This is a fast, and exceedingly simple way to play. However, with Flash you need to first install a free web player. The download only took about eight minutes; start to finish (most new versions of Windows and Explorer already have Flash pre-installed). Once you have it loaded, you’ll never have to install it again. And installed, the casino game play is instantaneous.
Pros: Use your account from any computer, without having to download software each time. Overall, we found the graphics and the sound to be decent. The quick downloads allowed instant game play.
Cons: The play can be a little staggered. The more complex the game and the older your graphics card, the more likely it is you will have this problem.
Like Flash, Shockwave is also a plug-in (ie. Install it once and it works on your computer forever) that allows for more complicated graphics and interactive applications. All new versions of Windows have Shockwave pre-installed, but in older computers you’ll need to bear the one time ten-minute set-up. The good news about this plug-in is that you’ll have hundreds of games and sites of fantastic quality available for viewing once you have shockwave on your machine.
Pros: The graphics and sounds are top quality, yet there is no need to download the software. Shockwave is one of the latest advancements in casino technology and you should expect to see major software firms developing on this platform.
Cons: Less common plug-in than Flash.
Pros: The graphics are almost as good as Flash. No platform required meant there was no need to spend time downloading a player. Again, you can access your account from any computer without having to download software and you can switch from PC to Mac without a problem.
Cons: Like Flash, the game play can be a little staggered and there may be problems playing these games from behind a firewall.
Downloadable Software Programs
These take the longest to download, but are generally well worth it. After 10-30 minutes of waiting, you gain access to a wide variety of games with generally superior sound and graphics. Many players seem to prefer this type of software, especially if they are loyal to a particular casino. The casinos will mail you the software disc for free if you do not have the time to download large files.
Pros: The best graphics, the best sound, the best variety of games.
Cons: Large files, so you need to have space on your hard drive. You can only access the software on computers you download it to. Sorry Mac, most downloadable software is for PC only.
And the winner is...
Your best bet is to try the free no-download games until you find a casino you really like. Then take the plunge, open an account, and download their software. But, if you are a casual gamer or use multiple computers, then stick with Java, Flash and Shockwave. Whatever you choose be sure that your casino offers the games you want and treats you right.