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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Random Modern Rant #1 - Facebook Games

I am setting aside the classic console games for a moment, but fear not, a new Classic Console Blog is coming soon enough.

For now though, I would like to step in to the modern world, and discuss the latest technology. Facebook games. Everybody plays, or knows someone who plays them. Facebook has become as mainstream as oxygen. Everyone, or almost everyone, is on Facebook these days, and what is there to do on Facebook besides post your latest adventures, or photos of your breakfast? Why play games of course. Games like The Spims, Monkey Bubble Nuts, Farmvillage, Killin' Gangsters, and Restaurantopolis have all been played to death. Most games are created, then copied, cloned, and advertised all over Facebook.

We have all been sucked in at some point, invited by friends to play some game on Facebook, or asked to help someone out with a quest to kill vampires, or give gifts of some sort. Then we start playing, and get hooked. The game consumes you, occupies your every waking thought. Then when the game gets interesting, people stop playing, and you get stuck at some roadblock, or stop leveling up, because none of your friends are playing it anymore, and have moved on to a clone, or copycat game.

Rant 1 - Social Network games are pointless. They require you to have friends that play the game in order to achieve higher level status, or to advance to a new map area. If you don't have enough friends playing the game you are hooked on, then you inevitably get stuck. But not to worry.....

Rant 2 - If your friends stop playing, you can advance your game by paying real life money. Did I just say that? You pay to advance further in a game.... Really? Coming from the 80's I am accustomed to playing old games on Nintendo/Super Nintendo/ Atari. Where there was no such thing as pay to play (except for the arcade 'Play Choice 10'). Imagine not being able to advance to world 4-1 in Super Mario Brothers, or not being able to advance to the next dungeon in Zelda unless you either A) convinced your friends to give you pointless shit, or B) payed cash to Nintendo or the game creator in order to move on.

Rant 3 - If you do get enough friends to play, and can actually advance the game without having to pay for it, the next problem you encounter is limited playability. Most Facebook games give you a certain amount of "energy" or "lives" each day. Sure they give you more of these after a certain amount of time has passed, but they stick you with a maximum amount of energy or lives. But not to worry, once again, you can pay real money to either acquire additional energy capacity, or you can pay a little more and get unlimited energy. You can also pay to have more energy added to your dwindling reserves.

Rant 4 - Some games require certain power-ups, or items in order to advance. Unfortunately these items usually cost an unrealistic amount of coins (the kind you earn during game play) or you can simply pay real cash. Either way, as soon as I reach these road blocks, I stop playing, and delete the game from my list of apps.

In summary. Facebook games are addictive, and fun, but if you have no friends, and don't want to spend real life money on the additional goodies in the game, you are limited to what you can do. True video games from the classic era of the console wars never had these features. This is why I will continue to play the classic console games from my youth. They allow you to play your favorite games the way video games were meant to be played:  unhindered, and free of the sleazy art of paying additional monies to actually beat them.