Gaming is the use of a computer and an Internet connection to provide a fun, interactive, challenging gaming experience for players. The term “video gaming” was first used in the mid-1990s to identify any computer game that involved interaction through a display device or user interface (such as a mouse, keyboard, joystick, or other motion sensitive device). Video games are often packaged as software programs that run on personal computers that are connected to the Internet. The term “online gaming” was also coined to represent any type of gaming that requires a user to interact with a computer or user interface via Internet connections. Today, many people play video games online for free. Other people pay to play video games; however, most video games require a system that is configured to accept an internet connection.
In this main article, we describe how online gaming works and what types of equipment are required to play online games. Online gaming does not require a great deal of equipment to start playing. A personal computer is all that is needed to play video games that require an internet connection. Usually, an internet connection is set up in a specific location that is off limit to non-family members. Players can connect their personal computers to the internet using a broadband internet connection or a wired high speed connection. Sometimes, wireless high speed internet access is available where a laptop is placed near a router or wireless access point that is turned on and connected to the internet.
A variety of specialized hardware and software are also available for use with gaming systems that allow users to customize various aspects of the game experience. One type of customization that is commonly found in multiplayer online role-playing games is the ability to create characters and use them in the game. The various parts of a character may include clothing, hair, facial features, and physical attributes. Players can also change their appearance by downloading a template message from a website or from a graphic editor. Templates can be changed at any time without having to re-download the template message or the graphics.