You definitely are the source in this area, and we're going to shut you down for good.

15-FEB-2011 13:39
Jonathan Blow of Braid fame does an interview.  I got to it from Metafilter, via rewil.

Interesting, of course, read.  Social game designers are evil.  Social games aren't social.  Reads pretentious, sure.  Doesn't make it wrong.

On the Metafilter thread there's people debating whether it's truly evil to design such a game [and it seems, people interpreting Blow as saying it's evil to play such games].  I would agree that yes, those designers are evil.  On the scale of evil they're no, say—I'm trying not to think of Nazis, too cliché—um... Pol Pot?  Yeah, not as evil as Pol Pot.

It's okay to play social games to an extent.  Like it's probably okay to smoke cigarettes to an extent, but what these designers do—and this is why I always go to it from the design standpoint—they very deliberately design the game to not give the player everything that they want, to string the player along and to invade the player's free time away from the game.
« Jonathan Blow »

Mild evil.  Like a crack slinger.  A crack slinger with a pyramid scheme.

Now, I've never played Farmville or games of that kind, partly because it struck me as not very fun.  But also because most of what I know of it is the spam I get some friends trying to build something or collect something, and that's not the sort of thing I want to subject people I like to.  And as he says, that sort of thing isn't social in the connection with others sense; that's social as in building on preexisting social networks.  Like social network cancer.

So, yeah.  Fuck social games and the cancer merchants who make them.  Cancer merchants.

the only good thing about EGo is he's gotta be pissing off rewil.
« JrzyTmata »

Reading about the experience of playing a social game reminds me of what I guess is the closest I came, and actually something Lacy reminded me of out of the blue recently: Ringorang.

Ringorang was this weekly work-week-long trivia game.  Started sometime Monday morning and ended Friday night.  And rewil and I rocked that shit through sheer dedication.  There were some amusing/infuriating theories about us.  I'd take Augur [that's my laptop] with me everywhere.  I slept lightly, and would wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of an incoming question.  I'd roll over, slap Augur awake, answer, and go back to sleep.

I suppose it was different than these Facebook games.  For one, the reward was actual money.  That certainly added to the initial enjoyment.  Eventually, it did make it feel like work.  In the end I was playing for the prize and for the satisfaction of crushing the people who'd accused me of cheating.  Then the money was gone, and the crushing wasn't enough.

So, I guess I'm safe from this "social" game addiction.  I'd need something more than points to keep me going.  Then again, I pay Microsoft a not-insignificant amount for those sweet, sweet achievement points.  Best to just keep away from the social games.

Continuing through the Metafilter thread, I see people using adventure games and IF interchangeably.  Is that right?  When I think of IF—and as far as I can tell it's not defined there any differently—it's interactive fiction.  Adventure games are something else.  Interactive fiction is something like Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy.  Essentially, a movie where you can push buttons here and there.  An adventure game would be like Myst or Zork.  When did they become the same thing?

Enough of this wankery.  Aside from validating my view on social games, the interview had news relevant to my interests: that Blow is working on a new game called The Witness.  I do look forward to that.