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My problem with FaceBook's style of gaming isn't the overall design... it's what you have described as the best part of it.
The social aspect really kills gaming for me. I don't want to have big brother looking over my shoulder telling all my friends about what I've been doing. If my friends ask me of my gaming endeavors I'll tell them just fine, but I don't want a computer doing that for me, regardless of whether they want to know or not.
I totally agree. Perhaps it is because the people I know tend to think that the games you play (and often your skill in those games) are somehow a judge of your character, and something one should be seriously assessed by, but I don't like my achievements and actions being broadcast to the people I know, unless I specifically wish for it (in which case I can do it myself). Hell, I don't even like people on Steam being able to see what I play, because of the 'fly-on-the-wall' aspect of any of those people knowing exactly what I've been doing with my time.
It's almost like somebody following you around and writing up an itinerary of where you've been, what you did, how long you did it for, and how well it went. I don't want that.
It's not the games themselves that bother me, it's the morals and users behind them.
It's sickening for me to see people dedicating their life to a shoddy game that any developer could make independently in just a few days. Fine, maybe they have nothing better to do, but it's when they start pumping tons of money into the game that it really bothers me.
I'd hate to see anyone i care for waste money on something so aesthetic, it's essentially a scam.
I have to watch my little brother waste tons of my family's money on Club Penguin, just so he can buy his penguin a fluffy jacket and get some extra snowballs, it's painful to watch.
Comments like "Farmville/Zynga are the best game/developer ever" just add to the annoyance.
In response to "How Social Games Ate Our Lunch" from the Escapist Forums: I don't know that it's accurate to say Farmville distilled WOW's mechanics - I could be wrong, but I don't think you run a virtual avatar around your farm like you would in Harvest Moon. Games, to me, are about interactivity, and it's hard for me to interact just with a menu, choosing option "A", "B" or "C".
In PuzzleQuest, for example, there's lots of levelling and buying skills, etc. all done through a menu, but what makes it a game is the PUZZLE part of it, the matching of jewels, using the skills you have equipped to thwart the other player (or computer). If all I did in that game was get points and level up, I would become bored very quickly, same with any other game - if all I did in Final Fantasy was buy/sell equipment and level up my character, my interest would be lost almost right away.
All the number-crunching, meta-gaming type of play found in all kinds of games is always the least fun part of it, for me. Mario is so much more than collecting coins and getting power ups! Call me a snob, but social networking games and console games are not even on the same playing field. Mario stomps all over Solitaire, in my books.
Minesweeper, though? Sudoku? Those are games I can get into! Just not texas hold'em. Or Mob Wars. It's just a different level of interactivity- I don't lay the cards on a table when I play solitaire on a computer, but I can make my Mario avatar do a handstand on top of a tree. It will always be different, in my humble opinion. I don't care how much money Zynga makes, they have yet to make a game for me.
The problem, or part of it, is that Zynga does have a 'fuck the players' system. That big bunch of scientific data you brought just proves that, if I force players to click this square every eight hours and not a minute sooner or later, they won't be so angry they won't do it. It doesn't mean they like it.
So much of the bile flying around social games (ew!) comes out of confusing what's bad about social games and what's bad about Zynga specifically.
There's a lot of fear around the games industry and gamers that social games will rush the AAA titles and cause games to be dumbed down for a broad audience. That's nonsense, the AAA titles will destroy themselves without the need of any outside agency. The amound of money spent on them and the amount of sales that are needed to make a profit make it self-defeating. I kind of hoped that it would be the indie developers that would pick up the torch, but that is kind of hoping that after the Twilight series ends people who enjoyed it would be reading Saramago. Expansion happens towards the unnaffected areas by definition.