Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Social Games

Hi folks. My name is Aaron. And I play FarmVille.

It's been about 3 hours, give or take, since I planted my last crops. Blueberries. They'll be ready for harvest in about an hour. And I'm wondering if I should even bother.

See, I used to be one of those Facebookers who would openly mock the social gamers. I would go so far as to make fun of them to their faces, not behind their backs or through passive-aggressive status updates like some people do. I made it a regular habit of simply clicking "Ignore" every time a rogue family member would send me an invitation begging me to join their Mafia.

Somewhere along the way, I got sucked in.

Looking back, I can't even remember how it all started. I guess it's because FarmVille's the one that's the most popular. I saw that some of my friends were playing it. Even some of the guys from the cool kids' table. They were leveling up like it was nobody's business. I wanted a piece of that action.

So I started. I planted a couple rows of corn. I got an apple tree. My farm was humble, but productive. My friends, it is a slippery slope. I'm so far in now, I don't know if I can stop. I'm mastering crops and upgrading heavy machinery. I have stables and a chicken coop for my virtual horses and chickens. I even have a beehive, and I don't even know why.

But this was just the beginning. FarmVille is just a gateway game. Soon, the company that controls the farms, Zynga, came up with FrontierVille. For me, this one is the more addicting game. It has missions that I just have to accomplish. And it isn't just about planting crops. It's about building a frontier-style town with a general store and a schoolhouse.

Recently, in my frontier home, I was presented with the opportunity to build a horseshoe pit. Apparently, this game within the game allows players to receive rewards for taking a little risk now and then. So I built it. But there was a catch. To get all the pieces needed to finish building the pit, I needed to go and play other Zynga games, five in all. So I did it.

I'm happy to say that I didn't become addicted to these other games, but for about a week, I was touch and go. And I ask, where does it all stop? When will I be satisfied with my frontier, or with my farm for that matter? When will enough be enough? When will I complete my last mission in my final frontier? Is it possible to beat the game?

I doubt it. I just hope they haven't turned me into a lifer. I must get out. Some day.

You know, I don't even think it's that big a deal. I'm pretty sure I can stop any time I want to!

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