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  (Source: cheezburger.com)
Many gamers have debated whether Facebook games like FarmVille are "real" games. Where do you stand?

The very first video game I ever played was "Shark Attack" for Atari 2600. This early memory established my love for both sharks, and video games (not necessarily in that order). As I grew up, I owned several game consoles like the NES, SNES, Sega, PlayStation/PlayStation 2, Nintendo 64, Xbox 360 and the Wii. 

I didn't, however, play very many PC games while growing up. I had arcade-style games like "Frogger" for Windows 95, and dabbled in "Diablo ll" in my Windows 98 days. More recently, I had an infatuation with "World of Warcraft" and "Spore," but that's about it. 

Fast forward to summer 2009, when I first created my Facebook. I realize I jumped on the Facebook bandwagon a little later than most, but I was anti-social networking up until that point. Curiosity got the best of me, eventually. 

The first month of having a Facebook was confusing for someone who knew nothing about it. My problem wasn't the fact that I couldn't figure out how to post a status or add friends or anything, but rather, I didn't understand the barrage of game requests. I thought Facebook was just MySpace minus the music. 

This brings me to a debate that I've thought about and read about numerous times, but haven't really discussed with anyone yet: Are Facebook games considered "real" games?

The first time I made the comparison in my head, my first thought was, "Absolutely not." Facebook games are completely ridiculous and uninteresting. Zynga's little farm animals on FarmVille and gangsters on Mafia Wars do not compare to a console or PC game, which has a plot, better graphics and better overall gameplay.

But all opinions aside, really think about it. At this point, has FarmVille evolved to possess these qualities that we love about console/PC games? Meaning, a plot, better graphics and lengthy, in-depth gameplay? The things a person can do on FarmVille now as opposed to what they could do on the game two years ago has progressed by leaps and bounds. For instance, I saw some random post the other day talking about their U.S. farm and their British farm. FarmVille is going global, folks. 

With the user's character and farm constantly evolving, it seems players always have more options or choices to make in order to continuously play the game, while console/PC games tend to take a few hours or days to beat, and then you're done until a slightly different version is released a year later for $60 a pop. 

I've heard some arguments categorize FarmVille and other Facebook games with apps on smartphones like Angry Birds, saying they are just time-wasters. In my opinion, this is absolutely true for most games on Facebook, and I also feel that way about FarmVille because I see it as a waste of time. But for those who are hardcore FarmVille players, this might not be the case. Like the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, FarmVille has a large social network that allows "neighbors" to play the game with one another in real-time, and they do it for hours and hours, day after day.

My conclusion? You probably think I'm an avid digital farmer, but that's not what I'm getting at. I simply find it interesting that a game developed and played much like other role play console/PC titles is treated like a second-rate citizen, and I'm curious as to why gamers think this is. 

Personally, I'm sticking with the "I'm too cool for FarmVille" attitude. I like my retro games and select new titles for my various consoles, and I'm sticking to it. For me, the biggest problem is that the game is just uninteresting and annoying, especially when I have to watch my aunts and 10-year-old nieces posting "PLEEZ HELP MY FARM!!! SEND ME RABBITS!!11!" every two minutes. It's cult-like, kind of like die-hard Apple fans shaving Apple's into the back of their heads and selling kidneys for an iPad 2.

I can sit here and laugh at all the people exchanging digital pigs on Facebook, but Facebook may get the last laugh if its games make it the biggest bank by 2015 as Ken Rutkowski, founder and president of Metal International, predicted last month.

But my question stands: What makes FarmVille "less than" console/PC titles as far as development and gameplay goes? What specific characteristics must it obtain to reach the ultimate status of being a "real" game?



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They're all games
By B3an on 6/3/2011 8:33:37 AM , Rating: 1
I actually make these kind of Flash and smartphone games, and i'd say they're definitely "real" games. Just because something does not have hundred of thousands of $ pumped into it does not mean it's not a real game.

As for graphics, they have absolutely nothing to do with what makes a game, i think most gamers would atleast definitely agree on that one, as it's more about gameplay. Games do not even need a plot or storyline to be considered a "real game". Many popular and classic games on console or PC have not had any story or plot whatsoever.

Most of the best Flash games far outdo old classics on the Atari, Amiga, NES, SNES, Genesis/MegaDrive in terms of graphics, complexity, sound, art and any other areas. So using the logic of the people who dont consider these Flash/phone games "real games" then pretty much every old game was not a "real game" either.

Obviously Flash/phone games wont compare to the big console and PC games with graphics, but some can match these games in programming complexity (in terms of features and gameplay).
Another thing is Flash will also soon be able to match consoles in terms of graphics, as Flash Player 11 will have new Molehill API's that allow it access to DirectX 9 and OpenGL for full 3D acceleration. Almost anything currently possibly with DirectX 9 games will soon be possible with Flash in the browser, or as a app (think of it like WebGL, but better). So will some people still not consider these real games either even if they rival console graphics?

BTW Farmville is worth $12 billion. Thats more than twice as much as Electronic Arts (EA) is worth. I think it's an utter sh*t game but just because i hate it does not mean it's not a real game or admire it's programming which is more advanced than many games on Xbox Live Arcade.




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