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The rise of online gaming

It seems like you only have to go on a train or even into a restaurant these days to see people, of all ages, staring intently at their screens playing online games of some kind. It might seem a little odd that these seem so popular, but as anyone who’s played them will tell you, they really are fun. They’re also very easy to play and can even be very sociable too, enabling people to link up and compete against each other wherever in the world they might be.

A workout for your brain

Researchers have discovered that online games can be good for the brain too. For older users especially, there can be some great benefits.

For example in research carried out at King’s College London they discovered that online gaming can help cognition and function. In the study of almost 7,000 people over the age of 50, participants were given a range of games to play online. Results showed that after six months, participants over 60 were found to be better at carrying out various daily tasks, such as using public transport, cooking and managing finances. The results were even better for the people who played specific brain-training games at least five times a week.

There’s a huge variety of online games across the web. Old favourites are now available at the click of a button, and are easier than ever for people of all ages to play.

We’ve rounded up a selection of some you might want to check out, and all the details of where to find them.

Cricket

No need to worry about the weather or running between wickets, Cricket Coach 2014 is a great way to enjoy the game all year round.

First launched in 2009 and available to download online it puts you in charge of everything. You can pick your team from a database of over 6,000 national and international players and create games between teams of your choice. You can even decide where to play, from a stadium, a local village green right up to Lord’s or the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

You can adjust every element of the team’s skills to suit the conditions and style of play from T20 matches right up to 5-day tests. For example, you could even recreate the Ashes tour down under and maybe with more success than the current England team.

Chess

If a strategic game of chess is more your style then Lichess is the place for you. It’s free to register, and you’ll be able to sign in to the site whenever you want.

There are so many ways to indulge your love of the game that we simply don’t have room to list them all here but, the main one is to be able to play automated chess whenever and wherever you want. Or, if you prefer a real opponent, you can play against others who are also registered on the site.

There are also tutorials to help you increase and refine your skills, puzzles to test you and you can even spectate on other people’s games as they’re being played. You can chat to other players in the “community” section of the site, and swap tips and tricks with likeminded people. Before long you could be on your way to becoming a grand master.

Poker

The popularity of poker has led to a rise in the number of online poker sites. 888poker ensure players can easily get involved with a wide range of poker games. These include cash games and tournaments for more experienced players. If you want to focus on sharpening up your skills before you start playing for money, there are free games to help you practice. The site has plenty of resources to get you up to speed with all the lingo the pros use at the table and even strategy advice to help you up your game. There’s a variety of poker games to choose from, so you can take your pick and find your favourite. There is always someone to compete against due to the popularity of the site; there are thousands of members playing at any given time and mobile play enables you challenge them at any moment of the day, regardless of how busy you are.

Quizzes

Everyone loves a good quiz and this is the perfect way to play.

QuizUp was originally released in 2013 and has a huge number of followers by now. Once you have registered with the online site you can start to compete in any of the 1000+ categories on offer from history to film stars.

You can either play against a friend who’s online or another QuizUp member looking for a contest. Each quiz consists of seven rounds with a total maximum score of 160 points, and each question comes as a four-point multiple-choice question. The quicker you answer correctly the more points you score.

You also win Experience Points each time you play and when you’ve won a certain number you earn a title for that category, for example “Champion of Physics”. Do especially well and you could even be the Champion of the UK!

These are just a few of the thousands of games you can choose to play online. The great thing about them is that most of them can be accessed on a PC, tablet or smartphone, and they’re so easy to play. Whenever you’ve a spare few minutes on your hands, they’re the perfect way to while away the time!