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  Computer software and hardware, plus games

MMOs for Dummies

By Marcus, 16, Amery, Wisconsin, USA

Who would want to do homework, when they could be playing a video game? And not just any game. No no, that is too general. What you really should be doing is playing an MMO.
An MMO is an abbreviation for Massive Multiplayer Online. This means simply that it is a large game that a lot of people play and you need a connection to the Internet to play.
For those of you who don't know what these kinds of games are, they are for semi-constant players. To be able to play these games and be successful at them, you will need to be able to devote some time every day, maybe only for two minutes, or if you want, you can play for hours. These aren't anything like Ever Quest, or World of Warcraft or anything; those games take an absurd amount of time. These games take a much more moderate amount of time.
And now, a basic description of how to play these games, and what they entail. For the most part, the kind of MMO I am talking about is on a turn based system. Not in the sense of Final Fantasy, but on a real-time clock. So, an in-game turn is one half hour. Also, in these games, you acquire a set amount of game currency. Depending on the game, this currency will have deferent names. In some it is called Naquadah, and in others, it is based on real currency names like US dollars or Chinese Yuan's. Every turn, along with the currency income, you get other things like untrained units, and attack turns.
It varies from game to game as to how much currency you get every turn. In some games, you must train your untrained units (UU) into soldiers named 'miners' or 'lifers'. In other games, you gain money depending on the number of UU you have.
But, how do you get these units? This is where the most important part of any MMO comes in, Unit Production (UP). UP is the measure and level of how many UU you will gain over the course of twenty-four hours. So, if your UP was 300, then you would get 300 UU after one whole day. To increase your unit production, you must buy higher levels. For each increase you buy, you receive an additional three UU per day. Three may sound like a very small and insignificant number, but when you have spent a great deal of currency on UP, you will be surprised as to how high it can go.
There is one more resource you get every turn: action turns, or commonly known as AT. These are what allow you to attack, raid, spy, and all of the other military operations I will mention later on. Varying with the game, you may receive one, three, or even five ATýs at the passing of each turn every half hour.
It is time to delve a bit further into the working of these sorts of games. Say you see another player on the list of active players, and he has a sum of currency you wish to possess. You have the opportunity to take it from him. In order for you to accomplish this, you must have 2 things: Your attack, or strike, must be higher than the target's defense, and you must have at least one AT in which to use for the attack.
Now this is where the actual game play takes place it would be really boring if all you could do is buy UP, and get an income. You need to do things with your resources. The most common thing to do would be to stat-build. This is the act of increasing your strike, defense, covert, and other various things, to try and drive your in-game rank up to the number-one spot.
I will first describe attack and defense, because they are the most common, and are used the most. Now, back to what I was saying earlier to help my point. You want another player's currency, so you must attack him to get it. But, in order for your attack to be successful, you must have a higher strike than your opponent's defense.
To get strike/defensive power, you will need attacker/defender units. These are trained by converting your UU into a specific area for use. This isn't free mind you; it will cost a nominal fee.
Also, you will need weapons for your new attacker/defender soldiers to fight with. Like UP, this is an incredibly expensive feat. When it comes to weapons, you will have several choices. You can go with the very inexpensive weapons, but you will also get greatly inferior quality and power. Or, you can get the most expensive kind of weapon, which has the most bang for its buck. I recommend buying only the absolute best weapons. That way, you will save money, and things will be easier to keep track of.
Like I had mention above, you will need attacker/defender units to use the weapons. Depending on the game, there are different types of units. I some games, there is only one kind of soldier you can train, but in others, you can make what are known as 'super' attacker/defenders. Like the weapons, I recommend getting the higher cost units, if available, because they too are of higher quality and power. But note also, these more powerful units require either more UU to make, or you will need to upgrade from the lower quality, thus making them much more expensive. But I assure you, they are worth the price.
