Computer gamegame that is played using a computer. The term is usually used in reference to games played using a personal computer.
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Although often associated, computer games are not necessarily video games although all but the earliest video games (such as Pong, which used dedicated analogue circuitry) are computer games. Computer games encompass a broader range of games that do not depend primarily on video display, including text-based adventure games and other interactive fiction.
The generally accepted distinction between a computer game and a video game today is simple: a game will be a "computer game" if it is played on a personal computer (such as Apple Mac, PC, Amiga or Commodore 64), and will be a "video game" if it is played on a computer that is specialized for game playing, called a video game console. Because of hardware differences, a game played on a computer will have some fundamental differences than the same game played on a video game console. One such difference is that on the computer the game player has a wider assortment of direct controls exploiting the full computer keyboard, while video games tend to use more layers of sub-menus, or button combinations via the game controller.
Another distinction between computer and video games arises from the fact that computers tend to have small, high-resolution monitors -- they are optimized for viewing at close range by one person -- while home video game consoles use a much lower-resolution commercial television as their output device: optimized for viewing at a greater distance with a larger audience. As a result, most computer games are intended for single-player or networked multiplayer play, while many video games are designed for local multiplayer play, with all players viewing the same TV set.
Video games have generally had access to less computing power, less flexible computing power, and lower resolution monitors, than computer games. Whereas video games are locked into running on hardware of set capability, most computer games are scalable and can take advantage of more powerful hardware. Modern computer games can handle a wide range of hardware, and since the needed display resoultion is so low on consoles, even their limited capabilites in terms of CPU power and RAM doesn't stop computer games from being ported.
Video game manufacturers usually exercise tight control over the games that are made available on their systems, so unusual or special-interest games are more likely to appear on general-purpose computers.
Recently, computer games have also been used as a digital-art medium. See artistic computer game modification.
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