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.