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The distinctions below are not always clear and there may be games that bridge one or more platforms. In common use a " PC game " refers to a form of media that involves a player interacting with a personal computer connected to a video monitor.
A " console game " is played on a specialized electronic device " home video game console " that connects to a common television set or composite video monitor , unlike PCs , which can run all sorts of computer programs, a console is a dedicated video game platform manufactured by a specific company.
Usually consoles only run games developed for it, or games from other platform made by the same company, but never games developed by its direct competitor, even if the same game is available on different platforms.
It often comes with a specific game controller. Major console platforms include Xbox , PlayStation , and Nintendo. It features the console, a small screen, speakers and buttons, joystick or other game controllers in a single unit.
Like consoles, handhelds are dedicated platforms, and share almost the same characteristics. Handheld hardware usually is less powerful than PC or console hardware.
Some handheld games from the late s and early s could only play one game. In the s and s, a number of handheld games used cartridges, which enabled them to be used to play many different games.
Arcade games often have brightly painted logos and images relating to the theme of the game. While most arcade games are housed in a vertical cabinet, which the user typically stands in front of to play, some arcade games use a tabletop approach, in which the display screen is housed in a table-style cabinet with a see-through table top.
With table-top games, the users typically sit to play. In the s and s, some arcade games offered players a choice of multiple games. In the s, video arcades were businesses in which game players could use a number of arcade video games.
In the s, there are far fewer video arcades, but some movie theaters and family entertainment centers still have them.
The web browser has also established itself as platform in its own right in the s, while providing a cross-platform environment for video games designed to be played on a wide spectrum of platforms.
In turn, this has generated new terms to qualify classes of web browser-based games. These games may be identified based on the website that they appear, such as with " Miniclip " games.
Others are named based on the programming platform used to develop them, such as Java and Flash games. With the advent of standard operating systems for mobile devices such as iOS and Android and devices with greater hardware performance, mobile gaming has become a significant platform.
These games may utilize unique features of mobile devices that are not necessary present on other platforms, such as global positing information and camera devices to support augmented reality gameplay.
Mobile games also led into the development of microtransactions as a valid revenue model for casual games. Virtual reality VR games generally require players to use a special head-mounted unit that provides stereoscopic screens and motion tracking to immerse a player within virtual environment that responds to their head movements.
VR systems generally require a separate computer, console, or other processing device that couples with the head-mounted unit.
A new platform of video games emerged in late in which users could take ownership of game assets digital assets using Blockchain technologies.
A video game, like most other forms of media, may be categorized into genres. Video game genres are used to categorize video games based on their gameplay interaction rather than visual or narrative differences.
For example, a shooter game is still a shooter game, regardless of whether it takes place in a fantasy world or in outer space.
Because genres are dependent on content for definition, genres have changed and evolved as newer styles of video games have come into existence.
Ever advancing technology and production values related to video game development have fostered more lifelike and complex games which have in turn introduced or enhanced genre possibilities e.
Some genres represent combinations of others, such as massively multiplayer online role-playing games , or, more commonly, MMORPGs. Casual games derive their name from their ease of accessibility, simple to understand gameplay and quick to grasp rule sets.
Additionally, casual games frequently support the ability to jump in and out of play on demand. Casual games as a format existed long before the term was coined and include video games such as Solitaire or Minesweeper which can commonly be found pre-installed with many versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system.
Examples of genres within this category are match three , hidden object , time management , puzzle or many of the tower defense style games. Casual games are generally available through app stores and online retailers such as PopCap , Zylom and GameHouse or provided for free play through web portals such as Newgrounds.
While casual games are most commonly played on personal computers, phones or tablets, they can also be found on many of the on-line console system download services e.
Serious games are games that are designed primarily to convey information or a learning experience to the player. Some serious games may even fail to qualify as a video game in the traditional sense of the term.
Educational software does not typically fall under this category e. As with the other categories, this description is more of a guideline than a rule.
Serious games are games generally made for reasons beyond simple entertainment and as with the core and casual games may include works from any given genre, although some such as exercise games , educational games , or propaganda games may have a higher representation in this group due to their subject matter.
These games are typically designed to be played by professionals as part of a specific job or for skill set improvement. They can also be created to convey social-political awareness on a specific subject.
One of the longest-running serious games franchises is Microsoft Flight Simulator , first published in under that name. The United States military uses virtual reality based simulations, such as VBS1 for training exercises,  as do a growing number of first responder roles e.
