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Ugh - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
So, since my job suddenly started including marketing, I've been trying to learn about it. I get the daily updates from AdWeek, and this time, they included something about how traditional gaming sites are going down in favor of social games.

A few thoughts.

First, AAAGH. Yes, I've played my share of Social City, but only alone--I want to see about building the city. I don't care whether people on my f-list are also building them, and I've turned off updates on FarmVille, because... well... I don't care, not to put too fine a point on it. I want to socialize with people, yes. But I like the LJ style better--put up a post, talk about it, have an actual conversation about something. It doesn't strike me as actually social to trade free electronic gifts to build up a fake town. Of course, its existence doesn't bother me--I don't get it, but whatever, I don't get bungee jumping or pro wrestling, either, but it's no skin off my teeth that they exist. It's the upshot of the article that traditional gaming sites now have to become more social.

I'm sorry, but is there some reason that I want to socialize while playing Solitaire or doing a crossword puzzle? Doing solitary stuff like that is recharge time. Most games, to me, are recharge time. Trying to deal with social stuff means that there's no recharge involved; it's like being on stage all the time. People who like that sort of thing can have their fun; that's good. But please don't take away the alternative!

Second, in the course of Social City, I've noticed that the Pet Store you can buy is in fact festooned with the PetCo logo. That's smart. You get it subliminally in your head, and then that becomes the symbol for "pet store" and when you see it while going down the street in the real world, you register, "Oh, good, there's a pet store there, next time I need something for the cat." It's a different sort of advertising that can really only be done in that environment. Kudos.

Third, social games aren't new, except to Mundanes. I haven't played a lot of RPGs, but even on my limited exposure, I find the Facebook social games hopelessly unsophisticated. SF/F has been doing this sort of thing for years, and World of Warcraft, last I knew, wasn't exactly a scrappy new addition to the cyberworld. I find myself frustrated while playing Social City that it's just a question of waiting for factories to finish contracts... there's no risk involved, even something as simple as, "Now, roll the dice--you must get a number above 3. If you don't, then you lose the contract. If you get a critical fail, the company you contracted with will take over your factory." It's just... building stuff. Shrug. You could do that on the Intellivision game "Utopia" in the mid-80s, with the added excitement that a hurricane could wipe out your crops or a rebellion could fill your town with enemy soldiers who needed to be appeased. I'm just not seeing the whole "game" aspect here, and the social aspect is vastly inferior to any RPG I've even been casually acquainted with.
16 comments or Leave a comment
kelleypen From: kelleypen Date: March 8th, 2010 09:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've given up on the games at Facebook too . . . they are mostly collecting games, and involve no challenge at all. There are a few games at Facebook I like--but they are Facebook editions of other games, like Scrabble. As far as the interaction at Facebook, I use it to keep track of my kids, my family, my students, my former classmates, but not to really communicate. I save that for LJ.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 8th, 2010 09:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I play Scramble a lot, and Bouncy Ball, and I love GeoChallenge. But mostly, at this point, it's just amusing to see people I know from grade school and people I know from my current job all bopping around on the same list--except that they don't interact with each other, because they don't see each other, so it's really kind of pointless.
sidealong From: sidealong Date: March 9th, 2010 12:42 am (UTC) (Link)
I LOVE geochallenge! Don't "get" the farms and mafias at all, and I stink at the word games.

I've never been into gaming or even played any RPG, so I can't contribute to the conversation! But I have a feeling that games could steal away too much of my life if I let them. (I guess I'm an old fuddy-duddy @ 33!)

; )
fiatincantatum From: fiatincantatum Date: March 8th, 2010 09:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't get Facebook. I like the LJ style better, too!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 8th, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I've tried a couple of times to get something going, like posting an essay to get people talking or whatnot, but no dice. You just go back to FarmVille updates and baby pictures. I've got nothing against cute babies, but a real conversation is preferable. (And I tried a "friending frenzy" sort of post, only to have people be annoyed that I would consider using a social networking tool to, um, introduce one part of my social network to another part of it.)
keestone From: keestone Date: March 9th, 2010 12:42 am (UTC) (Link)
As far as I can tell, Facebook and its stuff is are the equivalent of smalltalk. Sure, you can have interaction with people, but it's mostly meaningless interaction for the sake of interaction. Not really an introvert's cup of tea. I log in, do a few quizzes, and generally share random quotations that have little to nothing to do with real life, and I've hidden everybody's farmville, mafia wars, fishville, STFUville updates. (Actually, I'd be amused to see an STFUville. I think I've seen everything else.)

