Enjoying Online Arcade Games

Although many of us are very familiar with quarter fed video games, the Internet has given yet a new definition to arcade games. Everyday, more and more people are exploring games online. These do not just attract children or teenagers, they also provide fun and excitement to adults. In fact, they are widely played by both children and adults alike. You will even find them competing against each other.

Online arcade games are available on a 24/7 basis. They are available in various formats. You have games that can be played only within a trial period. Often, you would have to download the software first before you can start playing. Of course, there are games that you can try directly online without needing to download anywhere software. The game developers are hoping that by trying out the game, the players will be lure into buying the full game.

These online arcade games are also available on a buy scheme. However, there are thousands of games that are available for free. All of them offer the opportunity to truly explore the gaming world where you can fight monsters or build your own virtual world. All these games are created with state-of-the-art equipments and this evident from the almost realistic graphics you will find these days.

These days, you will find zones that are dedicated solely to online arcade games. You can choose to play these if you don’t have the money to spare. They are basically categorized into action , sports, fun, classics, retro, shooting, puzzles, mental exercises, skill games, strategy, simulations, racing, casino and card games.

Nowadays, you will find people joining online gaming competitions; although there are some that you can play on your own.

There are benefits to playing online arcade games. First of all, you don’t have to go out of the house just to relax and have fun. These games are quite addicting. In fact, they are so addicting that they have posed a threat to the health and livelihood of many people. There are people who have poor impulse control and so they find themselves playing incessantly at the expense of school, work or other activities, so make sure that you regard these games as mere sources of entertainment and not your reason for living!

Online arcade games encourage creativity and teamwork. Simulation games would require you to build a home, a town or a business, so people learn some business concepts from these. There are games that would allow several individuals to work together online to defeat an opponent. This encourages camaraderie, friendship and teamwork. There are still other benefits to playing online. You will discover these benefits as you explore the world of online gaming.

Nowadays, online arcade games are just one click away. All you have to do is log on and you’re done. You can now have access to numerous games that will entertain you endlessly.

Table-Top Pandemic – An Interview With the Creator of the “Pandemic” Board Game

Finally take action against a Pandemic by playing this award-winning game. I had a chance to ask the game designer/creator some questions this month.

1. How would you summarize the Pandemic game for someone who hasn’t played it before?

In Pandemic, players work together as a team to contain four deadly diseases that have broken out across the globe. Players travel around the world, trying to keep the spread of infection in check long enough to discover the four cures needed to win the game. Players each have a special role (including Medic, Researcher, Scientist, Operations Expert, and Dispatcher) granting special abilities to contribute to the team. If the players cooperate, play to their strengths, and manage their time well, they can hope to rescue humanity. If not, the world will be overrun by disease and the players will all lose the game.

2. What triggered the idea to come up with the Pandemic game?

I was interested to see if I could design a cooperative game where the players would have to fight against the game instead of each other. Diseases seemed like an ideal candidate for a frightening and seemingly sentient opponent for the players to battle. I came up with the seeds of the idea while out on a walk with my daughter. When I returned home, I cobbled together a rough prototype with a few sharpies and a standard deck of cards. In the earliest versions, players could use cards to travel around the world or could collect and meld cards to discover cures. Through experimentation, I discovered the rules for creating hotspots on the map and was hooked: I knew I had the seeds of a good game.

3. Did you study any real Pandemic plans to get any ideas?

I didn’t. In previous games I’ve done research to inform the game play and thematic elements. For Pandemic, I primarily concentrated on what was fun and what felt right. I then played it with hundreds of players who helped contribute ideas which helped me shape the game to fit common mental models of how diseases and players in a game like this should operate. This was more important to me than having a technically correct simulation that didn’t inspire play.

My primary goals were to create a game that was easy to learn, approachable by non-gamers, that fostered cooperation and discussion amongst the players-something lacking from a lot of games today. I did try to include educational aspects where I could: the cities in the game all come with population statistics and the flags of their countries, for example. I was delighted to hear afterwards that friends of friends at the CDC loved the game and that they started to offer it in the CDC gift shop. Although clearly it’s not a cut-and-dry simulation, it works well enough for these folks.

