4 Comments

  1. Adam Williamson
    October 21, 2010 @ 11:21 pm

    A lot of the posts to Facebook aren’t…goddamnit, I can’t think of the academic term…they’re not willed decisions by the people playing the games, the games default to posting those updates often without really asking the user to do it or even to explicitly consent to it. It’s a form of advertising, so wherever possible, the games are coded to do it unless the player specifically chooses not to.

    I suspect you might like to use FB Purity – http://www.fbpurity.com/ . I sure do.

    On the wider point, I think you may be at the least misreading history, as there’s nothing new about the ‘passive games’ you write about here; the thing I find funniest about them is that most of them are more or less straight rewrites of the kinds of low-intensity, isometric games that Maxis made a ton out of back in the 90s. There was a Sim Farm, as I recall. 🙂 There’s always been a considerable market for games that aren’t twitch-based or time-based or really that require any particular ‘skills’, but that are simply elaborate ways to pass time; often, the same people played/play these games for relaxation as played/play more ‘skilful’ games for excitement. There’s also a considerable crossover area which lots of games fall into – point-and-click adventures, for instance, or the majority of modern JRPGs, in which it’s extremely difficult to ever actually screw up to the extent that you die. So I don’t think this is something new, at all. Whether you want to call these ‘games’ or not seems to me to ultimately be a fairly boring semantic argument, but your rationale seems very weak to me: ‘I don’t see the value in this type of entertainment therefore I deny it the title ‘game’, which I consider valuable in some sense’. I mean, if you want to get *into* the semantic nitty gritty, would you consider solitaire a game? Gin rummy? Blackjack? None of these involves any particular mental skills or ‘effort’ (unless you’re counting cards, which many would consider to be cheating rather than playing skilfully), yet I think most people would agree that they’d generally be considered ‘games’.

  2. Diana
    October 22, 2010 @ 1:49 am

    Hi Adam!

    I think the difference is, until relatively recently, people who played passive games never referred to themselves as ‘gamers’. You can be a ‘player’ without being a ‘gamer’. I’m simply stating that the title of ‘gamer’ has over the years be relegated to the few who played games that required skill. I’d suggest that even poker ‘players’ would rather go by that term than poker ‘gamers’ if you catch what I mean. Not to mention that at that point I know a few card players who would argue their game still takes more skill, effort, quick thinking, critical decision making, and practice than Farmville does. 😉

  3. Adam Williamson
    October 22, 2010 @ 12:37 pm

    I did pick my card games carefully. =) Poker (especially hold ’em) requires gigantic amounts of skill, certainly.

    I dunno, I guess I’ve just never really invested anything in this mythical ‘title of gamer’, so that may be why I’m not quite receiving what you’re sending =)

  4. Wills
    October 14, 2011 @ 2:24 am

    This is a really interesting blog, I am an anthropology student too, now however working in the online sector. The combination of the two sectors in this blog is facinating. Well written and look forward to more.

    Wills

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