When we refer to online games we are normally referring to video type games that we play on a computer via the internet. Some video games are played over the internet using mobile phones and video consoles, but generally speaking online games means computer games that need an internet connection to be played. Simple text-based multiplayer games were the first of these types of games as internet connections were slow and expensive when these games were first introduced in the 1980s. Gradually these games became popular in the 1990s, with today’s online games featuring virtual communities, realistic graphics and multiplayer games where people can even play one to one or in knock out tournaments for cash prizes. We all know that the internet is the fastest growing market place in the history of the world but did you know that there is an online games sector that is growing 4 times faster than the internet overall! Yes! and it’s the “Online Skill Games” market.There are many styles of Online GamesSome of the different types of online games that exist:1. Real time strategy games: This type of game is all about strategy where, for your army to fight successfully against the other internet players you need to develop a game plan by building lots of resources2. First person shooter: Here the players compete with each other one to one. In most first-person type games, the online game allows the death match or arena style of play. In this style of game play the view you see is the one seen from your character’s eyes.3. Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG): In this type of game each person has to keep trying to reach the next highest level until he has reached the top one written for that game and these online games can have, simultaneously, thousands of players from every part of the globe, playing in a giant virtual world interacting against or with each other. Gamers can keep playing these types of games for months or even years!4. Browser type games: These are pastime games that are quick, simple and small that are played in your browser. The popular Java and Shockwave technologies are used to develop these games.5. Online skill games: An online skill based game is a web game played in tournament format or one to one. Each player pays a cash entry fee to play with a cash or merchandise prize going to the winner or winners. The outcome of each competition is based on the player’s ability and performance not luck.How Do Online Game Companies Make MoneyAll games today, are playable online. How do we make money? This is the question that companies making the online games have to ask themselves. The majority of companies make single-player games that are played at home and in this the player has to beat the artificial intelligence of the enemy. Today these games normally include an online multiplayer version which can be played against or with other Internet players. By selling their game DVD/CDs is how these companies earn their profit e.g. Warcraft 3 and Counter Strike. Advertising and promotions is how browser game companies make their money. MMORPG companies generally charge their players a monthly fee and continue to add content by programming new scenarios etc in their games e.g. Everquest 2 and World of Warcraft. Some don’t, but survive because their DVD/CD sales are high e.g. Guild Wars.What is the future of online games?Soon there will be a new entry into the online skill games market. According to their Free Online Games Market Report they will be the first company with their new online skill games platform, to launch a business that encapsulates three of the newest phenomena on the internet today. Online Games Entertainment, Social Networking using web 2.0 and a new way of marketing which has been described as Social Marketing 2.0. One of the core differences with this new platform over the conventional models is that we the players can if we want share in the profits while we play our games. With the market today (2007) worth approximately $5.2 billion USD and predicted to rise in the next 3 years to over $13 billion USD that’s $412 per second and with social networking sites already reaching 45% of web users and the 4 major Instant Messengers having more than 400 million users between them this potentially could be a whole lot of money.
Finding ways to make math fun and interesting can be difficult. Children need to practice certain skills in math to become competent but doing the same drills again and again isn’t much fun.However, making math fun can be as easy as adding a few games into your daily math routine. Math games can be used to introduce new concepts, practice math skills and consolidate math concepts.Here are four different types of math games to consider using in your Home School math program.Math Board GamesBoard games can be used to teach different math skills. Commercial board games are available but these can be expensive and often one board game will only teach or practice one skill. A better alternative is to involve the children in making their own board games or look for ready made board games that can be printed from the internet.Math Card GamesMath card games can be played with a simple deck of cards or with specially designed cards. Simple match up games are easy to make with cards having an equation on one card and the answer on the matching card. This can be played like Memory or Concentration. Children simply turn over 2 cards at a time and if they match they get to keep the cards.Pencil and Paper GamesMany games can be played with just a pencil and paper. Everyone knows the word game Hangman but not everyone knows that Hangman can be adapted to a math game. Simply choose an equation and draw a dash for each of the numerals and signs in the equation, e.g. 24+18=42 would be recorded as 8 dashes _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _. Children then guess the signs and the numerals (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9). Write the sign or numeral on the dash for each correct guess and draw a part of the hangman for each incorrect guess. HINT: If you don’t like the idea of drawing a hangman, just change it to something else and play ‘Racing Car’ or ‘Robot’ instead. Just decide upon the shape to be drawn before you start.Other GamesMany math games can be played with little or no equipment. Twenty Questions can be played with no equipment at all. One player thinks of a number within a set range, e.g. between 0 and 100. The other player/s asks questions about the number until they guess what the number is. Each question can only be answered with yes or no, e.g. Is it an odd number? Is it larger than 50?Tips for selecting Math Games for Home School Math- Make sure that the instructions are simple, clear and easy to follow.
- Make sure that the game will challenge the ability level of your child without being so difficult that it will frustrate them.
- Ensure that everyone is aware of all of the rules.
- Involve children in making and selecting the games to give them a sense of ownership of the games. This way they will be even keener to play as they will regard it as ‘my game’ or ‘the game that I made’.
- Let your child know why you are playing the game – what they will get from playing the game.Get creative and you will find that there is no end to the number of games that you can use to increase math skills and increase math fun.