4. What was your reasoning behind making it a co-operative game?

Since I’m an independent game designer, I can design the games that I find the most interesting and select the target audiences myself. In this case, my muse was my wife Donna. I set out to design a game that I could play with her and our friends where I wouldn’t feel the need to apologize when explaining it (due to its complexity) and one in which we’d all feel good about after playing, win-or-lose. Cooperative games are great in that regard: if the team wins, there’s high-fives all around but if the team loses, they can always play again. No egos are on the line and if a player is having trouble with the rules or with a strategy, the others can help him or her out since it’s part of the game.

The feedback on the game in this regard has been overwhelmingly positive. Many people have reported having really positive bonding experiences playing with their spouse, family, and friends.

5. Do you find that sales or general game awareness is increasing because of the H1N1 virus outbreak?

Yes, I saw a definite bump in discussions about the game online after all the press over H1N1 and I have to imagine that sales increased as a result.

6. What kind of response has your game had within the Business Continuity/Pandemic Planning community?

I’ve been encouraged by reports from friends and read session reports online about people in the Pandemic Planning community enjoying the game. In fact, I based the artwork for a new card (the “Epidemiologist”) on a photo of a CDC employee who is a particular fan. The card will be in the game’s expansion, “Pandemic: On the Brink” that will be out in August of 2009.

Matt Leacock is a user experience designer and game designer. His first widely published game, Pandemic, won Games Magazine’s Family Game of the Year in 2008 and was nominated for Germany’s Game of the Year. He’s also designing a line of dice games under the name Roll Through the Ages. When not designing games, Matt heads User Experience at Sococo (sococo.net). Prior to that he was an interaction designer at Yahoo!, AOL, Netscape, and Apple.

How to Simulate Business With KPI

Business simulation is now commonly used in businesses whenever they hold trainings or make an analysis about their processes and performance. Here, there are two bases namely numeric and scenario. In the former, this is generally done in the form of business simulation games wherein the trainee will be given a situation that is similar to the environment he is in. He will need to make the right decisions in order to pass the game. On the other hand, numeric based simulations will mimic the entire company or just a specific organization unit or process. The learner will have to input numbers or pull dialers and levers. The result of the simulation will be shown through graphs and reports. Usually this approach is utilized in order to develop and train intelligence and knowledge for business. There are learning objectives here such as strategic thinking, market and financial analyses, teamwork, leadership and operations. Now, the question is: how do you simulate business with KPI?

There are three processes involved when you want to simulate business with KPI or key performance indicators. The first one is to construct your business model, which you will use to describe the processes of your company or the system for the simulation. Next is to perform the actual simulation process. Generally, you will need to make use of a good application that will allow you to implement the model. Lastly, you will need to examine and optimize the results. This is where you will draw the conclusions based upon the output. You will be assisted here in the entire procedure of decision making.

A number of companies are not quite convinced that this procedure is useful. This is because they do not know the advantages and the benefits that they will gain when they perform business simulation through the KPIs. First is the fact that they will be able to manage the changes. Since they are operating a company, they will be facing a lot of challenges and risks that will put them to test. Some may prove to be difficult and almost impossible to get out of especially when one is not thoroughly prepared. But when you are able to handle change you can also deal with the to-be processes in your business. Another is that one can save from the implementation costs. If you will be utilizing expensive systems, you must be guaranteed that they will work for you. Otherwise, you will just waste your money instead of investing it to other resources. When you simulate business with KPI, you are able to validate the design for your plans and thus, you can implement strategies that are cost effective and successful in the end.

One thing that you have to remember though is that you will need to have key performance indicators first. You will be the one to define them so make sure that you choose relevant ones that you can apply for the simulation and evaluation processes. After simulating, you can now optimize your business performance so that you will be able to generate more sales and become profitable and productive.