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Senior-Friendly Guide to Free Online Games

Screen shot of Games.com

Free online games can be a great way to pass the time, improve your skills and even make a few new friends. However, there are so many options out there that it can be difficult to know which sites to trust and what games will work best for you.

We personally think Games.com offers the most variety when it comes to free online games. Its selection includes more than 1,500 games, which range from card to casino, puzzle and trivia games. Other popular sites for free online games include Bing.com, MSN.com and Pogo.com.

Not to worry if the game selections overwhelm you. We’ve got a few tips to help you weed through the choices.

Easy to Understand Concept

Whether you’re playing an online version of a classic TV game show, a new word game or challenging your friend to a round of Gin Rummy, the premise and objective of the game should be clear from the get go. Free online games are traditionally simple to play, even if you’ve never heard of the title before.

Accessible Rules

Even if the game’s objective seems obvious, you may still need to defer to the rules every once in a while. Scan the home screen once you’ve launched a game to ensure that you have a point of reference if you need a little guidance. If you don’t understand how to advance to the next round, how to control your character or how to collect additional points after reading the online rules, skip this game and move onto one that has a clearly defined, easily accessible set of rules.

Easy to Use Controls

Free online games don’t normally require video game controllers, which is a good thing. However, that doesn’t mean they’re the simplest to navigate, either. If you have trouble remembering which buttons control which movements or actions, you’ll want to look for games that limit these requests. Many free online games can be played with a few clicks from your mouse or arrow keys. Others require you to type responses. These are the types of games you’ll probably want to try first.

We recommend avoiding any games where you have to control a character’s movements with letter keys. Once you integrate features like Jump, Shoot, Duck or Run, it becomes extremely difficult to remember which letters control which commands.

Audio Component

If it’s too difficult for you to see small graphics or text, you may want to stick to free online games that contain audio components. These little pings, dings and whatnots will let you know if you’ve gotten an answer right, if you’ve run out of time or if you’re advancing to the next round. These audio components alone probably can’t compensate for poor vision in general, but they can be useful for seniors who need a little extra help.

Visual Cues

Like audio components, visual cues can be an important part of the online video game experience. If you’re unfamiliar with a certain game, or if you have trouble hearing, you may want to play games that continually provide you feedback in the form of pop-ups, collected prizes or milestone markers.

Multi-Play Options

Everyone likes to engage in a quick game of Solitaire now and then, but it’s nice to have a few more player options as well. If you’re playing free online games for the social aspect or to be challenged, you’ll want to make sure you have the option to play against the computer or other online gamers. Seniors who prefer to play by themselves can nevertheless chat with others by signing into their Yahoo!, Gmail, Facebook, AOL or AOL Instant Messenger accounts and joining whatever chat is taking place in their game rooms.

Varying Degrees of Difficulty

One of the biggest challenges seniors may face when playing free online games is that many of the games’ default settings are too difficult or fast, especially at the beginning. Therefore, it may be better to choose a game with customizable settings. That way you can make the puzzles easier or harder based on your level of comfort, familiarity and skill.

Instant Play

Creating an online game profile or linking one of your existing accounts to an online gaming website can afford you a few extra features (namely, the right to track your progress, accumulate points, chat with others and play for money), but you should be able to access a game instantly by opting to “Play as a Guest.” This option won’t let you record any data, but it will give you automatic access to the game if you’re just playing for fun.

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