Tactical media in video games plays a crucial role in making a statement or conveying a message on important relevant issues.
This form of media allows for a broader audience to be able to receive and gain access to certain information that otherwise may not have reached such people.
An example of tactical media in video games would be newsgames. These are short games related to contemporary events designed to illustrate a point.
All of these games bring awareness to important issues and events. On 23 September , U. President Barack Obama launched a campaign called "Educate to Innovate" aimed at improving the technological, mathematical, scientific and engineering abilities of American students.
This campaign states that it plans to harness the power of interactive games to help achieve the goal of students excelling in these departments.
Some other games do not have any particular targeted audience in mind and intended to simply educate or inform whoever views or plays the game.
Video game can use several types of input devices to translate human actions to a game, the most common game controllers are keyboard and mouse for " PC games , consoles usually come with specific gamepads , handheld consoles have built in buttons.
Other game controllers are commonly used for specific games like racing wheels , light guns or dance pads.
Digital cameras can also be used as game controllers capturing movements of the body of the player. As technology continues to advance, more can be added onto the controller to give the player a more immersive experience when playing different games.
There are some controllers that have presets so that the buttons are mapped a certain way to make playing certain games easier.
Along with the presets, a player can sometimes custom map the buttons to better accommodate their play style. On keyboard and mouse, different actions in the game are already preset to keys on the keyboard.
Most games allow the player to change that so that the actions are mapped to different keys that are more to their liking. The companies that design the controllers are trying to make the controller visually appealing and also feel comfortable in the hands of the consumer.
An example of a technology that was incorporated into the controller was the touchscreen. It allows the player to be able to interact with the game differently than before.
The person could move around in menus easier and they are also able to interact with different objects in the game. They can pick up some objects, equip others, or even just move the objects out of the players path.
Another example is motion sensor where a persons movement is able to be captured and put into a game. Some motion sensor games are based on where the controller is.
The reason for that is because there is a signal that is sent from the controller to the console or computer so that the actions being done can create certain movements in the game.
Other type of motion sensor games are webcam style where the player moves around in front of it, and the actions are repeated by a game character.
Video game development and authorship, much like any other form of entertainment, is frequently a cross-disciplinary field.
Video game developers , as employees within this industry are commonly referred, primarily include programmers and graphic designers.
Over the years this has expanded to include almost every type of skill that one might see prevalent in the creation of any movie or television program, including sound designers , musicians, and other technicians; as well as skills that are specific to video games, such as the game designer.
All of these are managed by producers. In the early days of the industry, it was more common for a single person to manage all of the roles needed to create a video game.
As platforms have become more complex and powerful in the type of material they can present, larger teams have been needed to generate all of the art, programming, cinematography, and more.
This is not to say that the age of the "one-man shop" is gone, as this is still sometimes found in the casual gaming and handheld markets,  where smaller games are prevalent due to technical limitations such as limited RAM or lack of dedicated 3D graphics rendering capabilities on the target platform e.
With the growth of the size of development teams in the industry, the problem of cost has increased. Development studios need to be able to pay their staff a competitive wage in order to attract and retain the best talent, while publishers are constantly looking to keep costs down in order to maintain profitability on their investment.
Typically, a video game console development team can range in sizes of anywhere from 5 to 50 people, with some teams exceeding In May , one game project was reported to have a development staff of A phenomenon of additional game content at a later date, often for additional funds, began with digital video game distribution known as downloadable content DLC.
New gameplay modes can also become available, for instance, Call of Duty and its zombie modes,    a multiplayer mode for Mushroom Wars or a higher difficulty level for Metro: A variation of downloadable content is expansion packs.
The expansion added new weapons, new maps, and higher levels, and remade old missions. Expansions are added to the base game to help prolong the life of the game itself until the company is able to produce a sequel or a new game altogether.
Some developers make games and add expansions later, so that they could see what additions the players would like to have. Many games produced for the PC are designed such that technically oriented consumers can modify the game.
These mods can add an extra dimension of replayability and interest. Developers such as id Software , Valve Corporation , Crytek , Bethesda , Epic Games and Blizzard Entertainment ship their games with some of the development tools used to make the game, along with documentation to assist mod developers.
The Internet provides an inexpensive medium to promote and distribute mods, and they may be a factor in the commercial success of some games.
Cheating in computer games may involve cheat codes and hidden spots implemented by the game developers,   modification of game code by third parties,   or players exploiting a software glitch.
