Virtual worlds is an online community where you communicate with others in an environment, typically a game being played, which interactions happen between people. These started first as online text and then moved to be more visual.
Role playing or RPG was born in 1972. This type of game was where people took on roles of characters and in a make believe online setting. However, some say though the first game that was known as a virtual world type was back in 1973-1974 when Maze War came about. It was the first networked, 3D multi-user first person shooter game. For me, as RPG was played online and took shape of characters, I consider this the first type of online games and the precursor to Maze War. As computer connections and equipment evolved, then users could get more complex with characters, settings and the platforms used. These types of settings started in the 1970’s or 1980’s when Plato came about. This was another type of multi-user platform for users.
Then in the 1980’s came the MUDDs (which I discussed in my last blog post) and MOOs (which is very similar to a MUDD but with many users connected at the same time on a server that has object orientated programming). The late 1980’s saw the emergence of Habitat and other games in the first wave of internet online games. During the 1990’s more games came online. Some examples are: Worlds chat, Alphaworld, The Palace, Blaxxun, WorldsAway, and the groundbreaking Avatars cyber conferences) and on up to the present day, documenting the second generation platforms like Second Life (from Virtual Worlds Timeline) and World of WarCraft and America’s Army. Today, in 2013, you can get online games through social media sites (like Facebook) and in many different shapes, forms and platforms. You have people that are on desktop playing against people with PS4 and other types of game consoles that connect to the internet.
Below is an extraction of the timeline of the online games.
A video of current online games is below from YouTube.
My usage of Online Games or Virtual Worlds
I was first introduced to online games back during the BBS or bulletin boards back in the 1990’s when I started to frequent them. These games back then were the RPG type where it asked you for a name and then in order to move your character, it gave one one or two line prompts to tell you want was happening, feeling and doing. I always had a problem with giving a great nickname (Lightening Bird was not a good name!). Then you told the computer which way you wanted to go and how many steps. Then in 1995-1997, I moved onto connecting via servers once you got online. This is where, as long as you were connected to the same serv
er as your friends, you could talk to each other by typing. When those servers weren’t available, you had games you could play one on one by either a modem (you dial into another person’s computer like a BBS) or by connecting it directly by a
cord. These types of games were dangerous as you could be online all day and night as long as you and whomever you were playing were agreeable. I know my husband used to play most nights with different friends that used to call up and connect. Usually it was either Rise of the Triad, Doom, Doom 2 or Quake. These got better over time – at first they had present taunts – by the end you could type and, I believe the last time I saw it played, you could use a microphone in the game. We had a lot of fun, but many times you would have to be very conscience of the time or else you could be up all night (and frequently we were!). In fact, a few years ago, my husband and I found the software again and were able to install it and configure it enough to play each other – thankfully it was around Christmas and we didn’t have to worry about getting up for work!
There were also the computer against user type of games like Wolfenstein 3D. I thought this was lost due to it not being support on the newer computers. However, a few years ago I found it online! When I need a little bit of relaxation, I play it. However, like all things, they are updating this game as well. Check out the new Wolfenstein: The New Order due out in 2014.
We did take a small break from playing online games; however, it did not last long. My husband started to play games like Flight Simulator, and the updated games like Doom 3 and Quake 2. They didn’t strike us as being fun like the others. Then games like yahoo pool, mini golf online, and many games came online when Facebook started to get popular with games like Mafia Wars and Words With Friends. We did play many of the Sim games (Sim Tower, Sim City, Sim City 2000 just to name a few) as well. My husband still plays a few of the online games like Words with Friends, America’s Army and Grand Theft Auto. I, on the other hand, have tried to get back into playing Second Life, but found that it just wasn’t for me. I have a few of the new Sim games like Sim City 4 and The Sims. I also play many games of Words with Friends as well.
You never know, you might just run into myself or my husband online!