The games people play

4 Mar

People play a lot of games.

Oh, I’m not talking about the mind games, the things that make human interaction so tricky, but rather the interactive games available through websites and social networks such as Facebook.

People spend an immense amount of money on these games, even in a crappy ultra-recessive economy with high fuel and food costs.  These games can be played without any charge, but “extra” features are available for a fee.  And people pay for these extras at amazing rates.

So what do they get out of these games and what are they buying?

Essentially, they are buying nothing.  It’s just an image in a game, or a special skill within the game to allow for higher scores or to accomplish some task within the games’ parameters.  It may be clothing for their avatar (cartoonish character that symbolizes the player) or accessories for their “living space” within the game or even just special abilities to boost scores.

The games vary and vary a lot.  Zynga has a lot of games on Facebook, and many of their games have similar themes.  Things can be built, tasks can be achieved to earn badges, and scores can be racked up.  Their games require a lot of interaction and recruiting of other people to play as well, as your “neighbors” are requirements to level up or achieve a goal.  “Gifts” can be sent too, these images of objects, some of which must be paid for with real money.  Farmville, Frontierville, Mafia World, Cafe World, Pet World…can you see a theme here?

I played many of these games for a time, until the process of giving and receiving these gifts occupied all of the time I allotted to playing the games.  With the building, tasks, neighbors, gifting…the games began to seem more work than a real job, and then came the social aspect of the game too.

People start taking the games WAAAAAAAY too seriously.  They would get very upset and even verbally attack people that they perceived as a threat within the game interaction.  I found this interesting, maybe more interesting than the games themselves, but at the same time…who has time for that kind of stuff in relationship with a game, for crying out loud!  Most of us get enough drama in the real world, and certainly don’t need to add it to our “fun” part of life.

I began trimming away the games, starting with the ones that lacked the most fun.  Then, I eliminated the ones with the most time consuming gifting process.  After that, it was the games with the most seriously angry players.  Finally, I was down to a couple of arcade-style games and Mouse Hunt.

I have to admit, Hit Grab’s Mouse Hunt is fun.  I don’t have to sit around and deal with complicated gifting and receiving processes.  I get to look at cute mouse-like creatures.  I interact with friends and relatives who also play.  I actually read the stuff about strategy, and save my cyber gold to buy fancy traps to conquer the evil Mice.

Okay, so it’s not real sane…but it is fun, as long as everyone remembers its a GAME.  It’s also the only game I still play that involves interaction with other players.

I’m not sure what they get out of all of the villes and worlds, but I  know I was encountering too much stress and hassles for it to remain fun.  I must be weird, I still regard the word game to imply its something that should be regarded as recreational fun, not a deadly serious job.

So if you get the urge, come join me in Mouse Hunt and become a hunter too.  It beats the heck out of waiting for grapes to grow in Farmville!



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