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Braid Creator on 'Evil' Social Games

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the i-don't-care-about-your-virtual-farm dept.

Social Networks 84

PCGamer recently spoke with Jonathan Blow, creator of the popular indie platformer Braid, about his views on the rise of social games over last few years. He thinks many games in that category aren't actually very social, and when asked if he thought such games are evil, he replied, "Yes. Absolutely." Quoting: "[With certain social games] it’s about the game exploiting your friends list that you already made, so it’s not really about meeting people. And it’s not really about doing things with them because you’re never playing at the same time. It’s about using your friends as resources to progress in the game, which is the opposite of actual sociality or friendship. Maybe not exactly, but it’s not the same thing, right? They’re really just called social games because they run on social networks."

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Sort of... (5, Informative)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219512)

He's right to a point.

But I have actually met people on Facebook games like Castle Age (Mafia Wars clone) and got to know them a bit. We cooperated on some things in the game without ever being on at the same time.

My mother met a lot of people playing Farmville. (Or one of those farm games.) She would meet them in the chatroom and 'work' on their farm and stuff, and get to know them while she did it.

So yeah, they can be played anti-socially, but they don't have to be.

Re:Sort of... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219588)

GO OUTSIDE

Re:Sort of... (1)

MikeDirnt69 (1105185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219962)

And don't forget your notebook and 3G device!

Re:Sort of... (-1, Troll)

uncledrax (112438) | more than 3 years ago | (#35220418)

Isn't that why Steve Jobs parted the heavens, and gave upon us mere mortals the 'Ipad 3G', so that we might haveth both at the same time?

Re:Sort of... (4, Insightful)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219700)

These "Social Games" aren't really Social Games, they're "Social Media games", ie, games you play that exploit the social media platform you're on. Exploit being the operative word.

Re:Sort of... (0)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 3 years ago | (#35220590)

Exploit being the operative word.

Indeed, "exploit" is the key word. They aren't "social games"; they are "sociopathic games".

Re:Sort of... (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224576)

they are "sociopathic games".

I had a dummy Facebook account for awhile that I used to play Farmville. It was kind of neat and it allowed me to connect with some of my younger relatives.

Of course, being competitive, I added a buttload of friends I did not even know to play the game more "effectively". Interesting, how that works.. but I digress.

I get on to it one day to interact with my niece and I find a sign near my corn field. "I fucked your chickens". So when you mention sociopathic I figured that is about right in some cases. It was quite a surprising moment. Not that my virtual chickens got virtually abused, or that it was my nephew doing it, but that for just a moment.... a tiny moment... I actually felt bad for my chickens.

When you start to get upset on behalf of your virtual chickens you know you have a problem. Been clean now 14 months. Got the chip to prove it.

Re:Sort of... (1)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 3 years ago | (#35246672)

I actually read the title as " Braid , creator of 'Evil' Social games" . That would have been fun.

Re:Sort of... (2)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219914)

On Farmville, facebook farms you.

Re:Sort of... (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 3 years ago | (#35221174)

His main argument is that in these games you're not really cooperating with the other players; you're using the other players as resources. I realize that some people really do treat their friends as resources to be exploited, and may not think that this is wrong, but I'm not friends with any of those people.

Couldn't agree more (3, Interesting)

N1AK (864906) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219552)

There's always been a trend among online games to encourage recruitment of new players. Social networks like Facebook have just allowed this to become even more invasive.

I've de-friended a few, less close, contacts because of messages from games etc (before FB sorted it out). Had to tell closer friends that I'd have to de-link them if they didn't get more selective about messages they send out (most of whom were ignorant of what they were doing). Yesterday I removed a friend because I got a notification that he answered a question about me on some Facebook application. I didn't join this app, and a friend who is willing to give details about me out to a third party so casually isn't someone I am willing to share a link with on this type of system.

All of the above isn't Facebook's fault, or even the game makers. It is the users who allow all this, who send all the invites, who accept or tolerate those invites etc. Sadly, as most users aren't going to change, we are reliant on FB etc to implement changes to protect us.

Finally, before this turns into another thread of endless "I don't use Lamebook" etc posts. No one gives a shit. No one. Bothering to post to say you don't use the tools makes people assume you're a social pariah. The people who don't use facebook, and aren't, don't need to shout about the decision whenever there is an opportunity.

