I used to play Restaurant City. I used to play a lot. For a while 12 hours a day. Of course I didn’t spend 12 hours sitting in front of my computer on Facebook. School, work, eating, bathing and all that. This is not a post about gamer addiction and hygiene problems.
So wait. How could I play the game 12 hours a day and yet have a life? This is actually more common then you’d think. Players tell a game “build a bridge,” “open my bakery,” “fight that enemy,” “grow a crop.” These actions take time, so while they are going on, the players go off and live their lives. This is part of why the games are “casual.” Players don’t have to constantly be there and devote all their attention to it in order to play. Don’t try this while playing World of Warcraft. You’ll spend the whole time wondering why you’re dead.
But this “casual” is a lie. The games are no less involving and no less addictive. That’s why people will always be there to water their Farmville crops. I once heard it suggested that if Zynga wanted to destroy productivity, they would change the watering cycle to once every 15 minutes. I was always right back on Restaurant City at the right time to get my bonus cash. We get rewarded for keeping our eyes on the clock and thinking about the game throughout the day.
And that’s why “ghost playing” is deceiving. It makes it seem like you can have fun and advance in the game without giving up your life, but, honestly, I prefer World of Warcraft. At least WoW is honest. Facebook games take over your life more subtly.
Our world is becoming game-ified. Games are occupying more of our time, even when we think we’re not playing. How do you think this will affect society? Multitasking is now much more than just what students do while surfing the net in class. It’s a part of work, and now fun.
Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.