My Little FarmVille

06Nov09

There is an article in the latest issue of Forbes (Nov. 16) titled “Social Climber” written by Rebecca Buckman that has me thinking how far we’ve all come, from a social gaming perspective.

The piece mostly focuses on Mark Pincus, the man behind Zynga, a web gaming company responsible for games such as FarmVille, Texas Hold’Em Poker, and Café World that are played collectively with your friends on social network giant, Facebook. He’s made millions of dollars churning out these casual games onto Facebook, and in the process wasted god knows how many hours of useful productive hours. While his games are nothing revolutionary, FarmVille has you running a farm and harvesting crops, Café World is a restaurant sim, and Texas Hold’Em Poker is well, its Texas Hold’Em Poker, these games are engaging people like never before.

Personally, I haven’t played any of Pincus’ games except Texas Hold’Em Poker, and that didn’t last more than 30 minutes and I don’t plan to start, but I have had experience playing similar games, such as PlayFish’s Restaurant City which they are claiming Pincus has blatantly ripped off pixel for pixel in Café World. Looking at the screenshots, it really does look exactly alike. To say these games are teaching anyone how to operate a farm or a restaurant is to say it with a huge grain of salt. I love a good game like anyone else, but what happens when a game like Restaurant City becomes a problem?

cafeworld

^ Café World

restcity

Sometime last spring, I jumped on board playing Restaurant City, a restaurant simulation game. You decorate your place, visit your friend’s shops, clean up their garbage to collect money, and serve different dishes to get more money. I checked it out after an invite from a co-worker. Little did I know, this game would become a full-fledged addiction, not for myself, but for anyone else that I invited to play or even showed it to. I poured hours and hours a day into watching the restaurant. At school, at work, at home, anywhere I had access to flash-enabled computer. I was checking on my staff’s health before bed, right after waking up, as soon as I got to work. It was crazy. I was losing it. All my co-workers jumped on board, and played with me. They themselves got hooked too. Eventually, I realized I had to stop. It was consuming my life. We all stopped. What I’m trying to get at is, while someone is being heralded as a genius entrepreneur, it’s at the expense of someone else, and in this case, a platform that is home to nearly 100 million users world wide.

So what can we all take from this? Is Facebook penetrating our lives to the extent that actual social interaction is rendered useless? We all feel the need to “socialize” behind these virtual barriers and avatars that direct contact is considered anti-social. “Txt me” has replaced “call me.” Is the human race going to become dehumanized because of technological upticks? We won’t know until we are at that state and it’s too late.

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  1. 1 OMG! I’m a FarmVille Freak :( « LiterallyReticent
  2. 2 This FarmVille Freak is Goin' Nowhere | Pilipinas atbp.

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