Five sites that lead to online gaming addiction

Online gaming sites are all over the place on the Web, but here's a peek at a handful that are just too good.

Have you ever had work piling up, a boss breathing down your neck wondering when it will get done, and the strongest urge to forget about it for a while and head to your favorite online gaming site to waste the hours away in a blaze of gaming glory?

I'm a victim of that myself. Because of that, I've compiled a list of some of the best online gaming sites across the Web where I waste the time away. I'm sure many of you know others--this isn't an exhaustive list--so feel free to share them with us. You never know when your favorite site will bite the dust.

Addicting Games

Say what you will about Flash-based games, but Addicting Games is one of the best places on the Web to find the latest and greatest games. Though I'm a huge fan of Max Dirt Bike, the site's second-most popular title of all-time, it offers a slew of other titles in every genre.

Are you looking for something quick that doesn't take itself too seriously? Check out Bowman 2. Want something extremely involved that's worth investing your time in? Elite Forces: Clone Wars might be a good place to start. And just in case you're looking for a 30-second break, The Helicopter Game will hit the spot.

Addicting Games currently offers hundreds of titles that offer anything you might be looking for. And although some of the games are a bit dull and still others don't load, the vast majority are well worth taking a looking at.

Big Fish Games

Big Fish Games lets visitors play hundreds of titles from dozens of developers across a wide array of genres. The service lets users play online against other users or download them to their computers for offline gameplay. As of this writing, over 360,000 Big Fish players are currently online playing games.

Unlike Addicting Games, which offers a slew of "simple" (also known as "casual") titles, Big Fish games provides visitors with in-depth titles that show off just how far online games have come graphically. Nancy Drew Dossier: Lights, Camera, Curses, is the current top title on the site and it's trailed by a slew of well-known titles like Poker Superstars and Agatha Christie's Death of the Nile.

Big Fish isn't the kind of site you'll visit for just a few minutes before getting back to work. Instead, it offers more sophisticated titles, which require more time investment. That may be fine for some, but those who want a quick fix probably won't find it here. That doesn't mean it's not addictive though--I spent two hours on the site earlier today wondering where the day had gone.

PlaySega.com

Although it's relatively new--the site launched last week--PlaySega.com has already become one of my favorite online gaming destinations. Unlike Big Fish and others, which provide titles from a slew of developers, PlaySega.com comes from Sega Games, a highly-respected developer in console gaming. Each game is developed by Sega and requires registration to play.

PlaySega.com sports the basics--puzzle games, arcade games, and quiz games--but it also offers Sonic at the Olympics and The Official Mini Game of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. That may entice some to sign up for the service, but you should be aware that only a few of the 30 titles offered provide the kind of fun factor found on competing services. But if you're looking to invest more time in an online game and Sega still holds a special place in your heart, you might find something to like in Hot Air 2 or Space Hopper--two titles that offer an outstanding experience.

Pogo.com

Another developer, Electronic Arts, is behind Pogo.com. The site attracts millions of visitors every day and offers dozens of free titles. Games range from basic card games to casino, puzzle, and arcade titles that offer a little something for anyone. Scores on each game are then translated into tokens, which can be used to purchases tickets for cash or prizes.

While it doesn't offer the quick fix found on Addictinggames.com, there's no debating the success of Pogo. The site's main attractions--Scrabble and Word Whomp--have tens of thousands of players online at any time. That doesn't mean Pogo is without simple games, though. Solitaire and a few other card games shouldn't take too long to complete.

Yahoo Games

I would be remiss without mentioning Yahoo Games. Unlike the other services across the Web, Yahoo really doesn't play any role in online gaming, other than finding titles on the Internet and keeping them on its own site. It has done a fine job so far, offering close to 800 titles in a wide array of genres from arcade and card games to board and puzzle games.

Much like Addicting Games, Yahoo Games' top titles are simple ones that satisfy your addiction for a few minutes. Right now, Farm Mania and Pool hold the top two spots on the site, respectively, and they're followed by a host of titles that offer simple, yet fun gameplay at no expense.

In terms of sheer quantity and quality, Yahoo Games is easily one of the best online gaming services on the Web. It doesn't worry about exclusive memberships or trying to do too much. Instead, it offers solid titles to users who want them as quickly as possible. That may sound simple, but it works.

Related: Under the Radar: gaming in your browser

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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