Browser Game Madness
By Kei Beneza (dividelife), OnRPG Journalist
Browser games have been around for quite some time now. Increasing its audience by launching several methods of gameplay that caters to different gamers. Back then, I sort of remember these games as dull and a total waste of time, probably because it featured nothing but boxes where you must input numbers to avoid bot spammage. Image details were crappy as well, with loads of characters drawn from Microsoft Paint (and my god that sucked).
MUD: Multi-User Dungeon
I for one never understood what made these games special. One thing would probably be the fact that they don’t demand much from your PC and doesn’t require any form of installation for people to play. It’s basically a portable yet not so portable game that you can only play on your PC (or laptop). Browser games have been around long before MMORPGs (the application ones) were even born. If you think about it, these games are perhaps the grandfathers of MMOs as we know them.
Browser games actually started as huge role-playing adventure chat rooms called MUDs (Multi-User Dungeons) which let players play at the same time, in the same world. You can interact with everyone in the game just as you can read up on item and area descriptions like table-top RPGs.
And we go back further
This idea was similar to Dungeons & Dragons, an old school tabletop storytelling game made by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in 1974. The game lets players create a world using their imagination through a story telling puppeteer known as the Dungeon Master. Much like the tabletop role-playing games, MUD players are entitled to read up scenarios as well as interact with PCs (player characters) and NPCs (non-player characters) throughout the game. Commands were issued by simply tapping the “/” sign followed by the method of action. Characters sheets were provided as well to help players see their level and stats. Modifiers were also displayed in this interface although the interface was similar to a mere Notepad application.
If you’re familiar with oldschool RPGs, then you’re probably familiar with the dice. The game uses its own virtual dice that takes a player’s action in the hands of the random dice. Whatever the dice rolls, it is final and cannot be undone unless specified by special modifiers. People can also purchase virtual items through the shop to optimize their character’s performance. This made the game more interactive as well as innovative for gamers back then. Now, these features are cherished by MMOs everywhere (ever saw an MMO without a shop? LOL). Awesome huh?
Dungeons & Dragons, the first tabletop RPG
Games like World of Warcraft and other RPGs seem to date back to this primordial spawning pit, so I guess we now know whom to thank for our MMOS!
Soon after the first browser game was launched, more and more web browser games were formed, constantly hooking players into their mindnumbing realms. I remember my days in the office when my coworkers would attend to their accounts once every 2 hours. Unlike today’s MMOs that demand more of your life than your time, these games were practically work-safe, allowing you to enjoy while at the same time not taking advantage of your life.
Today, browser games have reached a wide variety of players by launching new sub-categories like RockFree, the browser game clone of Guitar Hero. The game pretty much has everything that the console game had to offer: Online play, modifiers, a wide set of songs, and even a track market. Aside from the next-gen graphics, the game pretty much respects the same gameplay as its console predecessor.
Hello dividelife! You have 208 invitations to FarmVille!
Browser games have been evolving throughout time, giving birth to countless forms of upgrades thus evolving for the better. I was actually surprised how these games managed to create a spot inside social networks like Facebook. I remember being constantly spammed with invitations to games like FarmVille and Restaurant city. It was annoying at times, but it shows to prove how famous these games are in this era.
FarmVille on Facebook
Although hard to believe, these web applications have a heftier community than those installed on your PC. After playing Vampire Wars in Facebook, I was shocked upon seeing my hit list. Again, this list was huge and contained more people than Orgrimmar (big city in World of Warcraft) on a hot summer day. Yes, I did specify Orgrimmar, but do know that the some browser games only limit you to seeing people whom you can take down (that’s a lot of players).
Almost everyone who owns a social networking account is familiar with browser games without even knowing it.
What was then a chat room full of description, has now evolved into fully rendered elements that let players see everything without having to rely on the outdated power of imagination. After getting a hold of the Flash and Shockwave technology, its visuals were taken to a colossal extent, appealing to those who are craving for better graphics.
The same could be said for sounds as MUDs barely had “TWACKS! And BAMS!” to completely describe the impact of a certain hit. Most Browser games may offer you nothing but the epic sound of your MOUSE clicking (LOL) so I guess that’s something that needs improving.
It gets better
Even now browser based games are mass producing like never before. What was then just a small role playing chatroom has now branched out into different categories, most of which have nothing to do with its original genre but hell it’s not like you’re not enjoying it right? After seeing the new ones, I was thoroughly impressed at how much this type of game managed to LEVEL UP further. With a big healthy community supporting each game, you’re bound to experience MASSIVELY MULTIPLAYER like never before. If you think that browser games are just another crappy genre for people who don’t have good PCs, daeeeem! You don’t know what you’re missing.