Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I Am Not A Social Gamer

I resisted for a long time.

Send me a Farmville request via Facebook? Ignored the request will be, as Yoda might say. Don't have time for that kind of shenanigans. I don't want to be on Facebook to play games. I'm on Facebook to babble incoherently at my friends and relatives and otherwise make a nuisance of myself, but not to play games.

I have a Kindle Fire for games.

Thus Oregon Trail: American Settler.

I think this started out on Facebook, but then the app developers -- and they're all apps now, they're not games or software or whatever they are, they're all apps; I expect an app-brand breakfast cereal to come out any day now. (Just did a quick Google search to see if someone hasn't already come out with an app-brand cereal. Doesn't look like it. But there is this app that will help you pick a healthier breakfast cereal and an app that's a cereal simulator.)

But back to American Settler.

I don't play it on Facebook. But it's on the Kindle Fire, and it's addicting.

And maddening.

I'm a big simulator player. I got the original Sim City when it came out and have been a loyal Sim City player through the game's current iteration, and can't wait for the next one to come out. But because I'm not a social gamer -- there's a phrase nobody was talking about five years ago -- I skipped the Sims phenomenon. I played around briefly with Second Life, but never saw the appeal of either. And still don't. So to be playing a game that constantly invites me to share my progress with others (as if anyone else will care) and to beg and barter with others for the goods and virtual "energy" needed to complete tasks in the game is maddening.

It's not fear or loathing of interaction. We regularly have game nights with some friends, and we get to competing and cooperating throughout those games. I know how it can work out. And not. But to say that I constantly want to badger my friends with game requests is ludicrous to say the least. So I don't. And I don't spend any "real" money in-app, either. I suppose people do this. There are marketing strategies built around in-app purchases. But I hark back to the time when you wanted to play a video game, you just played it. Granted, they looked like this:

But you just played.

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