Archive for the 'Casual' Category

29
Sep
09

Casual means casual: no hardcore gaming allowed!

I have just discovered why casual games are casual: By their very nature they do not permit hardcore gaming ways. How? I tell you!

Let’s pretend for a minute that I haven’t reached a new personal low by setting up a puppet email account on googlemail with the express intention of then setting up an even more puppety FaceBook account in order to ping gifts back and forth between the real me and the pretend me on FarmVille. Yes, let’s pretend that never happened at all, because the shame of it is hot and uncomfortable, and it feels dreadfully akin to cheating. Yes, I am forced into cheating, in order to actually play the game as much as I want to. What the *&%$ is up with that?

Let us then put aside the core social networking gaming mechanic of FV that relies entirely on how many of your Facebook chums are playing FarmVille, or at least have opened a farm, looked at it twice and then never bothered with it again. As my experiment with a puppet account shows, if you don’t got the mates then you don’t got the XP. Those without friends must play longer and slower than those with friends. It’s like being the fat kid at school sports day all over again!

And then we should never speak of the real-time aspect of your farm on FV, that moves inexorably on the clock, where crops grow, mature and if failed to harvest, wither and die in the time it takes to do a full day’s work and forget about them. Heaven forefend¬† you should be able to play when you want to, or for how long. That’s just not casual, people!

Instead, let’s focus on the most farcically stupid feature of casual games on social networks, which is the fact that they are irretrievably reliant on the social network itself. And if that goes down for maintenance, so does your game. Doh!

All this has reminded me, in a roundabout and rather wonderful way, that even though I occasionally dally with casual gaming, I am underneath it all, and where it really counts, a hardcore gamer. And all it took for me to find this out, was to utterly break a casual game.

Thank you Facebook!

25
Sep
09

Reverting to type prediction = true!

It seems I was unusually prescient in my statement that playing the Sims 3 would lead me down a slippery path to casual gaming, and archetypal girl gamer fodder. Thankfully I have managed to steer clear of the Imagine series until now, but I have slipped into the life-sucking vortex that is FarmVille on Facebook.

This may, hopefully, be an extension of my vicarious gardening ways in the Sims 3, but Farmville has the added addiction of XP and leveling up (sweet, sweet leveling up!), as well as the frisson of competition with your peers.

I am now a shame-faced Facebook Botherer. You know the kind, the ones who you barely see IRL but who keep spamming your request box with free hugs, drinks, flowers, cause invitations, and now – at least in my case – free f*****g Fig Trees.

This particular journey in self loathing is entirely fuelled by the social networking game mechanics at the heart of FarmVille, and like any good addict, I am looking forward to bottoming out on free-gift-giving and friendly-farm leaf-raking to get that fix of sweet, nourishing FV coinage. Only then can I make the slow recovery into the relative politeness of introspective social networking (you know, where you only read other people’s comments on your posts) where I safely belong.

In the meantime I will return to check on my quick-fix raspberries (harvest in 2 hours), my morning and evening fix of rice (harvest in 12 hours) and my long term intoxication of wheat (harvest in 4 days) while slavishly farming for XP (pun intended) and spamming all your inboxes for fun and profit. Would you like to be my neighbour?