Back in the days of yore – before smartphones ruled the world, before Snake became envenomed, before Mario went to New York and awkwardly romped around with real people – gamers resorted to singular days of play, or co-op bashing with a buddy right next to them on the couch. Now, with the advent of online infrastructures, players have many more options with regards to the ways they play through “live” gaming: remaining connected to others through their console, PC, or mobile of choice. Whether battling anonymous foes, cleaning up at the virtual casino tables, or griefing your online friends in the nerdiest of RPGs, there is a bevy of experiences out there just waiting to be had.

FPS Gaming — Noob Patrol

In the 90s, shooters rose from the likes of Wolfenstein 3D and Doom as a new way to play. ID, the team behind the two franchises, focused on rendering 2D sprites in a 3D world to push away from the 2D platformers that were then in abundance.

Since then, the genre has grown in leaps and bounds, from Halo becoming one of the most mainstream online shooters thanks to Xbox Live, to Call of Duty, a series that needs no introduction. The franchise’s mechanics are some of the most refined in gaming, and the multitude of maps, character customization and unlockables, as well as the ease of dropping into parties with your friends, should be lauded as the premier “live” gaming experience.

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Casino Gaming — Rolling the Dice

Although PCs initially offered players the chance to dabble in virtual gambling alone – Spider Solitaire, of course, was an old favorite – recent ventures into the genre have produced a far more social experience.

 Vegas Casino is offering this type of play with its bitcoin gambling game, Bitcoin Baccarat: a complex yet satisfying variant that is explained in this helpful tutorial article. While the game itself may be entertaining to master, the key to its success is of course the community that it harbors. Vibrant chat rooms accompany each casino game using direct webcam feeds, allowing the camaraderie to blossom, while a virtual dealer intensifies the realism of the Las Vegas experience.

Asynchronous Gaming — Our Incandescent Friend 

Dark Souls, without online play, is a masterpiece in and of itself but combining it with an asynchronous set of mechanics bolsters the immersion, nihilism and suspense of the degraded world that From Software has lovingly crafted. Both help and hindrance can be garnered through such systems.

Battling your way through the punishing and harsh world of Lordran can be difficult enough, but receiving the on-screen message of “Dark Spirit [insert name here] has invaded” heightens Dark Souls’ dread, yet pitting you against intruding online players can help to strengthen your combat skill.

At the other end of the spectrum, summon signs are used to aid those in need, rather than to destroy their hard-earned progress. These signs on the ground can be used to invite other players into their game help with bosses or frustrating areas, and completely epitomize the mantra of one of the game’s premier side characters, Solaire, who is a huge fan of “jolly co-operation.”

There has never been a better time to go online with “live” gaming experiences, as each one mentioned above is readily available regardless of your demographic, style of play or generic preference.