Monday, August 6, 2012

Social Gaming, Part II

When some sort of glitch caused most of my livestock and about half the businesses in my town to reset to the point they would not produce food nor profit for more than 14,000 days -- for those of you counting, that's 38 1/3 years; I'd be a little old corporal by the time they were ready -- I decided it was time to part company with Oregon Trail: American Settler, on my Kindle Fire.

I've written about this game before, and of my mixed feelings on its addictive power and drive to push me into social gaming. I never spent a penny on this app nor in it, though the opportunities to buy virtual goods are limitless. I just never saw the point -- a bit of patience and a lot of time got me just about everything I wanted, and what I couldn't get I decided I didn't need. And when the glitch appeared, well, at first I was selling off the affected, blighted cattle and businesses and replacing them, but then I figured, meh, just pull the plug.

I think it also helped that I left my Kindle Fire at camp with my wife for a week, leaving me to find other things to do to fill the little idle minutes when I used to fire it up. Now that it's back and the game is gone, well, I'm sure I'll find other uses and distractions. But the biggie is gone.

The discovery of Sim City Social on Facebook may also have helped a smidge.

What makes that worse, one of my Facebook friends is also a fan of the game. She's sent virtual seagulls to poop all over my city. I, in turn, visited her parks and engaged in some pick-pocketing. Other shenanigans have also ensued in the week I discovered the game and we discovered our mutual obsession.

(fair use)

Though I have switched addictions -- and thankfully there's no companion app available for the Kindle -- I still don't see myself spending any cash in-game. The patience strategy may pay off, especially as squeakier wheels than I engage the publishers in drives to make things more open to freeloaders like myself.

Why am I freeloading if I get enjoyment out of the game? Well, bcause they're offering it as a free platform, hoping sometime in the future some gamers will pay for the extras.

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