Ever since the internet came into its existence as an international network of people, the evolution of online games has been very natural; what began with an assortment of smaller flash games that could be played and conquered in under an hour – that is, of course, if your dial-up modem was feeling cooperative that day – has today come to include a sub-genre of persistent online games. Called social browser games, these typically text-based games collect people of a common interest together to achieve common and concurrent goals. Whether a player wants to run their own virtual business, rear virtual pets, or live a virtual life, there will likely be one or several social browser games to cater to their interests.
Business social browser games can range from realistic and highly competitive simulations played by business students and professionals much in the same manner that pilots simulate flights, to more casual games with less realism and more character. With the former, one can expect an intense game atmosphere involving everything from investment and finance, to marketing and human resources. These games are ideal for people who are seeking a challenge; Industry Masters is a good game to start with, as it is virtually illuminated by bright business minds.
For those who want to kick back and have a little light fun, there is a good variety of business-like simulation games that offer much more character and much less realism in settings ranging from governments to zoos. These games are usually a lot more playful and quirky, though some of them do attempt to emulate the more technical aspects of the faithful business simulation with varied results.
Back on the topic of zoos, or at least animals, there is a herd of social browser games available that revolve around raising, rearing, breeding, and showing virtual animals. This can sound a little childish, and it’s true that most games are geared toward a younger audience. However, there are many other games that have been embraced by an older player base, like the international equestrian simulation Howrse. The appeal of the older-audience animal simulation is usually the existence of a clear and trackable progress system, and some adult players go so far as to spend thousands of dollars to rear their virtual animals.
Our final category of social browser games is virtual life. People can play at being anything from an international pop star on Popmundo to a member of a historic era on the ever-evolving Human Age. There are also many general life simulation games on the online market that allow people to find virtual jobs, make virtual friends, and decorate virtual homes.
It happened gradually as we played the video game over and over. I thought I was making adjustments to what the players looked like and how they acted – making them more ferocious and terrifying. Must have been the Game Master, not me, that was making the changes. In an instant it happened. My virtual characters became real.
I took a Quantum leap of faith and decided that this must be God’s will. When I think back on what happened next, it was really obnoxious of me to think I could influence the game of life even in video form. The truth is, some things are just beyond our human abilities.
When the changes occurred, war turned to peace as the fighting factions laid down their weapons and became peace-loving neighbors. This is a concept I never would have considered. I couldn’t believe how friendly my warriors had become. They actually tried to help people instead of killing them. Why hadn’t I thought of that? I guess growing up in an atmosphere of terrorism and fear, the idea of peace and love thy neighbor eluded my comprehension.
When I thought I was making changes to the video game of life, it never occurred to me to be a good neighbor and try and help others. The thought that God wanted us to live to in harmony with each other and with nature never entered my mind. I thought that religious differences leading to religious wars were a way of life. Thank God the Game Master knew better. Sometimes I think the two of them are one and the same.
Maybe it’s God, the Game Master, who is playing with our lives as in a virtual reality game. Maybe it’s His will that we strive for peace, not war. Maybe if we just let the game of life play out instead of trying to influence the ending, we could reach a better conclusion.
I think it’s time we stopped trying to move our Quantum Qubits around and allow God to shape the essence of our lives. Life is not a video game. We should stop trying to replicate what hasn’t worked in the past. Let’s make peace, not war. Let’s allow the Game Master to show us the way.
In the next generation of computer games we will see the computer program actually designing itself as the player plays along. Currently in computer games, video games and virtual reality if you were on a racetrack in a racecar you cannot go off the racetrack without crashing. And you may only be allowed to go one direction and you cannot do everything, which may want to do.
For instance if you’re playing the computer game and it is a football game and you were on the field as one of the players you cannot go up into the stands by hot dog, walk-through the tunnel, buy a beer and then walk into the parking lot get in a car and drive away to an In and Out Hamburger Joint or go see a movie.
Indeed it is obvious why you cannot do his, but what if you could? Well, that would probably be a very expensive computer game, video game wouldn’t or virtual reality system to make or buy? And it might take a programmer their whole life just to program and design it for every potential eventuality in first place.
In the Next Generation of computer video games and virtual reality you will be able to do just that. Being trapped in a current computer game would suck, but designing and playing in a Matrix is indeed the future of computer gaming and virtual reality and that is the next generation of computer games. Consider all this in 2006.