The games people play ... online

July 1, 2004
Well, here it is ... the heart of summer. The temperature is getting really hot out there. You might be looking for some indoor activities.

Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS, FACD, FAGD, FICD

Well, here it is ... the heart of summer. The temperature is getting really hot out there. You might be looking for some indoor activities. The boom of the Internet has spawned an entirely new form of interactive entertainment ... online gaming.

Let's look at some statistics. According to the IDSA's (the Interactive Digital Software Association) Online Gaming Attitude and Usage Survey, one-third of the people on the Internet play online games regularly. On average, players play online games three hours per week.

Online gamers are an affluent and well-educated group: 88 percent have at least some college education and 17 percent have a post-graduate degree. The vast majority of online gamers are adults: 79 percent are between the ages of 25-55.

The most popular online games include:

1) Quiz/trivia contests (played by 31 percent of online gamers)
2) Card games (24 percent)
3) Board games (22 percent)
4) Action games (19 percent)

Online gaming is in the early stages of a growth surge. Some 43 percent of those playing have been doing so for less than one year. All of these statistics refer strictly to online gaming. The numbers increase when you look at games on the PC and console games.

So, get those computers turned on. Here are 20 wild and crazy sites to visit. You will find all sorts of games on these sites that will more than handle your appetite for playing games:

• Addicting Games — www.addictinggames.com
• Coffeebreak Arcade — www.coffeebreakarcade.com
• Electrotank — www.electrotank.com
• Free Arcade — www.freearcade.com
• Funzone — www.funzone.ws/gamepage.html
• Gamehouse — www.gamehouse.com
• Iwin — www.iwin.com
• Gamesville — www.gamesville.lycos.com
• MSN Zone — www.zone.msn.com
• Pogo — www.pogo.com
• Popcap — www.popcap.com
• Real Arcade — www.realarcade.com
• Shockwave — www.shockwave.com
• SonyStation — www.station.sony.com
• Yahoo Games — www.games.yahoo.com
• Bullseye — www.bullseyegames.com
• Uproar — www.uproar.com/home/flashhome.asp
• Twenty Questions — y.20Q.net:8095/btest
• Bored — www.bored.com

Be careful about sharing this list with your employees. Nearly half (46 percent) of all employees with Internet and e-mail access at work go online for personal reasons, and 55 percent go online to write or receive personal e-mails, according to results from a recent poll by the Angus Reid Group. Employees aged 18 to 34 are much more active than their co-workers: 57 percent report personal surfing at work and 68 percent use e-mail for personal reasons at the office.

Among those who surf the Web for personal reasons, information-gathering tops the list: 89 percent report accessing research or search engines, and 75 percent report checking out news or sports headlines. Also popular is screen and comparison shopping (67 percent), which ranks much higher than making actual purchases online (45 percent). Almost half (49 percent) of employees who surf the Web for personal reasons report checking out the stock market at work, much higher than the number who report doing online banking (14 percent). Lower down the list are playing games online (22 percent) and visiting adult websites while at work (11 percent).

So as they say, if you are going to do some driving down this part of the Internet superhighway, drive responsibly. Many find themselves spending far too much time online!

Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS, FACD, FAGD, FICD, practices general dentistry in St. Louis. He also is the editor of St. Louis Dentistry magazine and spokesman and critical-issue-response-team chairman for the Greater St. Louis Dental Society. His address on the Internet is www.dfdasmiles.com. Contact him by email at [email protected], by phone at (314) 567-5612, or by fax at (314) 567-9047.

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