So you have searched Google, watched YouTube, interact on Facebook, Played Bejeweled, Made a Blog and had some fun doing various things. There may be an interest in something more Entertaining and more interactive. Something that is an alternative to channel surfing. This blog is an introduction to Social Gaming, better known as MMORPG (Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Game).
These are virtual worlds and you have an Avatar (read representative) who's actioins you control. In this example I am using World of Warcraft which currently has 12 million people playing, which is more people then the state of Ohio.
This is not your typical arcade game. There is no real score, or even a real ending. It is goal oriented with a deep storyline you participate with and nearly unlimited choices.
The basics start with installing the game. This can take several hours, I recommend setting it up for overnite and going to bed. Registering an account (again, use a free 10 day trial so your not out any cash). Then jumping into game.
You will then have to create your character, Avatar. Choosing Race, Gender, appearance and class. Class is a definition of how your avatar will interact in the game. Once you get a name chosen (believe it or not, choosing a name can take a long time), you are then deposited into the world following a short video giving you some information on your characters race is integrated with the ongoing story line, or Lore.
You use your keyboard and mouse to move the avatar and interact with the virtual world. There are assignments given to you (Quests). These will advance the story, or be given current reasons, or launch you into a sub-plot line. As you do and accomplish quests in game you learn more Lore and unlock new skills and abilities, referred to as increasing in level. The first ten levels is a tutorial that will teach you the bulk of game mechanics and the background history of your character.
Around level 12 you will find yourself interacting with people from all over. The other players. Like all situations, some will be nice, some will be less so. You will find a group of people and become associated with them in a group known as a Guild. They will be a support group, that can answer questions and help out with assignments in various ways.
Time needed? With a 30 minute chunk you can actually do quite a bit. If you play about two hours a week (figure that much less television time), you can find it quite entertaining and very social. It can be nice unwinding after a stressful workday.
What about all the bad stuff you hear, about playing too much and loosing wife, family, friends? If you are an alcholoic, have gambling issues, or find yourself quickly addicted to anything. Get help, If your like the majority of the population and can self regulate behaviors, you really have nothing to worry about.
I hope this makes sense to the neophytes out there. If you have a little adventure, try out the 10 day trial (you can do the trial over and over again). Its what will replace TV.