The expansion of online gaming has reflected the overall expansion of computer networks from small local networks to the Internet and the growth of Internet access itself. Online games can range from simple text based games to games incorporating complex graphics and virtual worlds populated by many players simultaneously. Many online games have associated online communities, making online games a form of social activity beyond single player games.
We all get bored. It happens. There are times when we have nothing fun we want to do. That’s why video games were invented, to entertain us and help us enjoy our free time. Unfortunately, until recently, video games haven’t been free. Now there are lots of sites offering free fun games in almost any genre you can think of. Whether you have ten minutes or an hour, there are tons of free online games that will help you enjoy that time.
The best thing about these free games online is their extreme variety. You can change what you play depending on your mood and how you feel at that moment. If you want a sports game you can find it. If you get bored of that and want a puzzle game then it’s at your fingertips. There truly are endless types of games, something sure to match everyone and every mood imaginable.
The term online gaming in many circles is being strictly defined to describe games that do not involve wagering, although many still use the term online gaming synonymously with online gambling. This article focuses on online games that do not involve wagering, online gambling is discussed in a separate article.
Early real-time strategy games often allowed multiplayer play over a modem or local network. As the Internet started to grow during the 1990s, software was developed that would allow players to tunnel the LAN protocols used by the games over the Internet. By the late 1990s, most RTS games had native Internet support, allowing players from all over the globe to play with each other. Services were created to allow players to be automatically matched against another player wishing to play or lobbies were formed where people could meet in so called game rooms. An example was the MSN Gaming Zone where online game communities were formed by active players for games, such as Age of Empires and Microsoft Ants.
The development of web-based graphics technologies such as Flash and Java allowed browser games to become more complex. These games, also known by their related technology as “Flash games” or “Java games”, became increasingly popular. Many games originally released in the 1980s, such as Pac-Man and Frogger, were recreated as games played using the Flash plugin on a webpage. Most browser games have limited multiplayer play, often being single player games with a high score list shared amongst all players.
Browser-based pet games are also very popular amongst the younger generation of online gamers. These games range from gigantic games with millions of users, such as Neopets, to smaller and more community-based pet games.
More recent browser-based games use web technologies like Ajax to make more complicated multiplayer interactions possible.
So now I bet you are asking yourself what it takes to delve into this wonderful world of free games online. It’s not complicated; in fact it’s very very simple. Most sites require only that you sign up and be a member of their site. That’s it. Once you sign up, you just select any game you are in the mood for and begin playing.
Popular free games online are commonly bound by an End User License Agreement (EULA). The consequences of breaking the agreement vary according to the contract; ranging from warnings to termination, such as in the 3D immersive world Second Life where a breach of contract will append the player warnings, suspension and termination depending on the offense. Enforcing the EULA is difficult, due to high economic costs of human intervention and low returns back to the firm. Only in large scale games is it profitable for the firm to enforce its EULA.
The rising popularity of Flash and Java led to an Internet revolution where websites could utilize streaming video, audio, and a whole new set of user interactivity. When Microsoft began packaging Flash as a pre-installed component of IE, the Internet began to shift from a data/information spectrum to also offer on-demand entertainment. This revolution paved the way for sites to offer games to web surfers. Some online multiplayer games like World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XI and Lineage II charge a monthly fee to subscribe to their services, while games such as Guild Wars offer an alternative no monthly fee scheme. Many other sites relied on advertising revenues from on-site sponsors, while others, like RuneScape, or Tibia let people play for free while leaving the players the option of paying, unlocking new content for the members.