You are in: surefish
Date: 12 August, 2008
'It’s a good idea to keep an eye how long you or your family or friends spend in virtual worlds, and don’t forget to leave the house occasionally and see real people too.'
Suzanne Elvidge shows off her second life with a guide to virtual games
All games are free downloads or free to view online, and need the minimum of equipment. Some games require your browser to have a 'plug in' for Shockwave, Flash or Java.
To play a game, simply click on its name. If you are a parent, we advise you to try the game and the site it's on first before letting your kids play them, to make sure you're happy. Don't forget, you can also find great games for kids at Christian Aid's Global Gang website
When downloading games from the Internet, don't forget to keep your anti-virus and anti-spyware software up to date.
In the midst of the headlines about the credit crunch and climate change, do you feel like you want to get away, but you either can’t afford it or you are trying to keep your carbon footprint down? What about exploring a virtual world instead?
There are two main types of virtual worlds – those that are game-based, either focussing on collections of games that may be linked by themes, or a single role-play game, and those that focus on social networking. The game-based worlds are known as massively multiplayer online games, where many people can play online at any one time.
There are concerns that virtual worlds take people away from real worlds – however, virtual worlds may help people with Asperger's syndrome and autism practice social skills.
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on how long you spend in virtual worlds, and don’t forget to leave the house occasionally and see real people too.
And as with all websites, be careful if you have to download software (make sure your anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-malware software are up to date) and be aware that all virtual people may not be what they seem – be very cautious about giving out personal information or arranging to meet online friends in the real world.
ROBLOX is a Lego-style world (though note that it's not affiliated with Lego or any similar products) where you can create virtual scenery with bricks, chat in 3D with friends, build projects together and play games. You need to register to play.
Poptropica is designed for ages 6-15. You customise your character and travel to different islands, playing games, competing with other players and chatting.
In Wonderland, a type of massively multiplayer online game known as a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, you are a passenger on the cruise ship, Oceanic Star, which sinks, stranding you on a desert island. To survive, you have to work together with the other passengers.
Dizzywood is a virtual world for ages 8-12, which includes places to explore, stories to discover, and games to play, including puzzles, arcade games and dress-up games. You can also meet up with virtual friends.
In Whyville you create a face and then you can chat, play games (and earn clams), learn, and go to the beach and the theatre. You can even start your own business, buy a car, or write for the town newspaper.
Social network-based worlds
Second Life is probably the most complex and best known of the virtual worlds. As an avatar, you interact with other people, take part in activities and trade virtual items and services using Linden dollars, which can be exchanged at virtual currency exchanges for real money.
Second Life has its own newspaper and many companies, such as the news agency Reuters, have their own Second Life websites. Some companies have even tried recruiting using Second Life. There is also a Teen Second Life.
Active Worlds is another virtual universe where you can choose an avatar and then chat, visit 3D worlds built by other users, and build your own worlds. You can also buy real and virtual items in the shops.
In Moove Online, you create and decorate your own 3D room, choose your avatar and dress up in different outfits, and meet friends.
In the virtual world of There, you can hang out in a 3D environment, explore on your own or with a guide, shop (what a surprise) play games or create your own, chat with friends, meet new people through clubs and listings and go to virtual events.
In Kaneva, you create an avatar, and create and decorate your own 3D ‘City Loft’, where you can watch videos, listen to music, and play games. You can meet with friends and invite them to your loft.
Association of Virtual Worlds
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