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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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          Published on October 9, 2018

          Evernote vs OneNote: Which Improves Your Productivity Better?

          Evernote vs OneNote: Which Improves Your Productivity Better?

          Note-taking is useful in helping improve your memory and increase your productivity at work. By writing down notes, you have something tangible you can refer back to, remember what needs to be done, and regain control of your work throughout the day.

          There are thousands of different note-taking apps you can use on your desktop or mobile device. The two most popular are Evernote and Microsoft OneNote because they are incredibly efficient and effective that each has a following of extremely loyal users and advocates.

          So if it comes to Evernote vs OneNote, how do they improve productivity?

          An overview of Evernote and OneNote

          First, an introduction to the two platforms. Evernote is an app that lets you store content, take down notes, write lists, and organize all of them. While these are stored in Notebooks, the whole concept behind this productivity app is more like a Universal Inbox where you can save everything you’ve collected so you can quickly find it when you need them through the use of tags.

          Microsoft’s OneNote, on the other hand, works very much like a digital version of the notebooks you used to carry around in school. Aside from storing all your notes and different types of content you’ve collected, you can also organize them into sections, pages, and containers.

          Each of these apps offers their users a host of features to help them improve their productivity and memory. Also, because no app is perfect, each also has their strengths and limitations.

          To get a better idea of which app will be your best choice, we’ll be comparing the two based on three key features most used by their users: collecting information, note-taking, and mobility.

          Collecting information

          Both the OneNote and Evernote come with their own web clipper extension that allows you to quickly collect and store information from different websites as you find them.

          Both give you the option to choose whether you’d like to save the entire web page as is, a simplified version without the ads, or just a section of the page. You can also add some notes before saving them to make it easier for you to remember why you “clipped” that particular resource.

          Since OneNote gives you more structure to organize your content, its web clipper allows you to choose not just which notebook to save the details, but also what section within the notebook.

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            Source: OneNote.com

            Evernote gives you the option to add tags to your web clippings before you save it, so it’s easier for you to search for it later.

            Premium users get access to Evernote’s Related Results feature located in its Options section. When you search on Google, Evernote will launch a secondary search that will show all the notes related to the keyword you used in searching for information.

              Source: Zapier.com

              This feature, according to Jeremy Skillings, President of Youcanbefound.com, is beneficial because it lets you know what information you already have stored in your notes.

              “In some cases whenever I do my research, I find out through this feature that I already have the exact information I need stored in my Evernote account. That alone cuts back a significant amount of the time I spend on projects.”

              Note-taking

              Both of these productivity apps allow you to create and format your notes to create rich documents. Among these features include changing the font size and color, adding tables, and inserting media files.

              Evernote’s note-taking features are very similar to a Word document in that it’s very structured concerning how you input your notes.

                Professionals who need to be able to build and access well-structured docs in the field make up much of Evernote’s loyal fanbase. One such 2-year user in the real estate field, Anthony Gilbert of RealFX.com, liked the formatting options, but admitted that there were still some downsides to the rigidly formatted approach.

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                While he enjoyed the features, his personal experience with using it in the field revealed that the formatting features,“mean that if you need to change parts of your notes around, it can get tedious”. He continued, “the formatting features are quite finicky, so you may need a bit of patience to get the end results you are looking for.”

                Professionals who need to be able to build and access well-structured docs in the field make up much of Evernote’s loyal fanbase. One such 2-year user in the real estate field, Anthony Gilbertof RealFX.com, liked the formatting options, but admitted that there were still some downsides to the rigidly formatted approach.

                Structuring your notes properly from the get-go can have an effect on your productivity. A blank slate can sometimes be puzzling. Evernote allows the ability to use battle-tested templates and workflows that save you time. They can provide inspiration and structure on what’s possible.

                On the other hand, OneNote gives its users more versatility and flexibility in the way notes are created. You can click at any area of the page and begin typing. If you need to move things around, you can drag and drop sections of your notes to the right place.

                On the other hand, OneNote gives its users more versatility and flexibility in the way you create your notes. You can click at any area of the page and begin typing. If you need to move things around, you can drag and drop sections of your notes to the right place.

                  Source: Lifehacker

                  Also, it gives you the option to create Templates that you can use to layout your page properly, so all you’ll need to do is to fill in the information.

                    Source: MakeUseOf

                    This is a particularly handy feature that stood out to many of the people who shared their love of OneNote with me. Steve Lionais, longtime user and Co-Founder & CEO of Dr-Bill.ca, claims that this feature helped him build his business by affecting his memory in a powerful and helpful way.

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                    “This [feature] is what makes OneNote great memory retention app,” he said of the templates. “I find that I remember things more when they are arranged in a certain way. OneNote allowed me to do that for my meeting and presentation notes, so I don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to find the next point!”

                    However, what really makes OneNote the winner of this round is its ability to allow you to embed media files from other sources like Youtube. In addition to including the link, OneNote launches a media player, allowing you to watch the video or listen to the audio file directly from the page where you saved it.

                      Source: Windows Central

                      Mobility

                      Evernote and OneNote can be used both on desktops and mobile devices. At the same time, they provide their users with the ability to sync the content from one device to the other.

                      Judging which of the two productivity apps is best here is quite tricky because it greatly depends on several factors. One of these is the operating software you use.

                      Many of the power users we asked were using iOS, and that put some points toward Evernote. Greg Reese of AmeriEstate.com found himself frequently using the built-in camera option (and other iOS integrations) to manage his daily duties as President.

                        Evernote’s camera also integrates with Post-It, Moleskin notebook pages, and business cards. When you take a photo of any of these, the camera will capture the information and format this for Evernote so that it’s quick to find it when you search.

                        OneNote, on the other hand, dominates the Android environment. In addition to the app, Android users will also find a OneNote floating badge on the side of the home screen. So you can take notes on the go very quickly.

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                          Source: MS Power User

                          Another factor to consider is the cloud storage you use. For you to sync OneNote across different devices, you’ll need to first set up an account with OneDrive, which is Microsoft’s cloud storage service.

                          “This is something that Evernote users like me don’t have to worry about,” according to Matt Willens, Head Attorney for Willens Law Offices. “Whether you use a free account or one of their paid plans, you can immediately sync your devices without having to get a separate cloud storage account.”

                          The drawback here is the amount of storage and number of devices that you can sync. Free users are only given 60MB of storage space and can sync up to two devices. If you need more storage space, you’ll have to get the paid plans.

                          Which app is better for improving memory and productivity?

                          The honest—and most straightforward—answer is:

                          It depends on you.

                          While Evernote and OneNote have their strengths and weaknesses, how well it will help improve productivity and memory greatly depends on what works best for you.

                          If you find that you’re able to work best and remember things more using visual cues, OneNote will be the best productivity app to use. However, if you consider the speed and ease of finding the information you need as your top priority, Evernote will be your best option.

                          Since both productivity apps have free versions, you can give both a try and see where you’re most comfortable. In the end, the right productivity app to use is one that complements the way you work and do things rather than dictating to you how you should get them done.

                          Featured photo credit: Yura Fresh via unsplash.com

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