The world of free online games has grown in popularity over the last few years. Whether you are passing time at the office or feeding an obsession at home, almost everyone has tried to play one at some point. Next time you are searching for a game, keep in mind that there may be more out there than what you are aware of. Here is a brief guide.
There are several different types of free online games that you can play. The most simple are single-player, browser-based games. These are games like Tetris or Bejeweled. You play against yourself, a timer, or a computer opponent attempting to constantly increase your score and beat your last highest score. These are popular games to play from work or when trying to really relax.
Multiplayer games involve more than one real, human player rivaling against each other or acting together to solve a puzzle or defeat a computer player. Most free multiplayer games are browser-based, but can also be downloaded as stand-alone programs. There are many classic games such as Checkers, Chess and Go that are freely available. A few very realistic military strategy games also exist. Some games in this genre can take a very long time to complete.
Massively multiplayer online games are almost always downloaded as their own applications. The selection of free to play online games in this genre has greatly expanded with the advances in internet technology and low cost of computer hardware.
A massively multiplayer online game consists of the player creating one or several characters in the game world and slowly promoting that character through increasing levels of difficulty. The game is persistent, meaning it will save everything you do so that the next time you play, everything will be just as you left it for your character.
These games also involve real-time interaction with hundreds or even thousands of other live players simultaneously. Very popular games can be a frenzied mess of players moving all over the screen while chat windows scroll by faster than you can read them.
While totally free to play, many of the companies that provide these games also offer a system of micro-payments. A micro-payment is a very small amount of real money that the player gives in order to receive some benefit to their account or character. One example would be paying to have multiple accounts, access to special 'member' areas, or items that make overcoming obstacles easier.
Free online games that are browser based require very little computing power, while a massively multiplayer game may require an advanced graphics card or fast processor.
You can usually find free online games to play by browsing websites that maintain lists of available games. There are many dedicated sites out there like this There is usually no commitment to play, so find a game that interests you and try it out. If you do not like the game play, move on to the next game. Soon enough, you will find something you like.
Keep an open mind and dive into games that appeal to you. There is nothing to loose because free online games are, after all, free to play.