Farmville is even more of a bummer than I’d originally thought. Cultivated Play: Farmville:
The most important thing to recognize here is that, whether we like it or not, seventy-three million people are playing Farmville: a boring, repetitive, and potentially dangerous activity that barely qualifies as a game. Seventy-three million people are obligated to a company that holds no reciprocal ethical obligation toward those people.
“Barely qualifies as a game” means it qualifies as something else entirely:
The secret to Farmville’s popularity is neither gameplay nor aesthetics. Farmville is popular because in entangles users in a web of social obligations. When users log into Facebook, they are reminded that their neighbors have sent them gifts, posted bonuses on their walls, and helped with each others’ farms. In turn, they are obligated to return the courtesies.
I can’t even begin to describe how insightful this article was. Check out this amazing bit of tid:
Indeed, when one measures Farmville against Roger Caillois’ six criteria for defining games, Farmville fails to satisfy each and every one. Caillois stated that games must be free from obligation, separate from ‘real life,’ uncertain in outcome, an unproductive activity, governed by rules, and make-believe.
The point-by-point refutation of Farmville’s classification as a game is worth clicking through to read by itself.
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