Global Video Gaming industry under the spotlight in New Renaissance

Free Online Games on www.plays.org

How many of you love to remain absorbed in your electronic gadgets like smartphones, consoles, and tablets? Nowadays, many of these electronic gadgets have become integral parts of our lifestyle. A shift in perspective and preferences of the consumers for online gaming (a popular leisure-time activity) and Over-the-Top (OTT) media services (TV shows/ movies via the internet) have led to incredible revenue growth in the space of Digital Media & Entertainment (M&E) across the globe in the last one year.

The Global Video Online Gaming market has witnessed an upsurge in players and revenue in recent years. As per the industry reports published on www.globenewswire.com, in March 2021, its value is supposed to skyrocket from USD 167.9 billion in 2020 to USD 287.1 billion marks by 2026, with a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 9.24% over the next five years (2021–26).

Entertainment in the Pre-COVID times

Long back, in the Pre-COVID era, besides online gaming, people had various other innovative forms of entertainment and sports — plays, musical events, and films at theatres/ auditoriums; outdoor games (like Cricket, Football, Basketball, Badminton, Dog and Bone, Hide & Seek, Four Corners, etc.) and indoor games (solving Sudoku puzzles, various Board games, Pick-up-Sticks, etc.).

While writing on this topic, I got nostalgic about my kindergarten days in Aleppo and Tartus (Syria) between 1978 and 1982. Then doodling on paper, creating objects with Legos, or arranging Matchbox cars, dolls, kids’ zoo, and garden sets with a toddler’s creativity were my favourite pastimes. And not forget my love for chocolates, which had started developing at that stage!

A collage of my childhood memories: Lego, Kinder Surprise and Matchbox toys (Image Sources: www.google.com)

At five, I used to be fascinated by the miniature metal figurines (Native American chiefs and cowboys), ready to be assembled plastic toy vehicles and aircraft like the Concorde — stored inside the plastic yellow egg yolks of the Kinder Surprise chocolates (launched in 1972 by Ferrero, Italy). I used to eagerly peel off the foil and gobble up the chocolate eggshells whenever I was allowed to lay my hands on them. Things were much simpler in those days!

‘Game & Watch’ series by Nintendo, Japan (Image Source: www.pinterest.com)

After coming back to India, playing with the battery-operated video game ‘Egg’ (from the ‘Game & Watch’ series by Nintendo, Japan) used to be one of my favourite pastimes in the early ’80s. The Game & Watch series, which marked the birth of the handheld video game, had witnessed 59 different versions released over 11 years (1980–91). Built on a low-cost technology, the ‘Gold’ version of the series, released in 1981, had golden coloured metal faceplate and multiple buttons.

The 1990s saw the transition from 2D and pseudo-3D graphics to real-time 3D polygon graphics in the space of handheld video games. It was an era of the original PlayStation consoles with memory cards, joypads, and analogue thumbsticks.

Global Video Online Gaming market in the 2020s

In recent times, Sony PS4 and PS5 home video game consoles have already gained popularity with young males falling under the age group of 17–40 years. And there are other brands like Microsoft, Tencent, Activision Blizzard, Apple, Electronic Arts, King, Nintendo, Ubisoft, Sega, Zynga, Square Enix, and Twitch, etc. have all reached new zeniths in the video gaming segment. The recent advances in cloud technology have translated the idea of cloud gaming into reality. Companies such as Onlive, G-Cluster, StreamMyGame, Gaikai, and T5-Labs are already into commercial cloud gaming services. Post-COVID, in the new Renaissance, this trend is all set to continue in the long run.

To understand this trend better, I was visiting a few browser-based gaming sites. With the lockdown keeping us confined to our homes, online gaming with a multi-player setup and numerous fun-filled activities is one of the best ways for teenagers and adults to remain digitally connected. Some of these browser-based games include Virtual Game Night, Virtual Escape Room, Excel Monopoly, Pokémon Showdown, CATAN Universe, Let’s Draw, Among Us, Playing Cards, Squadd Wanderers, Minecraft, and Slither — must be explored in 2021. In the case of some single-player setup, gamers need to be careful as there are chances of getting psychologically impacted if they are weak-hearted or have low self-control.

www.plays.org: A simple Web-based Gaming solution for all age groups

Recently, to cut down the lockdown boredom, I was browsing for some simple online games that would allow people to smoothly dive in and out of the games without pushing them into any addictive loops. Someone told me that there are 100+ free online games on www.plays.org for all age groups. The games do not impact anyone’s identity and are very different from some of the trendy games that can damage an individual’s psychological and physical health.

