you further into the game, and often have bright, easy to see graphics that work well on a smaller screen.