I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now. Remember WoW Wednesdays? I haven’t played WoW in over 6 months, which kind of makes me sad, but given how busy I am, it was the best thing. I may come back to it. I haven’t quit playing games at all. Those of you that follow me on Facebook may have noticed status updates related to the games I play there. They’re not as fun as WoW, but they are mindless and entertaining. Well, semi-mindless. I mostly play Cityville, which I like because it requires the least amount of bugging my friends to get to the next level. I can mostly manage my city by myself, without bothering my friends for stuff. I played Cafe World for a while, but it got to the point where doing anything required so much help, I gave up. It’s a very different model from WoW, where you really can play by yourself if you want, but the game is much enhanced by playing with friends. Being required to play with friends–and it’s not even with, it’s more like playing at or getting donations from friends or something–bothers me.
I like the open-endedness of Cityville–it’s not hugely different from SimCity, which I loved. The other thing I don’t like is the requirement to buy the good stuff–with real money. Cityville is the least onerous in this respect. I’ve never actually spent any real money on these games. My feeling is that they probably have enough data on me to sell that off for a good profit. Which makes my skin crawl just a little, but I try to ignore it.
I’ve also returned to an old game I played about ten years ago, Heros of Might and Magic. It was a Linux game, but it was eventually ported to Windows and Macs (in the fourth installment). Geeky Boy downloaded it the other day and we’ve all been playing off and on for the last couple of weeks. You can play together, but it’s turn based, so you wait for the other player to finish what they’re doing. I like it because it’s very goal-oriented, but pretty simplistic and the graphics are pretty good for their day. It’s a precursor to WoW and to games like Civilization. The simpler mechanics make it easy to say, watch tv and play at the same time.
Speaking of games, I’ve been reading Reality is Broken. I’m about halfway through, and while I agree with much of what McGonigal is saying, until I reach the end, I’m holding out judgement. It does confirm the human need for play, for collective play, even, something I know I get from the games I play. If you game at all–even just playing BeJeweled, it’s a must read. Though if I see one more reference to “gamification,” I might lose it.