There is no complexity to these internet games! One does not need to register nor invest in paid upgrades. We do not need to download any apps to play. And one will find a wide variety of games (https://plays.org/games/) — be it in mathematics, physics, chess, logic puzzles, defence, fashion, cartoons, virtual instruments, sports, arcade classics, Tom & Jerry series, Teen Titans series, Powerpuff Girls series, simulation, etc.

What appealed to me the most were the ones that brought back my childhood memories but on the digital platform. You may like to explore and try them for yourselves!!

Cannons and Soldiers: Cannonball Destruction Physics Game

It is an exciting 28-stage cannon firing physics game where you will have to knock down the enemy soldiers dressed in green. With each round, the game becomes tough. You have to save your soldier dressed in red while destroying the enemy with cannonballs. At times, you will see knocking things against them. See to it that your cannonballs do not fall on the ground or bounce off the metal helmets of the soldiers in green. It is a blessing if the cannonballs miss your soldiers who are dressed in red. Continue to play till you destroy your enemies and save all your soldiers. Click on https://plays.org/cannons-and-soldiers/ [Rating: 5/5]

Neon Invaders — Free Space Invaders Shooting Game

This game is a nice modern remake inspired by the arcade classic Space Invaders. You begin the game with three lives, and each time your spacecraft is hit by a bullet, you lose a life. An occasionally fast-moving ship moves across the top of the screen and drops a heart container to give you another life. So tap the space bar to shoot the various alien spaceships. Use side arrow keys to chase them or avoid their shots. There is a power meter, which decreases toward zero as time passes. Shooting bullets uses additional power. Click on https://plays.org/neon-invaders/ [Rating: 5/5]

Tom and Jerry Musical Stairs Game: Make Noise & Wake Spike

A fun game that allows you to choose from 24 objects that Jerry will arrange on the stairs. He will then wake up Tom, who will create a terrible noise while tripping over them. In the process, Tom would land with a thud at the bottom of the staircase. But Spike will continue to sleep if your score is less than 1500. Try to score above 1500 so that Spike wakes up and nicely bashes up Tom as soon as he lands at the bottom of the staircase. The game ends with nice music. Click on https://plays.org/tom-and-jerry-musical-stairs/ [Rating: 4.9/5]

Battleships Armada: Electronic Online Battleship Board Game

Try this virtual board game if your child has a liking for defence games. Inspired by the Battleship board game, this virtual board game allows gamers to play against the computer’s AI on a 10 x 10 grid. There are three modes — easy, normal and hard. In each round, one can fire three missiles to sink the enemy ships. Click on https://plays.org/battleships-armada/ [Rating: 5/5]

Tom and Jerry Arts and Crafts: Coloring & Art Game for Kids

This online game is based on the animated Tom and Jerry cartoon series. It is ideal for kids who are learning their alphabet and have a knack for drawing and colouring. One has to choose from the six selectable pre-drawn compositions, and use crayons, paint brushes, sketch pens, cartoon characters and glittery cloud stickers, stamps tools to complete their artworks. And they can download and print their final artworks. Click on https://plays.org/tom-and-jerry-arts-and-crafts/ [Rating: 4.8/5]

Snakes and Ladders: Online Classic Board Game Simulator

I was thrilled to see the virtual format of the Snakes and Ladders board game. You can play it solo or with other three more gamers against the computer. You have to roll the dice and see if you are landing on the ladders or getting eaten by the snakes. Ladders will help you to proceed quickly towards your final destination — the 100th block in the game. The squares with snakes will set you back if you land on the mouth of the snakes. To win the game do try to reach the 100th block faster than the other gamers. Click on https://plays.org/snakes-and-ladders/ [Rating: 5/5]

Always Fashion Dress Up Game for Girls

This game is apt for daughters who love to play with dolls. It is a simple game that allows the players to dress up a digital model. One can choose from the different kinds of eye lens colours, outfits, hairstyles and pairs of shoes. And at the end, you can click a picture of the digital model you have dressed up. You can download and print your artwork. Have fun! Click on https://plays.org/always-fashion/ [Rating: 4.6/5]

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