Modifications are facilitated by either cheat cartridge hardware or a software trainer. Software errors not detected by software testers during development can find their way into released versions of computer and video games.
This may happen because the glitch only occurs under unusual circumstances in the game, was deemed too minor to correct, or because the game development was hurried to meet a publication deadline.
Glitches can range from minor graphical errors to serious bugs that can delete saved data or cause the game to malfunction.
In some cases publishers will release updates referred to as patches to repair glitches. Sometimes a glitch may be beneficial to the player; these are often referred to as exploits.
Easter eggs are hidden messages or jokes left in games by developers that are not part of the main game. The results can vary from a simple printed message or image, to a page of programmer credits or a small videogame hidden inside an otherwise serious piece of software.
Videogame cheat codes are a specific type of Easter egg, in which entering a secret command will unlock special powers or new levels for the player.
Although departments of computer science have been studying the technical aspects of video games for years, theories that examine games as an artistic medium are a relatively recent development in the humanities.
The two most visible schools in this emerging field are ludology and narratology. Narrativists approach video games in the context of what Janet Murray calls "Cyberdrama".
That is to say, their major concern is with video games as a storytelling medium, one that arises out of interactive fiction.
Murray puts video games in the context of the Holodeck , a fictional piece of technology from Star Trek , arguing for the video game as a medium in which the player is allowed to become another person, and to act out in another world.
Ludologists break sharply and radically from this idea. They argue that a video game is first and foremost a game, which must be understood in terms of its rules, interface, and the concept of play that it deploys.
Aarseth argues that, although games certainly have plots, characters, and aspects of traditional narratives, these aspects are incidental to gameplay.
While many games rely on emergent principles , video games commonly present simulated story worlds where emergent behavior occurs within the context of the game.
The term "emergent narrative" has been used to describe how, in a simulated environment, storyline can be created simply by "what happens to the player.
In general, any place where event-driven instructions occur for AI in a game, emergent behavior will exist. For instance, take a racing game in which cars are programmed to avoid crashing, and they encounter an obstacle in the track: The programmer never wrote code to specifically create a traffic jam, yet one now exists in the game.
An emulator is a program that replicates the behavior of a video game console , allowing games to run on a different platform from the original hardware.
Emulators exist for PCs , smartphones and consoles other than the original. Emulators are generally used to play old games, hack existing games , translate unreleased games in a specific region , or add enhanced features to games like improved graphics, speed up or down, bypass regional lockouts, or online multiplayer support.
Some manufacturers have released official emulators for their own consoles. Bleem , creating an emulator for a proprietary video game console is legal.
The age group among male players has expanded significantly in the 25—40 age group. For casual online puzzle-style and simple mobile cell phone games, the gender divide is more or less equal between men and women.
More recently there has been a growing segment of female players engaged with the aggressive style of games historically considered to fall within traditionally male genres e.
One survey of over game developers returned responses from only 2. While the market for teen and young adult men is still a strong market, it is the other demographics which are posting significant growth.
A academic study, based on a survey answered by 10, gamers, identified the gaymers gamers that identify as gay as a demographic group.
Video game culture is a worldwide new media subculture formed around video games and game playing. As computer and video games have increased in popularity over time, they have had a significant influence on popular culture.
Video game culture has also evolved over time hand in hand with internet culture as well as the increasing popularity of mobile games. Many people who play video games identify as gamers , which can mean anything from someone who enjoys games to someone who is passionate about it.
As video games become more social with multiplayer and online capability , gamers find themselves in growing social networks. Gaming can both be entertainment as well as competition, as a new trend known as electronic sports is becoming more widely accepted.
In the s, video games and discussions of video game trends and topics can be seen in social media , politics, television, film and music.
Multiplayer video games are those that can be played either competitively, sometimes in Electronic Sports , or cooperatively by using either multiple input devices, or by hotseating.
Tennis for Two , arguably the first video game, was a two player game, as was its successor Pong. The first commercially available game console, the Magnavox Odyssey , had two controller inputs.
Since then, most consoles have been shipped with two or four controller inputs. Some have had the ability to expand to four, eight or as many as 12 inputs with additional adapters, such as the Multitap.
Multiplayer arcade games typically feature play for two to four players, sometimes tilting the monitor on its back for a top-down viewing experience allowing players to sit opposite one another.
Many early computer games for non-PC descendant based platforms featured multiplayer support. Personal computer systems from Atari and Commodore both regularly featured at least two game ports.
