Saturday, June 05, 2010

Playing Facebook Games

We won the Build a Facebook Game challenge. Yet the only one I ever played was Scrabulous (back in the day).

Why the bias?

Because I hated all of the notifications and invites and gifts of virtual things.

The Hide button, in my mind, is one of the best Facebook features ever.

Since Sid and I won the Build a Facebook game challenge, however, I figured I needed to play at least some of the newer games to see what is going on in the environment these days. And I wanted to do it in a way where I wasn't cluttering up my friends' news feeds.

I chose three:

Fish Wrangler - I like fishing. I was attracted by the animation on the Fan page. Seemed like a good fit.
- Gameplay: Click the Fish Now button. Get a fish (or not). You can change your fishing pole and chum and add skills. As you get more skilled, the gap between when you can cast gets larger.

- Thoughts: I can easily see this as a multitasking distractor to run in the background. As I type, I click on the Fish Wrangler tab to see if I can cast my pole yet. Bonus that I don't have to pay constant attention to it. And it is really mindless....

- Monetization Strategy - Purchase unstealable Red Love Chum. Catch a fish 95% of the time. Essentially helps you level up faster. Meets the "Let them pay to play faster" rule.

Social City - This is one of the games mentioned during the conference. Build a city.
- Gameplay: Add houses, factories etc and build a city. You can send gifts to friends as well and go visit their city.

- Thoughts: An urban Farmville. Harvest people and money. Something you can play once a day and leave alone or go in more regularly. Like Fish Wrangler - a lot of waiting. Requires a little strategy - house placement, recreation, factory utilization.

- Monetization Strategy: Purchasing City Bucks allows you to purchase more land, purchase specific city buck items or convert those bucks to gold. Build faster. Again - "Let them pay to play faster."

My Tribe - LBY3 pointed me to this game. He worked for Blizzard in a past life, so I trust his judgement when he recommends games. This is essentially a simple island Sim game.

- Gameplay: Make your island people do stuff. Pick up shells (spending a LOT of time doing that) and finish quests / tasks.

- Thoughts: Has the "I can play this while watching baseball" quality to it. Spent lots of time completing quests, picking up shells and waiting for stuff to fall from the sky. If you leave it alone - the sims take care of themselves. What makes this addictive is the 2 minute event timer. Every 2 minutes, you can pick up stardust, moondust, crates of goodies. All of these items become important later.

- Monetization Strategy: None that I can see.

So which one do I enjoy most? Doesn't really matter - all serve their purposes. My Tribe will be the most distracting. Fish Wrangler can run in the background.

Now to hope I don't get too distracted when I go back to work on Monday :)


Beau said...

There's more variation in the farming games than you'd think.

The Social City model is the most noxious, though: Eventually, both games hit a wall where you can't advance without spending cash to buy more territory to build in, and even that appears to be finite. (Eventually, you will have so many citizens, they will insist on having the most entertaining buildings, like casinos.) All cities eventually end up as slums.

Farmville will screw up your farm if you neglect it long enough AND tell your neighbors that they need to get you to return to the cult, because your sheep, and whatever, are neglected.

Tiki Farm, and some others, tread a less-evil path, and try to keep you coming back with limited time offers, some of which require cash.

Wendy said...

I have a feeling that Social City will get abandoned quickly for just that reason. Need cash to get more land. To get cash you have to spend real $$$. No thank you - would rather spend it on other things.

I think the way many of these games monetize and want you to recruit your friends is one of the reasons why I stayed away for so long.

Thanks for the tips!