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  •   Facebook Games

    10/10/10 - 23:12

    I mentioned in my first post my shunning of social networks. Let me explain further. Personally, I have avoided social networks, the exceptions being reddit and lurking on slashdot. Other than that, posting my mundane experiences to people I barely know, in some form of voyeuristic boasting has held no appeal. [Ironically I became addicted to twitter shortly after this. ED]

    I recently joined facebook, under an alias, to look at the games that I had heard so much about. I shall not mention any names or specifics at this point, but the entire concept of them being ‘games’ offended me. Maybe I should get out more :)

    1. Viral as necessary mechanic. This annoyed me the most. The spam on my wall, the pointless invite others to progress, spam your friends to show you are better, etc; etc;
    2. Viral as a need to progress. Hitting walls because I wouldn’t invite my friends, being negatively effected because I refuse to post about some random game event.
    3.  Click. I realise that clicking is a required operation. It’s quite essential for most computer interactions. However, having to perform mindless repetitive clicks over and over again seemed at best stupid, at worse a soul destroying activity which brought me closer to the brainwashed masses.
    4. YAY! BRIGHT COLOURS! I’M A CARTOON. Alas, if only this was confined to just browser based games, it might be tolerable. But, it has crept into every facet of gaming. Now, art style is a very unique factor, what someone might like, someone else will hate. I’m not trying to force my views on anyone, but, imho toon style sucks.
    5.  Click ( again ) and wait. When an entire game hinges on watching a percentage meter going up, or a timer going down I am very much reminded of the excellent work of Progress Quest. Other than that awesome code based comment on modern gaming, it really grinds my gears.
    6.  Buy our fake money and get better at the game! I may regret saying this in future, as micro payment systems do seem to be one of the best ways of making a living from a game ( which I would LOVE to do ), however, using real life money to increase my abilities during a game just strikes me as a pointless waste. Now, don’t get me wrong – I like shaking my epeen as much as the rest of the net, cosmetic enhancements, I have no issues with. Look at my new shiny thing! Bet you wish you had enough money to waste on such a fruitless sprite. A better player being proportional to a player who spends a lot of money is not a good game mechanic, no matter how rich it makes you.
    7.  You can’t loose! I know, I tried. On several games, I set out to loose, making bad choices, letting my timers expire ( oh noes! ). And found it impossible. At no point did I see a game over, or a ‘you smegged up big time, reset time?’. This largely removed any sort of emotional risk I would have with playing a game. To quote the tagline of my favourite indie game, Dwarf Fortress, Losing is Fun!
    8. Install our spyware/game enhancement! My god, I honestly didn’t believe people would fall for this. The information gatherable by any software installation ( esp into your browser ) is astounding. Agreeing to use a toolbar, no matter how innocent looking it is makes you wide open to all sorts of info gathering. You might not think your browsing habits are interesting. But I can promise you the market research company paying for your info thinks very differently.
    9.  Bloody Viral. Sorry, but this REALLY is a major urk for me. I get viral. If its done well, its an amazing traffic driver ( and some may even call it beautiful in its implementation). There are some awesome viral campaigns out there. You won’t find any awesome viral on facebook games. Spammy as hell. Repetitive annoyance isn’t good viral.
    10.  Lowest common denominator. Yes, I appreciate a large percentage of the facebook population are not gamers. This is fine. But when your facebook advert appears with text indicating that this is a game, that I, a gamer, will want to play, and it ends up being the most pointless click and wait fest ever, I’m gonna be annoyed.
    11.  Compare to your friends! Who cares how you are compared to everyone else? I want a challenge. Don’t get me wrong, I like seeing how my scores compare to my friends, bragging rights are always awesome. But what I really want to see is how good I am compared to EVERYONE who plays the game. I wanna be the very best! Like no one ever was! ( hmmm, maybe that reference goes against 4, but those games ARE classics! :) ).

    Oh my, that was a more angsty rant than I thought it would be :)  Please, if anyone who has read this has an actual facebook game which is cool, feel free to comment.  I am very happy to be proved wrong with this :)

    tl:dr; facebook games suck.

     

    lamentconfig  
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    6 Responses to “Facebook Games”

    1. Inko says:

      It’s kinda ironic that actually someone “liked” this artice via facebook, isn’t it.

      But yea, I definitley agree with you in almost all points.

    2. Greg Dunn says:

      You make some great points… I’ve felt the same way about many of the games on there. They didn’t all used to be like that, but many of them have been pillaged for the sake of being monetized over the last few years — Mafia Wars is a great example that started out fairly tactical and interesting but is a completely different game now and pretty much falls into all of the categories you mention.

      I’m currently working on an indie Unity 3D game that’s about this close > < to release on facebook and iPhone called Sparky the Road Clown. It's about running over an angry clown (or whacking him with a big yellow hammer). It may not be original, but my group's slogan is "putting the 'game' back into facebook games" because I think you're right — most of the existing ones are just click/grind/invite fests solely for the sake of making a company money, and they're such a far cry from "games" that it's not even funny.

      Anyway, if you'd like to check out Sparky in it's pre-release-not-quite-ready-for-public-consumption state, you can do that here: http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=355574341851

      Yes, you still have to "allow facebook to access your information" — without that, we can't save high scores or anything like that. Beyond that, you're not required to do anything else or penalized for not inviting your friends. I don't have all the social media hooks in yet, but when I do, it won't revolve around monetization or terrorizing people, I promise. ;-)

      • lamentconfig says:

        Oh fantastic, thanks for the reply :) Alas, I have only just recently joined facebook, so prehaps I missed the golden age of facebook games. Very cool that there is a unity3d game there, will defo check it out later. Reading the facebook dev api, it struck me as strange that you had to ask for basic info to do high scores and stuff – surely it would be a nice thing to create a ‘I just want this user id and name so I can use it for highscores’.

        Totally like your groups slogan, I approve :) And your do no evil approach :) Will check by your game later, and wish you the best of luck with it :)

    3. CENSORED says:

      Hi, I left you a DOFOLLOW backlink on my website. This isnt a spam message, i actually did leave you a backlink on my site. If you check the top of the page you will see “Sites we like” and there will be a link to this site. Would you be kind enough to leave me a backlink? If so my website is CENSORED please use the anchor text “CENSORED” for the link and add it to a post or as a widget. Then please send me a email at CENSORED@CENSORED – If you want me to change your links anchor text let me know. Thanks

      • lamentconfig says:

        I’ve left this spam comment live to show an example of a clever bit of spam – clicking the link in the post did bring me to a page that contained a link to my site. However, this link was dynamically generated by the http referer my browser sent when I clicked on this link. So, when I visited it with no http referer ( i.e. heading to the page directly, rather than clicking a link ) there was no link back to my site – so therefore useless for any sort of SEO or getting traffic – people who would have seen the backlink to my blog would have come from my blog in the first place, so it was an exercises in futility. I think I’ll write a blog post about this later tonight ( on lunch at the moment ). But defo a rather sneaky and underhanded way of doing things.

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