PC-based computer games started with a lower availability of multiplayer options because of technical limitations.
PCs typically had either one or no game ports at all. Network games for these early personal computers were generally limited to only text based adventures or MUDs that were played remotely on a dedicated server.
Massively multiplayer online game MMOs can offer extremely high numbers of simultaneous players; Eve Online set a record with 65, players on a single server in It has been shown that action video game players have better hand—eye coordination and visuo-motor skills , such as their resistance to distraction , their sensitivity to information in the peripheral vision and their ability to count briefly presented objects, than nonplayers.
To experience the game, the player must first determine the objectives, as well as how to complete them. They must then learn the game controls and how the human-machine interface works, including menus and HUDs.
Beyond such skills, which after some time become quite fundamental and are taken for granted by many gamers, video games are based upon the player navigating and eventually mastering a highly complex system with many variables.
This requires a strong analytical ability, as well as flexibility and adaptability. He argues that the process of learning the boundaries, goals, and controls of a given game is often a highly demanding one that calls on many different areas of cognitive function.
Indeed, most games require a great deal of patience and focus from the player, and, contrary to the popular perception that games provide instant gratification, games actually delay gratification far longer than other forms of entertainment such as film or even many books.
Learning principles found in video games have been identified as possible techniques with which to reform the U. Army has deployed machines such as the PackBot and UAV vehicles, which make use of a game-style hand controller to make it more familiar for young people.
A study of 33 laparoscopic surgeons found that those who played video games were 27 percent faster at advanced surgical procedures and made 37 percent fewer errors compared to those who did not play video games.
A second study of laparoscopic surgeons 82 percent men; 18 percent women also showed that surgeons who played video games requiring spatial skills and hand dexterity and then performed a drill testing these skills were significantly faster at their first attempt and across all 10 trials than the surgeons who did not play the video games first.
An experiment carried out by Richard De Lisi and Jennifer Woldorf demonstrates the positive effect that video games may have on spatial skills.
De Lisi and Woldorf took two groups of third graders, one control group and one experiment group. Both groups took a paper-and-pencil test of mental rotation skills.
After this test, the experiment group only played 11 sessions of the game Tetris. This game was chosen as it requires mental rotation.
After this game, both groups took the test again. The result showed that the scores of the experiment group raised higher than that of the control group, thereby confirming this theory.
The research showing benefits from action games has been questioned due to methodological shortcomings, such as recruitment strategies and selection bias, potential placebo effects, and lack of baseline improvements in control groups.
Like other media, such as rock music notably heavy metal music and gangsta rap , video games have been the subject of objections, controversies and censorship, for instance because of depictions of violence, criminal activities, sexual themes, alcohol , tobacco and other drugs , propaganda, profanity or advertisements.
Claims that some video games cause addiction or violent behavior continue to be made and to be disputed. There have been a number of societal and scientific arguments about whether the content of video games change the behavior and attitudes of a player, and whether this is reflected in video game culture overall.
Since the early s, advocates of video games have emphasized their use as an expressive medium , arguing for their protection under the laws governing freedom of speech and also as an educational tool.
Detractors argue that video games are harmful and therefore should be subject to legislative oversight and restrictions. The positive and negative characteristics and effects of video games are the subject of scientific study.
Results of investigations into links between video games and addiction , aggression , violence, social development , and a variety of stereotyping and sexual morality issues are debated.
In , the World Health Organization declared " gaming disorder " a mental disorder for people who are addicted to video games.
In spite of the negative effects of video games, certain studies indicate that they may have value in terms of academic performance, perhaps because of the skills that are developed in the process.
As summarized by The Guardian ,  the study published in the International Journal of Communication "found that students who played online games almost every day scored 15 points above average in maths and reading tests and 17 points above average in science.
In an interview with CNN, Edward Castronova , a professor of Telecommunications at Indiana University Bloomington said he was not surprised by the outcome of the Australian study but also discussed the issue of causal connection.
Video games have also been proven to raise self-esteem and build confidence. It gives people an opportunity to do things that they cannot do offline, and to discover new things about themselves.
There is a social aspect to gaming as well — research has shown that a third of video game players make good friends online.
As well as that, video games are also considered to be therapeutic as it helps to relieve stress. Self-determination theory SDT is a macro theory of human motivation based around competence, autonomy, and relatedness to facilitate positive outcomes.
The ability to create an ideal image of ones self and being given multiple options to change that image gives a sense of satisfaction.