Re:Couldn't agree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219646)

tl;dr. I don't use Facebook.

Re:Couldn't agree more (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219682)

I don't use Lamebook, you insensitive clod!

Re:Couldn't agree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219756)

I've de-friended a few, less close, contacts because of messages from games etc (before FB sorted it out). Had to tell closer friends that I'd have to de-link them if they didn't get more selective about messages they send out (most of whom were ignorant of what they were doing). Yesterday I removed a friend because I got a notification that he answered a question about me on some Facebook application.

You seriously defriended people because they posted stuff on Facebook that you had to scroll past or because they talked about you to other people?

The vast majority of what any given person says is stupid or inane, and being social animals, most of it is about other people. It's like panning for gold, you have to be friends with people for the occasional thing they say that's worth hearing.

Re:Couldn't agree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35221004)

Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.

--Eleanor Roosevelt

Re:Couldn't agree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35222092)

How I originally heard the saying made more sense to me: Small minds discuss things, normal minds discuss people, great minds discuss ideas.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35221268)

You seriously think you can't be friends with someone just because you don't list them as a friend in facebook?

Re:Couldn't agree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35225322)

Would you let a company give out your personal information? Then why would you let a friend give out personal information about you? Seriously, I would stop talking to someone in real life if they gave out things like my phone number or address if they didn't check with me first before giving out that info.

Re:Couldn't agree more (4, Informative)

thasmudyan (460603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219790)

Yesterday I removed a friend because I got a notification that he answered a question about me on some Facebook application. I didn't join this app, and a friend who is willing to give details about me out to a third party so casually isn't someone I am willing to share a link with on this type of system.

Sadly, those apps are lying. Chances are, nobody answered anything about you. It's a ploy. I can almost guarantee you that the app only had access to that person's friend list and used the friend list to contact you. It's probably not your friend's fault at all. Most of the time, when you're trying out a new FB game, it wants access to your friends list before you can even find out whether the game is legit. Even if you remove the app again immediately, it still had enough time to siphon off your data.

Re:Couldn't agree more (4, Funny)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219918)

They have to shout out here that they do not use facebook because they are not on facebook to tell you that they are not on facebook.

Re:Couldn't agree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35220074)

They have to shout out here that they do not use facebook because they are not on facebook to tell you that they are not on facebook.

There is probably an Xzibit hidden in there, but my brain encountered a stack overflow thinking about it.

Re:Couldn't agree more (3, Funny)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 3 years ago | (#35220522)

Yo dawg, I heard you don't like Facebook, so I put a Facebook article in yo slashdot so you can bitch about Facebook on slashdot.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

BobNET (119675) | more than 3 years ago | (#35220208)

Q: How can you find out if someone doesn't use Facebook?
A: They'll tell you.

Re:Couldn't agree more (2)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 3 years ago | (#35220440)

Q: How can you find out if someone doesn't use Facebook?

A: They're posting on slashdot.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

ArundelCastle (1581543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35221394)

d= ArundelCastle likes this

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#35220858)

A: They'll twitch with suppressed rage every time they hear "Follow us on Facebook!" and every time they see one of those FB icons.

Re:Couldn't agree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223316)

What about those of us that have HOSTed FaceBook to 0.0.0.0?

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223774)

You mean you haven't seen the in magazines or newspapers or on TV or on signs outside of shops or heard it on TV or the radio?

Businesses are jacking off to it at a rate that makes setting up shop in Second Life look sane.

Re:Couldn't agree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35224968)

Q: How do you tell when someone is a Facebook addict?
A: They demand to know your Facebook account and then act shocked if you claim not to have one.*

* (This is funny because it's like the "not owning a TV" issue. Some idiot will ask you if you saw XYZ on TV last night, you say "no", they say "you have to because it's awesome", you admit you don't have a TV. This conversation happens several times, possibly with the same person more then once and then you suddenly become known as "the person who never shuts up about not having a TV". The irony is that it's obviously a deflection of their own obsession with TV that they don't notice how they never shut up about TV.)

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219934)

All of the above isn't Facebook's fault, or even the game makers. It is the users who allow all this, who send all the invites, who accept or tolerate those invites etc. Sadly, as most users aren't going to change, we are reliant on FB etc to implement changes to protect us.

