The information superhighway may look more like a stampede. A search for something as simple as “online video games” can result in a huge array of choices. How does a newcomer make a good choice?
Know what you want to do
The old joke is “Killing time isn’t murder- it’s suicide.” Good choices prepare players for the future. New vocations require high tech skills. Gaming helps kids become comfortable with technology. The more challenging, the more hand-eye coordination and cognitive development will improve.
It’s supposed to be fun. If it just increases your stress, find something else to do. Obsession is a possibility- if family members kid you about your pale complexion and lack of hygiene, listen up. Developing carpel tunnel syndrome is a sign that your gaming has stopped being recreational and has reached OCD proportions. Don’t be a loner. Part of the fun is spending time with other people on a LAN or other group system, i.e., socialization.
Make a good match
Don’t waste your money on games that won’t get played. Parents should pick something interesting for their kids. Spongebob Squarepants looks and sounds more attractive to a four-year-old than a math skills game. With enough research, you can find stuff that offers cognitive development, cartoons and action, a win-win. The rule of thumb is: if it’s boring, it’s not a game. When choosing your own entertainment, go for challenging, not mind-numbing. Keep sexual content and violence to a minimum. Remember: garbage in, garbage out.
Take a short cut
You can save time by reading reviews. Find a video “clearinghouse.” Websites like usafootballyearbook.com let you sample, buy, or download. These sites offer tips for playing or beating the games. Users post comments or questions about parts of games that stump them. Some sites (like freeonlinegames.com ) categorize titles from common sources (like Getaway) or type (arcade, puzzle, funny, sports, shooting, etc.)
You can rack up a lot of online charges if you aren’t careful, so parents should monitor their kids’ online time carefully. Some require home equipment besides the PC, such as a wii or Xbox to play SNK or Geo games. Look for titles that are playable on a variety of systems, such as Thrillville, which can be played on PlayStation 2, PSP and Xbox. Gaming can run become very expensive without discretion and self-control., so remember- these are games. They are fun and can be beneficial, but are not a financial priority- unless you’re in the video game business yourself. BOLA TANGKAS