This topic has much controversy; it is unknown whether this freedom can be beneficial to ones character or detrimental. With increased game usage, a players can become too invested in a fictionally generated character, where the desire to look that way overpowers the enjoyment of the game.
Problems that arise based on character design may be link to personality disorders. Cognitive skills can be enhanced through repetition of puzzles , memory games, spatial abilities and attention control.
Many of these skills can be translated to reality and problem solving. This allows the player to learn from mistakes and fully understand how and why a solution to a problem may work.
Some researchers believe that continual exposure to challenges may lead players to develop greater persistence over time after a study was shown that frequent players spent more time on puzzles in task that did not involve video games.
In a study that followed students through school, students that played video games showed higher levels of problem solving than students who did not.
Time being a factor for problem solving led to different conclusions in the different studies. See video game controversies for more. Online gaming being on the rise allows for video game players to communicate and work together in order to accomplish a certain task.
Being able to work as a group in a game translates well to reality and jobs, where people must work together to accomplish a task.
Research on players in violent and non-violent games show similar results, where the players relations improved to improve synergy.
With the introduction of Wii Fit and VR virtual reality , exergame popularity has been increasing, allowing video game players to experience more active rather than sedentary game play.
Due to exergaming being relatively new, there is still much to be researched. No major differences were seen in tests with children that played on the Wii vs.
Video game laws vary from country to country. Console manufacturers usually exercise tight control over the games that are published on their systems, so unusual or special-interest games are more likely to appear as PC games.
Free, casual, and browser-based games are usually played on available computers, mobile phones, tablet computers or PDAs. Various organisations in different regions are responsible for giving content ratings to video games.
For example, a game might be rated "T" for "Teen" if the game contained obscene words or violence. If a game contains explicit violence or sexual themes, it is likely to receive an M for "Mature" rating, which means that no one under 17 should play it.
There are no laws that prohibit children from purchasing "M" rated games in the United States. Laws attempting to prohibit minors from purchasing "M" rated games were established in California, Illinois , Michigan , Minnesota , and Louisiana , but all were overturned on the grounds that these laws violated the First Amendment.
One of the most controversial games of all time, Manhunt 2 by Rockstar Studios, was given an AO rating by the ESRB until Rockstar could make the content more suitable for a mature audience.
Iceland is expected to join soon, as are the 10 EU accession states. The PEGI ratings are legally binding in Vienna and it is a criminal offence to sell a game to someone if it is rated above their age.
Instead, they adopt their own system of certification which is required by law. The Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle USK checks every game before release and assigns an age rating to it — either none white , 6 years of age yellow , 12 years of age green , 16 years of age blue or 18 years of age red.
It is forbidden for anyone, retailers, friends or parents alike, to allow a child access to a game for which he or she is underage.
It is considered a felony to supply these games to a child. The Computer Entertainment Rating Organization CERO that rates video games and PC games except dating sims , visual novels , and eroge in Japan with levels of rating that informs the customer of the nature of the product and for what age group it is suitable.
The research firm anticipated that Asia would soon overtake North America as the largest video game market due to the strong growth of free-to-play and mobile games.
Sales of different types of games vary widely between countries due to local preferences. Japanese consumers tend to purchase much more handheld games than console games and especially PC games , with a strong preference for games catering to local tastes.
Computer games are also popular in China. Gaming conventions are an important showcase of the industry. Some publishers, developers and technology producers also host their own regular conventions, with BlizzCon , QuakeCon , Nvision and the X shows being prominent examples.
Short for electronic sports, are video game competitions played most by professional players individually or in teams that gained popularity from the late s, the most common genres are fighting , first-person shooter FPS , multiplayer online battle arena MOBA and real-time strategy.
There are certain games that are made for just competitive multiplayer purposes. With those type of games, players focus entirely one choosing the right character or obtaining the right equipment in the game to help them when facing other players.
Tournaments are held so that people in the area or from different regions can play against other players of the same game and see who is the best.
The players that compete in these tournaments are given a rank depending on their skill level in the game that they choose to play in and face other players that play that game.
The players that also compete are mostly called professional players for the fact that they have played the game they are competing in for many, long hours.
Those players have been able to come up with different strategies for facing different characters. The professional players are able to pick a character to their liking and be able to master how to use that character very effectively.
With strategy games , players tend to know how to get resources quick and are able to make quick decisions about where their troops are to be deployed and what kind of troops to create.