Underneath the radar of real problems in the world, a battle is raging in Geekdom. Each side has dug into the trenches and have started firing at the other side. The battle is raging, and the question must be answered. Are social Facebook games real games?
Social gaming has become big business. The casual market has become a key market that game developers are focusing resources towards. The typical gamer has come forward to proclaim that these “time waters” are not games. Those that enjoy Facebook games have countered with the argument that they play, have fun, and level up so these must be games.
Well, let us take a look at the dictionary. According to Dictionary.com , the first definition given to us is – an amusement or pastime: children’s games. If we stop here we can say they in the broadest sense, Facebook games are the most basic of games, somewhat like what a 5 year would play. Here is another definition that the dictionary has for us. Definition #2 is – a competitive activity involving skill, chance, or endurance. So here we are, two differing definitions and no real answer. So let take a look at the “games.”
Gamers seem to just not want to share the title of “game” with people playing other things. If we really look into the second definition, we can see that most social games fall well short of the bar. On most Facebook social games there is absolutely no skill involved. Essentially all one has to to do is sit in front of a computer and click. Often times, you can become better just by paying real money for levels and items. This allows you to skip the part of the experience that might even be called a game. We can also look at the games themselves. People have sheepishly played Farmville, CityVille, YoVille, Mafia Wars, and you name it. Almost all of the games are the exact same thing with just a different paint job.
It has been said that the point of facebook games are the fun that is being had. My question is, are you having fun or just wasting time? Is it fun to bomb your friends wall with requests? Is it fun to have to make it to your computer in time to harvest? Is it fun to click and not be rewarded for your time?
By now the social world must be in an uproar. I am sure that things are being said like, “All you do is just go around shooting things with just different guns,” or “WOW players just sit around and click, at least we have real friends.” Let me put these arguments to rest. I play many first-person shooters. Going around shooting this is the basic premise, but unlike social Facebook games, there are many different layers tot he game. Most games have differing shooting mechanics, complete stories, and some type of collecting side story. For the WOW players, they may not have many friends outside their basement, but they do have a complete game. Most of their time is spent clicking. They also have to learn and build their characters. They have to use skill to defeat the computer and other players online.
As we look back to the definition of a game, we see that part of it being a game it must be competitive. All real video games are very competitive either in the single player versus the computer or online play against other players. Facebook games have no level of competition. All one must do is be patient to level up by clicking. No one plays against you and the computer is easily defeated with a click.If anyone looks at this argument with an open mind, you can see that social games are not real games. They may be fun and making developers millions of dollars, but they are merely just pastimes. They are not competitive, they are not skillful, and they are not deep enough to create endurance. A real game meets all of these requirements, but as of now there is not a Facebook game that does. The answer is, no you are not a real gamer if you only Facebook.