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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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          Vikas Agrawal

          Vikas is the co-founder of Infobrandz, an Infographic design agency that offers creative visual content solutions to medium to large companies.

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          Last Updated on May 28, 2020

          18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated)

          18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated)

          No one can dispute the countless benefits technology has brought us. Undoubtedly, it has allowed us to connect, perform, improve, and leverage our resources beyond what was once imaginable.

          If you’re not taking advantage of some of the hundreds of time management apps and tools out there, you’re definitely missing a trick.

          But with so many apps to choose from, how do you know which ones to use?

          Well, this will depend on your needs. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 18 of the best time management apps that can help you with the most common challenges of managing time.

          Let’s dive straight into the list.

          1. Rescue Time – Use Your Time Wisely

            If you have doubts if you are using your time sensibly, this app will send you weekly reports to indicate what things are stealing your time. Aside from its automatic time-tracking feature, this app also has distraction blocking and efficient report tools.

            RescueTime helps you avoid being overwhelmed by too many tasks. This app also has a team software that’s dedicated to time management among team members. With this app, you may be shocked to discover how much time you’re actually wasting.

            Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

            2. Remember The Milk – Keep on Top of All Your Tasks

              If you’re struggling to manage everything you have to do, and you work with many different devices, then this is the app for you. It’s a great free tool that is compatible with your mobile, computer, Gmail, Outlook, etc., and it allows you to sync all your devices for easier time management.

              This app will help you to manage your tasks easily and reminds you of them – wherever you are. You can share tasks and lists with others, making it a great tool for teams as well.

              Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

              3. Focus Keeper – Boost Motivation to Complete Tasks

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                This app is based on the principles of the Pomodoro Technique, and it is aimed at individuals who procrastinate and feel overwhelmed by tasks. It has a simple, efficient user interface that is easily customizable based on your needs.

                Focus Keeper is designed to enhance your focus and remove any anxiety you might have with time pressures. This is a great app to use if you want to prevent yourself and your team from being burned out.

                Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                4. Toggl – Keep Track of Time Spent on Projects and Tasks

                  Effective time management starts with being clear on exactly how much time you actually spend on your projects and tasks and through analysis – working out how you can manage them more effectively. Toggl allows you to do all this even with its simple design.

                  Toggl includes great time-saving features integrated with its intuitive interface. This is a great alternative to time-sheets if you need to track how much time you spend on different projects.

                  Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                  5. Dropbox – Store and Send Large Files Easily

                    There are many apps that allow you to transfer content from your computer to other devices, but Dropbox is free and it is easier to use than the others. With the Dropbox app, you can even access and share important files on the go. It is an easy way to share your files and documents with others for improved productivity.

                    Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                    6. Evernote – Keep All Your Notes in One Place

                      Evernote is a free productivity tool that allows you to capture all your ideas, thoughts, and images in many different ways (e.g., with voice, notes, or images). You can even record your meetings, interviews, speeches, and ideas, create lists, add voice or text attachments, and share your files with friends. You can also sync Remember The Milk with Evernote to better optimize your time.

                      Available iOS, Android, and Desktop

                      7. MindNode — Focus on Tasks at Hand With Mind Mapping

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                        Mind mapping is a great productivity technique, and Mindnode is one of the best free mind mapping apps available. It helps you to become more organized by focusing your thoughts – thereby gaining clarity on what needs to be done.

                        This app allows you to customize various visual tags and templates to suit your needs. You can also easily share your documents with others.

                        Available on iOS and Desktop

                        8. GoodSync – Back Up and Sync Your Files Effortlessly

                          This software allows you to back up, restore, and synchronize your files easily. It supports folders from a variety of locations, and it has filtering options that let you exclude subfolders from synchronizing.

                          This app also allows you to sync files to and from your phone. If you have never backed up your files before, you should definitely take a look at this tool.

                          Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                          9. MyLifeOrganized (MLO) – Manage Your To-Do Lists Effectively

                            Check this out if you find it difficult to manage all your tasks, work with your to-do lists, and organize your goals. This task management software helps you target what you should be focusing on to reach your objectives.

                            MyLifeOrganized is one of the best task management apps for focused work. It automatically generates to-do lists with priority actions for your immediate attention so that you can track your progress methodically.

                            Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                            10. 1Password – Have All Your Passwords Remembered

                              1Password allows you to keep all your passwords in one encrypted database – protected by one password. This saves you time when you forget your passwords and need to retrieve them. This also allows you to use various passwords for different accounts so you don’t compromise on security.

                              Available iOS, Android, and Desktop

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                              11. Pocket – Keep Your Eye on the Ball

                                When you’re surfing the web, it’s easy to get distracted by enticing and fascinating websites. That’s why you need effective time management apps like Pocket. You can use this tool to save your ‘finds’ to access and read later on at a convenient time. This prevents you from getting distracted and negatively impacting your immediate work.

                                Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                12. Focus@Will – Boost Your Attention Span

                                  This amazing app combines neuroscience and music to boost your productivity. According to the developers, it’s possible to increase your attention span by up to 400% using Focus@Will, making this one of the best time management apps available.

                                  Focus@will is ideal for those who find it difficult to focus while studying, working, or reading. It also helps you control your ADD.

                                  Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                  13. Alfred – Interact With Your Computer in a Smart Way

                                    This small and simple tool allows you to launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes. This makes life so much easier as you don’t need to go through the start menu to access what you want. The only downside is that it’s only available for macOS.

                                    Available on desktop (macOS)

                                    14. Forest – Boost Your Focus by Growing a Forest

                                      Forest is a unique reinvention of time management apps. This unique and fun app helps you stay focused and on-track by making you focus on another thing.

                                      The concept is simple: whenever you want to focus, plant a virtual tree. If you stay focused, the tree will grow. If you lose focus, the tree will die. As the app’s name implies, you can grow multiple trees to create a virtual forest!

                                      Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop (Firefox Add-on)

                                      15. Trello – Track Your projects in a highly visual way

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                                        Trello is a hugely popular app that you may already be familiar with. It works by allowing you to create cards for tasks that you need to complete. Each card moves across the Trello board, which is typically broken into columns such as To Do, In Progress, and Completed. This serves as your cue to start working on and completing the associated tasks.

                                        Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                        16. Quire – Unfold Your Ideas

                                          Quire is an innovative time management app that helps boost your team’s productivity. The strength of this app lies in its features for collaboration and ease of sharing. You can streamline and adjust your workflow based on your team’s needs and preferences.

                                          Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                          17. TimeTree – Have a Shared Calendar With Your Family

                                            This TimeTree app allows families or teams to share multiple calendars and appointments with each other. So, whether you’re planning a party or running a local sports team, Time Tree can keep everyone up-to-date with all current and upcoming activities and events.

                                            Available on iOS and Android

                                            18. Todoist – Capture and Order All Your Tasks and Activities Easily

                                              Todoist is close to being the ultimate digital to-do list and one of the best time management apps out there. It’s available via browser and app, and it lets you schedule all your tasks and activities. Each item can be flagged for priority as well as a given due date. There is also a neat option to add notes to any of your tasks.

                                              Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                              Final Thoughts

                                              The above list covers what we consider to be the very best time management apps and tools available. And the good news is that many of them are completely free of charge!

                                              So, what are you waiting for? Select the ones that will be the most valuable to you, and begin boosting your productivity now!

                                              More Productivity and Time Management Apps

                                              Featured photo credit: freestocks via unsplash.com

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