Apportioning blame is a tricky one. Is it a user's fault for choosing a system that exposes their personal network of friends & info, or Facebook for facilitating & profiting from evil games that want to use the info, or the naked greed of game maker who are prepared to spam, run affiliate scams and set friends against each other by exploiting it.

At the end of the day I consider the whole system to be rotten and I kind of wonder what exactly people are deriving that makes them put up with such abuses. Is Facebook just a few years from becoming another Bebo or MySpace? If a viable alternative comes along, it may well end that way and I doubt many people would feel too sorry for Facebook if it happened.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

georgesdev (1987622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35220232)

yes, there are the friends that connect all their "toys" together, and then you get lots of automated messages when they are in a traffic jam, when they publish a tweet even if you don't use twitter. Most of the times, I just "unfriend" them. They're still my friend in real life, but not in the digital world anymore.

Re:Couldn't agree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35220264)

Bothering to post to say you don't use the tools makes people assume you're a social pariah. The people who don't use facebook, and aren't, don't need to shout about the decision whenever there is an opportunity.

Oh, and bothering to post about your "friends" engaging in retarded behaviour on facebook makes people assume... you have a social life?
That's really thoughtful. I'm sure your friends like you more for using facebook, thus clearly not being a _social pariah_. Do you even really understand the meaning of the word?

Re:Couldn't agree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35220954)

Before they sorted out all the lame requests, I pretty much just quit. Here's a screenshot: http://www.fredrickville.com/article/6/162/Why_I_Quit_Facebook

(edit: And apparently there's captcha on slashdot now.. and the letters in the captcha are not the right letters to submit. You have to guess a random string of letters and numbers to win. I can't believe how much I hate captcha)

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 3 years ago | (#35221220)

Out of curiosity, why are you still opt'd into the application platform? It seems simpler to just opt out so that no application can tell you exist, so you don't get notifications from them and they can't leech the information your friends can see...

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 3 years ago | (#35221222)

All of the above isn't Facebook's fault, or even the game makers. It is the users who allow all this, who send all the invites, who accept or tolerate those invites etc. Sadly, as most users aren't going to change, we are reliant on FB etc to implement changes to protect us.

You can't exonerate the game designers when they're purposefully taking advantage of players' naivete and ignorance in a lot of cases. Just because it can be solved by the users doesn't make it not the developers' fault.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

chihowa (366380) | more than 3 years ago | (#35221856)

Finally, before this turns into another thread of endless "I don't use Lamebook" etc posts. No one gives a shit. No one. Bothering to post to say you don't use the tools makes people assume you're a social pariah. The people who don't use facebook, and aren't, don't need to shout about the decision whenever there is an opportunity.

I think there actually is a place for people saying that they do or don't use a certain social network. As we all get our cues on what the societal mores are from other people, it's important to know what social activities others choose to participate in. When Facebook goes the way of all the other networks before it, the transition will be reflected by the number of people claiming that they don't use it. People saying that they don't participate in an activity are just as important to that activity as the people who say that they participate.

Mafia WarsTorncity (1)

TornCityVenz (1123185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219590)

Initially attracted to Mafia Wars due to it's similarity to a good text rpg I had played for a while before Facebook way around, I have grown disillusioned with all the Wall spam and NON-real interaction that I found the game to be about.

Glad I never stopped playing the original.. If you want to see what a Social game should be more like try http://www.torn.com/130690 [torn.com] Yes I would get a referral bonus, but only if you make it to level 10, Which I doubt many would make it to just in the course of checking it out.

Re:Mafia WarsTorncity (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219690)

Try out WittyRPG [wittyrpg.com] , it's got a small community but it's alot more social than mafia wars. It's also very quaint.

Re:Mafia WarsTorncity (1)

binkzz (779594) | more than 3 years ago | (#35220156)

It looks more like Legend of the Red Dragon to me

Re:Mafia WarsTorncity (1)

adamstew (909658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35220700)

If you like Legend of the Red Dragon: http://www.lotgd.net/ [lotgd.net]

That is legend of the green dragon. It's a remake...and you can even use the keyboard to play. Even though it differs in a lot of areas, it definitely has the same feel as the original.

whoa well said. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219592)

its rare to see people put rather muddy concepts into words as clearly as this.

