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5 Features The Best Online Games All Have In Common

5 Features The Best Online Games All Have In Common

You might have noticed that online games in recent times have been negatively criticized by a significant section of the community.[1] Most of these criticisms usually focus on how much time people passively use when playing online games instead of other more active engagements. Most of these reports miss or ignore the resultant benefits of playing online games. Recent empirical studies have generated an overwhelming body of evidence in support of online games.

    This article will convince you that online games are indeed the best alternative for the gaming world. In a study published by the American Psychological Association in 2013, Isabela Granic, Adam Lobel, and Rutger Engels reported the most significant benefits of playing online games (p. 66). Before we review these benefits in more detail, and, thus, make our argument, it is important to highlight some concurrent findings from other empirical research studies besides Granic, Lobel, and Engels (2013).

    Recent Research Findings on Offline Games

    In 2013, the then President of the US, Barrack Obama, alongside Joe Biden, his Vice President, condemned the impact of video games and called it a trigger for gun violence in the country. In response, they announced that the US Congress had allocated over $10 million to renew research on the effects of violent video games (Obama & Biden, 2013). The statement followed the death of 33 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School, at the hands of a video-game player turned gunman. The conclusion, however, had been drawn from several research findings.

    Among these studies was one conducted by Ferguson (2007) who conducted a “meta-analytic review” on the “effects of violent video games” and linked video games to a rise of violence among the youth (p. 309). Gentile and Gentile (2008) also conducted “a conceptual analysis” of how modern “violent video games” act as “exemplary teachers” to teenagers to appreciate violence (p. 127). This was not a US reality but a global issue. For instance, Schmierbach (2010) explored “the connection between competitive game play and aggressive cognition” to yield a so-called “killing spree” in today’s society (p. 256). These are only a few studies among hundreds conducted in the last decade.

    Several realities emerge from all these studies, including the following four:

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    1. All these studies focused on video games played offline
    2. None of these studies ever linked online games to a real-life effect
    3. All of the games reviewed were primarily aimed at mass killings and not about the need for strategy, creativity, or resourcefulness
    4. There have been worse cases of violence in society before the invention of video games, as highlighted by Granic, Lobel, and Engels (2013)

    Features and Qualities to look for in Online Games

    Online games have not been associated with negative social effects, are not based on the mass violence theme of most offline games, are extremely resourceful and educative, and as Fredrickson (2001) observed, they trigger a very positive psychological state among players. To you, these traits may however sound very generalized. Indeed, they do not apply to all online games, because some are designed as a cure to boredom.

      The question therefore, is how can you select online games that are beneficial? Which features should you look for when selecting the online games to play, and on which platform? Granic, Lobel, and Engels (2013) and related studies help identify the features and qualities that define recommended online games. These features and qualities include:

      1. Role-Playing Opportunities

      You should always prioritize games that require you to play a certain role. Such games help you develop your character, creativity, intelligence, and strategic behavior.[2] This helps you become a strong character in real life, and even helps students in performing better at school.

        2. A Wide Variety to Select From

        There are thousands of sites now offering assorted online games. Some games follow specific themes, such as online strategy games, online fighting games, or arcade online games, among others. When selecting online games, always select a website with the most number of games, or specifically for a singular-theme of online games, such as fighting.

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        3. Cognitive Response

        Online games can help trigger cognitive development. They help inspire creativity and strategic mentality in problem-solving. Such problem-solving skills are essential and very valuable in real life (Schmierbach, 2010). Online games can help improve a person while allowing them to have fun at the same time.[3]

        4. Positive Emotional Reactions

        The online game you select should also help nurse a “positive psychology”, as recommended by the Broaden and Build Theory (Fredrickson, 2001). A good example is a game that helps you recognize your potential and skill in a way that inspires confidence in real life too. The best online games help you broaden your awareness, inspire development, and build your personality in real life. Online games are not just an option when you are bored, but also for stirring your creativity and personal development.

          5. Optimal Accessibility and Cost

          Finally, the game should be easily accessible from any connected device, whether a stationary computer, a laptop, or a mobile device. Furthermore, it should not impose any additional costs on you. The benefit of online games is that they do not demand the high price ascribed to video and RPG games, and bring you a gaming experience without charges.

          In conclusion, we recommend the use of online games in our lives as it plays a very important role in learning and improving oneself. Without question, the future of online gaming is bright.[4] When selecting online games to play, look for games that provide role-playing opportunities, involves cognitive response, inspires positive emotional reactions, and is easily accessible with no additional expenditure.

          ~~~~~~

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          Sources

          Ferguson, C. J. (2007). The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: A Meta-Analytic Review of Positive and Negative Effects of Violent Video Games. Psychiatric Quarterly, 78 (1): 309 – 316.

          Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The Role of Positive Emotions in Positive Psychology: The Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions. American Psychologist, 56 (1): 218 – 226.

          Gentile, D. A., & Gentile, J. R. (2008). Violent Video Games as Exemplary Teachers: A Conceptual Analysis. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 9 (1): 127–141.

          Granic, I., Lobel, A. & Engels, R. C. (2013). The Benefits of Playing Video Games. American Psychologist, 69 (1): 66 – 78.

          Obama, B., & Biden, J. (2013). Remarks by the President and the Vice President on Gun Violence. Transcript Available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/.

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          Schmierbach, M. (2010). Killing Spree: Exploring the Connection between Competitive Game Play and Aggressive Cognition. Communication Research, 37 (2): 256–274.

          Image Credits:

          Pokemon go mobile trends via Pixabay, Dad sims 4 game online house via Pixabay, Set of nice fighting characters via Freepik, Children laugh study of laptop via Pixabay

          Featured photo credit: http://www.synedge.com/ via synedge.com

          Reference

          [1] Business Insiders: 10 Misconceptions About Online Gaming
          [2] Huffington Post: 50 Online Learning Tools That Will Keep The Kids Sharp All Summer
          [3] Forbes: 30 Under 30 2016: Games
          [4] Forbes: The Time Is Here For Online Gaming

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          Last Updated on February 15, 2019

          7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

          7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

          Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

          Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

          Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

          So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

          Joe’s Goals

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            Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

            Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

            Daytum

              Daytum

              is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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              Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

              Excel or Numbers

                If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                Evernote

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                  I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                  Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                  Access or Bento

                    If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                    Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                    You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                    Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                    All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                    Conclusion

                    I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                    What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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