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English: A key topic of this blog certainly is Bullying, and what can be done against it.
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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Facebook Games

Anm.: Deutsche Version dieses Blogs hier.

Yes, a blog about a feature on Facebook - now how 21st Century is this?! 

When I started using Facebook, I had no idea of what it offered, or what it was about in the first place. Some soon to be three years later, this has changed only slightly. Well, okay, I should better say: I know now about quite a few things there are on this Social Networking Site, but I don't use them. I never ever "poked" someone (or poked back), I never sent a "Smile" or a "Heart", and I find Facebook groups names that have the length of a short story weird. The list goes on and on ...

Still, I do my thing on Facebook, anyhow. It's kinda more "serious" than "play" ... but that last word indicates where I'm going with this blog.

Facebook games.


Pong II
The original console from the late 1970's
Yes, I'm ancient ...
Well, those who know me a bit are well aware of the fact that I have been a console video gamer since the days of yore:

Starting out with the home console version of Pong (when it was first released - yes, I am ancient ...), and then moving on over the years of my youth, gaming away ...

I was taking a gamer's break during early adulthood, but returning to the turf at the age of 30, with the uprise of the SuperNintendo console, and since then being a devoted lover of (carefully selected - yes, I'm picky ...) Role Play Games and Action Adventures on Nintendo and Sony consoles.

And Heaven knows that I know what it means to play time consuming games!

One thing that never landed with me, though, was playing games online - I didn't do so on my video game consoles, and let alone on the PC. Yes, I tend to miss out on trends ...


So the idea of playing online games on Facebook was something that did not appeal the least to me. And to be frank, I even heard of those games in the first place not on Facebook it self, but because some friends on YouTube mentioned them in a video or a message!

"FarmVille" was the one game that several people mentioned. My favourite self-confession of sorts back in the day was this one here, made by YouTube primary rock Zipster08, and I loved his story, because it was hilarious:

Since Zipster put up this video in 2009, more and more games have come to life (and vanished again) on Facebook. And with the number of my FB friends rising (to humble numbers only, but still ...), I received various invitations over the time, to join someone in one of those games - to play it myself, and, in one way or another, team up with this friend (and other friends, by inviting them), because those aren't stand-alone (or play-alone) games, but have the "social component" built in.

Well, long story short: After being adamant "I am on not playing online!", neither on Face- nor on any other -book, I finally fell for the invitation of a very dear friend, and started playing a game named Middle Kingdom, which had a "close to the Lord Of The Rings franchise without actually paying for the rights as can be" appeal ... And yet, it was no game in the way I define it, but a basically dull "click the button and repeat, to do mission again and again, collect gold and level up" thing. And then you had to wait for ages until the energy bar would fill up again, so you could make your next round of clicking through missions.

My settlement ... clogged and crowded,
but I love the self-chosen purple-and-white
of my carriage and my buildings :-)
Another friend of mine invited me some time later to join her at "FrontierVille". Well, and I must admit that, as this was an actual simulation and role playing game with cuddly optics, I kinda caught on:

Entering the Wild West, and building up a small settlement ... tending farm animals, planting vegetables and flowers, harvesting fruit trees, and once in a while a "Howdy pardener" message arrives ... kinda cute.

But there were limits, as I soon realized:

just as FarmVille and other games of that couleur, will only let you really do all the things you need to do, if you coerce a good number of your Facebook friends to join you (as certain tasks can only be solved if you have recruited a certain number of "neighbors"). And as certain events co-depend on one another ("solve task A, to be able to solve task B"), you will not master them, unless you do some recruitin' ... which I dislike doing.

The other real issue I have with those games, is that you basically need to invest real world money, to buy a certain sort of game cash, to pay for things that you need, or need to do. You also constantly collect in-game currency (Gold, Coins etc.), and lots of it over the time - but it only helps you so far, and you can't even exchange this collectible money into the "real deal" ... whereas the other way round (real money to in-game money), it works, which does not make any sense - except that you still can invest more real money.

Okay, and as I, just as Zipster08 two years ago, am on a confession trip, let me mention that I still tried two more games:
Social Empires
My Kindom: Typonia
The name fits me well, right?
And I actually managed to
get the first expansion for my town!
First, there is Treasure Isle  - a game in which you are a treasure hunter who explores countless islands and digs up stuff ... and who eats only fruit to replenish energy - how healthy :-)!

And then, just the other day, I started playing a game that admittedly caught me a bit with it's title: Social Empires ... ohhh my gosh, haha!
Now, it is NOT a game where a social educator does street work in the alleys of some medieval town, and by that scores points and levels up, of course ... You more like build up your little Kingdom and fend off Trolls who try to kill your soldiers and villagers and break down your town. And of course, the above mentioned issues are present here, too.


So, in a nutshell, those games on Facebook now indeed cracked my wall, and invaded my sanctuary. Those few that I tried were fun to start and get into with, and there was even some social interaction happening ... although helping out each other is reduced to sheer formalities - one click, done.

And I will never reach any higher levels of those games, as I refuse to invest real money there, just as I will not start pestering a wagonload of people to join my ranks, just so I can build a fancy structure, or explore yet another area. I pester only a very few :-) ...


To sum up:

Those Facebook games are like chewing gum:
Juicy and fresh at the beginning,
but they tend to lose that good taste relatively quickly.

Yes, I am demanding ...

But you would be, too, if you had played video games that are precious gems - games that did not grow old even after hundreds of gaming hours, and where you had to invest tons of wit and real (albeit very specialized) skills to master the game, finish the story through, and finally save the world, and rescue the iconic Princess.

Here's one brilliant example for what I was just talking about:

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
"Link in the Glass with Golden Skultulla"
does not come with the game :-)!
You haven't played this game yet?
Then it's about time!
Get yours
(for Nintendo DS, N64, or Nintendo Wii)


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