Yup. (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219730)

" It’s about using your friends as resources to progress in the game, which is the opposite of actual sociality or friendship. Maybe not exactly, but it’s not the same thing, right?"

"Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end and never merely as a means to an end" -- Immanuel Kant

He certainly isn't the only person who would consider such games "evil"...

Re:Yup. (1)

grep -v '.*' * (780312) | more than 3 years ago | (#35221942)

Displayed in a What-a-Burger store from years and years ago:

Love people, use things. Not love things, use people.

I like Cow Clicker (2)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219848)

It summates all of these facebook games down to their core purpose - to make people click a lot and see ads, plus pay money.

Re:I like Cow Clicker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35220826)

Ian Bogost in da house mofos!

Re:I like Cow Clicker (1)

ArundelCastle (1581543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35221410)

You do realize Cow Clicker is cribbing from Diablo... poorly. [battle.net]

boo...hoo... not doing it MY way! (0)

redelm (54142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219876)

"Wahh! People aren't being social the way I think they should be. Make them stop."

Sorry, but no-one gets to be the arbiter of voluntary human interactions. No-one is forcing you to participate, and decrying others for what they clearly _mutually_ enjoy is interference.

To be sure, many errors are made. Feelings get hurt. The real test of person's worth is how they recover from errors. Not making any is camouflage.

Re:boo...hoo... not doing it MY way! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219992)

Umm... did you even read the article? Quoth Jonathan Blow:

If you go up and you say that to somebody, then you’re just kind of being a jerk, right? That you don’t know what’s best for you. I’m not trying to be that strong about it. I’m not trying to say “I know what’s best for players and they shouldn’t play these games”.

Re:boo...hoo... not doing it MY way! (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35220180)

If you go up and you say that to somebody, then you’re just kind of being a jerk, right? That you don’t know what’s best for you. I’m not trying to be that strong about it. I’m not trying to say “I know what’s best for players and they shouldn’t play these games”.

Joe Quesada said the exact same thing about the Spiderman storyline One More Day, that readers who disagree with his idea of un-existing Peter's marriage aren't true fans. How's that working out for him now?

Re:boo...hoo... not doing it MY way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35220240)

How is that the same? That's the opposite of the same. Quesada said what Blow said you shouldn't say.

Re:boo...hoo... not doing it MY way! (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35220756)

Then what are you saying? I would argue that those who play these games without respect for their friends both need and will very likely receive a sorely needed lesson in respect and consideration for others. The game is actually good because it drives that.

Re:boo...hoo... not doing it MY way! (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224882)

Sometes,sure. But sometimes, telling people that they have NO FUCKING CLUE what's best for them doesn't mean you're a jerk at all, it means you're paying attention and possess a spine.

Re:boo...hoo... not doing it MY way! (1)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 3 years ago | (#35220016)

So, do you disagree that the primary purpose of most "social" games is to exploit player's friends in order to expand their revenue potential by exposing more people to ads or inviting more purchases of content?

          -dZ.

Re:boo...hoo... not doing it MY way! (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35220726)

Certainly that is one way to play. One likely to lead to consequences, even IRL. Very good, cheap life lesson.

Wait a minute... (0)

Onuma (947856) | more than 3 years ago | (#35220132)

Isn't Braid a single player game? That's not very social!

I see what you did there, Jonathan Blow.

His Full Argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35220194)

Jonathan Blow is one of the most outspoken critic of these games. Check out his excellent lecture about recent game design trends: http://the-witness.net/news/?p=650

It's economic (1)

Blue4x4Pirate (1421631) | more than 3 years ago | (#35220416)

They aren't "social" games, they're "capital" games... use whatever resources you can to maximize personal gain!

And? (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#35220498)

Most "social" games aren't social? So sitting in front of a PC and shooting imaginary objects is, just because they're swearing at you as they "die"?

The biggest problem I have online is that I *don't* want the social element. I have friends, thanks, and if I'm gaming it means that I'm not with them. Sometimes we join up and have a LAN game or similar but it's rare and it's usually quite a private, organised affair.