But what if you don't have any spare UU that you can use to train into military units, but you have some extra currency? Here is where you have the opportunity to buy mercenaries. Like a mercenary in real life, they are paid for their services. But unlike real mercenaries, these in-game ones are only bought, and never paid again. Mercenaries (Mercs) are of the same quality as the less expensive attacker/defender units in some games, but they are equivalent to the only option for others.
With all of you knowledge about unit production, weapons, and trained and untrained units, it is time to move onto the last of the trained type. These are not like attacker/defenders, in that they are not military. They are covert operatives, or spies and anti-spies. The number of spies you have trained is the general determining factor for getting a covert, and anti-spies for anti-covert.
Oh, silly me, I seem to have forgotten to tell you what exactly covert and anti-covert is. Covert is what allows you to carry out recon missions without being caught. Now, for your spy mission to work on your opponent, your covert must be larger than your opponents. If it isn't, than you won't be able to see any of his stats. And if you fail, your spies will get caught and will be executed for their act of war.
Anti-covert is the opposite of covert. Imagine there is someone you may have a vendetta against, but his covert is higher than yours, so you can't tell if it would be safe for you to attack him. This is where you would do an anti covert attack. This will send your anti spies into your enemy's lands. While there, they will assassinate your opponent's spies, killing them off. When all their spies are lost, you can then do what you wish.
And now there are two more operations you can perform on your enemies: raiding and sabotage. Raiding is the act of using your ATs and your strike to move into enemy lands, and kidnap their untrained units, so you can use them in your army. This aspect of the game becomes greatly important down the road for gaining higher amounts of power quickly.
The last of the operations is the sabotage. Sabotaging is a covert operation in which your spies sneak into enemy territory, and destroy weapons. This is very important if you want to decimate your opponent, or if you want to attack them, but their defense is too high. With their weapons destroyed, the defender units will have nothing to fight back with, and will be easily defeated.
With all of your new MMO know-how, you can become quite the savvy player. But you are still only one player, and what can one do against so many others? This is why there are alliances in certain games. An alliance is a group of players, working together, to increase each other's stats, and to help out in times of need.
There are many alliances in some games, and in others, they are not allowed. In those games that do have alliances, you can either join an existing one after approval by the Alliance Leader, or you have the option of founding your very own alliance. Although as a starter, I would recommend joining an existing alliance, and maybe later you can make your own.
Through the alliances, and through the whole of the games, there are many ways in which you have some interaction with other players. Some of this interaction will be good and beneficial, and some will not be so good. If you get along with another person, great. But if you get on someone's bad side, you might find yourself in the middle of a devastating war. If this happens, you can use diplomacy to try and settle things peaceful, or, you can take the more hands on approach, and try to completely destroy the other side. That way, they will know who the boss is, and they will be put back in their place.
To accomplish this destruction, you must be ready to use large amounts of all of your resources. Now the actual attacking of the opponent to beat him comes in several forms. This act of completely wiping out another player is known as 'massing' them. It is aptly named because you inflict mass amounts of damage on them.
The art of massing can be quite fun and enjoyable. It gives you a sense of pride, knowing your account was superior to someone else's, and to know you can quell any opposition that may arise against you. Now in order for your massing to be effective, you must first attack them many times. By many, I mean approximately sixty times or more. In so doing, you will be shutting down their defense. Once the defense is gone, you then start to sabotage so you can destroy their attack weapons. With no weapons, how can they fight back? And if you want to truly leave them with nothing, you must then proceed to carry out some anti-covert missions. This way, they will have no strike, no defense, and no covert, essentially leaving them with nothing left.
If you have a pretty powerful dislike towards a person, you can make sure they will never be able to play again, by 'sitting' on their game account. This simply means attacking them every turn, so they won't get any income. Also, you must raid them often, so they will be unable to train more units.
There are a few more things I could tell you about these games, but I believe these lessons are better off learned with experience. I truly hope you enjoy playing these games, because I know your teachers won't be happy when they find out you didn't do any of your assignments!
(April 2007)

