A video game is generally a controlled, structured form of entertainment, usually undertaken for fun or entertainment, and at times used as a teaching tool as well. Games are very different from work, which are often carried out for monetary remuneration, and from fine art, which often are an expression of aesthetic or political elements. However, games are widely accepted as being therapeutic, having positive benefits for the player and often having social, cultural and educational values as well. The use of games to teach and train has been around since the early 20th century.
There are many different types of games, some of which are single player, meaning that the player carries out all the work on his own, while others can be multi-player in which multiple players to take part in a shared task. Many games are simulation games, where the player behaves and reacts like a character in a virtual environment. This helps the player to explore and understand the rules and the nature of the virtual world better. For example, role playing games, such as those based on war, often make use of realistic weapons and realistic battle strategies, while puzzle and memory games are often problem solving affairs, requiring the player to solve a number of riddles and puzzles to advance to the next level. The major benefit of these games is that they allow people to improve their ability to think quickly and apply their knowledge efficiently, while increasing their confidence in their own ability to handle situations.
Many people are familiar with classic board games such as chess, Go and Checkers, and other abstract and memory-based games. These games have always had a large influence on the gaming industry and can be found in a wide range of formats, including computer games, console games, card games, word games and strategy games. Computer games are usually set against a backdrop of varying scenery and varying difficulty levels. For example, one game may be set against a backdrop of a pirate ship with an armada of smaller ships chasing after it. The player has to find the fastest way from point A to point B, using tactics based on how best to combat the various obstacles that are thrown up in front of them.
Card games such as Solitaire are increasingly popular as computer games, due to their simplicity and because the game requires strategy to excel at them. In a game of Solitaire, players are required to eliminate all of the cards by matching the remaining deck with cards in the discard pile without revealing any of their cards. Additionally, the solitaire format also makes it easy for players to improve their overall game. Players who play a lot of solitaire will soon be able to memorize a large number of strategies and skills, allowing them to beat the more experienced players. Due to its relatively low skill level, solitaire is appropriate for players who are comfortable with the slower pace of most games and who have time to devote to the game.
Online games are becoming very popular due to the ease of playing and the increased competitiveness that develop. Most games require only a PC and a broadband connection to play. Internet gaming has also begun to appeal to a younger audience as well, with games such as FarmVille and Age of Empire. These games are more popular among younger audiences than traditional console games, such as Guitar Hero. Gamers have the ability to save their progress after playing a game and this allows them to continue playing another game later on without having to start all over again from the beginning if they so choose.
Gaming devices such as Nintendo Wii and X-Box can be used to play a variety of games across the globe. The Wii uses its controllers to control the games and controls for the X-Box are wireless and can be used by anyone in the household. Both these gaming consoles allow the player to take on the role of a character in the game, participating in quests, fighting opponents and interacting with other characters in the game. Even the Wii has some elements that may be inappropriate for younger children and parents are advised to ensure that their children are well-protected by the use of a parental control system or else the family may be susceptible to harmful influences. The variety of games available ensures that the game-playing experience will keep people coming back to new games over again.