When I do go online to play (because single-player is my favourite but does have its disadvantages after a while) I don't really *want* to socialise, or step into a well-established social circle that I'm not part of. Try joining any L4D2 game and see how "social" it is - co-operate with everything everyone says or get kicked.

Online games of *any* kind are about playing the game. Don't play the game and you'll rapidly lose "friends", find less and less servers willing to take you and will hate the whole thing. But you can play for thousands of hours without ever once being "social" in the true sense of the word.

When I'm playing a game, it's to advance myself in that game - whether that means by skill and experience, or just by some arbitrary metric. It's nice to have a "friendly" place but everyone has their own circle of friends and you can't be friends with everyone. Hence, I buy my own servers. Friends can pop onto them and even have admin if necessary. The general public are welcome to make up the numbers, but I come down pretty strong on anyone who's not playing the game properly, obviously. And in the end it doesn't matter whether it's social or not. I can name dozens of regulars that hardly speak when they're playing.

I have a run lots of servers, my latest ones are for Altitude. Almost every night they're packed full (14+ players each), some times they are empty (middle of the day). They're nice people and we often have a laugh and a chat about nothing in particular but long conversations are frowned on - you're there to play the game. And rarely do the same people come into contact on the same server regularly and if you *wanted* to meet up specifically, you'd find a common server that you both like or make one yourself.

The social element is aside from the game. In the same way that "social" networks are not social, nor are "social" games. Nor are most games. And even when they are, the social part comes from something external to the game itself (e.g. clans, private servers, LAN matches, forums, etc.).

I don't play MMORPG's for exactly that reason - it requires co-operation from complete strangers or large groups of friends playing together under the guise of "socialising". I'd much rather the two thing were separated so I could play my game properly and still talk to my friends when necessary. Hell, I have more MSN/Skype conversations while playing Steam games than I ever do over any sort of in-game chat/talk facility.

Re:And? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35221476)

So sitting in front of a PC and shooting imaginary objects is, just because they're swearing at you as they "die"?

Where did he say that?

The biggest problem I have online is that I *don't* want the social element. I have friends, thanks, and if I'm gaming it means that I'm not with them. Sometimes we join up and have a LAN game or similar but it's rare and it's usually quite a private, organised affair.

When I do go online to play (because single-player is my favourite but does have its disadvantages after a while) I don't really *want* to socialise, or step into a well-established social circle that I'm not part of.

So you agree with him that they're not social? He never implied that a game not being social is bad - his own game is SP. What he's saying is that games claim to be social but they're not.

Try joining any L4D2 game and see how "social" it is - co-operate with everything everyone says or get kicked.

To be fair, that seems exactly like society IRL.

Not if you're time zone challenged (1)

Xenious (24845) | more than 3 years ago | (#35220512)

What happens if your friends aren't able to play a game at the same time as you due to time zone differences? This is where this kind of game is cool cause you can still do stuff together and maintain friendships.

Re:Not if you're time zone challenged (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35221516)

Such games have existed for longer than the Internet: they're called "play by mail".

But in many "Social Games" you never actually play with or against your friends, they're just a resource like "coins" or a slot machine that gives you prizes (if it's dependent on their development in the game, like in Farmville).

The real problem (1, Insightful)

Rysc (136391) | more than 3 years ago | (#35220606)

The real problem with so-called "social games" such as mafia wars is not that they are exploitive, though they are, and not that they are not very social (ie, no real player interaction). These things are possibly problematic, or not, depending on your views. No, the real problem with these social games is that they are pure time sinks.

A real game ought to be *winnable*. This is a basic principle and exceptions prove the rule. Maybe you can't "win" at dungeons and dragons, but you can complete definable goals and make advancements. You most certainly can *lose*. In facebook time-sink games you cannot win AND you cannot lose. Because they are ever-expanding you cannot even "complete" the game by exploring 100% of its features. These are not games, these are activities for the sheeple masses; a form of circus to keep the percentage of the populace that has too much time and not enough imagination content.

I am always offended by these so-called "games" and feel disgusted when I see people playing them. I say this as a long time gamer and a fan of both hard core and casual games. There's nothing wrong with wasting your life playing video games (or other games) but please, PLEASE do not waste your life "playing" these time sinks. There is no purer form of wasted time anywhere. You are throwing away the precious hours of your existence for absolutely no reward, no effect and no return. If that's what you want to do suicide is similar and far more efficient.