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Zoo Tycoon 2

By Sarah, 12, USA

Zoo Tycoon is a great game! It lets you create and manage a virtual zoo. Here are some tips:

Be Patient: Zoo Tycoon takes up a lot of space and memory on your computer so the program might be slow moving sometimes.

Add plenty: of bathrooms, benches, and food carts! Guests are extrememly needy!

Hire: Plenty of zoo keepers and mantinence workers!
Also, hire educators because guests are happy when they feel educated.

Don't: open your zoo until youre done with most of the preparations. You don't want tourists walking through construction zones!

More than one species in one exhibit attracts more guests. Make sure the animals are not a threat to each other though!

Build the exhibit before buying animals!

Instead of purchasing a bunch of a species, buy 2 or 3. Animals like kangaroos, peacocks, bengal tigers, etc reproduce quickly in the game.

Practice on a free form (unlimited money) game before playing a game with limited amounts of money.

Ask friends who play it for more advice! There's bound to be more people as obsessed as me!

(June 2006)

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By Will, 11, Hong Kong

Runescape is the best game in the world. It is an internet game so you can play with people all over the world. You have to register, but it's free unless you want to be a member. Members can do more things.
There are combat levels, both defence and attack, and skills training levels like herbalore, magic, ranging, housemaking, fishing, farming, cooking, fletching, runecrafting, woodcutting and firemaking. The aim of the game is to reach combat level 125 and reach all the other levels to 99. For example I am combat level 44, magic level 37, herbalore 11, fishing 45, cooking 44, fletching 28, runecrafting 98 etc.
You can fight animals, goblins, dragons, witches, wizards, spiders, men, demons, skeletons, giants, hellmice and the holy one. There are three kinds of attack weapons: melee, mage and range. Some of the weapons are bronze dagger, bronze scimitar, iron dagger, iron scimitar, iron claws, darklight, silverlight, rune scimitar, blood rune, Guthrick's staff, Zamarack's staff and Saradomian's staff, lava battle staff, fire staff, air staff, water staff, water battle staff, fire battle staff. The ranging weapons are throwing axes, bows and arrows, darts, knives and poison darts.
The players get to wear magic clothes like full black mystic trimmed with red, full white mystic trimmed with blue or gold.
If you try it, you will like it too!
(June 2006)

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Playstation2 Trauma

By Jack and Alex, 12, Croydon, UK

Playstation 2's are great
Lots of fun,
And loads of different games
Yugioh is alright
Still not as good as Simpsons Hit and Run.
Top of the list is Worms 3D
A great game I'm sure you'll agree,
Tapping the controls is easy
It is not a waste of time,
O.k is not the word to describe it
(May 2004)

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Review of LEGO My World: School Skills (ages 3-6)

By Catherine, 5, (and her mother), Leeds, UK

Catherine was delighted to receive the CD-ROM, as she recognised the characters from the advert, and couldn't wait to get started.

The game has five characters, which lead your child through four realms of activities to do with maths, music, words or art. When each of the activities in a realm has been completed, two other characters appear, who reinforce the lesson by allowing your child to "teach them" what has been learnt so far.

Catherine had no difficulty at all finding her way around the activities, and learned quickly how to find an activity, start it up, and exit it, which is a major bonus, as frustration can quickly set in if the child isn't sure what they are supposed to do, or how to do it. The puzzles held her interest, and she was glued to it for nearly an hour.

This software would be best for the younger audience, perhaps reception age. Some activities, such as the mathematical jumping frog, need quite a lot of brainpower to solve. We took a while to figure out that you could earn "magic bricks" in order to enter and explore a surreal extra level.

I would recommend this for a pre-school child to do with a carer, or for a Reception child to try on their own. (December 2003: Thanks to Focus Multimedia who provided the software for review)

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Computer Games

By Becca, 14, St. Louis, Missouri, USA

My favorite computer game is Zoo Tycoon, which is a game where you get to make your own zoo. It's a lot of fun because you get to build exhibits for your animals and pick the ones you want to put in your zoo. You have to keep your animals and your guests happy. Your guests are like real people, they make comments about the exhibits and they even take photographs!

My other favorite computer game is The Sims. It fun because you are in charge of your Sim's life and you can make or break them. You can build them or buy them a house. You can make them hate or love each other. You can make them rich or poor, cruel or nice. I think this game is the most realistic game out there. I love it.

These are two really fun games! I think that everyone should try playing them and seeing for themselves!! (December 2003)

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Lego Chess Review

By Aidan, 12, Nottingham, UK

Lego Chess is a fantastic game, bringing the time-known board game to life on computer. The game itself is very easy, you can play a chess game straightaway, or take the chess-made-simple tutorial. For the age-group of around 6 to 12, it is a game to be enjoyed with a grown-up or alone. The themes are both funny and enjoyable, from pirates to the wild west, with films and short movies illustrating the amusing captures of other chess pieces. The scrapbook is also available for you to keep a record of your victories, defeats and stalemates. You can start a new user, or carry on with your own game, but you can rely on Lego Chess to give you hours of fun! (December 2003: Thanks to Focus Multimedia who provided the software for review)

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Lego Rock Raiders Review

By Aidan, 12, Nottingham, UK

Lego rock raiders is an excellent computer game for children aged about 7 to 12. The graphics are good, with easy-to-see text and details. The whole plot is simple, easy to understand and the skill needed is very basic, so encourages more people to play it. The clips at the start of the game and each mission add a little humour, which every game needs to appeal. The game was an overall success, making the player want to come back to it over and over again! (December 2003: Thanks to Focus Multimedia who provided the software for review)

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Review of Lego Racers 2

By Nicole, 9, Nottingham, UK

I think it is worth buying. It is really fun and it makes a lot of challenges for you to do. It is really different to the first Lego Racers. It helps you by telling you what is going on and showing you where to go. In the game you get to meet different people and learn facts from them. There is a lot of time so take as long as you want to and you can practice. The people like Sparky tell you what happens clearly. It tells you what to do and which key is which. You can choose what kind of car you want by making one or borrowing one of Sparkys. They are quite easy to control once you get the hang of it. You don’t need to use your mouse much. And last of all, the fun part is collecting golden bricks, which are scattered over the place. (December 2003: Thanks to Focus Multimedia who provided the software for review)

