Top Gaming Sites (And Some that Pay!)

1. Live Search Club –

Now, anyone with a Windows Live ID can visit http://club.live.com and burn time, while engaging the brain in trivia and word games. Microsoft Live Search serves as the driving force behind all games. Graphics are average, and games certainly do not feature the same intensity of Halo, Call of Duty or other, slick bought video games in stores. But for crossword and pop culture wizards, a little persistence goes a long way. Tickets earned via playing are redeemable. Prizes range from t-shirts and USB drives, to Xbox 360 systems. Frequent flyer miles can be earned here too. For most people, however, getting into the games is kind of like getting into broccoli.

2. Kongregate –

Kongregate.com is where the casual gamer can have some good, genuine fun. The quality of graphics depends, because developers range from being freelance professionals to beginners in Flash. Highly successful developers earn from 20,000-80,000 USD annually, though anyone can create a game and get paid. Kongregate is thus an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in professional game development; it really doesn’t matter if he or she is a newbie or seriously skilled, seasoned pro.

Kongregate offers a breadth of genres from which to choose; “Desktop Tower Defense 1.5” resides among the top rated games for strategy/ defense. The graphics are quite good too. Newest games include one called “Halo the flash version.”

Gamers earn points/ kreds. They can use them for leveling up, earning achievements; as an expression of appreciation, gamers donate their kreds to developers. To developers, donated kreds translates directly into monetary pay.

3. XNA Creators Club Online –

Going to http://creators.xna.com/en-US connotes an earnest interest in game playing, reviewing and/ or development. Some impressively quality games can be found here for the PC, Xbox 360 and Zune. Opening a free account grants access to them. XNA Game Studio, as well as Visual Studio would serve infinitely useful. And anyone can earn Microsoft Points by creating a game. To make serious money, however, requires a Premium Membership; this requires funds, unfortunately.

4. Ijji –

Ijji is a gaming portal website, which offers an array of addicting RPGs and casual games. It is headquartered in Irvine, California and went live back in 2006. Most games require a one-time download, but are just as easily uninstalled. Along with Hangame, Ijji falls under the management the South Korean NHN Corporation.

5. Other sites that pay developers include Come2Play and Nonoba.

Nonoba even offers player-XPs for its “Suggest bad words;” instead of calling someone “retarded,” refer to them as “special.” It’s Nonoba’s way of creating a safe, friendly environment in which to play.

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Then, there are tons of gaming websites that don’t reward anyone. The Casual Collective, BigFishGames.com, FreeArcade.com and Doof (which means “idiotic” in German, by the way) are among these. They are nonetheless fun, and guarantee entertainment for hours of unproductive time.