Computer gamers play video games on a computer, as opposed to a video game
console. It's an enormously popular activity.
The Entertainment Software Association estimated in a recent study that
50 percent of Americans have played video games. And 39 percent of those gamers
Most people do their computer gaming at home. You can also take part in
interactive computer games at local Internet cafes. Online gaming is becoming
You can do your gaming while sitting. Apart from the use of your eyes
and hands, there are no special physical requirements.
Some gamers even end up working in the computer game industry. Designing
games, testing games or even just selling games at a computer store are some
Some gamers insist that computer games are both fun and good for you.
"It enables me to express my creativity, depending on the type of game,
and it is basically another world in which I can visit or flee to from time
to time where anything is made possible," says Kerrie MacDonald, a computer
"It also indulges my imagination and is capable of making dreams into a
type of reality. It generally gives your brain a fantastic workout."
With the quality level of computer games these days, that's no surprise.
They've come a long way from the Commodore 64.
"The trend in computer gaming is moving away from traditional perceptions
of games with set goals and a linear progression," says Duke Ferris. He is
a computer gamer. He is also the publisher of a website that offers game reviews
and product previews.
"Games now are giving users whole, fully functional worlds to play in where
they can go where they want, do what they want and create their own goals
and aspirations to a large extent. It's becoming less about winning and more
about the joy of playing."
The media may have you thinking games have become more about violence these
days. But Ferris says that's not so. "It's more interactive, interesting,
creative and thoughtful than watching television, for example," he says.
"I would love to see people becoming pickier about their television choices,
and play games instead of passively watching the screen. I think it's headed
in that direction.
"There are games out there for everyone, and most video games are not as
violent as the media portrays them. Only about 10 percent of video games released
each year receive the M [mature] rating.
"Not all games involve shooting things either," continues Ferris. "Games
like The Sims 2 have broad, mass market appeal. In fact, the original The
Sims is the best-selling computer game of all time. There's a massive multi-player
online Hello Kitty game in beta testing right now. Clearly, that's not targeted
at the typical young male stereotype of game players."
Computer gaming does require a computer, which is more expensive than a
video game console. But keep in mind it will come in handy for a lot more
than video games. You can use it for schoolwork, keeping in touch with friends
through e-mail and much more.
"There are very expensive top-of-the-line gaming systems from Alienware
and Dell for the hard core set, but most games will run just fine on a $1,200
system," says Ferris. "Make sure you pay attention to what video card you
You will want to talk to someone at your local computer store about all
the details before making such a big purchase.
"From what I know, some of the basic needs for people just getting into
it include making sure that you have a sufficient amount of RAM. You can always
upgrade RAM for about $100, I believe," says MacDonald.
"Also, making sure you have Internet access for those multi-player games.
Other requirements are a CD-ROM, sound and video card, which already comes
with the computer, but you can upgrade if you need to. Make sure you have
empty hard drive space and a large enough monitor. Of course, speakers are
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