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Review of: Socom US Navy Seals

By Harry, 10, Nottingham, UK

Socom is a very good shoot'em up/strategy game. You play a team of 4 American commandos infiltrating enemy lines. On every mission a new set of objectives will be displayed and a new environment will be revealed. Throughout the game you will discover a variety of weapons ranging from the 9mm pistol to the LAW grenade launcher and every last detail from the stances to the expressions are perfect.

Multiplayer mode involves serious use of your brain and the terrain because you are playing against real humans. The command menu is very useful for the challenges that the game has in store. All in all I give Socom an outstanding 10 out of 10.

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Game review - Playstation 2

By Nicholas, 8, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Runner up for Kids on the Net Smart Reporting Competition, Summer 2003

I am writing a review about a Playstation 2. You need a game to play a Playstation 2. Make sure you have a controller. You need a long red, white, yellow wire. A Playstation 2 needs to be hooked up to a TV. A Playstation 2 can play on a computer thing. A Playstation 2 can play a Playstation 1 game too. Use a memory card to save a game.

I like it because I can sell it. I want somebody to have fun on a boring day. (June 2003)

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Dance Ejay 3

By Michelle , 12, Stalybridge, Cheshire, UK

Title of software: Dance Ejay 3

Type of software: Music/Dance

On Dance Ejay 3 you can make up your own dance tracks the easy way. It is suitable for all ages. You can add guitar sounds and keyboard sounds, you can also add special effects. I have tried it out a few times and the songs that I made sound like real dance tracks. I recommend this to you if you are the kind of person who likes performing music or you like dance music. (Summer 2003)

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Computer games

By Dean, Della, Scott, Casey, Christos & Ben, 11, Nottingham, UK

Della thinks playing computer games is a bad influence on little ones. Della likes playing patience and painting programs.
Scott likes Gaylords, a shooting game like Worms. Winning on the computer makes kids feel hard.
Christos likes Pokemon and Dragonballz as well as Lord of the Rings on Gameboy, because they are cool and adventurous. (May 2003)

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The Internet

By Casey, Scott, Ben, Dean, Della & Christos, 11, Nottingham, UK

One of us at home got a scary email with frightening words and a nasty picture. It upset the family. We think if that happens to you you should show it to the police and delete it.
Children should surf the Net only with adult supervision. If you see something strange on a computer, report it straight away to an adult (May 2003)

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Roller Coaster Tycoon

By Kevin, 13, UK

This game is not built for you just to mess with the money and build big intensity rides. The game is a business accounting game that I would recomended for the 6+ age group. The old rival Theme Park is not a patch on Roller Coaster Tycoon.

The graphics are very good and the rides are cool, the only point that Theme Park has over Roller Coaster Tycoon is that you can't ride, as on the original Theme Park you can. Graphics 9 out of 10.

The sounds are again very good but the roller coaster's sounds of rattling are bugging. If you are quick and steady with the mouse you click on the ducks and then as you can imagine they go "quack quack". The sounds get 8 out of 10.

The rides are exciting to watch, you can custom build a ride but you can also change the colour on any ride you buy. You can download extra rides from the Internet , you can also add your rides to the ride exchange on the Internet. You are also able to enter your rides into their competitions to win prizes.

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Why I think the internet is important to kids

By Jennie, 17, Wednesbury, West Midlands

I've been a pupil at Manor High for nearly six years, the very same Manor High which is featured on your site. When I was in Years 7 - 11, the internet seemed like a dim and distant dream, something which didn't involve kids like us, from the background that we came from. It seemed specifically for kids who attended private school, or for those whose parents had loads of money.

Nowadays, the internet is such an important part of our computer-ruled lives, none of us can really afford not to have access to it. Whether this access comes from schools, homes or workplaces seems irrelevent to me as I believe everyone is entitled to be part of the internet's superhighway.

I have a lot to do with some of the kids who have taken part in 'Kids on the Net' as I help them read, and I also help with their schoolwork. These kids were SO overjoyed at the prospect that someone from the other side of the globe may read their work, that they've talked about it for weeks. They seem to enjoy school more, as 'Kids on the Net' is something extra to the run-of-the-mill lessons that they have every day.

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©2003-2011 Kids on the Net and the authors        Last revised 09-Jul-2011
Kids on the Net

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