Gaming: Does It Include Role-Playing Games?
A computer or video game is an interactive computer game that usually involves interaction with a user agent or user interface, typically including a mouse, screen, keyboard, joystick, gamepad, or infrared motion detector device, to produce visual feedback to the player. The interaction takes the form of pointing, clicking, punching, or shooting an object that is part of the game environment. A typical game has various components, such as enemies, objectives, tasks, puzzles, challenges, or other obstacles that the player must overcome in order to advance to the next level or “level.” Often, the game is single player, in which the game player controls the narrative and action through a keyboard or gamepad.
Computer and video games have a long history, beginning in the late 1960s with the “spinning joker” concept that started the age of arcade gambling. Video gaming has become a worldwide phenomenon, with millions of people playing games on personal computers in public and at home. It has also spread into the business world, with many companies creating their own customized versions of card games and word games, for example, that can be played on company computers or laptops. Computer and video gaming has had a profound effect on the way society thinks about time, since most people now regularly play video games during work periods.
Since the advent of massively multiplayer online role-playing games, or MMORPGs, gaming has become even more popular. These are games in which players log on to an Internet-based game environment, compete with each other, and take on the persona of a character. Unlike the card or board game experience, in which the players are assumed to have a limited number of pieces that they can use during play, in a massively multiplayer online game each player assumes the role of a complete character, with virtually limitless numbers of equipment and abilities. The result is that a player may play a thief, a warrior, a mage, and a burglar all in the same game–each having a unique set of equipment and abilities. In some ways, this type of game can be compared to a large-scale version of virtual reality television, where players are not necessarily stuck inside a fixed location, but can travel around the virtual world and interact with other players.
This brings us to the question of how the development of online games has affected the business aspect of human life. One answer to this question is simply to consider the rise of mass media, such as films, television, and music. These mass mediums to create the images and stories that we are exposed to and can shape our attitudes towards the world in general. The same is true for online games. The templates and concepts that we have learned by watching the news, seeing the advertisements, and playing the latest video games can influence our behaviour, leading to the belief that things are going to get better, even if they are not.
The developers of massively multiplayer online role-playing games have taken this one step further, however. Instead of merely providing a stable platform for players to undertake action, these games encourage players to take an active part in the narrative. A major emphasis in this type of game is the narrative, which guides the player through the different stages of a game. The narrative can include virtual worlds created by the developer or it can be developed by the players themselves, often creating a sense of reality, as the plot develops and unfolds across the screen. Players are encouraged to interact with other players in order to complete quests and gain the most experience.
When playing Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games, players may feel as though they are part of an interactive story, with their own destiny in store. The possibilities are endless and this can lead to a highly addictive form of play. Players may use their time within the game to plan out strategies and work out a strategy to beat their opponents. The main article in this series will look at these concepts further. The next articles in this series will discuss more traditional style RPGs.