Multiplayer games for teens can include traditional table-top games and online games. Young teens might prefer the games targeted specifically toward a teen audience, while older teens might enjoy games that are designed for teen and adult play. Massive multiplayer online role playing games -- or MMORPGs -- have worldwide membership. The large membership means opportunity to "meet" a variety of people, but can also create the potential for meeting the wrong people.
Games for more than two players can be classified as "multiplayer." The available games range from simple war game scenarios to elaborate adventures in worlds both historical and new. Your teen might enjoy well-known games such as Monopoly, Risk and Sorry. Chinese Checkers played with six players can become a logistical and tactical challenge. Fantasy Role-Playing was a table-top game before it was computerized. Teens armed with rules books, a game mat and perhaps a scenario module can have swash-buckling fantasy adventures governed by their own imaginations and the roll of oddly shaped dice.
Games for Young Teens
Nick Games is a good place for teens up to age 15 to have multi-player fun. They can select from a variety of games, which include competitive adventures with using well-known cartoon characters as well as more intellectual pursuits such as trivia games. Interdactica also offers a variety of multiplayer games. Many of these are traditional games, such as marbles and dominoes that have been adapted for computer play. There are also links to role-playing games such as Sacred Seasons.
Games for Older Teens
Minecraft straddles the younger teen vs. older teen divide. It allows players to create their own spaces which they must then defend against non-player character invasions and also against other players. League of Legends encourages competitive strategy games, somewhat like an electronic laser tag game. World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy are the big two in the world of MMORPGs, each with a world-wide membership and complex scenarios. But they are certainly not the only games in this genre. "Meeting" people from all over the world is one of the fun parts of playing an MMORPG, but it is also one of the hazards. For this reason, most MMORPG companies restrict play to age 13 and older.
Whether meeting face-to-face with a gaming group or meeting online through a program, player safety is a factor to consider. One way to keep your teen safe in face-to-face situations is to participate in the event. Another way is to help her find a group that has reliable adult supervision, such as one that is run by an established organization. Boys and Girls Clubs are a good place for teens to interact, for example. The National Cyber Security Alliance reminds online gamers that they also need to follow safety rules. These include having a good firewall on your computer, creating a strong password that you never share, and not giving out any personal information.
How Much Gaming is Good
Participating in multiplayer games, either on screen or off, can be a lot of fun. If your teen spends an hour or two playing in the evening after her chores and school work are done, it isn't likely to be a problem. You can add to her safety by keeping the computer in the living room or other family space where you can unobtrusively observe her activity. However, teens who spend eight hours or more at a time playing video games can develop serious health problems ranging from obesity to obstructed circulation.