I go elsewhere for meaningful conversation.

keestone From: keestone Date: March 9th, 2010 12:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh yeah . . . I was going to add:

I think a lot of people are afraid of meaningful conversation. And, I already have bejeweled on my phone.
lilacsigil From: lilacsigil Date: March 9th, 2010 03:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Quite a few of my elderly customers (as in 75+) love social games - they get really excited about having friends all over the world and sending them "the email". I think, though, that this is an introvert/extrovert division, and we're really used to seeing largely introverts online. It's a new kind of person getting online - who up to now has had their social needs met by socialising offline - and it's a bit weird to the geeks like me!

In Myers-Briggs types, Extrovert is supposed to be more common than Introvert - but I know a grand total of 2 Es on LJ. If I went through my Facebook (ugh) contacts, I bet there'd be a lot more.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 9th, 2010 03:26 am (UTC) (Link)
The odd part of that is, LJ seems to me to be more social! I mean, look--here we are, a bunch of introverts, all having a conversation. I go to LJ with all the extroverts, and all I see is short bursts of non-communication. It's not as bad as Twitter and texting (I can't think of anything less social than either of those), but still... with a character limit that low, how can you possibly have a social interaction?
lilacsigil From: lilacsigil Date: March 9th, 2010 03:46 am (UTC) (Link)
a social interaction

From observing the denizens of my very social small town, I think introverts and extroverts also have a different definition of social interaction. We like to sit down and have a long talk about an interesting topic then have a break from people; they like to have a huge number of short exchanges with lots of people, and the topic is sort of irrelevant. Like small talk, only voluntarily and all the time.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 9th, 2010 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, and we reach the point of "ne'er the twain shall meet." ;p On FB, I really feel like all I'm doing is standing there saying, "Oh, look, there's so-and-so... and... there she goes. Wow."
lilacsigil From: lilacsigil Date: March 9th, 2010 05:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, that's exactly how Facebook feels to me! "Hi! Bye!"
amamama From: amamama Date: March 9th, 2010 10:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, great observation! That's just the way it is - and it firmly places me in the introvert camp, albeit a rather social introvert. *g*
springdove From: springdove Date: March 21st, 2010 04:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I was going to say something like this, too, but here it is said. :)
I find that introverts tend to find small talk tiring while they find deep, meaningful conversations energizing, even if they have to rest from their interaction by being alone. I do get the impression that facebook is a more extrovert-oriented site than introvert. I, too, have failed to get people to respond to my "Notes" on Facebook. (Of course, most of my friends have left LJ for Facebook or elsewhere, so I rarely get good conversations on my LJ posts either. *shrug*)

Good observations here, though. :)
rabidsamfan From: rabidsamfan Date: March 9th, 2010 03:42 am (UTC) (Link)
I liked 221b which I played via facebook, but that wasn't anything like Farmville. It was basically a two player game where one of us got to be Holmes and the other Watson. Frankly a lead in to the movie (and in some ways better plotted and thought out.)
amamama From: amamama Date: March 9th, 2010 10:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Interesting discussion you started here Fern! I'm on FB, but I'm completely lousy at posting status updates, and I thoroughly dislike the "allow any kind of action" agreement to get the whatsits to run. So I get flowers or whatever, and I make a wall post to say thank you. It's nice for keeping a tab on my family, some of whom are rather prolific posters. Which might just be an introvert/extrovert thing. And you just can't get the good discussions goin on FB, LJ is a much better place for that. Not that I'm very good at posting stuff for discussion, but at least I can join in when others do!
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