I’M SO guilty I won’t even bother thinking twice before fessing up to you : nearly every free minute of my life is devoted to Facebook games. But that’s alright. I’m only missing time for exercise, reading, and valuable bonding with my loved ones. Seemingly innocuous and casual (not to mention free) gaming is serious stuff, when you allow it to take over your life.
Nearly every day I try to run around the block between 20 minutes to half an hour with my famous old-man jog, Mahal keeps me honest with chores round the house (but I never run out of tricks to get away with short-cuts whenever I can), and when I’m really in the mood I’m here to tell you my stories, but overall it’s been games, games and more games for me, and to say the least, my social life is zero.
Which is just my way of telling you my games addiction is so acute it’s not funny anymore, but for the moment I enjoy it so much, my immediate concern is to share something more important : Facebook games etiquette that will help you avoid awkward situations and ultimately keep you in good standing among your multitudes of Facebook friends, who by now are getting more than their share of Facebook game invites and updates than they care for, hopefully not from you. 🙂
These are of course in no particular order, culled from personal experience without consulting others, and based on my own opinion, so I could be very wrong and talking b.s., or on the other hand I could be right, or somewhere in between :
Stop inviting friends to play your game. There are two main reasons Facebook offers all these so-called casual games (games that don’t require too much commitment as opposed to those that require consoles, controllers, etc) for free. The first is a captive and massive advertising audience and the second is the the revenue they will generate from you when you are already addicted to the game (more on this later). Now, to expose as much people as they can, potentially all 300 gazillion FB users, to their gorgeous advertising artwork, graphics and catchphrases, they need as many gameplayers, or gamers, involved in their games, playing those damnable games all day, and as a consequence looking at all those ads on the sidebars, pop-ups and gaps between levels or while waiting for you to refresh your lives. Because if you weren’t playing, you wouldn’t even give those ads a nanosecond of your precious time. The game masters already know they’ve got you hooked on their diabolical games, now as a personal favor, they just want you to invite your friends so they can be hooked as well. Now, for some extra lives, boosters (virtual tools to help you win more games, levels and achieve higher scores) and some gratuitous praise (“you are now a SUPERFRIEND for inviting 100 friends, woohoo!”) who wouldn’t spend a few moments clicking your friends’ names and automatically inviting them to play Bazinga Slots? Who knows, they might even like it?
Guess what kabayan? They’ve got other things to do besides stare at multi-color figures moving across their screens all day. They’ve got jobs to do, kids to care for, and lives to live. Unlike you and me, who are already beyond help. They can still be saved and protected from this scourge that is gaming, and because they aren’t addle-brained, they can still distinguish between normal and abnormal behavior. This means they don’t want to be bothered by your two dozen invites all day, and worse, they probably know that you’re inviting them only to improve your levels and scores, which is about as important to them as the poo-poo left by the neighbor’s dog on the sidewalk / footpath (maybe important, but not earthshaking). They deserve their peaceful me-time on the internet, and that means please stop inviting them to play your game. If you can do this, they will appreciate you more as a friend, virtual or actual.
Don’t post updates of your game performance. So you reached another level or won a game against all odds? Or you scored an all-time high unheard of in the annals of Facebook game history? Or you achieved something so incredibly cool that you just have to post it to your page and let your 800 friends know about it? Sorry bro/sis, but it’s: Not. That. Cool. Just like the invites above, outside the immediate circle of people with whom you play or interact with, I will give you a mild shock by saying that NOBODY REALLY CARES about your game history, game performance and game fortunes. Granted, you performed extraordinary feats with your fingers and mouse-clicks, flabbergasted an audience of one (yourself) with your mastery of eye-hand coordination, but at the end of the day, you have impressed one person, and that is yourself. And since that one person already knows that you are oh-so-awesome, you don’t need to post it anymore, korek?
Don’t buy anything to get ahead in your Facebook gaming. This is the money-shot, or the critical moment of the relationship between the game creator and you : when he/she has drawn enough of your will power for you to actually bring out your credit card and purchase anything to keep you playing (and therefore enjoying) the game. It could be anything : extra lives, boosters, “tickets” to advance to the next level or episode, the common denominator is virtual cash, virtual credits, or virtual lives become real, hard currency coming out of your pocket. You may justify it a hundred different ways : it’s your relaxation, your way of pampering yourself, or any other excuse to fork out the plastic.
This is where it becomes serious. This is where casual gaming becomes no different from online gambling, online porn, or anything else that has chained you to your addiction, and in the worst possible way. There is no exchange of banknotes, swiping of cards or other tangible manifestation of payment, only a number and three or four mouse-clicks, so it’s so easy to be overtaken by a false sense of security : it’s not really money. Except that it is.
Asians, I have the audacity to say, aren’t as easily swayed into opening the Pandora’s box of bridging the gaming world and the world of reality with their wallets, because it is hammered into us from early childhood that a few pesos can mean the difference between a full meal and going hungry. It takes a mighty shift of your paradigm to say, it’s OK to spend hard-earned money that my family deserves and use it for extra lives, a color bomb or more fertilizer. (you may insert your personal WTF expression here.) But these games don’t recognize race, color or creed. Also, once you start or use your credit card even once, you can never go back again. Trust me on this.
There, I’ve only given you three rules but I’m guessing they’re enough. If you have more rules for me, please tell me when you can, after you use up your five lives in Candy Crush. For sure.