Re:The real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35221000)

This is true, to a certain extent. Recently, Jane McGonigal appeared on the Colbert Report to talk about games that can potentially progress humanity. These games would be perfect for the sort of people that get involved in 'time sinks', because while there's a very slim chance a program designed to find a cure to cancer that masquerades itself as a game will actually prove successful, it's still a worthy cause to sink one's time into.

So the idea I put forward is that Zynga (or whoever) creates such a game, but disguises it as a melon-farm simulator. They can call it 'Melon-'om-ahn the prairie.

Re:The real problem (2)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35221356)

So because you don't like that sort of game people playing them for "no reward, no effect, and no return" should just kill themselves. But people wasting just as much time for "no reard, no effect, and no return" playing games you don't think are stupid should just keep on doing so?

Seriously what is the difference between spending 1 hour a day playing mafia wars and spending 1 hour a day playing call of duty and spending 1 hour a day playing dungeons and dragons and spending 1 hour a day playing tetris and spending 1 hour a day watching House? They're all equally time sinks with the onley upside being people get some enjoyment from them.

Re:The real problem (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35221780)

So because you don't like that sort of game people playing them for "no reward, no effect, and no return" should just kill themselves. But people wasting just as much time for "no reard, no effect, and no return" playing games you don't think are stupid should just keep on doing so?

Seriously what is the difference between spending 1 hour a day playing mafia wars and spending 1 hour a day playing call of duty and spending 1 hour a day playing dungeons and dragons and spending 1 hour a day playing tetris and spending 1 hour a day watching House? They're all equally time sinks with the onley upside being people get some enjoyment from them.

D&D improves your creativity. Tetris improves your spatial reasoning, as does CoD, which also improves your dexterity. I don't know whether Mafia Wars/Farmville would be more or less beneficial than House. The games are interactive, which tends to engage more of your brain than passively consuming something like a television show, but MW/FV are almost uniquely repetitive, unstimulating experiences. They may be more akin to spending an hour counting pixels on your tv.

Re:The real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35222748)

But it's not the unwinnable factor that's important in your definition here. It's the side benefits you are talking about. For instance, you can win at an online slot machine (one that doesn't cost or distribute cash) but it has no side benefits whatsoever. You can practice creativity in minecraft, but you can't win it.

Re:The real problem (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222800)

They're all equally time sinks with the onley upside being people get some enjoyment from them.

I can't answer the question for Mafia Wars, as I haven't played that, but the problem with FarmVille is that it works on real time. You can't switch it off, do something else and come back in three days as you can with regular games, as by then all your plants in the game will have died. Leaving the game doesn't stop the clock, it just keeps ticking. The game requires constant attention to keep your plants alive and harvest them in time. In that sense FarmVille is a hell of a lot closer to a Tamagotchi then it is to your average round of Call of Duty.

The total time required to play FarmVille isn't event very long, as a single session might only take something like 15min. After that you have done everything you can and are forced to wait for your plants to grow (or pay them real money for virtual one). It is the dependency it creates that is the real issue.

Re:The real problem (1)

Rysc (136391) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230648)

I don't expect you to understand what I'm saying, but there is a difference. I have played all kinds of games and all kinds of video games. Facebook's "games" are almost all pure soul-crushing madness. They're pointless to the point of being actively harmful to the psyche. Go play some god damned tetris, instead, it's far more mentally stimulating.

Re:The real problem (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35231060)

And other people will find RPGs to be soul-crushing madness.

And hat does soul-crushing madness have to do with them not being winnable losable (something they share with games like WoW)?

Re:The real problem (1)

Rysc (136391) | more than 3 years ago | (#35259322)

You're attempting to argue an abstract concept, and you are entirely right in general. It's all relative, it's a matter of opinion, different things to different people, etc, etc.. I get it. It's not that I don't understand what you're saying, it's that I'm saying in this case there is a difference. You can keep replying and saying the same thing if you like but it changes nothing; I don't misunderstand you, I disagree with you. In this case it isn't all relative, it isn't a matter of opinion. I simply don't have a good way to convince anyone of the truth of the reality that I see and so I am not trying, I am stating it and hoping that those who almost realized it already will understand. If you don't "just get it" then that's not you. Sorry. Go about your business. There's nothing to talk about and nothing of any further use can be said.

