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
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?