Mafia Wars and Farmville: Is this the Future of Online Gaming or Just Harmless (and free) Fun? Part One

by KHunter on February 4, 2010 · 4 comments

Click, click, click.

If you know someone with a Facebook page, then you’ve heard your friends and/or family members mercilessly destroying the clickers on their computer mice.

Click, click, click.

More than 75 million worldwide do this. From husbands and wives, to brothers and sisters, to co-workers and bosses. They can’t wait to get on and communicate with each other building and giving away stuff in this insane online community.

Click, click, click!

You know who they are. They are people who play popular Facebook games such as Mafia Wars and Farmville!

These and other games have spread like wildfire for the casual gamer and those who don’t normally play games, but like to waste plenty of time – often wasting too much time on them. Even some of the more serious gamer like my wife, have taken a shinning to these seemingly mindless, but harmless games.

“It’s sort of like I’m rich fantasy” said my wife Dee Hunter, a very smart soccer mom and human resources manager for a large commercial real estate company. “We know it’s not true, but it’s great just to be able to live it. And there’s even a sense of accomplishment involved. It’s innocent fun.”

This is the same woman who plays on two Facebook accounts – mine and hers!

This phenomenon has gotten so bad that you can’t escape it even at work.

I’m a contractor and freelancer on various accounts at a few public relations firms and other companies. I went into one a few weeks ago and my boss told me to give him a few minutes to talk to me. I looked out of the corner of my eye at his computer and there he was – on Farmville!

I was blown off for freaking Farmville!?

My rate just went up another $10 an hour!

In our house we run the gambit when it comes to video and computer games. We have a Wii, Xbox 360, PSP and DS and DSI. We don’t have a PlayStation 3 only because we don’t have enough televisions. We have a pimped out desktop and laptop with enough RAM and a big enough hard drive and graphic card to keep our five year old son and my wife happy. I even have a Sega Game Gear I found on eBay a few years ago. But I just can’t see myself getting into the Facebook games. That doesn’t make me better (or worse) than those that do. Having said that I’m wondering if I’m missing something?

With so many people online playing these games, my question to all of you in gamerland; is this really the future of online gaming?

“I started Mafia Wars and two farm games on a fluke, said a longtime friend of mine, Mike Heath of Lakewood, CA. “At this point, it’s a combination time waster and something that has a goal that needs to be attained.”

To get some more answers I went on my Facebook page and spoke to a few of my friends who seem to have a happy time just clicking away on Farmville and Mafia Wars. They range from the casual to the nontraditional gamer. They are very smart, educated people with families and careers who sometime want nothing more than to site in front of their desktops for some online gaming fun.

“I find it quite addictive and FREE, said Marney Kincaid, an Office Manager at H&R Block in Long Beach, CA. “I like the farming/fish keeping games because of the slow pace. I get too nervous with games that have a timer, and don’t like the ‘blow them up’ or ‘kill everyone’ games. For the millions that are unemployed or underemployed, I’m sure they feel the same way.”

Kincaid makes a great point. With the nation’s unemployed rate being the way it is (especially out here in Southern California), free is always a good thing. And not everyone is into the high graphics and high-priced console and PC games.

Combine free with low maintenance and these games can become addictive. They can also be a nice way to kill some time.

“I like them because they’re not all that time-consuming,” said Robert Monroe, a graphic artist in Long Beach. “Yeah, they’re stupid and pointless and I could be spending those 15 minutes more wisely, but chances are excellent that I wouldn’t.”

And for the gamer who just can’t seem to get enough?

“I am a bit addicted to it at the moment and I’m waiting for the novelty to wear off a bit, said Bella Glover, a childcare provider for the local government in Kent all the way in the United Kingdom. “I do play other games like Wii etc., but Farmville is easier to do on the PC when I’m checking mail etc.”

In part two, I take a look at some of the more serious video and PC gamers and find out what they find so appalling about these games, and why they should be taken with a grain of salt.

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mafia wars, farmville, xbox, playstation 3, super mario bros., halo, diablo, champions online, star trek online
February 5, 2010 at 10:33 am

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Brad February 4, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Great article. I’ve never understood how people can spend so much time clicking a mouse and not feel completely unfulfilled, going all the way back to Diablo 1 days. That said I don’t suppose that spending my time saving a fictional future from the threat of extinction by an ancient cyborg race is anymore of an accomplishment at the end of the day.

Josh February 4, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Great article, although I don’t get these games.

Rolf Nicolai November 9, 2011 at 5:58 am

Mafia Wars update

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