Friday, July 29, 2011

Innocent Social Game or First Gen Skynet?

I once blogged about my obsession with games on Facebook.  I wrote here about how easy it was to get sucked in and spend hours playing.  One game that I played religiously was My Tribe.  Against my better judgement, I thought I would log in after being absent for months.  Who wouldn't want to see a wasteland of adorable coffins and headstones?  But that was not what I found.

They were alive.  Alive and well.  Alive and thriving.  No deaths.  No one unhappy.  Everyone just hanging out and successfully living the island dream.  I was completely shocked.  I hadn't played the game in something like six months.  The game hadn't paused while I was away.  My little characters continued to age, farm, fish, and swim.  Wtf?!?!

Not only had the game continued without any assistance from me, but I had earned achievements and awards.  I opened the game to immediately be shown the half dozen or so awards I had earned including characters leveling up, hitting extreme ages, having a certain amount of people visit my island, and more.
What do you mean you "won the game for me"???
So, My Tribe can play itself.  It reaches a point where everyone survives and succeeds without any player intervention whatsoever.  With that in mind, how is this still a game?  I don't need to make changes in rations, consider other strategies, or even be present.  I'm winning without playing.  How is anyone suppose to find this fun?

It reminds me somewhat of cheaters and hackers on console games.  If what you are doing guarantees you a win without ever having to even try, how is it fun?  I think it would get really old, really fast.  I know that I feel a huge sense of satisfaction when I complete a game that takes a lot of time or is really difficult. So if you aren't really working to accomplish anything, where does the sense of satisfaction come in.

Games need to maintain a certain level of difficulty in order to remain fun.  My Tribe crosses that line and removes any difficulty whatsoever.  The risk of me relapsing into this particular social networking game is completely nonexistent.  I will save my time for more Fallout.

1 comment:

Linz said...

You'd think there could at least be a function where you have to check in once a week or even every two weeks to continue earning achievements and all that.. Nothing like putting forth absolutely zero effort, and continuing to win. Charlie Sheen-style.