Re:The real problem (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35221570)

Yes! Another game designer _gets_ it ! Completely agree with everything you say.

> A real game ought to be *winnable*.

That's why I prefer the word "Social Toys" because that's what these are, at best. You "play" with a toy; there _may_ be goals, but there is nothing to "win." A game has (clear) ways to win _and_ lose. If you don't have, you don't have a game!

This same reason is why I am starting to detest MMO's like McWow. There is no winnable state -- granted, it confuses the issue, like getting to the highest level there is, but that is a _player_ goal, not a game state.

Cheers

Re:The real problem (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222002)

You might find this article [cracked.com] interesting.

Re:The real problem (1)

CaseM (746707) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222862)

Philosophically speaking, everything can be considered a "timesink" in its reducted form. "Waste" and "value" are notoriously challenging words to define because they mean something different for everyone. While I happen to agree with you that these games are a "waste" of time, I think it's overreaching to conclude that participation in such activities is tantamount to suicide.

Re:The real problem (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | more than 3 years ago | (#35231212)

Correct, anything can be a waste of time. But we now are led to the purpose of these "games". What is it? Are the good folks who run Facebook so altruistic that they are giving you free time using their server because they love you and want you to be happy?

Probably not, and all apologies to Ben Franklin for borrowing his quote about why God gave us beer.

Probably some other reason they want you to spend a lot of time there.

Re:The real problem (1)

Rysc (136391) | more than 3 years ago | (#35231438)

While you are correct I stand by my point. If you are spending your life playing these 'games' you are not really living at all. A mind turned off, a body disengaged, you are nothing and no one while you are engaged in this activity. If you spend most of your time this way you may as well not be alive at all.

However indefensible this point is, technically, I believe it to be correct.

Re:The real problem (1)

Sparton (1358159) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224966)

No, the real problem with these social games is that they are pure time sinks.

A real game ought to be *winnable*. This is a basic principle and exceptions prove the rule.

Man, those million people who bought Minecraft were totally had, eh?

Re:The real problem (1)

Rysc (136391) | more than 3 years ago | (#35231278)

Exceptions prove the rule, as I said. Even minecraft has a reward system, just not a traditional one. At the end of the day you've expressed your creativity, you built something, you destroyed something. There's nothing creative taking place in most facebook games and no personal growth; it makes them fundamentally unrewarding.

Re:The real problem (1)

Sparton (1358159) | more than 3 years ago | (#35235776)

People have made stunningly elaborate pixel images in FarmVille, working under bigger constraints than what is available in Minecraft. How is this "fundamentally unrewarding"?

It's easy to try and take a shotgun approach and say that "most" facebook games have nothing creative in them, but outside of Mafia Wars and other games that mimic it, you'd be hard pressed to find successful games in the genre that don't allow for a great deal of creativity, at the very least.

Give me a freaking break. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 3 years ago | (#35221320)

These games provide entertainment value, don't they? Ultimately, that's the point of a game, not whether it has a definable ending or not. If you're sending invites to friends for items presumably they're playing as well. If they are then the benefits provided are mutual.

I do have a real problem with all the pay walls and various schemes built into these games, and that's why I don't play them.

But if other people want to spend their time playing these games what the hell is the problem? And what exactly inherently "evil" about them? It's not like anyone is being misled; if you don't know what you're getting into from the start you're rather stupid. People really love throwing around that ridiculous term, don't they?

Re:Give me a freaking break. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35222368)

I think that's because to a certain point, they look like casinos.

Door Games (1)

morrishearsawho (1997702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35221510)

Has anyone bothered to port old door games like Operation Overkill or Trade Wars to fb yet? At least those were antisocial and fun!

Why are social games more evil than arcade games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35227436)

I see a lot of similarities,

99% of arcade games are/where awful attempts to con players into inserting one more coin but its that last 1% that we remember as worthwhile.

Personally I just have trouble with thinking of social games as any more evil than indie artfags.

Where's the [Like] button? (1)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35228628)

???

Braid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35261434)

Braid sucks.

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