Online Gaming

Role Playing Games

Role Playing Games also known as RPG's have been around for many years. Many people are familiar with the original tabletop Dungeons & Dragons game that was developed in the 1970's. The basic function was to let players take on the identity of a character and play against other players that assumed their own identity. The players work their way through various scenarios of the imaginary world.

As computers and the Internet have evolved, RPG's have gone virtual and are now online. There are many types to choose from based on themes and they are just a click away. In fact, there is a new acronym to explain the online version - MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game). Just typing RPG or MMORPG in any Internet search engine will return more results for games than you would ever care to know. One of the more popular ones is RuneScape, www.runescape.com.

Like other online activities, such games are very addictive and will occupy players for hours. One area of concern is unlike the tabletop RPG's from the 70's, people playing RPG’s are playing against people they do not know.

Video Game Systems

Many parents consciously make an effort to keep computers out of their children’s bedrooms but never consider the video game console.

Units like Microsoft’s XBOX or Sony Playstation do more than just play games – they are computer systems with network capabilities that can access the Internet. Even if you do not connect the unit to your home Internet connection via a network cable, some systems can still access wireless networks. That’s right – little Johnny can potentially sit in his bedroom using his game console and connect to a neighbor’s unsecured wireless network and surf the Internet without anyone knowing.

Additionally, these units have the potential to connect to an online service allowing users to play against each other. Players can message each other or install a webcam and headset / microphone to see and talk to each other. Yes, there are adult predators in these communities as well. Microsoft’s service is called LIVE and can be accessed for a yearly service fee. LIVE service is also available for players using their computer to interact.

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